The Eco-Friendly Garden
With increased focus and interest on our carbon footprint, we should be turning to more eco-friendly ways to manage our gardens and the pests that are found within them.
Kermit the Frog is fond of saying "It’s not easy being green", but thanks to concerned companies and people all over the world, going green has risen from obscurity to the mainstream in recent years.
Gardeners and weekend warriors, along with the products they use, can be some of the biggest offenders in perpetuating a not-so-eco-friendly world.
But today, more and more green-conscious products and tools are making their way into gardens across the UK, leaving behind a smaller environmental footprint than ever before!
Typically, the first things people think about in an eco-friendly garden are compost and organic solutions to dealing with soil amendments and pest and disease control. There’s no denying, compost is king when it comes to an easy, natural way to creating a nutrient-rich soil amendment for your lawn and garden.
Making compost is eco-friendly for several reasons:
- It takes common garden and kitchen waste and recycles it into healthy soil
- It reduces or eliminates the need for additional chemicals
- It conditions the soil to become less water dependent
- It improves soil percolation, reducing the chances of runoff and
- It keeps waste out of landfills and reduces trips there by collection vehicles.
Organic Pesticides, Herbicides and Fertilizers
These continue to be the most traditional way to reduce environmental footprints. They are also a highly effective way to produce a healthy, abundant, beautiful garden that’s not only safe for the Earth, but for people, too. Beyond compost, natural products such as blood meal, bone meal, cottonseed meal, fish emulsion, greensand and rock phosphate are common ways to add organic nutrients to your garden.
Natural products are available to fight off pests and diseases and kill weeds, too. Traditional synthetic pesticides (a.k.a insecticides) are very effective. In fact, that is the problem: Only about 3% of all insects found in our gardens are actually even considered pests. The others are either neutral or beneficial.
Most pesticides are non-selective. meaning they will kill any insect. That includes not just the pests but the good bugs too, such as ladybirds and honey bees. A more responsible approach is to select products that are either very specific to the particular pest you are trying to control and / or ones that break down very quickly when exposed to the elements.
One of the greatest advantages to using organic products for insect control is not that they are less lethal or more selective. Rather, it’s the fact that natural products typically break down very quickly when exposed to ultraviolet light, making the residual impact minimal. However, because these products have little long-term effect, they must make contact with the pest in order to be most effective.
Active ingredients in natural insect controls often include Neem oil, pyrethrins, canola oil, mild soaps and highly refined oils among others.