National Gardening Day celebrates all there is to love about this favorite pastime for many people. Gardening connects people to the earth, and allows for moderate exercise in the sunshine and fresh air. It provides a sense of calm and accomplishment and affords the opportunity to create something of great beauty and/or bounty. Now that we are well into the growing season in most of the country and are awaiting those famous "May flowers", this is the time to try gardening of any sort depending on your interest and location, all of which are fun and creative. Just start and get your hands in the dirt! Here are some types of gardening to try:
The key to natural landscaping is to plant species that are native to the area, Native species are naturally pest and disease resistant and have adapted to the local soil type and climate conditions. This means they require less watering and chemicals such as fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides. This not only saves you money, it saves the local environment from water depletion and pollution and promotes biodiversity.
Another good gardening practice similar to natural landscaping is xeriscaping. Xeriscaped landscapes are designed to reduce or eliminate the need for irrigation by using drought resistant plantings and taking care to avoid losing water to evaporation and runoff. Xeriscaping is most beneficial in regions that do not have accessible, plentiful, or reliable supplies of fresh water for irrigation, though it is not limited to such climates. Xeriscaped areas are also often easier to maintain.
Be a Backyard Farmer and Grow Your Own Food
As mentioned earlier, gardening is not only for beauty, but for bounty, as well. You do not have to be a farmer raising crops for money to enjoy gardening for food. In fact, recreational gardening for food is not only fun, but it will give you pride in sharing healthy food nurtured and grown by your own hands, it will help save on your grocery bill.
Growing your own food has many health benefits such as:
- It helps incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet.
- It lets you determine what kinds of chemicals come in contact with your food, if any.
- It lets you control when to harvest your food. Vegetables that ripen in the garden have more nutrients than some store-bought vegetables that must be picked early.
If you’re interested in growing food in your backyard, consider these tips:
- Start small and plant things you’d really like to eat.
- Pick a spot with at least 6 hours of good daytime light and easy access to water.
- Use contaminant-free soil.
- Consider using a raised garden bed, which allows you to greater control the soil and nutrient blend.
- Talk to local farmers, other backyard gardeners, or the agricultural extension offices in your area to get a sense of what grows well in your region and when.
Community Food Gardening
If you have space to grow food but you are unable to do so yourself, see if there are community efforts to allow other people to grow food on your property in exchange for having a share of the food being grown. This food grown is usually sold at cost at local farmer's markets or coops. Orlando's Fleet Farming is one such program.
If you don’t have space for a garden at home, a community garden is a good option. Community gardens are popping up all over - from urban settings to college campuses. If you do not know where a community garden is located near you, you can find one in your community through the American Community Gardening Association.
For those with little or no space to grow food, remember that food can be grown in window boxes, and can even be grown indoors. In fact, kitchen-based herb gardens are very handy, are easy to grow, and lend a nice smell to the home.
Bring the Outdoors, Indoors
Indoor gardening is not limited to food. Having plants indoors is visually appealing and helps to purify the air. When selecting plants to be grown indoors make certain they can grow with limited light, and be sure to place them near windows as all plants need at least some sun. Some good selections for indoor plants are orchids, ferns, areca palms, pathos, ivy, and rubber plants, to name a few.
Check out Energy Saver has more energy efficient and environmentally friendly landscaping ideas. See you in the garden!
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