Let’s set aside gardening’s many personal health benefits to talk about our friend, planet Earth. You, the prospective gardener, no doubt love our planet. After all, gardening is one of the purest expressions of a love for nature. You love plants so much, you want to make them grow! And when done correctly, gardening is one of the most environmentally beneficial activities you can do. But a poorly managed plot of land can also have some dangerous consequences for ecosystems. To help you avoid the pitfalls of irresponsible agriculture, here are three simple tips to help ensure your garden is as good for the planet as it is for you.
1. Use the right kind (and amount!) of fertilizer.
As the universities’ guide points out, fertilizers are helpful, but they are also moisture-absorbing salts. If you overuse fertilizer, you will draw vital water from your precious plants, leaving them dead from thirst. Even worse, overusing fertilizer can lead to runoff into local rivers and lakes, spiking nitrogen levels, causing erosion and prohibiting further plant growth.
2. Be very careful with pesticides.
Any environmentalist will tell you that the best amount of pesticide to use is none at all. The predominantly spray products are taken all too often by the wind into environments ill-suited to handle the toxins.
The Environmental Protection Agency warns that one to 10 percent of pesticides do not land on their intended target. But the bug killers can be useful, especially in the insect salad days of summer. If you choose to utilize these products, be sure to check out the EPA’s tips on how to reduce spray pesticide drift from the link above. Your local bodies of water will appreciate it.
3. Use Compost in your Garden!
That banana peel doesn’t have to rot away in a landfill! Food waste can offer your garden a valuable source of plant nutrients.
According to the aforementioned guide from Virginia Tech and Virginia State, if you play your cards just right, composting can even replace more artificial fertilizers in responsibly handled gardens. Environmental gardening 101 is maintaining healthy soil, and few things help soil like all-natural plant nutrients.
Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and it is not meant to be relied on as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Consult your physician before starting any exercise or dietary program or taking any other action respecting your health. In case of a medical emergency, call 911.