Create A Greener Garden

Creating a greener garden is easy and can provide therapeutic outdoor time where you can get your hands dirty and let any tensions go. It's been discovered that a bacterium in soil called Mycobacterium vaccae is a natural anti-depressant which would explain why people enjoy spending time in their gardens so much. Additionally, a tended garden likes to give back what it receives and can offer multitudes of fresh fruit and vegetables. There's nothing like a bit of home-grown to make you happy and of course, fresh food is chemical-free and cost effective. Create your own organic patch and get healthy.

START A VEGETABLE PATCH

To start your own vegetable patch you'll need a fenced area and raised garden beds. You can find instructions for building a raised garden bed here. Make sure you use a good soil to start with and choose a good position. The position you choose will depend upon the type of vegetables grown. Most vegetables need a well-lit position to prosper but some may not like direct sunlight. When you purchase your seeds or seedlings be careful to follow the instructions for planting. You may even be able to have two or three garden beds with different light aspects situated around your garden.

Tending a vegetable patch and eating home-grown vegetables is not only mouth-wateringly tasty but good for the soul. You may also like to add in a few fruit trees if space allows. Many varieties are now available in 'mini' sizes for people living in a suburban environment. 

BUY SOME CHICKENS

Adding a fenced area to your garden bed is recommended as the introduction of chickens to your little paradise is a sure-fire way to cultivate a healthy garden. You don't want them walking on the garden beds as they scratch and dig holes and can destroy plants they take a fancy too however the up-side of chickens outweighs the negatives.

Chickens are friendly animals that only ask for food, water and a safe place to roost at night. In return they supply delicious eggs that are much fresher, larger and tastier than those you can buy at the supermarket. You can also feed them certain kitchen scraps allowing you to cut down on household waste. 

Chickens manure is one of the best garden fertilisers going and is great for giving your garden a helping hand. It contains good levels of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous however the high levels of nitrogen can be harmful to plants so you must ensure that your manure is composted for a period of approximately 6-9 months.

GET COMPOSTING

Composting is a great way of recycling food scraps like vegetable skins, fruit, lawn clippings and newspaper. You can also add your chicken manure to create a really great compost. You want to get a nice mix of different items, keep it moist and turn every few weeks. You should start your compost on bare earth which allows worms to aerate the mix. A layer of twigs or hay on top of the earth will also help aerate your pile. Each layer thereafter should be alternated with the layers predominantly food scraps mixed with garden waste like straw and leaves. Adding manure helps activate the pile and speeds up the composting process. Keeping your compost moist also aids the process and can be done naturally with rain or with a hose if you're in a drier climate. Turning the pile adds oxygen which required for the process to work. If you have a lot of straw in your compost you may need to turn it less as straw is naturally aerating the pile.

A healthy compost pile should have more carbon than nitrogen elements. Following a simple rule of one third green and two thirds brown will keep your compost in healthy condition. If it smells funky and unpleasant make sure you add more carbon-based materials. 

Alternatively you may choose to buy a pre-made compost tumbler which enables you to aerate the compost by spinning the whole tumbler.

MAINTAINING YOUR GARDEN WITHOUT CHEMICALS

Now that you've got this great garden you need to keep the pests and animals at bay to stop them destroying your crops. For the larger animals you may find that you need to cover the crops completely with a net. For birds, moving balloons or scarecrows may work. For smaller pests there are a lot of natural remedies available depending on your particular problem. You can try your hand at making your own with simple household items like liquid dish soap, cooking oil and baking soda. Read more about natural garden pesticides.

Now you're a certified green thumb why not invite some friends over and impress them with your productivity. A home grown salad will whet their appetite and you can regale your guests with your new-found knowledge on all things gardening!