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.


Keep Chickens

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.

Product Recommendation

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.

If you are ready to get your own chickens, Pioneer Farm Goods has a special coupon just for Daily Mom readers. Enter the code “dailymom” when you check out to receive 10 percent off your order. 


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! 

Product Recommendation

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.
  • 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.

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Growums

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We love gardening with our kids at Daily Mom. Here are 10 Ways to Garden with a Toddler

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.

Product Recommendation

To simplify this task, try a pair of Muck Boots. The Muckster II Collection by The Original Muck Boot Company is designed to be put on and taken off easily so you can “Leave ’em by the back door!”

  • 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! 


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?

Product Recommendation

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.

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Galvanized Metal Bed 

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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.

If you are ready to start your garden, check out our Seasonal Guide to Planting Your Vegetable Garden.

Photo Credits: Kristen
Sources: Chickens in the Garden 

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Kristen

Kristen lives in Alabama with her handsome hubby and sweet son along with their cat who thinks he's a dog and pug who acts like a cat. Happily, she left behind the life of a Washington DC attorney to be a stay at home mama in the south. While her loves include music, writing and baking, thanks to her toddler she now knows more about trucks and construction equipment than she ever thought she would know.

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