Gardening and the Environment
You’d don’t need to become an eco-warrior to get on friendly terms with the environment. In fact, you can start small…literally in your own backyard. Here are a few suggestions.
In the Yard
Plant a few trees, shrubbery or flowers around your property. Weed and mulch shrubbery beds. Don’t over-water your lawn. Make sure you completely shut off the water source when you’re finished. Use your mower to mulch lawn clippings as a good self-fertilizer and to help re-seed. If you bag clippings, recycle them as mulch laid in thick layers in the areas between rows of your vegetable garden.
On the Deck, Patio and Porch
If you’re growing plants in containers, consider biodegradable coco liners. They’ll help your plants grow. They’re environmentally-friendly because organic coco fiber liners are made naturally from coconut coir, the substance between the husk and the outer shell of a coconut. They make great container liners, particularly for wire and metal planters, stands and hanging baskets.
Coco is naturally resistant to insects, bacteria, fungi, mold and diseases. Known for their excellent drainage and aeration properties, coco liners promote visibly better, faster plant growth by rehydrating easily while preventing root rot. Plus they keep soil in and aid in keeping it moist.
In the Garden
Start a vegetable garden and grow some of your own food. And if you’re gardening with flowers or vegetables, go organic and reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides and insecticides. Learn about which plants help others* when grown together. Water at the base of plants, not over the leaves, to ensure that your plants get enough water to thrive, but don’t overwater and shut off the source completely when you’re done.
Good to know: For most gardens, an inch of water per week from a combination of rain and irrigation should be sufficient. An inch of water will penetrate about six inches of soil. Watering properly can also help you to meet summer watering restrictions that occur in some locales. If growing seedlings, use peat or terra cotta pots, not plastic.
Plant Care and Maintenance
Mulch your plant beds to help your plants retain moisture and suppress weeds – weeds take water from other plants. Start composting** as a way to recycle and create natural organic fertilizer for your garden.
Plants play many important roles in the environment. Not only do plants provide us with food and useful products, they are essential to the balance of nature. You can make your own contributions to the environment right in your home by taking just a few steps toward “going green.” For more information, visit our Eco Fun page.
*Companion planting is a gardening technique that suggests planting two or more plants near each other to derive various benefits ranging among more vigorous growth, higher yield, or repelling pests.
**Composting is an invaluable practice. Yard and food waste makes up approximately 30% of the waste stream in the United States. You can reduce the amount of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) requiring disposal by as much as one fourth, while at the same time providing a nutrient-rich soil for your garden. When added to gardens, compost can improve soil structure, texture, aeration, and water retention. With compost, you can lighten clay soil or help sandy soil to better retain water. An enclosed compost space or bin is recommended if you have a problem with rodents when vegetative food waste combines with yard waste.
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