Eco-Friendly and Unique Ways to Garden
Even in an urban or suburban setting, you can have an amazing garden in your yard with minimal space. That garden can be eco-friendly and you can reap the benefits of caring for your garden. A garden in a small space like a backyard doesn’t have to be a few potted plants that you forget to water. You can have a garden that is full of life and that contributes to your life, your home and the planet in a positive way.
Chickens are amazing. Besides producing delicious and healthy eggs for your family, chickens will help you maintain your garden. Just by living in your yard, they will make your yard healthier and reduce your workload.
- Chickens can till your yard. One chicken can replace the work of a tiller, tilling 50 square feet in a little over a month. So, if you have an area in your garden you need to prepare for planting, just set your chickens up in that area until they work it all.
- Chicken poop is good for compost. Compost helps your plants grow. Chicken poop is rich in nitrogen, and nitrogen is an ingredient in composting. Harvest the poop and mix it with carbon producing waste like leaves. One pound of chicken poop will compost 45 pounds of leaves!
- Chickens will also turn your compost, making the materials break down more quickly, getting the good stuff in your garden sooner. That compost keeps natural waste out of landfills and helps your garden grow, and it all started with your chickens.
- Chicken poop will also fertilize a garden on its own if your chickens have access to your garden.
- Chickens de-bug your garden. They love to eat creepy crawling things. A lot of those creepy crawly things want to eat your garden. Put the chickens to work eating the bugs and your plants will be saved.
All the benefits of keeping chickens in your backyard are extremely eco-friendly. You till without a tiller that uses fossil fuel. Compost uses waste that would otherwise go to a landfill, and the chickens de-bug your garden without the use of harmful pesticides. If you’re convinced you need chickens to help you work your eco-friendly garden, you need somewhere to keep them. There are eco-friendly options for keeping your chickens.
We love the Medium Chicken Loft from Pioneer Farm Goods. This Pioneer Chicken Coop is made from recycled plastic. You have an eco-friendly coop to house your eco-friendly, hard working chickens!
This coop fits 11-22 chickens but is small enough to fit in a yard like you would find in an urban or suburban setting. You can choose your favorite color for the roof, blue or green. The three perches are removable to accommodate the amount of chickens you have at the time. Two double nest boxes are also included.
Your chickens will be nice and comfy inside no matter what the weather. The coop remains cool, even in direct sunlight with permanent ventilation built into the roof. This coop is all about ease of use. The recycled plastic is so easy to clean and it is weatherproof requiring little maintenance.
The doors are easy to open and close, making harvesting eggs a cinch. Your chickens will be able to find safe shelter and a comfy place to lay their eggs in the Medium Chicken Loft – Pioneer Chicken Coop from Pioneer Farm Goods.
EXPLORE AND CONNECT
Eat Really Local
Eating local is generally healthier and it is definitely more eco-friendly. Local food is more fresh than anything that traveled miles and miles on a truck to get to a grocery store. Local food is also eco-friendly because no fossil fuel was burned by one of those trucks to get the food to you. What could be more local than your own backyard? Even in an urban or suburban backyard, you can produce a lot of healthy and delicious food for your family reducing your carbon footprint.
If you keep chickens, you will have amazing fresh eggs everyday. Once you try a fresh egg, you will never want a store bought egg again. The flavor of a fresh egg from your own chickens is beyond compare. There are lots of vegetables and herbs that grow in small spaces.
- Cucumbers just need something to climb up as they grow.
- Tomato plants also grow straight up and don’t take up too much room.
- Herbs are easy to grow in pots and planters. So plant some basil to go with your tomatoes and make fresh caprese salads all summer long.
Plant things you love to eat! Save money on grocery bills and save the planet by eating what you can produce on your own in your eco-friendly garden.
Get Your Kids Involved
One added benefit of having an eco-friendly garden in your backyard is that you can teach your children about where food comes from and how we can care for our planet. Children today are so disconnected from the natural world. They think food comes wrapped in plastic from the grocery store and they don’t see the consequences of our waste. Plant food to eat together!
