Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Going Green Gardening – Fun & Easy Tips

Going green is a very popular trend in today’s society and for good reason.  You see it in the grocery stores with reusable bags, banks are consistently trying to get their customers to go green by banking electronically and some stores are converting to more online coupons, offers and sales.  There are also ways to be more earth-friendly at home.  I’m going to cover here plenty of tips on how to go green in your garden.

There are plenty of things you can do to conserve energy, reduce waste, reuse and recycle materials while gardening.  Taking a second look at your watering practices may allow you to cut down on utility expenses while also conserving one of earth’s most precious resources.  When shopping for plants, select those suited to your region’s moisture conditions such as native plants that naturally thrive in your locale.  If you live in an area with limited rainfall, choose drought-tolerant plants for the best success.  Group moisture-loving plants in the same area and near the water source.  By concentrating the watering chores into one area, you conserve water and reduce maintenance.  To save water and use the water that replenishes earth naturally, use rain barrels to collect rain water and then use it to water your container plants or garden.  An easy way to conserve moisture in your soil is to cover with organic mulch such as wood chips or other natural materials like seashells or acorns.  Reuse those green piles of pest-free plant debris, herbicide-free grass clippings, fall leaves and noninvasive weeds by mixing with a bit of soil and fertilizer to make a rich, organic compost pile.  Another easy way to deal with those fall leaves is shredding them and covering your lawn with the thin layer it will produce.  Use twigs and branches from pruning to create decorative fences, arbors, trellises and even garden art.  Mow your lawn high and often, removing only one-third of the grass blade at each mowing.  And don’t throw away those grass clippings. They add nutrients, organic matter and moisture to the soil.  In fact, a season of clippings is equal to applying one pound of actual nitrogen fertilizer per 1,000 square feet.  To keep from washing away into storm sewers and polluting our water, make sure to sweep off grass clippings, chemicals and fertilizers from sidewalks, drives and other hard surfaces.  And if you want to avoid using chemicals all together, try digging out weeds by hand.  You’ll burn more calories and use fewer pesticides.  And if this is not an option for you try using environmentally friendly products.  One way to do this is by using corn gluten; but if you want to find a spray, look for ones that contain ingredients such as vinegar, soaps and plant oils to burn the tops off of unwanted plants.  To bring in some night light try using our own resource, the sun.  Use solar power to light up your landscape, power your water fountain or run your irrigation system.  In order to bring down your carbon footprint even more, try using electronic-powered equipment instead of gas-powered mowers, for example, because they can produce as much pollution as driving a car 100 miles.  Consider permeable pavers or stepping stones when adding new walks to your landscape.  And lastly but certainly not least, reuse and recycle your old tools by donating them or turning them into creative lawn ornaments and garden art. 

These tips should give you a good start in transitioning to a greener lifestyle.  Starting out in your garden will only increase your desire to keep it up and maybe carry over to other aspects in your home and lifestyle.  While thinking green in your garden saves you money you can use that savings to decorate it with beautiful lawn décor.    

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