By: Hunter F. 

Have you ever tasted healthy homegrown vegetables or smelled beautiful flowers grown right in your back yard?  Well, now you can! With my help you will have a yummy homegrown salad or a gorgeous bouquet in no time!
I know you may have learned how to plant your own garden in science class or you decided to pick up the remote and watch the health food channel and learned what you know from there. But their advice usually involves using things that are harmful tfor the environment. Stuff like pesticides and weed killer can harm your garden and its inhabitants. You may have learned that some bugs can harm your garden and animals. Or that weeds can cause crowding. Your right but there is a greener way to keep those things away and also keep your garden healthy and great for the environment!

Planting your Garden

1.    First, you need to find the perfect seeds!  Many seeds can be purchased from garden centers, mail order catalogs, or on the Internet or even your local Wal-Mart. You want to make sure that you check the back of the seed package to see how long it takes the seeds to grow, how much water the seeds need each week, and if they need to be planted in a certain type of soil.
You may need to try to get seeds that have the same characteristics so you don’t get mixed up between watering days. If you cannot find any plants that have the same characteristics try to get the same plant.

2.    Second, you need to find the best place to plant your garden. Plants need sun to grow. But too much sun can kill them especially if you are not able to water them every day. You also need to check around your plot to make sure there are no snake or rabbit holes. You don’t want to be surprised by a snake while planting and rabbits can eat your plants!

3.    Third, clean out all rocks and weeds beforehand so your plants have a few days to start growing.

4.    Fourth, when you are ready to plant make sure you have the right soil. Be sure to plant your seeds in even rows.

5.    Fifth, when you put the seed in the ground put some water on the seed, cover it with soil and fertilizer and water it again. Then wait for when the seed package says to water again.

6.    A tip for a vegetable garden would be to put a stick or round cage around tomatoes. A tip for a flower garden would be if you are growing roses,  putting a stick around where you planted the seed so your rose bush can grow tall and healthy.

How to keep it green, while protecting your garden!

1. Garlic and cayenne pepper can be used to deter pesky aphids. Aphids may be green, yellow, brown, red, or black they are small, pear-shaped insects with long legs and antennae. Don’t worry aphids are harmless to you but otherwise to your garden.  

2.    Sprinkle coffee grounds and eggshells around the base of plants to repel ants (who can exacerbate an aphid problem), snails, and slugs.

3.    For a great fertilizer you can use compost! Yep, I know it sounds gross but really compost is recycled coffee grounds, lettuce, some fruits like apples and oranges, soil, dead leaves and the last ingredient is WORMS! Yep, worms are also a great resource that you can use for your garden. They help mix and fertilize the soil in your garden. They help make compost.

4.    Another way to get rid of aphids is ladybugs. Ladybugs love aphids for breakfast lunch and dinner! Ladybugs won’t harm your garden.

5.    Deer love gardens. Sometimes deer can’t get the nutrients they need just eating grass and leaves. So they sneak up at night to munch on your wonderful garden. To keep them away put up a yarn fence. Just measure your garden, get poles and put them all around your garden, then take some yarn and twine it around the poles. For extra protection,  tie cans from the yarn to scare the deer away.

6.    Another predator of the garden is birds. Birds can take seeds right out of the soil and when the plants are grown birds steal your food or take flowers for a nest. The eco- friendly way to keep them away is to make an old fashioned scarecrow. To make a scarecrow, take a pole (wooden preferred) and an old shirt. Put the shirt on the pole and tie it to the pole at the top and bottom. Then stuff the shirt with straw or hay. You can also stuff a sack and tie that to the top of the pole and draw a face on it. You can also put up a fake owl another other bird of prey to scare away birds. For peskier birds like crows try to put both a scarecrow and scare crow.

7.    Now for those pesky weeds! Weeds are always a bother because they cause crowding. Crowding is when your poor plant gets overthrown by a bunch of weeds or other harmful plants so it can’t grow properly or not grow at all! The best way to get rid of weeds is with your hands or a gardening tool called hand rake.

8.    Let it rain! When it rains it helps water your plants so don’t cover them up before a storm (unless there is hail).

Gardening tool’s list:

Rake: A rake is used to scrape away dead leaves to make room for your garden.

Shovel: Some gardens don’t need a shovel. It depends on the size of your garden and which plant you have.

Floppy Hat: Don’t forget to wear at hat in the garden. A hat will help you to not get too hot and will also help against with sunburn.

Sunscreen: You don’t get a sunburn.

Hose: A hose is used to water plants. Make sure to keep the stream gentle and don’t water too heavily.
Watering Can: A watering can is used to water your garden but you have to keep refilling it.

Hand tools: These are smaller versions of a shovel, rake, and other large gardening tools. Also don’t forget an apron or gloves.

I hope my advice helps you in your journey to the perfect garden and the greenest garden in the state!

Be Forever Green! Check out GSGATL for more green gardening activities in honor of the Girl Scout Forever Green project. Click here.

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