Eco Friendly Gardening – Five Easy Steps

Do you want an attractive, environmentally friendly garden but don’t know where to start? With a few simple practices and help from some innovative products you can enjoy your own oasis and do what’s right for the environment too.

1. Cut out the chemicals

With over 60 Canadian cities and towns having implemented private and public garden pesticide bans in recent years, and Toronto’s ban effective September 2007, it’s time to wean your garden off all synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.

These substances promote rapid but weak plant growth, destroy soil fertility and are toxic to humans, wildlife and beneficial insects. Even organic chemicals are toxic, so only use them as a last resort. Instead, use the following tips to achieve a healthy, lush garden without harmful chemicals.

2. Use water wisely

With our climate doing stranger things by the minute, it is not unusual to hear of midsummer watering restrictions. Take steps now to reduce water use.

Amend soil in garden beds and both indoor and outdoor containers with products like all natural, coir-based, SoilSponge which absorbs water like thousands of tiny sponges. As the soil dries out, SoilSponge releases moisture to plants as they need it.

Disconnect your downspouts from the sewer system and direct that water into garden beds or a rain barrel.

Use soaker hoses instead of sprinklers in order to decrease unnecessary water evaporation.

Water early in the morning. Late day watering encourages mold and mid day watering is a complete waste of precious resources.

3. Feed your soil naturally

Plants thrive in healthy soil. Add comwide_box or comwide_boxed manure to your soil early in the spring whenever you plant or transplant, and again in mid summer. Comwide_box adds beneficial organic matter to the soil and aids in water retention.

4. Choose an alternative to peat moss

Peat moss is most often used to amend soil. However, a peat bog is a highly specialized ecosystem that removes carbon dioxide from the air, acts as a cleansing watershed filter, and is home to many rare flora and fauna.

A typical peat extractor removes up to 9″ (22 cm) a year while a peat bog regenerates at a depth of only 1/25 of an inch (1 mm) per year. If one year’s extraction regrows in 220 years, does this really mean “renewable” to you?

New, all natural products like PeatEliminator made from coir, a coconut byproduct, is a terrific alternative to peat. Worked into your soil, easy to use PeatEliminator improves drainage and soil aeration, is the ideal pH for nutrient uptake, holds 30% more water than peat moss and, unlike peat moss, it wets and re-wets almost instantly and lasts for up to four years.

If you want to feel really good about being an eco-friendly gardener, you’ll be interested to know that a percentage of all PeatEliminator sales are donated to the World Wildlife Fund, Canada.

5. Mulch, mulch and mulch some more

A thick layer of 3″ to 4″ (8 to 10 cm) of shredded bark, bark chips, grass clippings or shredded leaves spread on top of your garden soil will retain moisture, deter weeds and add needed organic matter to the soil. Spread mulch in the spring after the soil thaws and again in late fall after the soil begins to freeze. Keep mulch 3″ (8 cm) away from plant stems.

For more information contact: Thijs Millenaar 905-470-0724, extension 359

Note:  SoilSponge is no longer available.