zero-waste gardens

One of the key things to consider when creating a sustainable and productive garden is how the garden will be run in an efficient and sensible way; returning surplus to the system and producing no waste that must be disposed of elsewhere. To create a great garden, take advantage of all the resources available. These resources include renewable ones like water, sunlight, and plant material (or biomass as it is sometimes known), and household waste; food waste such as egg shells, potato peelings, and fruit/vegetable scraps and biodegradable waste such as toilet paper rolls.

No Wasted Water:

Whether living in a dryer area or a wetter one, harvesting rainwater is still a great idea. Collecting the water from the roof when it rains and using that water in the garden when it is dry ensures that wasting tap water is avoided. Rainwater is also better for the plants. Although plants still grow when watered with tap water, the health and size of the plant is vastly improved when watered with rainwater. Chlorine and other substances in the mains water inhibit the uptake of nutrients. Rainwater also has a natural PH balance that enables plant life to thrive. One thing to keep in mind is that there are some legal constraints to consider when planning to collect rain water. Check with the local laws in your area to make sure you operate within the city’s regulations.

zero waste garden mulch

No Wasted Plant Material:
Gardeners should rarely burn plant material (unless it is an invasive species or they are coppicing wood for use as firewood) and they should never cart plant material off their land. Biomass contains many nutrients which can and should be recycled into the garden’s soil in a variety of different ways:

Mulches: Fallen leaves, either part-decomposed and used as leaf mould (a wonderful soil conditioner), or freshly fallen, can be spread as mulch around the plants in your garden to help retain moisture and add nutrients back into the soil. Glass clippings, high in nitrogen, are also fantastic for use around leafy plants and vegetables.

Plant Feeds: Weeds such as dandelions, nettles, and more can be put in a big bucket of water and allowed to rot down. The resulting stinky but nutritious mix can be watered down and used to feed hungry plants as a general-purpose fertilizer.

Compost: Whether it is a bin or a heap, a place to make compost is a must for anyone who wants a healthy and productive garden. Even in a small garden, be sure to give a small corner over to the production of this substance which will ensure the continued health of your soil. Layer up green stuff with brown twigs and other excess or unwanted plant matter from the garden.

zero waste garden

Using Household Waste in the Garden:
A successful and sustainable garden is not a separate system to the home but should become an integral part of it and of a family’s lifestyle. Think about using household waste in the garden:

Composting: Again that compost heap or bin really comes in handy, as it can be used to compost all vegetable scraps, egg shells, paper, cardboard etc.. If only a very small space is available, consider a wormery with worms that will help compost kitchen scraps. A wormery will recycle your waste food to make a superb fertilizer for your crops and a living soil in your garden. You can purchase one from your local hardware store or easily make it yourself with just a few items such as a plastic box, bricks to stand it on, newspaper or cardboard, and worm bedding.

Toilet Roll Tubes: Compost these or use them to plant seedlings that do not like root disturbance. These home-made biodegradable plant pots can be popped straight in the soil.

Plastic Containers: It is possible to use and recycle many plastic containers as plant pots too – just be sure to make some holes in the bottom and use shallow plastic containers beneath them to catch the drips. This reduces the amount of plastic you need to buy and ultimately throw away. Gardeners can even make a greenhouse from plastic drinks bottles.

Glass Bottles: These can be used as pretty path edges or as edging for raised beds – when they simply use their imagination, gardeners will find many ways to reuse waste in the garden.

Whether you are focused on sustainable living or just naturally love to care for a garden, creating a zero-waste garden is both fun and rewarding. You’re not only creating something that your family and friends can enjoy, you’re showing pride in and taking care of our extraordinary planet, and with that comes a great sense of accomplishment.

Solid Rock Custom Homes has been remodeling and building custom homes in the Colorado Springs, Colorado area and the surrounding El Paso, Douglas and Teller counties since 1995. We would love to sit down with you to discuss or dream with you about your custom home. Please contact us at 719-494-0932 or request a consultation hereCheck out some of our beautiful projects at

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