How to 'Go Green' in the Garden

Going green in the garden takes on a whole new meaning with these eco-friendly tips and ideas.
From: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Vegetable Gardening

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Make a Compost Pile

Homemade compost can be used to enrich garden soil.

Use Woody Prunings

The ingredients for a successful compost heap are the simple things that we usually toss out or burn. Carbon-rich woody prunings, plant stems and hedge trimmings are beneficial additions to a compost pile.

Proper Preparation

Chop up woody material before adding to the compost pile. This includes brush, hedge clippings, tree prunings, fallen leaves, cardboard and newspaper. Shredding and chopping the material is essential for the components to properly break down.

Wire Mesh Compost Bins

Compost bins constructed from wire mesh are particularly suitable for composting fallen leaves to make leaf mold.

Make a Compost Trench

Instead of a compost pile, dig a compost trench about 12 inches wide to a depth of one spade and fill with alternate layers of waste and soil. Then add a layer of soil on top. Allow two months before planting over the trench.

Use Kitchen Waste

Ordinary, everyday kitchen waste can be reused when added to a compost trench. Do not include meat or cooked waste because it may attract vermin. Spread kitchen waste on the bottom of the compost trench.

Wooden Compost Bins

Wooden compost bins look good and can be made or purchased ready made. Choose a design with removable front slats for easy turning.

Plastic Compost Bins

Plastic compost bins are relatively cheap and simple to install, but their design means that turning the contents can be tricky.

Use Gray Water

Gray water is water that has already been used in the home and is usually suitable for watering plants in the garden. Normal household soaps and detergents do not damage plants, but avoid bleaches or strong disinfectants. Allow hot water to cool first.

Use Rainwater

Rain barrels collect runoff from rooftops. Although many gardeners dislike the appearance of plastic barrels, they are easy to disguise with ornamental plantings such as grasses and bamboo or tall rows of runner beans.

Use Green Manures

Plants such as winter tare (pictured) are known as green manures and are grown for digging back into the soil to add valuable nitrogen and organic material.

Mustard Greens

Green manures such as mustard greens (pictured) are a useful alternative to composts. Sow a row of mustard and cut mature plants before they become woody; leave to wilt and dig into the soil.

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