"Greening" Your Garden: How to Be a Smart and Environmentally Friendly Gardener
Are you looking for ways to help make your yard "greener?" Here are some tips on how to make your garden more friendly toward the environment:
- *Plant native species* You can research what plants are native in your area by going to the Plants Database at the USDA Plants website. Once you go to this website click on the link to "See a list of the plants in my state."
- *Research before you plant* It is important to research the plants that you plan on putting in your garden, especially if you wish to plant ornamentals (plants used for decorative purposes/landscaping). Cross reference your information to make sure that you do not plant any non-native invasives. A good place to start is also on the Plants Database using the link to either "Invasive and Noxious Weeds" or "Learn about noxious and invasive plants."
- *Weed out invasive plants* You may already have some invasive plants in your garden. If that's the case, do not be alarmed, simply pull them up. Some are more difficult to eliminate than others due to large taproots. With these plants, cut them back as far as they will go and then cover them for a few weeks with a tarp. This should get rid of them easily enough and does not require the use of herbicides.
- *Compost* Composting is a great way to get rid of house-hold organic wastes such as paper towels, coffee grinds, eggshells, old fruit or vegetables, fallen leaves, and yard trimmings. It is an environmentally friendly way of recycling your waste and it also makes great fertilizer and mulch for your garden. For tips on starting your own compost pile visit Earth Easy and check out Composting.
- *Plant a rain garden* If you live in an area, like the Northeast for example, that gets a lot of rain throughout the year, then you should plant a rain garden. Rain gardens are small holes dug in the ground that are great for capturing excess run-off from areas such as driveways, sidewalks, or roofs which soak up very little water during a storm. Aside from protecting your home from flooding, rain gardens also attract frogs and salamanders in the spring during their annual breeding migrations. These gardens can also attract birds and other forms of wildlife. Rain gardens are also fairly low-maintenance because you do not have to water them.
- *Garden organically* Use compost for fertilizer. Refrain from using herbicides and pesticides. Instead of using pesticides to kill unwanted insects, find an organic means of getting rid of garden pests. For examples, a dish full of beer is a great way of treating a slug or snail problem in a garden. For more tips, Earth Easy has some good ideas for natural pest control.
With these tips in mind we can help make the world a better place one garden at a time.