Natural Pest Reduction
Beneficial insects such as ladybugs and hover flies will help to reduce or eliminate pesticides in your garden, and can naturally protect your garden from bad insects like aphids. Before purchasing specialized insects, check to be sure they also don’t eat beneficial insects such as butterflies and bees.
Using natural compost helps create a healthy garden by enriching the soil, providing nutrients, stimulating healthy root development, and improving soil texture, aeration and water retention. You can easily make your own organic fertilizer or “gardener’s gold” by composting plant-based food scraps. Special composting containers are available at most garden supply stores.
Grow Native Plants
In addition to flowers and plants used to beautify our homes, many people are moving toward growing their own food. It is less costly than buying organic produce, and the nearly year-round growing season in our area makes it an attractive option. To create a successful garden, choose native and indigenous plants, which are generally drought tolerant, pest resistant and suited to Florida soil conditions.
Greening also means adopting some smart-watering habits that will extend your supply, especially during the dry, hot seasons we experience. An inexpensive water-saving device is the rain barrel, which collects mineral-free and chlorine-free water useful for watering lawns, yards, and gardens, as well as for washing cars or rinsing windows. By harnessing rain, you’ll notice a marked dip in water costs and a reduction in storm water runoff, which in turn helps prevent erosion and flooding. Install a screen on top of your barrel to keep out insects, debris and bird droppings, and make frequent use of your water supply to keep it moving and aerated.
Adding mulch and compost to your soil will retain water and cut down evaporation. Soaker hoses or drip irrigation only use 50 percent of the water used by sprinklers. Most of us already know that it’s better to water early in the day to avoid evaporation and winds. Of course, the best place to drench your plants is directly on their thirsty roots.
Creating “greener” green not only makes sense, it can be a personally satisfying endeavor, so enjoy!
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