9 Zero-waste and Eco-friendly Gardening Tips

Thanks to Archie from HomeMakerGuide for this article – you can find out more about him at the bottom of this post.

Garden greenery has mood-boosting properties, and if cared for correctly, can bring nature to your home without having a negative impact on the wider environment. 

These tips are all about recycling, reusing, and minimising waste while gardening, which should help you keep your costs low, keep the environment clean, and grow and maintain a garden even in a small space.


1. Use fertiliser alternatives

Are you hoping to avoid synthetic chemicals? Start by using the tea leaves from your tea brews rather than throwing them away. These are full of nutrients, and will save you some waste! You can also create fertiliser from banana peels, which are known to be loaded with potassium.

How to do it? Just put your peels in water and let them sit for a week. If you are in a rush, a light simmer should hasten the rate of nutrient absorption by the water – just wait for it to cool before you administer it to the plants.

2. Consider composting

Healthy soil is key to a healthy garden, and there is no greener way to boost your soil’s health than with some good compost. By making your own compost you not only save money, but also have an eco-friendly way to make use of the organic and paper waste generated by your household.

Composting is another great way to avoid purchasing fertiliser, and boosts soil texture while adding minerals. You can get advice on how to make great nutrient-rich compost here.

3. Save and use the right water for your plants

Your garden plants are going to need plenty of water, especially while they are growing, so saving water is a priority in eco-friendly gardening.

While tap-water is great for you, it is not for plants, so collecting rainwater in a water butt or similar garden helper is a better option. The treatment process for tap water offsets the mineral balance in soil, meaning it isn’t ideal for your garden.

Another alternative to tap water is the water you strain after cooking vegetables. After cooling, this water will be loaded with minerals that your plants require to be healthy.


4. Get rid of bugs using non-chemical alternatives

As an eco-friendly gardener, you want to avoid all forms of pesticides that might have mercury or its compounds, and there is no better way to do that than by using natural alternatives. These include Neem oil, which is fully biodegradable, safe for pets, and effective against most of the bugs making a home in your garden.

The best mixture is two teaspoons of Neem oil, one teaspoon of any mild dish soap, and two cups of water. This mixture is so safe that you can soak up your plants if they are completely infested. You may also use pepper spray, because the common peppers in your kitchen have an agent that irritates bugs.

To create a solution for your bug problem, boil ¼ cup of pepper flakes in a cup of water, strain the liquid as soon as it boils, then spray at night (as water droplets on leaves can magnify sunlight and cause them to burn, in hot weather).

Of course, as well as pesticides, you should also avoid chemical herbicides. These will not only harm weeds but your plants and soil as well, so avoid them at all costs. Instead, use agents such as pine needles and salt, which are natural alternatives that should keep the competition for nutrients away.

5. Improvise

Gardening can be a resource-intensive venture, so look around your home for things you can improvise with. For instance, any container that can take a hole at its bottom can act as a planter so that you do not need to buy any new ones to plant seeds in.

Any kind of netting can keep bugs at bay, while any container that you rarely use can be used to collect rainwater. If you have any friendly neighbours, ask them to give you any of these materials or swap your extra stuff for items they have that you can use.

Image: Oatly

6. Start from seeds

By using seeds from the fruits and vegetables you consume, you save the cost of buying and reduce the usage of plastic packaging material.

Accumulate seeds from your favourite fruits and put them out to dry so that they do not rot, then as soon as the season is right, plant them and do your best to help them grow!

7. Share your plants

Do you have an overgrown garden? Rather than toss away cuttings, or put them all on the compost heap, give some to family and friends. Sharing plants will allow you to keep your own plants healthy thanks to improved access to light and nutrients, and also reduces the need for new plant purchases among your loved ones.

8. Grow things you can eat

Homegrown fruits and vegetables are not only free to eat, but free from pesticides and other toxins that bought food might have. If you have some garden space where you can grow the plants you consume most, you can save money on groceries as well as knowing your diet isn’t encouraging the use of harmful pesticides and herbicides.


9. Be a conscious buyer

Lastly, it almost goes without saying, but when you do go shopping for gardening supplies it’s important to look for items that have green, sustainable credentials, as well as avoiding making purchases that could be replaced with recycled or waste items from around your home.

If you do decide to buy fertiliser, buy organic, and if you need to buy plant pots, buy compostable items instead of plastic. Along with the other tips on this list, these small changes can make a big difference.

Eco-friendly gardening is a great way to brighten up your home while making use of what you have and keeping the environment safe. If you have any more ideas, suggestions, or queries, please share them in the comments section.

Archie was a builder for more than 40 years and currently writes for Homemakerguide.com to keep himself occupied following retirement. An impressive fact to note about him is that almost everything in his house is made by him, thanks to his many DIY skills.

For more information on living a greener lifestyle, check out my post on natural alternatives to household cleaning products.

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