Tips to grow an eco-friendly garden

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Gardening itself is already an environmentally friendly effort for homeowners. But there are ways to make gardening more sustainable, while generating little to no waste. Learning what plants thrive in our Lowcountry climate is a great first step — choosing plants that will be happy in the heat and humidity, and survive on rainfall alone. But there are plenty of other small, yet environmentally significant, steps gardeners can add to their routines.

Follow these eco-friendly gardening tips to create a garden that thrives:

  • Maintain healthy soil by adding compost. Turn plant and kitchen scraps into rich soil for your indoor and outdoor plants.
  • Recycle yard waste. Grass clippings, leaves and yard trimmings can be turned into free mulch. Plus, they return valuable nutrients to the soil.
  • Mulch your garden beds. Mulch keeps moisture in the soil, moderates soil temperature and reduces erosion and weeds. It’s also good for preventing bare spots from foot traffic and keeping soil in place.
  • Don’t over-fertilize. Many trees and landscape plants require little or no fertilizer once they are established and mature. If misused, fertilizers can be hazardous to the health of your yard and the environment by aggravating insect and disease problems and forcing excessive growth. In addition, fertilizers can run off into local waterways, polluting the drinking water.
  • Design your yard to thrive predominantly on rainfall. Harvesting rainwater in a barrel is a good way to reduce stormwater runoff and save water for a dry spell. If you have gutters on your house, you may be able to collect 55 gallons of water during a 1/2-inch rainfall by connecting a downspout to a rain barrel. Get some tips from HGTV on making your own rain barrel.
  • Plant to attract pest-eating insects and animals. Most of the insects found in our gardens and yards are completely harmless — and they may even be beneficial in attacking the harmful pests. Not all bugs are bad!

By incorporating earth-friendly techniques into your gardening routine, you can work with Mother Nature to have a garden that flourishes while saving water, reducing harmful fertilizers and keeping the soil nourished.

Summers Corner is an advocate for nature-friendly gardens and yards. In fact, the community supports Clemson Extension’s Carolina Yards program. Learn more about Summers Corner at
SummersCorner.com or stop by Corner House Cafè + Information Monday - Saturday from 10am - 6pm or Sunday from 1pm - 6pm to start your tour.