The spring equinox has passed, which means we are officially in the light half of the year! As the weather warms, the buds start popping, and the world reawakens with vigor, it’s time to get back out in the garden and see what we can grow!
I’m more than ready to give my garden a little extra TLC this year, and I’m checking out the market for new features and tools. Some of these I’ve already incorporated into my garden, and others are on my list to try in an effort to update my garden’s design and functionality in a green, sustainable way.
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Solar Light Features
2020 was a dark year, so I’m all about brightening up life with a little eco-friendly light that isn’t going to raise my electric bill. This isn’t something I’d really put much consideration into before. Solar light features can be decorative both in the daytime and nighttime hours, depending on how you choose to incorporate them into your landscape. I love being able to admire all the flowers and foliage during the day and then transform the garden into a work of art using light at night! It completely changes the space while bringing beauty and function around the clock.
I chose to light my flagstone path with solar lights and place a crescent moon light feature behind my outdoor altar. I’m totally in love with the look and can’t help but stand on the deck admiring the light show after the sun goes down. I think there may be more solar additions in my garden’s future…
I’ll admit it; I’m guilty of tossing my kitchen scraps and biodegradable trash out into the garden and leaving nature to do its thing. But investing in an actual composter is a smarter move and definitely more aesthetically pleasing to tuck off to the side rather than seeing eggshells and avocado skins in the plant beds.
A composter can handle grass clippings, kitchen scraps, and plant matter such as twigs, branches, dead leaves, and deadheaded flowers. Benefits to composting include:
- Adding nutrients back into the soil
- Introducing valuable microorganisms to the soil, including bacteria, fungi, and protozoa
- Recycling kitchen and yard waste in a more sustainable way
- Reducing landfill waste (sometimes by as much as 30%!)
- Reducing the need for factory-made fertilizers and chemicals
Basically, all-around eco-friendly goodness! My garden doesn’t have great topsoil, so I’m really looking forward to improving the quality of the soil through composting. Good for the garden, good for the environment.
I’ve had my eye on a tower garden for a couple of years now so I can continue growing herbs and veggies through the winter. These vertical gardens are also great if you live in an apartment and don’t have much room on your balcony or indoors to grow many plants.
There are some extensive tower gardens out there on the market. Juice Plus offers an indoor/outdoor version that uses an aeroponic system with only water and nutrients rather than dirt. There’s a bit of a learning curve to test the pH of the water and keep the system balanced correctly.
Garden Tower Project offers a rotating 50-plant tower that composts kitchen scraps into organic fertilizer, so it’s like a two-for-one deal if you’re torn between purchasing a composter or a tower garden! Both of those products are 100% made in the USA.
If you’re on a smaller budget and want to experiment with basic stackable vertical planters first, there are simpler and cheaper options on the market.
An actual rain barrel is a massive improvement over the five-gallon bucket I used to position under the gutter. Collecting rainwater is great not only for watering plants and lawns, but also for filling bird baths and fountains, extinguishing bonfires, cleaning garden tools, et cetera. Why waste extra tap or well water when you can use rainwater instead? Some of the benefits of a rain barrel include:
- Reducing erosion and flooding
- Reducing runoff (and therefore also reducing non-point source pollution such as lawn fertilizers, animal waste, road salt, pesticides, chemicals, et cetera)
- Saving drinking water
- Saving money (if you’re on city water instead of a well system)
- Providing healthier water for plants
Rainwater is definitely a better alternative for plants since it doesn’t contain additives such as chlorine or fluoride. You can find a rustic-looking rain barrel or instead choose a plain one that can become your next DIY project if you want to paint it and make it a customized art feature.
Okay for real… where has this nifty gadget been all my life? Apparently I’ve been gardening all wrong! Kneeling all day until my knees are sore and stiff, constantly setting my tools down and misplacing them in the plants… and while I’ve considered investing in a trusty pair of kneepads, that isn’t going to help my disorganization when it comes to losing the trowel in the strawberries again.
This garden kneeler takes it a step further by adjusting into a seat for work that doesn’t involve bending over on the ground. There’s a reason this new find is rated so highly by customers on Amazon! Adding this product to my cart ASAP!
Which feature are you most excited to try in your garden? If you have a garden feature, tool, or gadget that you can’t live without, please share in the comments!