(Re) discover the main principles of eco-friendly gardening: organic fertilizer, compost, mulch, water saving ...1. Make your compost
A "revolution of the earth around the sun" (one year) is enough to transform cuts of grass, dead leaves and other vegetable waste into a soil with multiple virtues. This new "black gold" of gardeners - which owes its name to its brown color - is the best fertilizer available.
This is happening in "compost", this green waste recycling bin that has become in a few years one of the key elements of any contemporary garden. In addition, the compost technique also has the advantage of being free and considerably reducing waste in the home. All of course, without any environmental impact.
Our tips for successful composting:
- If you are concerned about the spread of weeds following composts on the ground, buy or make a wood or plastic composter. Another option: construction garbage bags, large and free.
- Prefer to place the composter on earth, to attract organisms.
- Balance the mixture. For the fertilizer obtained to be of optimal quality, it is recommended to incorporate one half of ligneous plants (trees and shrubs) and another of green waste (peelings, eggshells, leaves ...)
- The smaller the plants, the faster the transformation into humus (fertili) will be. So we can invest in a plant grinder, or simply pass the mower on the leaves and cut the branches pruner.
- Remember to stir the compost regularly to air it, and to water it. - Be careful not to put: sick plants, cooked vegetables and thick branches.
Tip: To boost the cycle of decomposition, earthworms are our allies. To attract them, place a good amount of coffee grounds in a clay pot in the garden and wait. After two weeks, we get those cute earthworms that are installed in the compost and voila.2. Mulch, a must
Long live the mulch! This process which gives many benefits is an ally of the good health of your garden. 100% green, it avoids us to go through pesticides and other chemicals, which not only disturb the ecosystem but are also fatal for the balance of the biodiversity of the garden.
What is mulch?
Composed of organic materials intended to be spread on the floor, one can find mulch in the trade, or do it oneself. Among its benefits are its many contributions to the quality of the soil (nutrition, protection and encouragement of its small fauna, maintain its moisture, protection against bad weather) as well as the opportunity to recycle some of its waste, to limit weeds, to highlight its plantations and to prevent the settlement of the land.
Overview of mulching materials:
In the trade, we find ...
- Inert mulches like pine bark, pozzolana, gravel, slate crumbs (which can also be homemade) ... They do not decompose, have a sure aesthetic appeal and retain moisture. However, they do not constitute a truly ecological solution, preventing any development of small wildlife.
- The flax straw. It leaves the soil well to breathe, retains the moisture of the dew for a long time and can last a long time.
- Cocoa shells are ideal for keeping moisture.
From the garden, we use ...
- Grass clippings, the easiest to obtain ... They can be used for all crops. Be careful, however, not to make too thick layers at once or you will end up with a repulsive paste that will turn into crust.
- The dead leaves, which are the best mulch.
- We can also use the waste pruning and other sizes. To improve the aesthetics of the mulch, we can pass these plants to the grinder.
- Corrugated cardboard (avoid printed and laminated cardboard) maintains moisture and limits growth.
Alternatives to mulch, which are normally enough to maintain soil balance, organic fertilizers are like the medicine cabinet of the seasoned green gardener.
For the main organic fertilizers, we can mention:
- Dehydrated manure, THE solution to enrich the earth with organic matter.
- The purines: these macerations of plants in homemade water or bought on the market have a thousand and one virtues. We will remember the 5 most used: Nettle, Comfrey, Horsetail, Absinthe, Tansy. And the possibility of creating a manure fertilizer from weeds of all kinds that will macerate for 6 weeks stirring approximately every week. For more information, read on Terrevivante.org: the technique of liquid manure and different recipes of liquid manure.
- Organic fertilizers and vegetable matter found in supermarkets and garden centers. These are often labeled organic, and a careful reading of their composition will guide our choices. Three letters, N, P and K respectively indicate the nitrogen, phosphorus and potash content of the fertilizer. Nitrogen mainly stimulates the green parts of the plant, phosphorus acts at the roots and potash everywhere has a powerful effect on the stems, flowers and fruits.
Because of their slow assimilation, organic fertilizers must be brought in when the plants vegetate, or just before.4. Save water
Water, the planetary issue of the coming century, is a problem often neglected by our current mode of consumption, encouraging the use of this resource wrongly and through. In addition to these environmental considerations, water costs more and more, the restrictions are increasingly severe and excessive use causes disappointments in the gardener: proliferation of weeds, rarefaction of auxiliary insects (gardener aids) ... So it's high time to take a look at its water consumption, and perhaps even to see it down.
Our tips for lowering water consumption:
- Collect rain water. In addition to being free, this water from the sky has the advantage of being the best water possible for the garden because it contains (theoretically) no chlorine or limestone.
Today, many systems are marketed and there is more than the embarrassment of choice: buried tank, under pressure, has self-cleaning filter ... But before choosing, know that the watering is not necessarily done at the crystal water, and even water that has rotated during the summer, for example, can be used to water hardy plants.
- Use water wisely. For this, we advise:
Water from dusk,
Vary the quantities (the more a plant is young and vulnerable, the more it is watered)
Take into account the quality of the soil: a clay soil retains the water well whereas a sandy soil which retains the water badly will need to be watered more frequently.
Consider exposure to wind and sun, which requires more watering.
Prefer underground watering that unlike watering from above (provided by automatic watering among others) do not make plants dependent on the water brought by the gardener because it will make the effort to find what is feed deeply and will find freshness in case of failure. But this type of watering - discovered there are ten centuries by Arab agronomists - is not suitable for all plants (not roses for example).
Two techniques: Green manure and biological control are positioned as alternatives to chemical products to deal with the vagaries of the garden. Diseases, invaders and poor soils are problems that can be found in an effective ecological solution.
- Using green manures is the best way to have the best quality soil.
The principle ? While a land is at rest, a plant variety with adequate biological qualities is planted on the ground as soon as it is bloomed, before returning the soil to bury the pieces of stems.
Advantages ? The soil is enriched with organic matter, drained and nectar is brought to the friendly pollinating insects.
References ? Oats in thick layers in winter light up heavy soil. Rape is a good winter cover. Mustard is an easy plant to grind and bury.
- Did you know that the wildlife in your garden could be of service to you?
Knowing the processes of biodiversity and the food chain can work miracles in the garden. The stars of this technique called "biological control": insects.
Indeed, some species are natural predators of pests that give you a hard time and can take care of eliminating them, naturally.
To mention the main ones: the ladybug that feast on aphids, the earthworm that plows the soil and the earwigs that devour aphids and caterpillars.
You are convinced? There is a whole lot of ways to attract insects at home, the must be to create shelter for them, as explained on this page of the National Society of Horticulture of France.
Birds that have long been welcome in the garden - nest boxes, basins and seed balls are prized by any gardener with little awareness of wildlife - do not only enjoy the appeal of their beautiful adornments and their musical flights . They are also formidable predators for insects and thus make a cleaning in order.
Also tender and desirable, hedgehogs avoid snails, slugs, but also rodents and snakes!
Let's not forget the frogs and toads, fatal for slugs, midges and insect larvae.