Beneficial Garden Insects

Do you face a pest problem in your garden? Let nature give you a hand by combating the pests with beneficial insects. Not all insects are bad pests. There are some insect species referred to as beneficial insects that may provide a long-term sustainable pest control solution by preying on the bugs that do a great deal of damage to your garden plants.

Encouraging beneficial garden insects for participation in your garden may be one of the best methods to be ever used in eliminating the detrimental effects of pests. Providing protection for these insects and planting nectar and pollen plants are basic requirements of organic gardening and is also a great initiative towards expanding an ecological diversity in your garden. Read more

How to make your own seed bombs ?

What is a seed ball/seed bomb ?

Seed bombs/seed balls are a fun and effective way of re-seeding depleted landscapes where you reintroduce. Seed bombs are usually small balls of about 1-3 inch diameter – made of clay, potting soil or compost and seeds. Once they have been made, and dried for 24-48 hours – they are then either sown or more commonly “thrown” across land which needs new flora. Perhaps throw them on the land on the side of highways or barren patches of lands in urban areas like apartment complexes etc or soil on road dividers, to create a green cover.

There are some advantages of using seed bombs instead of using seeds directly:

  • Because there are nutrients in the seed bomb in the form of compost or potting mix or cow dung,  it gives a leg up to germinating seeds – gives them nutrition in the early days when the young plant needs a little help to survive in harsh conditions.
  • The ball prevents animals or birds from eating up the seeds.
  • It takes less time to cover a large area – since you can simply throw the seed bombs – so you could, for example, drive around in a car with thousands of seed bombs and a slingshot, and disperse the seed bombs all around while cruising in your vehicle. In fact, there have been scenarios where seed bombs have been used for aerial reforestation by dispersing hundreds of thousands of seed bombs using a low flying aeroplane !

What sort of seeds should you choose ?

You should choose seeds of varieties of plants or trees that are native to the region where you are going to carry out your seed-bombing activity, so that they are likely to survive. You can choose trees as well as plants – for foliage, flowers or even vegetables !

When is a good time for seed-bombing ?

In India, doing it a little before the beginning of the rainy season is great – that’s when the tiny saplings would grow very fast when the first rains hit. Doing it in the middle of the rainy season may wash away the seed bombs.

Steps to make your bag of seed bombs

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 parts potting soil or compost
  • 5 parts pottery clay mix from an arts and crafts shop or some river bed clay
  • 1-2 parts water
  • 1-2 parts seeds of your choice
  • a bucket to mix ingredients
  • a cardboard box to dry and store seed balls


1.Mix the potting soil, clay and 1 part water thoroughly. Make sure there are no lumps.
Slowly add more water until the mixture is the consistency of play dough or toy store modelling clay.
2.Add seeds. Keep kneading the dough until the seeds are well mixed in. Add more water if necessary.
3.Take small bits of the clay mixture and roll into ball about one inch in diameter.
The balls should hold together easily. If they’re crumbly, add more water.
4. Dry seed balls for 24-48 hours in a shaded place before sowing or storing. They store best in a cardboard box. Do not use plastic bags.

This is a great activity for both adults and kids alike – its great fun making these seed bombs with your own hands, as well going on a seed bombing drive with friends and family, once your hand moulded seed bombs are ready !

Recycle for Gardening

Gardening is the best antidote for stress and boredom. It works like a magic-potion. But it can prove to be heavy on pocket especially if you are a newbie green thumb, as you will need to buy seeds, pots, fertilizers, insecticide, tools and what not! An easy and economical solution would be to start building your own garden by recycling household items and using them for building your own recycled Garden!

To begin with, here are a few common worn out house-hold items that can be recycled as excellent planters:

  • Old fish aquarium
  • Old bathtub
  • Buckets
  • Old wicker chair
  • Worn boots
  • Food cans
  • Coffee mugs
  • Paper cups
  • Old tea pots
  • Commodes

You can use small containers like coffee mugs and cans for starter plants in the spring and place them in your kitchen or drawing room to give a vibrant and dynamic look to the area. Not only planters but important gardening tools can also be found in your kitchen collection. From everyday used cutleries to aluminum foils and from egg shells to coffee grounds, all can be used to give your backyard an awesome and cost-effective makeover. This way you can have everything needed to set up and maintain your own garden without spending any money. Read through to know how your old household items can be used in the garden.

