Creating an ecological horticulture home means making sure that you’re supporting the natural ecosystem in your region. You can do this by choosing native plants and eliminating synthetic fertilizers. You can also work to create a garden that supports a wide range of wildlife.
Discover your local ecoregion
Whether you are a novice or a seasoned gardener, it is always good to know your local ecological horticulture ecoregion. Not only will this help you to choose appropriate species for your property, but it will also provide you with a sense of place.
The EPA’s Ecosystems Research Office, and the US Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service have both put out a number of informative maps and GIS data that can be used for spatial analysis. For example, the aforementioned Ecoregions of North America map features descriptions of all the aforementioned ecological horticulture regions of the country. This makes it easier than ever for you to make informed decisions when it comes to planting and caring for your plants.
The EPA has also partnered with the Pollinator Partnership to create an Ecoregional Planting Guide that is available for free on its website. The list is not exhaustive, but it does include the names of dozens of plants that are likely to be found in your area. It is also possible to obtain a list of nurseries that carry native plants from the aforementioned sources.
Plant native species
Adding native species to your ecological horticulture home is an excellent way to support your local ecosystem. They require less water and pesticides than non-native plants, and they provide essential habitat for insects and birds.
Native plants have been adapted to a specific ecosystem over hundreds of years. They provide shelter for mammals and birds, and they provide a wide variety of food and pollen for insects. They also filter pollutants and reduce flooding.
In the lower Midwest, plants evolved over thousands of years in a particular habitat. Today, they are adapted to the region’s climate, soil, and moisture. In addition, they support the entire food web.
There are two main types of plants, perennial and annual. Perennial plants remain in the ground for several growing seasons. These plants are typically herbaceous and woody. Their roots are deep and they store water well.
There are also hybrids, or intentionally bred varieties. These are a mix of different species that are selected for certain traits. Some hybrids are sterile, while others can produce seeds.
Eliminate synthetic fertilizers
Using a natural organic lawn care product, you can maintain your home lawn with a low-maintenance approach that is free of synthetic chemicals. It also helps preserve the biotic quality of the soil.
In fact, using organic fertilizers can actually improve plant health and increase nutrient levels. These fertilizers are often derived from animal manures or previous living plant or animal sources. Some are better suited for routine scheduled fertilizations while others are best used to correct specific nutrient deficiencies.
The use of a synthetic fertilizer can deplete the soil of its fertility, and its runoff can trigger algal blooms. In addition, it burns out carbon stores. This is the reason why the synthetic nitrogen fertilizer companies are sometimes referred to as the Exxons of agriculture.
One of the first steps in your quest to eliminate synthetic fertilizers is to read your label. It’s no secret that a majority of nitrogen in the human body comes from artificial sources. The good news is that you can get nitrogen from biological sources, such as the rain and lightning.
Create a garden that supports diverse wildlife
Creating a wildlife garden is a great way to attract a wide variety of animals and birds. Using a few simple tricks, you can turn an ordinary garden into a haven for nature. Whether you have a shady woodland or an urban garden, you can make your yard an oasis for wild life.
The most important thing to remember when creating a wildlife garden is to use a variety of different plants. This can include shrubs, trees, bushes and flowers. Adding different shapes and sizes of these plants will allow you to draw in a larger variety of insects, birds, and other species.
It is also important to provide food and shelter for wildlife. Tall plants offer shade and protection from harsh weather. Providing a place for small animals to nest will also help them to survive.
Another good idea is to add a water source. A birdbath or cracked bucket will work well. Alternatively, you can create a miniature pond that you can fill with water and plants.