Earth Day is a good time to rethink lawn and garden practices and find ways to make sure your landscape is as green as it looks.
It would seem that green and gardening go together naturally, but that isn’t always the case. Most lawns are kept green and weed free with synthetic fertilizers and toxic herbicides, bags of grass clippings and garden waste head for the landfill and over-watering is all too common.
Do you have a sustainable landscape that uses natural resources wisely? Do you use practices to eliminate soil and water pollution? Are you working to reduce waste?
Earth Day is the ideal time to take a close look at all our gardening practices to make sure each one is promoting the long-term well being of the environment.
For several years, I’ve been trying to follow the lead of the landscape industry and working toward “zero-waste gardening” in my own backyard.
Landscaping companies try to reduce the amount of waste on their commercial and residential projects by finding ways to keep debris out of the waste stream. Not only does this help the environment, it helps reduce costs, too.
Gardeners can set a zero waste goal for their landscapes, too. Zero-waste gardening means examining common lawn and garden practices and finding ways to “reduce, reuse and recycle.”
Here are a few ideas for your own zero-waste effort:
- Switch to a reel lawn mower to reduce air pollution.
- Use organic lawn care methods to reduce the need for herbicides and synthetic chemical fertilizers.
- Shop for plants in pots made from biodegradable materials.
- Maintain and manage sprinkler systems to reduce water waste.
- Reuse plastic bags for making leaf compost by filling with leaves, poking holes in the bags and letting nature create compost over the winter.
- Use evergreen branches as plant protection during freezing weather or create a brush pile as shelter for birds and small mammals.
- Use pruned branches as a substitute for purchased plant stakes.
- Turn a leaky bird bath into an interesting planter or bird feeder.
- Place discarded tree stumps in the yard for handy seating or as a base for a sundial.
- Shred leaves, dead annuals and perennial prunings to use as mulch or dig right into the soil for added nutrients.
- Recycle extra plants and leftover garden pots by hosting a plant exchange with your friends and neighbors each spring and fall.
- Use trimmed vines or plants with long feathery foliage to create wreathes, swags or other outdoor decorations.
What tips do you have for zero-waste gardening? Add a green gardening tip in the comments section and you’ll be entered in an Earth Day Drawing to win special gifts from Authentic Haven Brand Natural Soil Conditioner Teas and Aha! Modern Living.