A rain barrel is a savvy way to water your garden and save on your water bill, no matter where you live. Just hook it up to your downspout and all the water that normally heads to the storm sewer is saved for your garden.
Recycle in the garden
Do you go through more than one pair of gloves every season? Try on an eco-friendly pair from West County Gloves: Three of their favourite styles (work, classic and landscape) are made with the equivalent of one water bottle worth of recycled plastic. Another smart recycling tip? Turn those stacks of newspapers and holiday sale flyers into seedling pots. This clever tool from Lee Valley lets you turn sheets of newsprint into paper pots. Better yet, you can plant them right in the ground when the frost melts, and they break down in the soil!
Garden as a group
Start a community garden and grow your own vegetables. Not only will you get to know the people in your neighbourhood better and taste different vegetables you’d never think to grow, but growing your own produce means less pesticide use, and a non-existent carbon footprint (the veggies don’t have to be trucked in to get from the field to your plate).
Thought that might get your attention. The easiest way to get cheap, beneficial compost for your garden is to make it yourself. Build a composter and turn all those food scraps, fall leaves and even broken-down mulch into black gold.
Build an urban forest
Plant a tree! The benefits are innumerable: Not only do they look pretty, but they do everything from improving air quality by filtering out pollution and boosting oxygen to shading our houses (keeping it cooler in the summer, no AC required) to preventing soil erosion and flooding.
We’re not saying give up the good fight against garden-munching bad bugs, but rather ditch the chemicals that can seep into the ground and damage the environment. One of the simplest remedies is a mixture of dish detergent and water. New Mexico State University’s College of Agriculture and Home Economics recommends Ivory Liquid dish detergent at a rate of one to two per cent sprayed a few times a week. The soap coats the bugs, suffocating them. For other tips and ideas, click here.
Glow, baby, glow
We know you all love your garden lights. And really, we do too, but there is a better way to light up your garden than the usual plug-in variety. Try installing solar-powered garden lights instead. Not only will you get to skip spending the whole day wiring them together, you’ll also save on electricity, and never have to remember to turn them on or off again!