How to Create a Sustainable Eco-Garden

pink and yellow flowers - how to create a sustainable eco-garden

In the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, the UK and the rest of the world has been faced with a myriad of challenges the like of which we have never seen before. With social distancing measures in place, most people are being advised to stay at home as much as possible. That means not visiting friends or family, only going out for essential items, and travelling anywhere – whether it be to Lewes, Liverpool, London or Leeds – must only be done when absolutely necessary.

But although these are difficult, trying times, there are some positives to come out of the situation. People are spending more time at home with their families and taking up new hobbies, while many are using the lockdown as the perfect opportunity to tackle jobs around the house and garden.

For some, that could mean redecorating the spare room or clearing out the loft, while others may choose to take on a more sizeable project, such as creating a sustainable eco-garden. In these times of heightened awareness of our impact on the environment, doing our bit for the natural world has arguably never been so important. With that in mind, we’ve put together this handy guide on how you can make your outdoor space more eco-friendly.

Grow Vegetables and Implement Crop Rotation

cabbages and wheat - how to create a sustainable eco-garden

The psychological benefits of gardening have been well researched and widely publicised, and it’s true that there are few things more rewarding than growing your own vegetables for a nice stew or to accompany a classic Sunday dinner. From anything including potatoes, carrots, beetroot, parsnips and turnips, the possibilities are endless when it comes to choosing the veggies you want to harvest.

You’ll need to plan carefully, though, and crop rotation is an excellent way to make your beds as productive as possible. Rather than growing the same vegetables in the same spots every year, draw up a rotation schedule and move them around. This way, you’ll reduce the risk of crop-specific diseases or pests, cut down on weeds and improve the fertility of the soil.

Choose Plants That Attract Pollinators

Pollinators are insects (like bees, flies, beetles and butterflies) and other animals (such as birds) that transport pollen from the male part of a flower to the female part. This ensures fertilisation and encourages fresh growth. On top of all that, the pollinators themselves receive carbohydrates, proteins and fats from the pollen and nectar. Everybody wins!

The likes of wild roses, geraniums, poppies and apple trees act as excellent plants for pollinators. You can help to attract these birds and insects to your eco-garden by avoiding the use of pesticides and offering them shelter and a source of water. You may even want to consider installing a beehive!

Use Recycled Materials

You may not have all the materials you need for your eco-garden readily at your disposal, but there are plenty of websites that offer repurposed and recycled items. Old scaffolding boards and railway sleepers can make for sturdy vegetable plot borders, without spoiling the natural look of your space. Similarly, you might want to try and get your hands on an old tin bath or some second-hand buckets which you can use as rustic planters. Making use of these recycled objects is where you can really let your creative juices flow.

Include a Compost Bin and Rainwater Collector

Conserving rainwater is another great way to ensure you’re doing your bit for the planet. Set up a butt – perhaps in the form of an old dustbin or barrel – underneath the guttering of your house, garage or shed and you’ll create for yourself an endless supply to water your eco-garden with. Then, whenever we’re experiencing a dry period and your plants are looking a little parched, you won’t have to use water from the mains.

You might also want to start thinking about making the most of the benefits of compost. It’s easy to start creating your own – just start collecting things like lawn cuttings, veggie peelings, tea bags, leaves and vacuum contents. Pile it all together, allow it to rot down and you’ll soon produce a substance that improves the structure, moisture and pH level of the soil in your eco-garden.

Feature image: Pixabay; Image 1: mohamed Abdelgaffar

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