Compost in the City — It’s GardenWise!

(A great post today from our Fabulous office manager, Stacy Baker)

Composting in the city can be done! Whether you have a yard live in a tiny apartment with no yard, here are some interesting and fun facts about “composting in the city.”

What is composting: It is a process that occurs when microorganisms, like bacteria and fungi, digest organic matter such as leaves, grass, and food scraps. The by-products of composting are heat, water vapor, and carbon dioxide, and at the end of the process you are left with a nutrient rich, soil-like substance called com post.

Why should someone start a compost bin: Composting has a lot of great environmental, physical, chemical, and biological benefits; it reduces the amount that you throw away due to distasteful orders, and fruit flies caused by rotting food. By containing it and disposing of it on your own property you use the “green” method to convert waste into useful soil, in which you can start a garden, or add to house plants as a natural fertilizer. For those with kids, starting a bin could be a great science project.

If composting intrigues you, below is a list of materials that you will need to start your own compost.  All you need is a good mix of green and brown materials:

*One part green (coffee grounds, kitchen scraps, etc.)*Three parts brown (leaves, paper, dryer lint, wood chips, soil, and cardboard)*One air tight container*Charcoal liners to keep the smell down if you choose to compost inside your house (your choice)*Biodegradable bags to put inside the bin (your choice but comes in handy if you are composting inside your house)

If you’re lucky to have a yard, try using Tumblers for composting. They’re made out of plastic, less labor intensive, keep the materials out of site and are great for small spaces. Since this does not have contact with the ground, remember to add a shovelful of soil to the mixture to increase the diversity.

If you don’t have a yard, have no fear!  There are ways to still have a compost bin. If you are the hands on type, try our method above and create your own. If not, there may be places located near you to you set up and even collect your own compost.  In DC there’s a wonderfulcompany located at compostcab.com. 

 

Add Natives That Require Less Water

On this 95 degree day, you may want to think about replacing your plants with more eco-friendly choices that will require less water each week.

Some plants require water almost everyday.  You don’t need to replace all of these plants, especially if they are your favorites.  But you can substitute many of these problem drinkers with attractive drought-tolerant alternatives, that will require less watering year round, which is a great green step.  Here are some examples of plants that require more water to stay away from, and some  better choices. 

You can also consider replacing some exotic plants with groups of native plants that will tolerate and thrive in your area’s year round weather conditions.  Native plants are hardy, drought resistant, low maintenance, and will save you time and money by reducing the need for pesticides, fertilizer, and water.  However, not all introduced species are bad garden choices, and some will adapt very well to your area, so you’ll need to do some research.  A big bonus to planting a variety of native plants?  They’ll provide a habitat for a variety of your favorite native wildlife, including birds and butterflies.

Go Green, Plant a Tree

Trees Create Green Living  

A thoughtful way to live a greener life is to make your landscape eco-friendly and  plant trees.  Planting a tree is one of the most immediate green steps you can take as trees absorb CO2 and other dangerous gasses while replenishing the atmosphere with oxygen.

Canopy trees, and Deciduous trees that  grow tall and full in the summer, will add shade to your home and help it stay cool in the summer months.  They will also allow your home to absorb warm sun light in winter.   In  addition to being good for the environment, adding  these trees to your landscape is an  energy saving step that will lower the cost of cooling and heating your home.   

Another group of trees to think about planting are Fruit bearing trees which will also absorb dangerous gasses while replenishing oxygen.  A big plus in adding some fruit trees to your garden space?  Your garden will become much more  productive.   While  enjoying your favorite fruits and saving a little money at the grocery store, you can also  donate any extra fruit you grow to those in need. Not only will you help others in your immediate community, but you’ll show by example how Green Living can give back, both locally and globally.

Rain Barrels are GardenWise

Today’s Green Living tip falls into the Water Conservation category… recycle water by adding a rain barrel!  Adding a rain barrel to your landscape is a pretty simple project that can be completed in a single day.  Did you know a typical 1/2″ rain storm will fill a 50 gallon rain barrel, while a 1″ rainstorm produces 1/2 gallon of water per square foot of roof area?  That’s a lot of water to recycle,  and lot less water you’ll be paying for from you local water authority.     

