As temperatures warm up here in central Minnesota, people with green thumbs are starting to think about gardening. Since there is only a short window to get that beautiful garden up and running in your yard, starting the planning process early is a great idea. Some things can even start being implemented now.
Gardening is a great way to make a real impact on the planet. You’ll be able to supply your own produce and herbs, reducing carbon emissions along the way. A garden is a great place to reuse old items from your home too.
One of the great benefits of having your own garden is that you now have a place for your kitchen scraps to go. Using composted material in your garden will help your soil to retain moisture and add nutrients that may be lacking. You can throw your yard waste and garden clipping in your compost as well!
Use Recycled or Reused Materials
When planning your garden, you are probably considering different kinds of pots, planters, and boxes to hold all your plants. There are tons of options for these in your local gardening or home improvement stores. Look for products that are actively using recycled materials to produce their products. Make sure you take into consideration what types of plants you plan on putting inside these containers to ensure they are durable enough and safe.
Alternatively, shop second-hand for used pots and planters. Clay, stone, or wooden planters can last a lifetime and there are always lots of options at local second-hand stores. Giving an old planter new life prevents the need for a new one to be created and therefore reduces carbon emissions!
In order to make your garden accessible at night, you will need to install some kind of lighting. Lighting can also change the atmosphere of your garden, depending on what kind you choose. When choosing your lighting, keep in mind how much electricity will be used.
You can reduce your electricity usage with solar-powered lights. These are both eco-friendly, and convenient. Most models store energy from the sun during the day and turn on automatically once it gets dark. Some models will have a shorter burn time off of one charge than others, so do your research and keep a flight light nearby in case of light failure.
Say “No” to Chemicals
If you are a beginner gardener, you may have noticed all the products that claim to rid of pests and weeds. Many of these products contain harsh chemicals that can be harmful to your garden and the ecosystem it will be contributing to. There are some insects that are actually helpful to have in your garden, and using those harsh chemicals will get rid of them too.
Instead, find natural alternatives for any pest or invasive species issues that you’re experiencing. Evaluate your problems, and create a plan based on your specific needs. Many pest control chemicals are a blanket solution for many pests or weed issues, which can end up harming your garden more than helping.
Pest Control Ideas
- Construct a wildlife pond. This will attract all kinds of beneficial insects that will keep away the insect you don’t want.
- Build birdhouses to encourage nesting birds to choose your yard as their home. These birds will keep the caterpillar population under control.
- Leave some areas on your garden unkempt for small mammals to hide from predators. Hedgehogs and slowworms will eat slugs and other insects that may eat your plants.
- You can use garlic, elderflower, and rhubarb leaf sprays to control pests without harming your plants or using harsh chemicals.
- Keep an eye out for greenflies and young caterpillars so you can either pick them off or use fine netting, fleece, or a strong jet of water to protect your plants.
- Buy copper rings to combat slug control.
Companion Planting Ideas
- Horseradish will help potatoes to be more resistant to disease.
- Basil near tomatoes will make them taste better.
- French marigolds planted near tomatoes will deter aphids.
- Leaks and carrots grown in close proximity will reduce garden pests.
- Grow onions and chives near roses to prevent black spot disease.
Weed Prevention Ideas
- Use a layer of compost or shredded bark around the bottom of plants to keep weeds away. This will also keep the roots warm on colder nights.
- Kill any existing weeds by weighted plastic sheets over them.
- Consider creating a window sill garden in your kitchen.