GardenWise on Productive and Green Gardens
Many clients come to me with questions about how to take significant “green” steps to make their gardens more eco-friendly. The question I hear the most? “Where to start?” Here are five easy steps every person can take in their home garden that will help the environment and save you money in the long run on watering and energy costs.
Reduce your lawn by half — yes, by half! Replace your reduced lawn area with groundcovers that will provide beautiful colors and textures to your space, and add beautiful hardscape or some pourous paving which allow for surrounding plantings to soak up any excess water
Replace plants with drought-tolerant alternatives that require much less water.
Also replace exotic plants with native plants that can easily survive and thrive in the year round weather conditions in your area. This will also cut down on the cost of replacing plants that don’t survive well in your weather.
Add a deciduous tree (one that loses its leaves in Fall) which will grow tall, and shade your home and roof during summer months, keeping your inside temps lower. These trees will also allow for sunlight to enter your home during winter months to help keept it warm and reduce your overall energy use.
Make your garden productive by adding vegetables and 2-3 fruit trees. Vegetables can be grown in former lawn areas, and trees are fantastic garden additions as they absorb CO2 and other dangerous gasses while replenishing the atmosphere with oxygen. You can save money at the grocery store, enjoy fresh produce, or help others by donating your home grown vegetables and fruit to those in need
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.
Water Conservation Tips for Every Garden
As we start the fall season, water conservation is something many of us have to consider as we maintain our garden spaces. Here are some ideas that can greatly reduce your water usage and help you get the biggest bang for your water buck.
Less Lawn. I’ve been giving this advice for years now, reduce your lawn by half! The average American uses over 200 gallons per day when watering their lawn areas. Consider replacing some of that grass with an attractive groundcover which is drought resistant, covers a large area, and requires no mowing. Do you have grass between stone pavers? Consider replacing that grass with an attractive and drought resistant groundcover as well. Sweet William has the added bonus of being a fragrant ground, providing an added bonus to any garden space.
Super Soak. Up to a third of all water from irrigation systems can evaporate during the heat of the day. Instead, give your plants fewer, heavy soakings. If your watering routine includes using the sprinklers, as mine does, consider using them only in the morning.
Recycling Water. Recapturing Grey/Rain Water Provides a Free Source of Garden water. These systems can be easily installed and incorporated into irrigation systems.
Drip irrigation. Soaker hoses are easy to install systems that water plants right at the root and serve as an efficient alternate to sprinkler systems. It’s an afternoon project you can do yourself; be sure to get a timer for maximum effectiveness.
Growing vegetables (and herbs) in pots or containers can be the ideal solution for those with limited space. However, containers can be a great idea for everyone, including those with an abundance of in-ground garden space. There’s so much flexibility in growing veggies in pots! You can move them around to capture the sunlight, or hide them in the shade when it gets too warm. A sudden change of weather? No worries! Just move your containers inside. You can also brighten up your patio or deck with containers of multi-colored vegetable plants and herbs, and or create a rooftop garden and share your produce with family and friends. The biggest “pro?” Nothing compares to the taste of fresh vegetables and herbs — at my house we’re looking for new Eggplant recipes!