Aluminum Foil

If you thought that the versatile silver foil was restricted to kitchen use, then you are in for a surprise. It can do all your hard work while you repose. Below are a few of many purposes that aluminum foil solves:

  • Scare birds away: Birds are scared of shiny things. Dangling aluminum foils from your fruit tree will ward off the birds and prevent them from having fruits of your labor.
  • Repel the invading insect population: Mix strips of reflective aluminum foil in garden mulch to keep insects from spoiling your veggie garden.
  • Deter pets and other animals: Hang strips of used foil on strings around the garden to deter birds, squirrels and other unwanted pets, too.

Egg Cartons

Make a small hole at the bottom of crates for water drainage. Fill them with soil and plant your seeds in them. Now all you need to do is wait till the seeds sprout and then you can cut the individual crates and bury them in the soil. If you have used a cardboard egg carton, you need not worry about removing the crates as they will biodegrade with time.

But if you’ve used a plastic egg carton, you would want to remove the crates before burying the seedling. Besides egg cartons, you may also use toilet paper rolls or aluminum foil rolls for starting seeds.

Egg Shells

Starting seeds in eggshells is by far one of the most healthy way to raise your plants. This is because eggshells provide some of the vital nutrients for your plants to grow.

Crushed egg shells act as a vital calcium source for plants. Rinse the egg shells after use and allow them to dry before you add them to soil. You may use a coffee bean grinder to crush the shells into fine dust. Larger shell pieces can be used to keep snails and slugs away.

Tea Leaves

Used tea leaves are excellent fertilizers. Tea leaves are rich in minerals and brewing extracts only a little percentage of these rich resources. Instead of throwing them away after use, sprinkle them around acid loving plants like tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, etc. and enjoy your cup of tea while you watch your plants grow.


Table utensils such as spoons, forks and knives are tough and sharp enough to do many gardening jobs without causing damage. They can used to lift seedlings, make path for tiny seeds and mixing soil. Take a pair of kitchen tongs outside with you when it’s time to trim back any prickly vines, limbs, or rosebushes. The tongs will allow you to hold or bend the branch painlessly while you snip with the other hand.

Apart from cutleries you may also use the back of an old tooth brush for making holes to plant your seeds! Colorful wine bottles serve as enchanting Garden decor  which makes a garden look lively. Borrow a glass cutter from your neighbor and turn your used wine bottles into beautiful wind chimes to dangle them in your backyard.

Building a little water fountain in corner will also be a good idea. Place old kettles or clay pots over each other, or use an old musical instrument such as a tuba may come handy in building a water fountain.

Coffee Grounds Coffee grounds are an excellent source of organic matter. They are approximately 1.45% nitrogen. They also contain magnesium, calcium, potassium, and other trace minerals. Sprinkle the beans at the bottom of any plant to improve drainage in clay soils. It will be a feast for plants that like rich and moist organic soil like azaleas and blueberries.


Few people know that soap has wide utility in garden maintenance as well. Its insecticidal properties make it an ideal weapon to knock off the little marauders like mites, aphids, white flies and immature leafhoppers etc. But note that insecticidal soaps are not the same as dish soap or liquid laundry soaps. They are potassium salts of fatty acids and their purity and concentration is controlled. A simplest insecticidal soap is nothing more than a 2% soap solution.

To make it at home, you will need –

 Sprayer – Any clean spray bottle or garden sprayer will work fine for spraying insecticidal soap. Make sure the sprayer or bottle hasn’t been used for herbicides

 Pure Soap – You need liquid soap, such as pure castile liquid soap, that does not contain additives (like fragrance, moisturizer and other additional chemicals)

 Water – Tap water is fine for making insecticidal soap. If you have hard water, you may want to use bottled water to prevent soap scum from building up on your plants.

To prepare 2% soap solution, mix 1 heavy tablespoon of soap to 1 quart of water or 4 to 5 tablespoons of soap to 1 gallon of water. Coat the soap solution to the infected parts from top to bottom. Understand that in order to be effective, the soap solution should be in direct contact with the insects.
Note- Sometimes plants may react negatively with the soap solution. To make sure that the soap solution suits your plants, test it over a few leaves and observe for 24 hours. If you see any signs of spotting, withering or browning of the leaves, do not use that soap solution. There are a few additional ingredients that may be added to the soap solution to solve the purpose.
Adding two tablespoons (per gallon water) of light cooking oil helps the soap solution to stick to the plant little longer. Chewing insects can be kept away by using a teaspoon of ground red pepper and/or garlic (per gallon of water).

