Think green before you start gardening this yearDuluth and its surrounding communities are known for taking a proactive stance on sustainability, so why not make our gardens green, too?
By: Angie Loomis, Article City and Forum Communications
Duluth and its surrounding communities are known for taking a proactive stance on sustainability, so why not make our gardens green, too?
Going green is a popular trend in today’s society, and for good reason. You see it everyday with reusable bags, electronic banking, and online coupons and sales. There are also ways to be more earth-friendly at home. Here are some tips to “go green” in your garden.
There are plenty of things you can do to conserve energy, reduce waste, and 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 our region’s moisture conditions, such as native plants. 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 rainwater and then use it to water your container plants or garden. An easy way to conserve moisture in your soil is to cover it 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 and noninvasive weeds by mixing with a bit of soil and fertilizer to make a rich, organic compost pile.
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.
Make sure to sweep off grass clippings, chemicals and fertilizers from sidewalks, drives and other hard surfaces to keep them from washing away into storm sewers and polluting our water. And if you want to avoid using chemicals altogether, try digging out weeds by hand. You’ll burn more calories and use fewer pesticides. 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 electric-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 decor.