As we head towards spring, decide to join the “crop” of yardeners who resolve to grow green this year. No, this is not another article to preach or “guilt” you into being green. It’s not hard, it’s fun and rewarding to feel like you’re making a difference in your own backyard. I took this picture to illustrate rain water harvesting (see the barrel?) Also container gardening (right plant in the right place, you can put a container anywhere). I took these pictures at the National Botanical garden in Washington DC. Notice in the picture to the right there is a compost bin and a tomato plant in the foreground. It’s “green” to mix vegetable and herb plants into an “edible landscape” (grow your own food). Composting has moved from behind the garage to a visible spot in the landscape. Be thoughtful and sustainable by not only planting the right plant in the right place, but also embrace diversity. Monocultures breed problems, diverse groupings of plants hardy to your area are healthier (there is strength in numbers). You’ll also see from the picture that some vertical gardening is a great way to provide the light, support and air movement some plants need to naturally resist disease. See the path? Clearly defined traffic areas help reduce soil compaction around the plant material (healthy soil = healthy plants).
Vegetable plants and small fruit are making a comeback in popularity. That said, for the typical American household, we love our lawns. Nothing wrong with that! Lawns trap runoff and dust, they provide cooling and oxygen for the environment. They are “nature’s carpet” minimizing erosion, water runoff and providing a natural weed control. You can “grow green” by caring for your lawn properly in simple ways. Consider using some organic fertilizers like Turf Revolution (alfalfa based) or Lawn Restore or Nutri Plus (dried chicken manure). Sharpen the blade on your mower and raise the deck, don’t put your lawn under stress by scalping the lawn. Don’t forget to aerate the lawn (healthy soil = healthy plants). There you have it, some simple ways to be a more thoughtful gardener and not feel guilty when someone tells you they’re “sustainable”. Healthy and clean fun that’s rewarding and it’s all right there under your feet……on your small piece of America……your backyard!