Living in the scenic Pacific Northwest, we are surrounded by a lush environment that is the habitat for many native plants and animals. Keeping our environment free of toxins, encouraging native plant diversity and reducing waste are a few common concerns for Eugene, Oregon gardeners. When incorporating gardening into a landscape design, it is difficult to balance beauty with ecological concerns. Below we have a few tips so that you can do both.
Plan planting based on botanicals that naturally grow in the region so they will be well suited for the climate and are less likely to need fertilizers and pesticides.
Keep plants that love sun in sunny areas and shady-loving plants in the shade so they will do well and there will be less upkeep.
Water in the morning. Not only will this be more economical so that water doesn’t evaporate before it is able to soak into the ground and reach the roots, but it also is supposed to eliminate some diseases that need moisture and can’t survive in the heat of the day.
Make or buy natural pesticides made from garlic, chili powder, cloves or eucalyptus, which pests do not like.
Use a natural pesticide like horticultural oil. A commercial brand like Pure Spray coats insects with oil and suffocates them. It doesn’t harm birds, bees or the plants.
For a natural fungicide, try baking soda. Or for a commercial brand, try Green Cure.
Boiling water can be applied to weeds if other plants are not nearby like between stones.
Planting flowers that yield nectar will increase healthy or beneficial insect populations, which will in effect reduce pest populations.
Investigate whether materials like wood in a fence or deck are sustainably sourced (wood certified as sustainably harvested by the Forest Stewardship Council).
Collect water with a rain barrel.
Buy local. Using local products and services cuts down on the distance of travel, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
Purchase post-consumer or post-industrial materials that can easily be recycled later.
Use recycled materials. Flooring and even paint can be recycled and reused. Buy used flowerpots and planters instead of new.
Reuse salvaged materials. Whether you find these materials locally or online, they are good for the environment—and your pocket.