Make your garden more eco-friendly

Mother Nature forgets to send rain from time to time. To help keep your garden growing, simple conservation practices make a difference. Here are three my family uses that truly make a difference in our gardening success.

Rain barrels: we have four rain barrels at various corners of our home. These barrels range in size from 32 to 50 gallons. One has a gravity feed hose from the bottom to fill watering cans. The other barrels are large, clean trash cans. My DIY husband cut a hole in the top of each lid, secured a fine mesh screen (much like window screen) across the hole and adjusted the lid so water would flow from our downspouts into the barrel. Rainbarrel

Each barrel has a stone in the bottom so the wind cannot move the barrels when they are empty. Our four barrels can hold a total of 145 gallons of rain water. Why does having rain water matter? Rain water is usually warmer vs. the water from our water spigots which is nice for the garden and flowers that receive it. And best of all; this water is free!

Mulch: While sprucing up our yard, we have chosen to employ the use of wood mulch from our local nursery. We use the mulch in our flower beds around our home. The mulch is wonderful for helping keep our weed problems to a minimum. Best of all, it allows rainwater to seep through to the roots of the plants below. The mulch helps prevent the evaporation of the water and keeps the plants thriving longer. Mulching also prevents standing water from developing in small depressions. The standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes and we try to eliminate habitat for them as much as possible.

Weeding: We spend about 15 minutes a couple nights a week weeding our flower beds. We remove unwanted plants, such as dandelion or sneaky crabgrass, and dying leaves from our hostas, peonies, iris and lavender. This little investment of time keeps our yard looking tidy and our plants healthy.

By having proper rain barrels, mulch and weeding techniques, your garden will have the essentials to flourish, even if rain isn’t in the forecast.

BridgetteReadel2015Bridgette Readel was born and raised in Wishek, North Dakota. She has an extension degree from North Dakota State University and is married with two adult children. Bridgette has been a sales representative with Dow AgroSciences in North Dakota since 1997. She became a Market Development Specialist in 2013.