Gaining and maintaining a lawn can have much more of an impact on the environment than you may imagine. This is one of the reasons why so many cities have restrictions on water usage for lawns. It is estimated that the average American family uses a whopping 300 gallons of water per day. Out of this, 30% is said to be dedicated to outside use, and most of this water is used to water lawns and gardens. And this is only one of the ways in which gardening can affect the environment. Let’s take a look at how you can become a more eco-friendly gardener.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is thinking that mixing organic waste with recyclable materials is okay. This is one of the five common recycling myths and one that can have serious consequences. Contaminated waste can become unrecyclable or require more energy to be cleaned and processed, which defeats the whole purpose of recycling.
All of this organic material is still full of nutrients and could be turned into compost. However, you have to know that not all organic waste is compost-friendly. Things like dairy products and oil should never be put in a compost bin. Some people may also assume that things like bones can be safely composted at home, but they’d be wrong. If you want to make sure, stick to seedless vegetables. Also, beware of vegetables that are high in sulfur, like onions.
You should have a system in place to collect rainwater. This is what plants naturally crave and it is much richer in nutrients than tap water. Know, however, that collecting rainwater is not legal in all jurisdictions. You will have to check the rules first before you install a system as water rights could be more restrictive where you are. If you are allowed, then you could use a rain barrel or collect water from your gutter system.
Organic labels don’t only apply to seeds or food. Organic gardening is also growing in popularity, and if you’re serious about being eco-friendly, then you should do everything you can to use as few artificial agents as possible.
This can be done in multiple ways. You could choose disease and pest-resistant plants that don’t require as much treatment and use organic fertilizers. You should also rotate the type of plants you grow in different areas to avoid disease organisms from building up.
Doing things like spacing the plants to reduce the spread of disease can also work. You can even use natural predators that are friendly to plants but hostile to bugs and parasites. Insects like lacewings and ladybugs will patrol your garden while keeping your plants intact. These can be attracted by planting specific types of plants, or they can even be bought online.
These are all things that you can do immediately to limit the impact of gardening activities on the ecosystem. Always strive to improve and find new ways to garden responsibly.