10 Tips for Green Gardening

Going green — By Stephanie on May 23, 2009 at 7:02 am
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Minimize your carbon footprint with these 15 tips for green gardening

Its Memorial Day weekend – time to get outside and enjoy the first taste of summer!  If you’re planning to work in the yard, consider these 10 tips for Green Gardening.

For organic and safe yard work, its not as tough as you might think.  You’ll enjoy the results too!  Not only will your work be gentler on the environment, but if you have kids and/or pets, it only makes sense to engage in non-toxic gardening.

These 10 tips for green gardening will save you money, too.  When you engage in the three “Rs” – reduce, reuse, recycle, you’ll spend less.  I’ll even guess that you’ll enjoy the process more, as a result.

1. Spread mulch around your plants (at least 1-3 inches).  This will reduce evaporation when you water, saving you money on your utility bill!  Don’t forget to water in the early morning or after the sun goes down – also less evaporation than in the heat of the day.  Your plants will flourish and grow bigger and more beautiful as a result.

2.  Spend a bit more upfront for solid garden tools that will last more than a season or two.  If every gardener did this, just think of the space we could save in landfills!  One excellent store: Smith and Hawken (my personal favorite).

3.  Speaking of tools, purchase simple (yet sturdy) hand tools, avoiding those that require gasoline or electricity.  Think of the extra workout you’ll get, while minimizing CO2 emissions.  Added bonus:  no need for a dust mask!

4.   Choose non-toxic pesticides.  For example, many gardeners rely on bugs to reduce garden pests.  Did you know that ladybugs eat aphids?  Of course, earthworms help enrich your soil, too.  You can keep deer out of your yard without expensive deer repellent.   Mix one egg with a few dashes of Tabasco sauce, then spray on your plants.  Deer hate animal protein (another alternative – have your boys pee outside around the perimeter of your yard)!

5.  Use a push-mower to trim your lawn.  Charming and quaint, and I’ll bet you’ll get some looks from your neighbors!  Still, it brings back wonderful memories and is 100% emission free.  Remember what I said about a workout?  Step it up!

6.  If your yard is too big, or – let’s face it – you are a bit too lazy to push-mow, how about a solar-powered automower?  Again, this one is gentle to the environment as it gets power from the sun.  But even better, you can enjoy an iced tea while your automower zips around trimming the grass!

7.  Rake and sweep instead of using a leaf blower.  Human power = good.  Gas power = wasteful.

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How does your Organic Garden Grow?

8.  Do not rake up leaves around plants.  Leave them for a natural mulch.  Consider raking in some of your used coffee grounds and/or compost if you are a super green gardener!

9.  Install plants that will self-pollinate, or which cross-pollinate.  This is a sure-fired way to keep your garden growing naturally and at low-cost to you and the environment.  Talk to a garden expert if you need help.  For example, blueberries are both male and female.  You need to get at least one of each in order to grow berries to harvest.

10.  Do not use slug bait!  This is deadly for dogs and babies – and, for some reason, canines love its taste.  A natural way to keep slugs away is to “bait” them with small, shallow bowls of beer.  Slugs are attracted to it, and then die.

Now that you have these 10 tips for a Green Garden, get out and enjoy nature in your own back yard.  Whether you are planting a new garden, or just maintaining the one you’ve already established, this year it can be the greenest ever!

If you have additional organic gardening and/or non-toxic tips, please share them below!

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