Green Gardening Tips for Beginners
Editor’s Note: Today’s post comes from our lovely guest contributor, Kristine Munroe-Mahoney. Kristine is the Community Manager at KeenForGreen.com. She is passionate about going green along with her son, Isaac, and her husband, Matt. She lives outside of Boston.
A few years ago, my husband and I became interested in gardening. I always thought that I had a brown thumb but I was eager to try. I thought it would be a fun way to save money, spend some quality time outside, and know exactly where our food comes from. As soon as I ate that first fresh backyard tomato, I quickly learned just how wonderful gardening can be.
We work hard to keep our gardening practices as green as possible. There are lots of simple ways to make your gardening experience an eco-friendly one. It will save you money and you’ll have fresh wonderful fruits and veggies at your fingertips all summer long!
You can cut down on your water consumption without depriving your garden of the water it needs. Consider setting up a rain harvesting system. You can also keep a bucket in your bathroom, collect shower water while the water is warming up, and use that water for your garden.
Be mindful when you water your garden. If your home is set up to use a timed automatic sprinkler system, make sure to turn it off when it rains. If you’re watering by hand, learn when is the best time of day for you to water your garden. Vegetable Gardener has helpful tips on watering a garden.
Reuse those kitchen scraps and turn them into something wonderful for your garden. You can compost so many things – from coffee grinds to stale bread. Set up a simple countertop container for your kitchen and a compost bin for your backyard. It will turn into rich, free soil and you’re putting food scraps to good use.
Joe Lamp’l, host of Growing a Greener World on PBS, is a firm believer in mulch. In fact, he says that all you need to grow a green, successful garden is compost and mulch. Mulch is great for your garden because it keeps soil moist, suppresses diseases, breaks down, and allows you to use less water. Plus, it looks nice and I love the smell!
In many areas, it’s easy to avoid the use of chemicals. Many household items can be used instead. Vinegar can help kill weeds. Chili powder and the cinnamon help keep bugs away and beer will kill slugs.
Figure out what to plant
Learn what grows well where you live. Your climate and local soil will determine what will grow successfully in your garden. Get to know some of the employees at your local nursery because they can be excellent resources for this type of information. They might also be able to tell you what is easiest for a beginner to plant.
Gardening is a really rewarding experience, so try to enjoy yourself while gardening. Be patient and cut yourself some slack if your yields end up being low or even if you kill a plant. There’s always next year!
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