ECO-FRIENDLY GARDEN PLANNING Now is the time to get the wellies and gardening gloves on and get planning for a spring and summer of colour. Here are some top tips to help you avoid using fungicides and weed killers that are expensive and toxic, not only to you when eat them, but also to animals and the environment as a whole. Attract Bugs Friendly insects are a fantastic way to reduce the harmful insects that can ransack your carefully tended crops. For example, ladybirds and lacewings, which are attracted to sunflowers and marigolds, like to eat aphids such as blackfly. Therefore planting sunflowers and marigolds in your garden will attract these friendly flying bugs that can reduce the numbers of not so friendly bugs on your plants. Now is a great time to research which insects you can invite into your garden to combat them. Companion Planting Another good way to enhance pest control. Pairing plants provides habitats for beneficial insects and enhances the health of the plants themselves. A good example of this is corn, beans and squash. The corn gives support to the climbing beans. The beans feed nitrogen into the ground which both corn and squash need. The leaves of the squash suppress weeds and conserve moisture. When you’re planning what to plant where this year, do some research on which plants can benefit from each other. Bring on the Birds Birds can be a great help for keeping snails, slugs, caterpillars and grubs at bay. Researching which birds find these as sweet treats will help you decide on which kind of bird feeders to populate your garden with. Nesting boxes are another great way to invite them into your area and won’t fill their bellies so they will be even more enticed by the pests you want them to eat. Reuse and Recycle Your Gardening Gear Fencing, netting, fleece, clips, chicken wire… anything you can use again, do. It will not only save you the cost of having to buy them each year, but it will reduce the overall waste that ends up in landfills and oceans. You can even make garden tools from household items such as making a watering can out of a used plastic bottle. Just pop some holes into the top, put a large hole in the bottom for filling and there you have it!