Recycle, Reuse, RepurposeTake products from our every day life and reuse them in the garden. For instance, use old soda bottles to water plants at the roots, use paper towel holders to create a cutworm-proof collar, add shredded newspaper to the compost pile. Get creative, get inventive and before you chunk it in the trash ask yourself, "Can I use this for something in the garden that will save me time, save me money and make my garden easier to maintain?". You would be surprised at the things you can use for other purposes that end up being quite helpful.
CompostBegin a compost pile! I don't care how big or how small, if you just use grass clippings and shredded newspaper, whether you live in a mansion with twelve bathrooms or a 500 square foot apartment, you can compost. No. Excuses. If you live in a small dwelling, there are small composter crock you can use for vegetable peels and raw leftover vegetables for composting. So, I don't want to hear it. Stop moaning. Stop making excuses. Stop putting it off. Start doing it.
Stop with the Chemicals!Stop using harmful, expensive chemical fertilizers. All the nutrients your plants will ever need is right under your nose - right in nature. If nature doesn't produce what your garden needs then you are doing something wrong. Remember that compost pile you just started? It's all right there. Use that compost to make compost tea. Use well-aged herbivore (grass-fed cattle, horses, rabbits, alpaca) manures to amend your garden soil. This will give your plants a nutrient-rich soil that will have them bursting with produce much better than any blue-powder concoction man can ever develop. Just remember to compost the manures before adding them to your garden. Manures should be composted at least six months before applied to your garden soil.
Stop With The Chemicals...again!Before you pick up that 20 pound bag of Dyno-Whopping Bug Killer at Lowe's because you found a few Japanese Beetles buzzing around, try an organic solution first. There are many pests and diseases that have an organic solution. If you find Japanese Beetles use a beetle trap to catch them, hand pick them off or spread nematodes to kill the larvae that live in the soil. If worse comes to worse and a pesticide is the only alternative left, use an organic, targeted pesticide such as Diatomaceous Earth, neem oil, or insecticidal soap. Use it in a targeted manner. Don't just start spraying what ever you see flying around.
Grow Flowers That Attract Beneficial InsectsA great way to organically attract the insects that are beneficial to your garden. If aphids are typically an issue in your garden, plant flowers that attract ladybugs and lacewings. Plant flower in big groups to attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Not only will you attract the good bugs which gooble up those that want to destroy your hard work, but you will also beautify your landscape.
Share Your BountyIf you have more produce than you know what to do with share with neighbors, family and friends. Donate some to your local food bank or mission hall. Check out AmpleHarvest.com to find food pantries in your area where you can donate your extra produce. Not only will you help to feed someone that is hungry and feel great about it, but you will help to reduce waste.
Look For A Greener AlternativeSo next time you need something for your garden, try to find a more environmentally-friendly alternative. You will protect your environment, save some money in the long term and have a better garden to boot. Sure, it is a bit more work and it might take a little thinking, but don't you think it's worth it? I hope so. What are some steps you take to grow a little greener?
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