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Eco-Gardening: 10 Creative and (and Effective!) DIY Tricks for the Garden

Posted by ECOgardener on

Although gardening is inherently eco-friendly, there are so many ways to make gardening tasks even more beneficial to the environment. Something as simple as using organic fertilizer as opposed to chemically treating plants is a positive step towards building an eco-friendly garden. If you are committed to environment preservation and you’d like to step up your gardening game at the same time, try these eco-friendly gardening tricks:

Reuse and Recycle

Brand new gardening tools are great to have but if you want to reduce your carbon footprint and minimize your household waste, try recycling unused or unwanted home items. Turning old things into something new is a great way to save money on gardening too!

You can use old plastic containers as planters, makeshift watering cans, etc. You can turn rusty gardening tools into unique decors. Instead of stocking up an arsenal of gardening tools, you can turn everyday home items into gardening tools too. Need seed starting pots for the next season? You can use discarded toilet paper rolls, fruit rinds, even pots made from newspaper as seed starting pots! You can also make planters out of vitamin pill bottles, juice bottles, tins, etc. As long as you are open to new ideas, you can make unwanted or forgotten items new again.  

Spices as Natural Fungicide

Fungal infection can spread easily to the garden, all it takes is for one plant to be infected. Thankfully, there is no need to use a chemical fungicide to keep the infestation contained. Just use spices. Certain types of spices – cinnamon, turmeric, clove, mustard, etc. – have potent antifungal properties. Even better, spices are loaded with antioxidants that will boost your plants’ resistance to environmental stress.

Try mixing the spices with the potting soil before putting it in a planter to keep destructive fungus at bay. You can also sprinkle the spices a few inches from your plants then reapply periodically after watering to keep your garden fungus-free!

Kitchen Staples as Natural Fungicide

Apart from using spices to control fungal growth, you can also use a variety of common household staples to create an effective anti-fungal mix. You can use tea to protect your seedlings from fungus. Just like spices, tea is loaded with antifungal properties and antioxidants. We recommend using chamomile tea. Steep 3 bags of chamomile tea in a cup of boiling water for at least 4 hours to create a strong brew. Pour the solution in a spray bottle and spritz on plant seedlings to thwart fungal growth.

Garlic is also an excellent fungicide. Just mince or puree a clove of garlic then combine with a quart of water. Let sit overnight. In the morning, strain the garlic pulp and pour the liquid into a spray bottle. Spritz on plant seedlings to thwart fungal growth.

Hydrogen peroxide, which is used to disinfect cuts and scrapes, can be used to repel fungi. Just mix a tablespoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide to a quart of water. Pour the solution in a spray bottle and then spritz about an inch of the solution on plant seedlings until the soil is lightly dampened.

DIY Plant Markers

Adding labels to your plants is a great way to track the many plant varieties you have in your garden. These markers are particularly useful for vegetables planted in rows. But why buy plastic plant markers when you can make your own using common household tools?

You can create plant markers using twigs. Just paint one end with your choice of color and let the paint dry completely. On the painted end, write the name of the plant and then stick the unpainted end of the stick to your plant bed. Repeat until all your plants are labeled. Use different shades to give your garden a punch of color.

You can also use discarded wine corks as eco-friendly plant markers. Just insert a bamboo skewer on the bottom of the wine cork. With a fine tip marker, write the plant name and then stick the bamboo skewer near your plants. Again, you can give the wine corks a coat of paint to give your garden pops of color.

Even flat rocks could be used as plant markers. Choose several flat rocks or smooth stones and give them a good scrub. Once dry, paint the plant names on the rocks using craft paint then seal with a weatherproofing sealer. Place the rocks on the corresponding plant and you’re done.

DIY Water Container Garden

Decorate your deck with a beautiful water container garden! This easy project won’t cost you much. All you need is a large bucket or a wine barrel planter, potting soil, mosquito dunks, and water lily and lotus varieties. You can check out the step by step guide here. Making a mini water container garden as opposed to installing a full-sized pond is not only cheaper, it’s also more eco-friendly. This goes especially if you are reusing the container for the water garden.

Build Your Own Compost Bin

You can reduce your household waste and turn kitchen scraps into something useful by composting at home. To do that, you need to make your own compost bin. No need to dig around the yard or craft a compost bin out of pallets, you can convert your old trash bin into a compost bin.
 
This DIY compost bin is perfect for avid gardeners and you only need 3 things: a trash can, a drill and a paddle drill bit. Clean the trash bin well and leave it to dry. Then, drill holes on the sides of the trash can and you are ready to build your compost pile.

Compost is a nutrient-rich blend of organic materials such as wood clippings, dry leaves, and of course, kitchen scraps. You can choose between hot or cold compost. The best composting materials are eggshells, vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, grass clippings, finely chopped wood, dry leaves, sawdust from untreated wood, and shredded paper.

Do-It-Yourself Wicking Bed

Want to add a self-contained raised bed with a built-in water reservoir for your garden? Try using a wicking bed. A wicking bed is a self-watering raised garden bed that creates a moist environment for plants to grow. This garden bed is often used in gardens with poor soil infiltration or in places where the weather is hot and arid.

Generally, the garden bed is made of a watertight container with a built-in mechanism to disperse the water. Thankfully, you don’t have to buy a wicking bed, which can be quite expensive. You can make one yourself using a regular raised bed. Here’s a guide how. When making wicking beds, always use high-quality landscaping fabric between the rock and soil layers. In addition, you want to add worm castings, compost, etc. to enrich the soil.

DIY Hummingbird Feeder

Hummingbirds are not just a delight to watch, these colorful tiny birds could pollinate flowers too. Hummingbirds have long, skinny beaks that constantly reach out to sweet nectar. As the bird feeds, flowers with long tubes are pollinated too! These birds flap their wings 70 times per second and their heart rate reaches 1,260 beats per minute so hummingbirds need constant sustenance, which is sugar water.

You can attract hummingbirds in your garden while boosting pollination at the same time by making a hummingbird feeder. Make this project eco-friendly by reusing discarded wine bottles. Here’s a step by step guide how.

Baby Diaper as Planter Liner

Planters have holes at the bottom to help drain excess water. But most times, the holes are so big that the wet soil is always washed away and this leads to a muddy mess every time you water your potted plants. You can prevent the soil from dropping down the planter holes while also straining the excess water by using a baby diaper as a planter liner. Just place the diaper at the bottom of the planter with the absorbent side up. Fill the planter with potting soil and plant your desired plants. That's all there is to it!

DIY Organic Insecticide

Dealing with garden pests can be frustrating but don’t turn to chemical repellants just yet. So many organic insecticide recipes do a better job of ridding the garden of harmful critters without poisoning the soil. For starters, try this garlic mint organic insecticide made from kitchen staples. If you have a serious slug infestation, mix 3 tablespoons of organic castile soap with an ounce of orange essential oil in a spray bottle. Apply liberally to keep pesky slugs away!

To deal with aphids, fungus gnats, and mealy bugs, use orange rind. Just steep the orange peels in a pot of boiling water for 24 hours. Strain the liquid then transfer the infusion into a spray bottle. Add a few drops of peppermint-scented castile soap in the infusion, give it a good mix and then spray the solution liberally on the affected plants to ward off harmful insects.

Anyone can be an eco-gardener. Maintaining an eco-friendly garden takes a lot of effort but as long as you are committed to being a friend to the environment, the extra effort is always worth it. Tune in for more gardening tips by signing up for our newsletter. Sign up today and enjoy great discounts on our bestselling products!


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