Eco Gardening for Beginners
Gardening is one of my favourite activities. When I was six years old, I moved to a small village in Romania with my mother. We lived in a small home built by grandparents, and we had a HUGE garden. While I lived there from 6 to 13 years old, I learned where our food is coming from and how hard it is to grow it.
After moving back with my father to a small town in Romania, I started to notice that food was mainly coming from the store, but my dad still grew a little bit of everything in his back yard, which was much smaller than the vegetable garden I grew up.
Now, I live in Canada, and I have a lawn and small patch of garden that I plan to turn into a massive garden in the next few years. Shhhh, don't tell my husband.
With the climate crisis getting worse every year, gardening became a valuable skill. People started to reconnect with nature during the pandemic by creating a garden, and many LOVED it.
I feel like I am starting to relearn and remember how to grow a beautiful and fruitful garden.
This article will help you learn what you need before starting a garden and what makes a garden eco.
If you have no idea where to start, keep reading. This guide will help you gather the knowledge to succeed on your first try.
What is an eco garden?
An eco garden is a garden that contains vegetation and wildlife that is in harmony with nature and ourselves. An eco-garden is ultra-local, chemical-free, involves working with sunny walls, rainwater, compost bins, rain barrels, worms, wildlife and vegetation diversity and managing pests with natural solutions. An eco-garden has no negative impact on the environment.
Compost at home if possible
One of the best ways to add nutrients back into the garden is through compost. If you have the tools, space and time to compost at home, you will save lots of food from the landfill and save money on compost you would have to buy. If you want to learn more about composting, check out my article on How to Compost Step by Step article and learn about the tools you need to compost at home in this article.
I know composting sounds complicated, but it IS NOT. I promise.
Keeping a garden alive and healthy requires lots of water. To avoid using drinking water, you can get a rain barrel to collect rainwater. We have had a rain barrel for two years now, and it is one of the best decisions we have made for our plants. Our plants love rainwater.
If you live in Stratford, Prince Edward Island, there is a program that offers rain barrels every spring for just 60 CAD. You can learn more about the rain barrel program here.
If you have the space, I recommend getting a few rain barrels.
Learn how about the vegetation and wildlife in your area
Creating a balanced ecosystem is key to a thriving garden. The best way to learn about what plants work well together and what bugs and birds they attract you is to do some Googling.
There are different things you need to understand, such as:
Feed your plants with natural fertilizer
A natural fertilizer takes its nutrients from the plant, mineral, and animal sources. If the ingredient list contains one of the following ingredients: bone meal, blood meal, fish meal, manures, greensand, rock phosphate, alfalfa meal, kelp, then your fertilizer is natural.
If you want to learn more about natural fertilizers, I found a really good article from savvygardening.
The best way to bring back nutrients into your garden is through compost, BUT you can add some things just by themselves to add a boost of nutrients or help your plants combat different problems such as slugs.
Start from seeds
Starting a plant from seeds can reduce lots of waste and carbon from the atmosphere.
If you have the space and time, consider starting your plants from seeds in things you already have around the house. For example, I recommend saving toilet paper cores to use in the spring for seedlings.
Attract pollinators and birds
The success of your garden relies on many factors, and pollinators and birds are some of the most important.
The most known pollinators in Canada are bees, hummingbirds, butterflies and beetles. To learn more about all Canadian pollinators, check out this article from the Canadian Wildlife website.
Some birds are pollinators, and some other birds help with pest control.
To attract pollinators and birds, you need to plant the right plants, provide shelter and water. To learn more about what plants attract pollinators, check out this article from gardeners.com.
Learn about how the local climate works
Choosing the right plants for the right spots can be a hassle, but with a little bit of research, you will learn what works best for your area and how you can support the local fauna and wildlife with your eco garden.
Depending on the temperature, how long the seasons or how much sun your garden gets, you can plan accordingly.
To learn what plants work best in your area, check out the local nurseries and plant sellers. They usually put out a guide on when is best to plant and what to plant in your area.
Choose the right tools.
It would help if you had essential tools like hand tools, power tools, and pruning tools when starting a garden.
Hand tools: spades, trowels, hoes, shovels, rakes and gloves. These tools are essential and would be good to have them around at all time.
Power tools: rotary-tiller or a wood chipper. These tools can be rented or borrowed.
Pruning tools: clippers, shears, scissors. If you don't have the space, you can also rent or borrow these tools.
Weeding and pest control tools
Watering tools: garden hose, soaker hose, and watering can.
There are many factors to consider when starting an eco garden, but you don't have to learn about everything at once. The good news is that once you learned about a topic, you will not have to learn it again. It is like riding a bicycle.
To make things easier, when you find a helpful online resource, bookmark it in your browser to recheck it later if you need to refresh your memory.
Thank God for Google and local libraries.
Did this article help you understand what an eco-garden means?
Did it encourage you to start your own garden?
Hey, Claudia here
I am a senior graphic designer, a dog mom, an advocate for a zero-waste lifestyle, climate change, and sustainability. My articles are based on personal experience and well researched to give you the best source of information for all things zero-waste.