Check out Growums, gardening kits that are just for kids. Each kit is themed and is paired with online cartoons that teach your child each step from planting seeds to harvesting. The characters in the videos are actually the fruits and vegetables that your children are growing.
- You register your garden online and every 7 to 10 days you can watch new cartoons featuring the characters from your garden. The best part of registering your garden at growums.com is that your child can learn how to plant, grow and harvest his own garden starting with just a seed.
- Garden kits include Fruit Cup, Melon Blast, Pumpkin Patch, Herb, Pizza, Ratatouille, Salad, Stir Fry and Taco. For example, the taco kit includes everything you need to grow jalapeno peppers, cilantro, tomato and iceberg lettuce.
- In addition to the seeds, the kits include a self watering tray, coco pellets, plant tags and kid friendly directions. The seeds are non-GMO.
Growums is a great way to use your kid’s screen time for something productive. They will learn all the steps to gardening and harvesting their own food through the online materials. When the process is complete, your kids will have an understanding of what goes into putting food on the table that can only be gained from hands on experience of gardening and harvesting.
Keep the Mess Outside
Working in the garden is going to leave you covered in dirt. Getting dirty is part of the fun of gardening. It takes you back to your childhood when you didn’t think twice about jumping in puddles or making mud pies. Nowadays you might enjoy the dirt outside but you would like it to stay there. If you live in a smaller house in an urban or suburban neighborhood, chances are you don’t a big mud room to enter your home through. Keep the mud outside by setting up a little station right outside your door and leave what you can there. For example, if you have a little potting table outside your backdoor, you can leave your gardening tools there and go ahead and kick off your muddy shoes there as well.
- These ankle height boots for men and women are comfortable in any weather including rain since they are 100% waterproof.
- They are lightweight and have a high traction rubber outsole to prevent slipping.
- Unlike a lot of waterproof shoes and boots, the Muckster II has a supportive insole.
- If you have to be out and about on a rainy day, these shoes will get you through and keep your toes dry, no problem.
- For gardening they are perfect because they are easy to clean.
Keep your Muckster II Muck Boots by the back door and keep the mess from your eco-friendly garden outside where it belongs!
EXPLORE AND CONNECT
Utilize Small Spaces
Make the most of a small space by utilizing planters. If you want to grow vegetables or herbs and don’t have room for a large garden bed, a raised planter is the perfect solution. Keeping with the eco-friendly theme of your garden why not use a planter that is made from recycled materials?
We recommend the Galvanized Metal Bed from RaisedBeds.com. This bed is made from 100% recycled materials. It is superior to other raised beds because of the strength of the metal. You have complete control over the soil and drainage. Unlike wooden bed frames, this one isn’t going to rot or splinter. This galvanized garden bed has been proven to yield better results including: “improved fruit blush color (finish and sweetness), more even fruit maturity, improved fruit set (return flowering), increased fruit size and increased total yield.”
Available in Zinc Galvanized Steel or Green powder coated, this bed is 21″L x 21″W x 16″H. That’s the perfect size to grow some gorgeous plants, fresh herbs or yummy veggies, even in the smallest of backyards. Make your small yard work for you by growing plants that don’t need a ton of space in planters.
As you can see, you really don’t need acres of land to live off your land. Your urban or suburban backyard doesn’t need to be wasted space. You can use every inch of it in an eco-friendly and unique way. Use recycled products whenever possible. Raise chickens, grow food, get messy and teach your kids the value of feeding ourselves and loving our planet. Your eco-friendly backyard garden will feed your bodies, your hearts and your minds.
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Kristen lives in Alabama with her handsome hubby and sweet son. Happily, she left behind the life of a Washington D.C. attorney to be a stay at home mama in the south. Her days are filled with writing, photography, and dance parties with her son. On a mission to use her life to love God and love others, you will also find her fiercely working on the many causes near and dear to her heart. She gets it all done thanks to Jesus, chai tea, dark chocolate, and wine.