9. Re­cy­cle in the gar­den.

Alberta Gardener Magazine - - Local Dirt -

8. In­stall a rain bar­rel.

Rain bar­rels are a won­der­ful way to save on high wa­ter bills. They are sim­ple to use, just hook them up to your down­spout and save all that wa­ter headed for the storm sew­ers to wa­ter your plants.

Use news­pa­pers and fly­ers for seedling pots or cut non-glossy pa­per up and add it to your com­post pile. Don’t for­get to re­cy­cle all those plas­tic plant pots and trays!

10. Trust Mother Na­ture.

Plant­ing na­tive species is not only good for pre­vent­ing the spread of in­va­sive species that are try­ing to choke them out in the wild but they also help our lo­cal ecosys­tems. Take milk­weed as a per­fect ex­am­ple. It used to flour­ish in the wild, now it, and the but­ter­flies that de­pend on it for sur­vival, are dis­ap­pear­ing. So help Mother Na­ture and your lo­cal ecosys­tems – plant and sup­port na­tive species.

11. Plant a pol­li­na­tor gar­den.

Our bee pop­u­la­tions are suf­fer­ing world­wide. Plant a pol­li­na­tor gar­den to pro­vide these cru­cial in­sects with es­sen­tial food sources. Bees are re­spon­si­ble for 70 per cent of the world’s food pro­duc­tion, plant­ing some flow­ers, shrubs or trees for them isn’t re­ally ask­ing too much.

12. Start a bee/bug ho­tel.

Bee ho­tels as they are com­monly re­ferred to are an­other way to help soli­tary bees, like ma­son and leaf min­ers, which are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly im­por­tant as other species de­cline. Be sure to build and care for your ho­tel prop­erly to pro­tect the bees from preda­tory in­sects, fun­gus and dis­ease. See page 28 to learn how to make a bee ho­tel.

13. In­vite song into the gar­den.

Birds are a cru­cial part of our ecosys­tem; in­vite them into your gar­den by putting up bird­houses, bird feed­ers, bird baths and tasty treats. En­cour­age them to stay and visit, you’ll be re­warded by beau­ti­ful songs and plumage.

Weeds are free­loaders that use up the nutri­ents and wa­ter in your soil over­pow­er­ing the plants you want to grow. Pull them out, or if you can’t beat them, eat them! Do some re­search; many weeds are won­der­ful food sources. Dan­de­lion leaves, yes, as in the dreaded dan­de­lion, are de­li­cious. Gather young leaves, blanche them to re­move the bit­ter­ness, and use them as you would spinach in soups, stir fries, pas­tas and more!

Whether it is a liv­ing wall (walls cov­ered in plants rooted in a grow­ing medium), or a roof gar­den, ar­chi­tec­ture is tak­ing an in­creas­ingly no­tice­able role in eco-gar­den­ing projects. The mag­ni­tude and value of these projects have in­cred­i­ble ben­e­fits for our en­vi­ron­ment. It may not be for every­one, but per­haps on the roof of a gar­den shed or wall of a gazebo? Just say­ing…

There are many more tech­niques to in­crease the ecofriendly as­pects of your gar­den; these are just the sim­ple ones. Land­scape ar­chi­tects can also of­fer ad­vice on us­ing grey­wa­ter and de­sign­ing your yard to max­i­mize re­sources. Whether you go it alone, seek pro­fes­sional ad­vice for even more eco-friendly gar­den op­tions or just in­cor­po­rate one of the above sug­ges­tions, you can take com­fort in know­ing that ev­ery­thing you do is help­ing our planet and our en­vi­ron­ment.

14. Out with the weeds! 15. Liv­ing ar­chi­tec­ture.

Put up an in­sect home — see page 28 to find out how to build your own.

Ban­ish weeds — they take pre­cious nutri­ents away from your plants.

In­vite birds into your gar­den with a bird feeder.

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