Eco Garden - June
June 21st is the longest day of the year and the extra light and warmth encourages your garden towards an exuberant burst of growth.
You will notice seedlings, shrubs, trees and flowers and of course those unwanted weeds will also sprout up from seemingly nowhere. I suggest keeping on top of them by hoeing regularly, whenever you have a spare moment.
How to make your garden an eco garden.
Creating an eco (ecological) garden is a major step in helping the environment and in reducing your environmental footprint. Choose organic methods for amending the soil, irrigation, and controlling pests and weeds. It's also important to plant native plant species when making an earth-friendly garden. Native species will thrive because they are naturally adapted to your climate and specific growing conditions. They require less water, fertilizer, and labour, and they benefit local wildlife by providing habitat and food.
You can create your own organic compost by recycling gardening waste, food waste and fall leaves. Some of the most popular, everyday items from the household to find their way onto the compost heap include raw vegetables, crushed egg shells, fruit peelings, newspapers, cardboard and even teabags.
By recycling this waste we will be helping to keep it out of the ever-increasing landfills and also will in turn create moisture retentive and rich compost or mulch that can be 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.
Add nutrients to the soil with natural remedies rather than chemical fertilizers. Consider using products like bone meal, blood meal, fish emulsion, and cottonseed meal along with your compost to amend the soil.
Plant trees in your eco garden. Trees create wildlife habitat, provide shade, and improve air quality. For those of you who already have them, this is the time to thin out new shoots on trees and shrubs pruned in winter if necessary to prevent overcrowding.
Spread a mulch of compost or shredded bark around trees, shrubs and roses when the soil is moist to help prevent moisture loss in the warmer weather.
Things to do…
Flowers – summer to many of us means the joy of outdoor entertaining. What can be more enchanting in the cool evening air than fragrant flowered plants?
Many perfumed plants are easy to grow and you can benefit from their attributes by adding a few in the garden around your patio, or even in pots and window boxes.
Perfumed flowers, whose essential oils may be lost to the heat of the day, come into their own early morning and when the sun goes down.
Spreading and trailing plants can become tatty and patchy quite quickly, I would suggest trimming them back after flowering, and this encourages fresh growth and new flowers.
Try to be water-wise whenever possible, especially in drought-affected areas and use collected rainwater, or recycled grey water.
Wildlife in your garden
Lawns provide a home for many insects that are eaten by birds and other wildlife. Those rich in organic matter are likely to have good numbers of earthworms - the staple winter and spring diet of song thrushes and much relished by blackbirds.
Lawns can also provide seed for birds. Those of annual meadow grass, plantain, buttercup and dandelion are particular favourites.
You can improve your lawn for birds and wildlife by simply avoiding the use of weed killers and artificial fertilisers, or go a step further and look at alternative ways to manage your lawn.
Any area of short grass will act as a feeding area for birds.
Longer grass provides shelter and egg-laying opportunities for the insects on which birds and other wildlife feed. Providing areas of grass of different heights, which are cut at different times of the year, optimises food potential.