Earth Day is a special day where we take some time to do things to help our planet, like reducing our carbon footprint and recycling.

Vegetable gardeners can do quite a lot of things to help save the planet we live in from pollution and greenhouse gases. Just planting a vegetable garden to begin with goes a long way towards reducing our overall carbon footprint.

So let's spend some time outdoors today to celebrate our planet and enjoy what it has to offer.

Here are ten ways to celebrate Earth Day this year in the vegetable garden:

Install a Rain Barrel

Add a Rain BarrelInstalling a rain barrel is an ideal solution for conserving water and helping to reduce run off that goes straight to the storm water drains.

Rain barrels are easy to install and can be made from food-grade barrels that are fairly inexpensive to make on your own.

They will help you will save a few bucks on the water bill and your vegetables will enjoy the rain water over the city water!

Add an Organic Mulch

Use a mulch, such as straw or hay to lessen your watering needs. A thick layer of mulch can help to conserve soil moisture reducing the amount of watering your vegetables need.

Using an organic mulch will also provide organic matter to your soil as it decomposes.

Start Composting

Start composting to reduce the amount of trash that goes to a landfill. You can reduce the amount of garbage you send to the landfill by as much as 30% by composting vegetable peels, raw vegetables, and yard debris.

Not only will compost reduce your household garbage amount, but it will provide the best possible soil amendment ever!

Add Composting Worms to Raised Beds

Ditch the fertilizer and add some composting worms to your raised beds and garden rows. Just mix finely chopped vegetable peels and other suitable materials to the soil in your raised beds then add these worms and let them do the fertilizing for you.

These guys will add beneficial microbes and valuable castings to your soil as they munch away naturally fertilizing your vegetables while improving the soil. Earthworms work great as well if you can find them locally. Check with your local garden center, or a bait and tackle shop to find out the types of worms they offer.

The red wiggler worms should survive year round in warm climates, but may die during winter in very cold regions.

Use the Compost to Brew Compost Tea

Another awesome way to ditch the fertilizers is to use your freshly made compost to brew your own compost tea. Compost tea is very easy to brew yourself and packs a ton of nutrients for your plants.

Give your vegetables a good drink of compost tea each week and they will flourish much better than using any commercial fertilizer.

Repurpose Items Before Trashing Them

Before dumping something in the garbage think of ways you could use them in the vegetable garden. Old windows could be used to make a cold frame.

Red Wagon Planter
Use 2-liter bottles to water plants. Reclaim privacy fence boards to build a potato tower.

Using an old red wagon for a herb planter is a fun activity for the kids while saving the wagon from the landfill.

Before throwing something away take a few minutes to think about some ways you could re-use it.

Plant Herbs In a Windowbox or Balcony Railing Planter

Plant a container herb garden for your deck, balcony, or patio. If space is very limited try using a windowbox planter, or railing planter that fits right on the railing of your balcony.

Donate Some Extra Veggies

Reserve a few vegetables or a row of vegetables to donate to a homeless shelter, food bank, or rescue mission.

Attract Beneficial Insects to Your Yard

Plant flowers that attract bees and butterflies in, and around, your vegetable garden.

Planting flowers and herbs in large clumps will work well for attracting helpful insects and pollinators to your yard and vegetable garden.

Install Bee and Bat Houses

Mason Bee HouseInstalling a bee house near your vegetable garden is a great way to attract bees and give them a home.

Bats might seem like spooky, scary creatures, but they are invaluable for controlling insects such as mosquitoes.

Place a bat house on your property to attract these helpful winged animals of the night.

Go Outside and Enjoy Earth Day 2011!

What will you be doing to celebrate Earth Day this year? Please share your ideas!