This May, green your garden the environmentally friendly way! If you are fortunate enough to have a garden or lawn to care for this spring, this post will help you water, manage weeds and pests, and keep your garden green without harming the ocean and other life. Even if you don’t have your own garden, these tips can also help you maintain an ocean-friendly plot in a community garden! Or, enjoy the May flowers with a few potted plants or a planter box. Learn how to build your own planter box here.
Small space gardening
Don’t let the lack of a yard keep you from doing your own gardening this spring; there are lots of creative solutions for apartment and urban gardening.
One of the main things to think about when maintaining your lawn or garden is water. Although it may seem like a free, limitless resource, the planet has a finite amount of water. While most of the Earth’s surface is water, only 3% of that water is freshwater, and only 1% is actually available for drinking (the other 2% is frozen in glaciers and ice caps). Conserving water means less water carrying pesticides and other toxins will run off into waterways, less energy will be used to transport and treat water, more freshwater will be available for wildlife and future generations, and you can save money!
Tips for a water-wise garden:
- Plant local! Native plants are used to the climate and will need less watering and maintenance
- Save rainwater from roof downspouts in a bin or bucket to water plants later
- Only water your lawn when it shows signs of wilting and stop before water begins to run off to the sidewalk or street – see more watering tips here!
- Switch to drip irrigation – this minimizes water loss by delivering water straight to roots
- Be smart about mulch – it can help retain soil moisture and keep weeds at bay, but be sure to read this post about which mulches to avoid
- Instead of a lawn, consider more low-maintenance greenery!
Keep your garden in mint condition (naturally)
While chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides can help create a weed- and pest-free garden, many of these products contaminate soil and waterways and are toxic to people and wildlife. Check out this cool guide on natural pest control!
Tips for greener pest and weed control:
- Incorporate plants (like mint) that naturally repel insects – see examples here and here
- Use non-toxic and homemade pest deterrents
- Leave grass clippings after cutting your lawn to help fertilize and retain soil moisture (or use them for compost – see below!)
Your trash is a plant’s treasure
Another way to fertilize naturally is with compost! Turn your food scraps into plant food by purchasing or making a compost bin. The composting process helps decompose organic matter, and the resulting material provides essential nutrients to plants and improves soil moisture. You can find guides for what to compost, how to compost, and how to build your own compost bin.
Seas the Day! Please use this information as you wish to spread the ocean conservation message. Each month, we feature a new conservation theme with ways to help so come back regularly for more ocean-helping ideas and tips!