Green Gardens, Green Gardening


There is nothing more attractive than a beautiful garden. However, your garden can place a heavy burden on nature unless you take steps to keep it environmentally friendly. Here are some of the best ways to keep your garden green, both figuratively and literally.

Gardens need lots of water, and that can have a major impact on the environment. However, there are several simple ways that you can dramatically lower the amount of water they need. To start with, water your lawn in the morning and at night when it is cooler – this will reduce evaporation and allow the water to soak into the soil. Also, most lawns only need watering every 4 to 8 days, so there is no reason to have the sprinkler heads running all of the time. In fact, if you water your lawn less frequently but more thoroughly, you will encourage it to grow deep roots – which will make it much stronger and more resistant to disease.

If you really want to save lots of water, install a greywater system. This will collect relatively clean water from your shower, bath and wash basins, and then treat it so that it is clean enough to be used in your garden. You will need to have some plumbing done, as well as have a tank and filtration system installed, which will cost some money – however, if you are serious about reducing the impact your garden has on the environment, then the investment is worthwhile. You can also collect rainwater and use this to supplement your greywater, but make sure that you check with your state government before you do – some states regulate or prohibit this.

Fertilizers can do a lot of damage to the environment, particularly if they get into rivers or streams – think about all of those noxious algal blooms. To reduce the amount that you use, buy a good mulching lawn mower rather than picking up your grass clippings when you mow. This will feed your lawn and reduce the amount of fertilizer you need to apply. Some people worry that clippings make an unsightly mess, but if you mow your lawn regularly and only cut off about a third of the height, then you only have fine clippings – these will sink into your lawn quickly without leaving a trace.

Also, don’t assume that you need to apply fertilizer every year. In fact, most lawns only need fertilizing every 3 to 4 years, particularly if the clippings are mulched. Get your soil tested every couple of years, and then check with your local garden shop to see if you need to do anything – and, if you do, make sure that you buy organic fertilizer.

Finally, the best fertilizer for your other garden plants is compost. Save your garden waste and put it on a compost heap, along with appropriate household waste such as fruit and vegetable scraps. You may still need fertilizer for some plants – roses, for example – but overall you will drastically reduce your fertilizer usage by composting.

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