Rain Barrels come in all shapes, sizes and colors, and the uses are limitless — you can attach a standard garden hose to your barrel, or you can attach a soaker hose.  You can also use your rainwater in your watering cans for your containers and pots.   Because we love added bonuses here at GardenWise — here’s a good one:  rain barrels reduce the amount of water around the foundations of your home. 

A company I just started to work with, Gutter Supply,  has a lot of options to choose from that will allow you to imagine how nicely you can incorporate a rain barrel into your landscape design. 

 

Water, Water, Everywhere: Recycle Water in the Garden

Green Living Tips – Rain Barrels!

Landscape Architects have been on the cutting edge of combining sustainable and green trends with land use planning for decades.  Now there are numerous  affordable green garden steps  you  can take in your own garden spaces that will greatly impact our environment.  Today  our Green Living tip falls into the Water Conservation category;  recycle water  by adding a rain barrel!  

Rain barrels come in all shapes, sizes and colors, and the uses are limitless — you can attach a standard garden hose to your barrel, or you can attach a soaker hose.  You can also use your rainwater in your watering cans for your containers and pots.   Because we love added bonuses here at GardenWise — here’s a good one: rain barrels  reduce the amount of water around the foundations of your home! 
 
Adding a rain barrell to your landscape is a pretty simple project that can be completed in a single day.  Did you know a typical 1/2″ rain storm will fill a 50 gallon rain barrel, while a 1″ rainstorm produces 1/2 gallon of water per square foot of roof area?  That’s a whole lot of water to recycle,  and a lot less water you’ll be paying for from you local water authority.    There are many rain barrel options to be found at garden centers an online.  A company I work with, Gutter Supply,  has a lot of options to choose from that will allow you to  seamlessly incorporate a rain barrel into your  landscape design.  If you think it’ s unsightly to have a barrel in your landscape, keep in mind it’s pretty easy to design a hidden area for your barrell, such as this bamboo structure in a garden corner. 

Shade and Fruit Trees are GardenWise

Environment and Energy Saving Tips — Plant Trees    

A thoughtful way to live a greener life is to make your landscape eco-friendly and  plant trees.  The addition of a tree in your land- scape is an immediate  green step you can take as trees absorb CO2 and other dangerous gasses while they replenish the atmosphere with oxygen.

Canopy trees, and Deciduous trees that  grow tall and full in the summer, will add shade to your home and help it stay cool in the summer months.  They will also allow your home to absorb warm sun light in winter.   In  addition to being good for the environment, adding  these trees to your landscape is an  energy saving step that will lower the cost of cooling and heating your home.   

Fruit bearing trees will also absorb dangerous gasses while replenishing oxygen,  and a plus is your garden becomes more  productive.   While  enjoying your favorite fruits and saving a little money at the grocery store, you can also  donate any extra fruit to those in need. Not only will you help others in your immediate community, but you’ll show by example how  Green Living and the simple act of planting some trees can give back, both locally and globally.

Get Your “Green” On

Green Living  in 2012

A thoughtful way to live a greener life in the new year is to make your landscape eco-friendly and  plant trees.  Planting a tree is one of the most immediate green steps you can take as trees absorb CO2 and other dangerous gasses while replenishing the atmosphere with oxygen.

Canopy trees, and Deciduous trees that  grow tall and full in the summer, will add shade to your home and help it stay cool in the summer months.  They will also allow your home to absorb warm sun light in winter.   In  addition to being good for the environment, adding  these trees to your landscape is an  energy saving step that will lower the cost of cooling and heating your home.

Fruit bearing trees will also absorb dangerous gasses while replenishing oxygen,  and a plus is your garden becomes more  productive.   While  enjoying your favorite fruits and saving a little money at the grocery store, you can also  donate any extra fruit to those in need. Not only will you help others in your immediate community, but you’ll show by example how Green Living can give back, both locally and globally.