Below are a few other ways in which green thumbs may find soap solution handy:

 Remove light blocking dust that settles on the leaf surface by wiping the leaves with soap solution. This is particularly important in winters when plants struggle to get sunlight

 Soap is a natural surfactant. Spraying soap solution breaks surface tension and penetrates water deeper

 Swiping a bar of soap over saw blade will lubricate the saw and make wood cutting easier

 Hanging a broken piece of soap bar from trees and plants will repel dears.


Mulched newspapers are excellent to control weed growth. They retain moisture and add carbon-based organic matter the soil as they decompose. You can use newspaper mulch in the vegetable garden, shrub beds, on perennial borders and walkways. Pretty much anywhere where weeds grow, which, of course, is everywhere.
At the beginning of the season, spread newspaper 6 to 10 sheets thick over the area. You may find it helpful to either wet the newspaper first so that the water keeps the paper from blowing over to the neighbours or wicking moisture from the soil. The newspaper can be then covered with more attractive organic mulch like shredded bark, compost, mushroom soil, chopped leaves, straw, hay or grass clippings. For areas with existing plants, you may also mulch thin newspaper strips 2-3 inches from the trunk or crown of the plant Apart from these, coffee mugs and cans with perforated tops can serve as watering cans for plants. You can also make a birdbath out of a light shade plastic or glass container.

So be innovative and flex your creative muscles while you make useful and decorative garden accessories from old household items that have run their course.

Benefits Of Inviting Birds To Your Garden

Who wouldn’t like to wake up with the chirp of birds? Who wouldn’t love to see dainty winged angels fluttering from one corner to another? But, thanks to urbanization, the bird population has decreased and it’s a rare sight to spot a few every now and then. So, the beautiful thoughts mentioned above, well, just remain thoughts. At Green My Life, we have amalgamated a few ideas to attract little feathery creatures in your garden.
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Organic Gardening 101

For those of you who still haven’t come in terms with Organic Gardening and what it means, here’s a quick idea about it. Organic Gardening, as the name suggests, means Gardening using only products derived from nature. It means not using synthetic products including chemical pesticides and fertilizers.

Organic gardening is all about creating an ecosystem where all the elements help sustain each other.  Like for example, the plants help the insects and the beneficial insects help the plant and so on.

Here are some of the important components of an organic garden:

Organic fertilizers, along with organic pesticides make the most integral part of organic gardening. In simple language, organic fertilizers are those that are derived from animal and vegetable matter, which are formed as a result of microbial degradation.

Why are Organic fertilisers better than chemical fertilizers?
Inorganic fertilizers or chemical fertilizers are subject to leaching and results in high toxic salt concentration in soil, while organic fertilizers work as soil conditioners. Inorganic fertilizers are derived from synthetic elements while organic fertilizers contain only plant and animal-based materials which turns out to more beneficial, of course.

Types of organic fertilizers:
Compost, manure and mulch make up the most popular types of organic fertilizer. Commercially packaged organic fertilizers are also found at garden supply stores.

  • Manure is derived from livestock and poultry waste. It has been used as a fertilizer since ancient times. It is buried in the soil near plants so that plants can directly absorb the nutrients.
  • Mulch is the most common type of natural fertilizer. Mulching materials includes, bark, leaves or even grass clippings from mowing the lawn.
  • Compost made out of garden and kitchen waste proves as the best type of organic fertilizers. Through composting a lot of kitchen waste is recycled which otherwise would have been disposed off in the garbage bin.

Half of all the chemical pesticides used have carcinogenic effects. They prove to be effective for the purpose of removing pests but the long term effects of using synthetic chemicals cannot be ignored. They prove detrimental for human health as well as plants health. That is why one should immediately switch to organic pesticides. Organic pesticides have no adverse effects on humans or plants.

 Types and examples of organic pesticides:

We can get rid of pest in a lot of natural ways. We can either get rid of them manually (by removing the effected parts of plants, spraying jets of water to dislodge pests etc) or we can take help of other mediums such as pest-eating predators (by attracting lady bug, spiders, praying mantis etc into the garden), neem extracts etc. By employing these well-known methods of pest-control we can minimize the population of pests and keep it within the threshold limit.

  • Water conservation:

When we take up the responsibility of carrying out gardening in an organic way, we must also make sure we are not wasting water while watering the plants. Water is vital for both humans and plants.

The following guidelines of watering plants must be followed for conserving this precious resource, water.

