Princeton Online: Princeton, New Jersey: Premier community information web site
House and Garden Feature
http://www.mbprinceton.com

House and Garden Articles

Share:
Print this Page

Most recent posting below. See other articles in the column to the right.

Ten Steps To A Greener Garden

Going green is extremely popular right now. This spring start the greening of your garden and yard by tending an organic garden. Yes, it is more work, but the benefits are worth it. Here are 10 tips that will help you make your garden really green.

1. Keep it Real

 

You know what they say about Mother knowing best? Well, Mother Nature never needed to steal sips from a chemical cocktail of pesticides, weed killers, and chemical fertilizers to keep her act together. Nix the poisons and layer on some all-natural compost, instead. Call in beneficial insect reinforcements to wrestle pesky garden pests to the ground. Who needs to play Command & Conquer when you have battlefield drama unfolding before you in real time?

2. Make Compost From Kitchen Scraps

 

Compost like a champ by throwing in your vegetable waste, instead of allowing it to be trucked off to the landfill. Known as "gardener's gold," compost enriches soil fertility by giving it a shot of high-powered, plant-loving nutrients. Aside from stimulating healthy root development, the addition of rich and earthy compost also improves soil texture, aeration, and water retention. Why waste your hard-earned cash on commercial products when the real deal is free for the taking? Speed up the process with the help of earthworms or go wriggle-free (if you're the squeamish sort).

3. Buy Recycled

 

If your delicate aesthetic sensibilities balk at the idea of reusing yogurt or takeout containers to house your hydrangeas, check out the myriad environmentally friendly planters and raised-garden kits now available. It takes less energy to recycle something than to mine virgin materials, so whether you choose recycled copper, plastic, or even rubber to anchor your tender shoots, it's all copacetic. Admire your handiwork and eco-smarts while lounging on recycled lawn furniture.

4. Grow Your Own Food

 

Buying organic produce can admittedly get pricey, so how about growing your own food instead of painstakingly manicuring that lawn for the umpteenth time? An estimated 40 million acres of the 48 contiguous American states are covered in lawns, making turf grass the United States' largest irrigated crop. American homeowners apply a cringe-worthy tens of millions of pounds of fertilizers and pesticides to their lawns, often at many times the recommended levels. All that for little more than ornamentation. It's time to return to the use of gardens as food sources—you won't find fresher (or cheaper) eating anywhere else.

5. Join A Community Garden

 

Urban dwellers bereft of a yard shouldn't fret: You can still get in on the hoeing and growing action by signing up for a plot at your local community garden. Community gardens typically have a communal composting area, as well, so if you don't have room for one of those triple-duty rotating barrel composters in your home, here's your hookup.

6. Go Native

 

Now that you've learned some of the merits of "de-lawning" your home, consider replacing the ol' putting green with native and indigenous plants, whether they're cactus gardens in Arizona or bottlebrush grasses in Northern Michigan. Already adapted to local conditions, native plants are easy to grow and maintain, generally requiring less fertilizer and water, as well as less effort to rein in pests.

7. Harvest Rainwater

 

Adding a rain barrel is an inexpensive and effortless way to capture mineral- and chlorine-free water for watering lawns, yards, and gardens, as well as washing cars or rinsing windows. By harnessing what's literally raining from the sky, you'll not only notice a marked dip in water costs, but also a reduction in stormwater runoff, which in turn helps prevent erosion and flooding. Pop a screen on top of your barrel to keep out insects, debris, and bird missiles, and make frequent use of your water supply to keep it moving and aerated.

8. Water With Care

 

While we're on the subject of water, adopting a few smart-watering habits will do much to stretch out your supply, especially during dry, hot spells in the summer. Adding mulch and compost to your soil will retain water and cut down evaporation. Plus, soaker hoses or drip irrigation only use 50 percent of the water used by sprinklers. Water early in the day so you can avoid evaporation and winds. And the best place to drench your plants? Directly on those thirsty roots.

9. Bring On The Butterflies and Bees

 

Provide a pesticide-free sanctuary for our pollinator pals, such as butterflies and bees, by growing a diverse variety of native flowers they're particularly drawn to, such as wild lilac, goldenrod, and lemon balm. (Gardens with 10 or more species of attractive plants have been found to entice the most bees.) If you haven't already heard, we're in the throes of a major bee-loss epidemic, which is causing beekeepers in North America and Europe much hand-wringing. Because pollinators affect 35 percent of the world's crop production—and increase the output of 87 of the leading food crops worldwide—extending a little hometown hospitality could go a long way.

10. The Power Of 4

 

Get hip to four "R"s of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's GreenScapes program: Reduce, recycle, reuse and rebuy. You want to reduce your output of waste to ensure you're using materials efficiently. Reusing compost and tree clippings for mulch, or rainwater for watering take up little time and energy, but offer plenty of environmental bang for your buck. Recycling saves resources, while rebuying means seeking products that meet your needs, but are more environmentally friendly than your usual purchases—take, for instance, solar outdoor lighting versus electric-powered fixtures.

Add a Comment

6 Tips for Tree Planting Success

Add a Comment

What Kind of Mulch Is Right For Me?

Add a Comment

How To Prune Bushes

Add a Comment

Bird Proof Your Home For Spring

Add a Comment

How To Care For A Garden Pond

Add a Comment

Tips for Exterior House Painting

Add a Comment

Septic Tank Basics

Add a Comment

Julius H. Gross Inc.
Lawrence Landscapes, Inc.
Ronni Hock Garden & Landscape
Cooper Pest Solutions
HTS Tree Care
Kurt's Kourts
Thomas Lee Fisher Landscaping
Princeton Online - Garden Tours
Action Lawn and Landscape


© Princeton Online. All Rights Reserved.
Phone: 609-737-7901 Fax: 609-737-2512