Tips for Your Eco Garden in February – If we incorporate just a little eco gardening into our outdoor efforts this year, we can affect our overconsumption of natural resources, reduce waste and make a positive contribution to the planet.
Eco-gardening is a way of making the garden more self-sustainable by reducing the energy /water the garden uses up, improving air circulation, promoting recycling, attracting wildlife and in essence being less wasteful.
Lilly Light looks at a few positive changes we can make in our garden this month.
February means spring is approaching, with bulbs appearing, birds and wildlife reacting to increasing levels of light and temperatures. The garden and its wildlife residents are beginning to come to life again.
Things to do…
Flowers, Fruit and Veg – This is the ideal time for sowing and planting.
Growing your own fruit, vegetables and herbs is a fun, rewarding and can be a great step towards being less dependent on supermarkets. Even in gardens when space is at a premium you can easily grow strawberries, raspberries and blueberries in pots or containers, so now is the time to plan ahead.
If an established patch of bulbs is blooming less and less, the bulbs have probably become overcrowded – a signal to dig and divide.
If you have the space available why not allocate a patch or raised bed to prepare vegetable seedbeds, and sow some undercover, what you plant in your kitchen garden this month will help provide you with a delicious crop for the rest of the summer. Try these: Carrots Cabbage, Broccoli, Tomatoes
Grow flowers and herbs with vegetables to increase nectar production and attract predatory insects. Leave seed heads on grasses and flowers for the birds until early spring, when they can be cut back as new growth emerges.
Trees and shrubs – If hedges need trimming, do so after the birds have eaten the berries (but before the nesting season begins in March)
Plant trees, shrubs and hedges in milder weather – not only ideal for borders, structure and natural shade but provide a perfect habitat for wildlife. Trees reduce soil erosion and slow down water runoff. They improve air quality by removing and storing carbon and releasing oxygen.
The role of trees is not one to underestimate. They produce the oxygen we need to survive and also help to remove particles from the air that could potentially be harmful. They also act as protection to other plants, provide a cooling shade in the summer and also can help reduce noise for your garden.
Greenhouses –A hothouse or greenhouse can take your gardening to another level. You may have an interest in orchids or ferns, or want to use the space to give your spring seedlings an early start.
If you do not have access to a greenhouse, try sowing some seeds on your window sill indoors. Burpee Europe has a wonderful selection of seeds, that are available through selected companies adding colour to the garden and potentially the feel-good factor of growing your own fruit and veg.
Water – Love the planet with water-wise gardening! A rain garden is surely the most beautiful way to conserve water. Dig a large shallow hollow where stormwater collects, and catch and hold it for a day or two as it gently soaks away. Plant the rain garden with plants that don’t mind wet feet for a few days in the middle, wettest part, and other more drought-resistant plants towards dryer edges.
Store the runoff rainwater from shed and greenhouse roofs in barrels and butts and use for watering plants.
Composting – You can create your own organic compost by recycling gardening waste, food waste and fall leaves. By recycling this waste we will be helping to keep it out of the ever increasing landfills and also will in turn create a moisture retentive and rich compost or mulch that can used around the garden. The plants will benefit hugely from this natural and organic addition to the soil and also will save you buying manure or compost the following year.
Birds and wildlife– Make your garden wildlife friendly.
For many people, wildlife is a welcomed addition to the garden providing extra character and also the knowledge that they are doing their bit to help with British conservation.
Peanuts make a delicious snack for our feathered friends. Stock up your bird table with a selection of nuts, leftover bacon rind, fat balls and dried fruit or hang fat balls in a tree. Frosty days mean hungry birds.
Check birdbaths and ponds and remove any ice. If you are feeling adventurous put up a nesting box.