  • We should choose plants that are native to the area and require little or no water beyond what the nature provides
  • Planting groundcovers will help in keeping the garden coo. Also, regular mulching locks the moisture in the soil.
  • By using watering method such as Drip irrigation or soaker hoses which reduces evaporation of water. In drip irrigation technique we can deliver water directly to plant roots, where it seeps water in the soil slowly, one drop at a time. Thus minimizing loss of water due to surface runoff or evaporation. It saves time as well as effort.
  • Rainwater harvesting is another method of water conservation for the purpose of gardening. Rainwater can be collected in rain barrels and stored for watering the plants in the garden. The water thus harvested is pure, soft and has neutral pH which makes it a perfect fit for gardening purposes.
  • Growing native/local plants:

Growing plants that are native or local to a particular region has its own benefits. They tend to be resistant to all the conditions which are adverse in that particular region.

Like for example, Jasmine is native to India, which means growing and taking care of jasmine plant won’t be an exhaustive task. It can bloom on its own as long as it is grown in India or any other tropical country for that matter. Just the same way, if we bring in exotic plants which are native to other countries to India then we’ll need to put in extra effort for taking care of it, otherwise it’ll perish.
Hence, we see that local plants require less or no fertilisers, little water as they are mostly accustomed to the weather conditions of its native place. Local plants/crops require low maintenance as compared to other exotic, non-local plants.


Thus, organic gardening is considered to be a smart choice as it doesn’t harm the environment or the diversity. It in turn benefits us in so many amazing ways.

NOTE: You can buy organic fertilizers and organic pesticides from our online garden store – we deliver anywhere in India !

Happy Gardening.

How To Grow Brinjal

How To Grow Brinjal

Common Name: Eggplant, Aubergine

Indian Names: Baingan (Hindi), Badenekayi (Kannada), Kathirikayi (Tamil)

Botanical Name: Solanum melongena

Vegetable type: Berry (The brinjal is actually classified as a fruit!)

Varieties: White, Dwarf, Snake

The brinjal, which is commonly known as the eggplant or aubergine in the western world, is closely related to tomatoes and potatoes as it lies in the same Solanum family. It is a staple part of many cuisines all over the world, and used in many popular dishes, with one of the more famous ones (thanks to Disney) being ratatouille. They are also extremely healthy and can be prepared in many ways. Eggplants are high in iron, calcium, and fibre, and are a low-fat, low-calorie food as well. So before this vegetable finds its way onto your dinner table, let’s take a look at its main features.

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Make your own shower gel at home in 5 minutes

Shower gels that you buy off the supermarket shelves not only burn a hole in your pockets, but also contain a number of chemicals. Want to make a shower gel yourself ? Not only is it a ton of fun, but you can make it with completely natural ingredients – which is good for your skin ! If you have a few Aloe Vera plants growing in your balcony or backyard, this is a great weekend project for you and the kids !


Here’s what you will need:

shower gel ingredients

  • 1 cup castile soap ( you can make your own castile as well, but it takes 3 weeks – we will publish a post about how to do it yourself at a later date, but for now, you can just order a bottle of castile soap online. It is a vegetable oil based soap, and is made in a technique that was developed in the Castile region of Spain – hence the name !)
  • 2 tbsp Raw Shea butter (this is optional, but adding this increase the skin hydration properties of the gel)
  • 1 cup Aloe Vera Gel – just grab a few Aloe Vera leaves, peel off the green part of the leaves on one side. Scoop out the gel using a spoon (make sure you don’t let the yellow resin get into the scooped out gel – it can be somewhat irritating to the skin) Pro-tip: Make sure you take only a couple of leaves from each Aloe Vera plant – if you take more, the plant may be damaged in its growth.
  • Either 1 tsp of Vitamin E oil or 500 mg of Vitamin C( Ascorbic Acid) – not only is this good for your skin, but would also act as a natural preservative
  • Essential Oil of your choice – Lavender, Lime, Orange, Bergamot – pretty much most essential oils would do – you need to add in about 20 ml


  • Get the aloe gel, and blend it using a mixer-blender for a couple of minutes
    Aloe Vera Gel Aloe Vera gel in blender to  get the right consistency
  • Warm the shea butter until it’s completely melted
    Melt the shea butter
  • Put the aloe gel, castile soap, vitamin E or C, shea butter and essential oil into a bottle, close the lid – and shake it for a minute.
    shower gel bottle
  • Your shower gel is ready !

If you live in a very hot area, it may be a good idea to keep the shower gel in the fridge when you are not using it, in order to extend its shelf life.