Eco-Friendly Tips for Home Grown Food
Fruits and vegetables are the cornerstones to a healthy diet and a healthy life. They provide us with most of the vitamins and minerals we need to live long and happy lives. Unfortunately, many of us do not get close to eating our 5+ portions each day, and even those of us who do many not be getting all of the goodness we need as intensive farming practices strip the nutrients from our foods. Throw in the problem with pesticides and well, you get the idea.
The good news is, it is possible to ensure that we eat lots of healthy fruits and vegetables that ARE rich in all of the good stuff we expect from them by growing our own in an environmentally friendly way.
It doesn’t matter how much, or little, outdoor space you have, you will be able to grow something edible, even if it’s only a few herbs, and if you decide to do that, here are some eco-friendly gardening tips that will help you do it right:
Find the Space
The first step to growing your own is finding the space to do it. You don’t need a big garden, or even any garden at all, in order to grow fruits, vegetables, and herbs, but you do need a space that gets plenty of light. This could be a windowsill or box, a bright corner of the room, a bright space in the yard, or your lawn. Take some time to access suitable areas and go from there.
If you really do not have any suitable space, you might want to think about growing your food hydroponically, which is a system using water, plant nutrients and grow lights rather than soil and natural light. It is a very eco-friendly way of doing things because it uses less land and far fewer resources. You can find everything you need to grow hydroponically at Nutriculture and there are numerous instructions to help you get started online. The great thing about this way of growing is that you can produce food all year round.
If you are growing the traditional way, and you have the space, you may want to consider constructing a greenhouse too as this will give you more scope as to what you can do.
Using a Greenhouse
Using a greenhouse in the garden is a very environmental choice because greenhouses are built using special heat-retention glass which can keep your plants warm without using a lot of extra energy. This will also help to keep your energy bills down in winter, when your plants may need more help.
Organic Heirloom Seeds
When you’re just starting out, do your best to choose organic heirloom seeds. That way, you’ll be starting out in the healthiest possible manner and ensuring that some of our oldest and most endangered species of fruit and veg will continue to exist. Your food will also taste better and you’ll be able to keep propagating the goodness year after year.
Start a Compost Heap
Composting is one of the greenest things you can do because it turns waste material into something useful. It is also a good way to keep fertilizer costs down and ensure that your plants always have the nutrients they need to stay healthy and grow into delicious nutritious foodstuffs.
Composts heaps are really easy to start and maintain. Just collect a bunch of brown materials like dead plants and leaves, grass trimmings and fruot and veggie peelings and leave them to do their thing and decompose. As they breakdown, they will become very nutrient-dense and the ideal thing to feed your food before it feeds you.
Use a Water Butt
Homegrown food needs a lot of water, so if you want to do it the green way, you need to look at ways of collecting water without using too much of this precious resource. One way to do that is to use a water butt to collect natural rainwater, rather than using water from the tap. You can also recycle bath water or the water you use to cook food if you’re serious about saving.
Placing a bucket under your plant pots to catch any run-off is another simple way to collect and reuse water instead of letting it go to waste in the garden.
Practice Companion Planting
Sustainable gardens are typically planted in a different way from your average garden. They are planted using a system of companion plants that means you could see flowers planted alongside veggies. This is done for a couple of reasons: firstly because some combinations of plants/flowers make for better-tasting produce, secondly because the right mix of plants, herbs, and flowers can deter pests from coming along and eating your produce, while also encouraging pollinators to come along and do their thing.
Plant Indigenous Foods
It’s always a good idea to plant fruits, veggies, and herbs that are native to your country. They are most likely to thrive in your garden and they will be better for the local eco-system too. Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with growing a few chilies in pots or keeping an olive tree in the conservatory, but you’ll find that planting native roots like potatoes and carrots, along with fruits like apples and pears, will give you the best results, in the UK at least.
Make Natural Weed Killer
Weeds might be a natural part of the garden, but if you want your food crops to thrive, you’re going to need to manage them. Ina green garden, this does not mean going out and buying the latest pesticide from the garden centre. No, you’re going to want to create your own natural weed killers, which will be much gentler on the earth and far healthier for you and your family. Good Housekeeping has a lot of great organic recipes that are easy to make. Try them out until you find one that works for you.
Growing your own food is a great step to improving your health, going green and getting lots of exercise so what are you waiting for?