What is an eco-garden?
An eco-garden is short for ecology garden or ecosystem garden. As the name suggests, it is the best of both worlds. To get to the bottom of this concept we need to understand the properties of both an ecosystem and a garden.
What is an ecosystem?
An ecosystem is a biological setup, in which several organisms live. Each organism performs a role. This is beneficial to both other organisms as well as the entire ecosystem. The ecosystem also includes inanimate components like air, water, soil, nutrients etc. They too play their role in supporting the existence of this biological setup.
Several nutrient cycles and energy flows characterize an ecosystem. These characters enable the living and inanimate components to derive benefits from each other. Existing climatic system acts as a moderator in this process. An untouched ecosystem can be characterized by a high degree of biodiversity in terms of both flora and fauna.
The climatic conditions determine the course of an ecosystem. The ecosystem itself can also dictate the course of the climatic conditions. The very concept of global warming rests on this principle. All natural processes go hand in hand. A disruption in one system will ultimately impact the entire natural way.
What is a garden?
A garden is a slice of an ecosystem. It is a milder version of one, in fact. A reasonably designed, modern garden is a collection of plants. It is either potted or planted directly in the soil. The garden includes microorganisms like bacteria and fungi. They add nutritive value to the soil. Insects like bees, wasps, and butterflies act as pollinators and help in propagation. Besides natural precipitation, gardens are fed with water manually as well.
The difference between an eco-garden and a full-fledged ecosystem is that the former lacks in diversity. Also, it involves more than the natural shape of human intervention.
How can we combine both of them?
In order to get the best of both worlds. It is necessary to include attributes of both an ecosystem and a garden.
The first step would be to prepare the ideal soil. We can do this by developing compost using organic scraps. Plus decomposing the same over days. Then mix this compost with the soil to boost the nutrient levels. For the maintenance of a drainage of the soil; we should till the soil (preferably manually). Drip irrigation and rain-water harvesting techniques are ideal in mimicking the natural sources of water.
Further enrichment of soil can be obtained by using organic wastes. We generate organic wastes in our daily lives (egg shells, coffee grounds, vegetable peels). The diversity of vegetation can be maintained in a garden, simply by allowing indigenous foliage to grow. Native species are more resilient and grow with minimum inputs. In the course of time, pests and diseases affect plants. The best way to deal with them is by using organic deterrents like potassium bicarbonate, baking soda etc.
Ultimately, breeders have the following opinion. Maintaining the eco-garden is far simpler than working on a high-bounty one. High-bounty one involves a lot of chemical supplements and is much costlier. The eco-garden is environment-friendly and a holistic solution to our gardening needs.