Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Homestead Tips on Tuesday: Earth Friendly Gardening for Your Backyard
Where does your fertilizer come from? Do you use pesticides? Have you ever given consideration to the amount of plastic in your garden? These are all things that you should give a little more thought to if you plan to or already garden. You might be surprised that your valiant attempts to grow a bounty of produce is actually counterproductive to WHY you’re doing it
1. Natural vs Synthetic fertilizers - Yes you want to grow as much as you can, as big as you can, but at what price?!? Synthetic fertilizers deliver precise nutrients to the soil and act on soil immediately, but what about the long term negatives? Synthetic fertilizers destroy beneficial microorganisms and leach into groundwater.
So you should buy organic fertilizers then, right? Maybe not..... Here is some food for thought.... When you buy your organic fertilizer at the store what does it come in? A plastic bag. How did it get to the store? On a truck that used oil and gas to get it there. Well then what should you do? Why not start your own compost pile to create rich soil or make a poo tea to fertilize with. Trust me, if you don't have your own critters (NOT dog or cat poo) I bet you could talk a farmer into giving you a scoop of cow, horse, rabbit or other lovely poo you could use to make your tea.
2. Pesticides - There is nothing like dumping chemicals on your veggies to keep them free from bugs nibbling them. (Note sarcasm) Sure you can grow beautiful crops, but at what cost? Pesticides do kill "pests" but they also kill none targeted insects as well, like bees. Bees are vital in pollinating that lovely garden your growing!!! Let's not undermine our gardening by eliminating a vital part just because a few leaves here and there might get nibbled by "pests." There are many natural folk remedies you can try in order to combat "pests." Do they work? Some do indeed.
3. Weed barriers, boarders and trellises - Sure you can buy all of these items in plastic for your garden, but why? While weed barriers containing plastic will help control weeds, it will also limit the amount of water and nutrients that make it to the root systems of your plants! Why not do a little recycling and use things like paper and cardboard as barriers. We us pizza boxes to line new raised garden beds.
Plastic borders may look nice but again, why not use something more natural? Rocks can make a beautiful boarders as well. You can use untreated lumber, as well as bricks to make garden bed edges or to line paths. And why invest in plastic trellises for your vertical veggies when you can use bamboo and twine, both of which are more natural and considerably cheaper! You can also use wood and cattle panels to make beautiful arches for you plants to climb. We use a metal arch way our neighbors were going to toss when they moved. Be creative in re-purposing items for your garden this year!
We all know why we garden. Now it is time to think a little more about HOW we go about doing it. I hope you all have wonderful bounties this year with lots of left overs to can for the winter months!
**Homestead Tips on Tuesday is a weekly series where we help you learn skills, tips, and trick to help you on your journey of homesteading. Many places post list of things you should/could do as far as homesteading skill, but I feel lists are at times overwhelming and can make people give up before they even start. So every Tuesday I share one thing for you to try or consider. I hope you join us every Tuesday and I would love to hear about your adventures with each weeks topic.**