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Gardening's Effects On You And The Environment


How Big Is Your Gardening Footprint?

Prepare Your Gardens - Winter Is Coming
  1. Introduction
  2. Where'd The Bees Go?
  3. How Can We Help?
  4. OMRI
  5. Water Conservation
  6. Composting
  7. Conclusion



Everything we do in our gardens has a trickle effect on the environment around it, be it positive or negative. Whether it is how much water we are supplying our garden beds, or the solutions we put in place to kill disease and insects, or which plants we choose to place next to each other, gardening practices definitely employ cause and effect.


Where'd The Bees Go?

When we think of our gardens, we think of beautiful flowers, bountiful vegetable and fruit harvests, and bugs and bees! You may have noticed that the bee population is waning, and you're right. There are fewer worker bees and, as a result, fewer bee colonies in the United States.


In the winter of 2006-2007, many beekeepers reported about 30-90% losses in hive populations. Click here to learn more about the Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) phenomenon and its potential causes, one of which could be linked to gardens like yours.


How can we help the bees?

Although a root cause is not identified, we can do our part in our gardens to help support bee health and create a healthy habitat for them to live. Start by planting bee-friendly flowers and plants in your garden. Bees appreciate a high volume of flowering plants, so if possible dedicate a square yard to planting sunflowers, lavender, sage, or honeysuckle.


Bugs and disease are an issue in most gardens, but how you employ a solution can have a short- and long-term impact on the honeybee population. Using chemical pesticides on your plants and lawn can kill honeybees. If applied during a plant's flowering phase, chemicals will mix with nectar and pollen and can be carried back to a hive. If this occurs, the transplanting bee can be harmed, as well as its entire colony. Stick to the good stuff – natural remedies or OMRI-listed® products are effective and safe.


Bees love pollen and nectar, and they also love water! Place a shallow water dish filled with pebbles or rocks near your flowering garden. The pebbles and rocks will allow bees to crawl close to the water without the danger of drowning.



Using organic products in your garden allows you to employ gardening solutions that will breakdown in their environment rather than create lingering chemicals. For a product to achieve organic certification, it must successfully pass a litany of tests and reviews from third party agencies. The USDA recognizes these third party agencies and looks to them to validate and promote the use of certified organic products. The leading non-profit agency supporting these efforts is the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI).


The Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) is an independent international nonprofit organization that determines which input products are allowed for use in organic production and processing. OMRI Listed® products are allowed for use in certified organic operations under the USDA National Organic Program


A range of tests and reviews are conducted by OMRI to determine if a product is viable to pass their review. When a product passes it is now "OMRI Listed" and carries the OMRI Listed Seal which assures the suitability of a product for organic production, handling, and processing.


OMRI Listed® products range from fertilizers for your yard to insect killing solutions to fungicides and more.


Water Conservation

In addition to using OMRI listed® products you can employ water conservation tactics on your lawn and garden. Lawns and most plants typically need about 1 inch of water a week. In the height of summer, or in areas that do not have regular and sufficient rainfall, gardens and lawns need to be watered manually.


Don't lose water due to the heat. Learn more garden water conservation tips here.



Recycling materials and composting organic waste is another way to lower your impact on the environment, read more about it here.



Whether you decide to help bees or conserve water or begin a composting program, there are ways you can help your garden while helping the environment. Changes in the garden can be overwhelming, but if you begin with one you'll make a difference. Using the information above, and creating goals for getting started, you'll be able to have a healthier garden and help create a healthier world.