ANITA STONE: Gardeners Are All Going Green
Everywhere I travel, every other word from a gardener's mouth, a builder's voice and a landscaper's vocabulary is the word "green."
So why should we care about this word? Why not red, blue, or yellow? Or purple, fuchsia, or even gold?
We have finally become aware of our planet's safety, not only environmentally but also through conservation, sustainability and good old global practices. It is truly an easy task to use green products -- just ask anyone in charge of lumber, horticulture and food consumption.
The garden is an excellent place to begin the quest for an environmentally and organically sound plan, minus the synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. We can grow and maintain healthy soil filled with beneficial fungi and bacteria that will give the lawns much needed strength to withstand weeds, insects and disease. It is a plan that not only will prove to be healthy, but also worth the extra effort in your flower beds and vegetable beds, even for the trees and shrubs that maintain a place in your life.
Let's begin by using natural methods. I had always thought that raising the mowing height simply meant a thicker and more productive lawn. In truth, it eliminates a shallow root system that becomes susceptible to disease. It's easy to raise your mower height to three inches, and you will find that taller grass helps shade the soil from the sun. Taller grass also reduces water evaporation and holds nutrients that protect the lawn.
Most of us rake the clippings once we mow the yard. But if you leave the clippings, not only will they decompose, they will add nitrogen to the soil and reduce the need for fertilizers.
Environmentally friendly products are being used to eliminate the hazards found around our gardens. Wastewater can be lessened by using rain barrels and catching roof runoff water that finds its way into sewers and drainage areas. We can save energy and water, especially outdoors. Many of us have a tendency to over-water plants. But over-watering can kill plants just as easily as not tending to them.
While we try to save money on energy costs by purchasing the most energy-efficient appliances, we also should consider removing any harmful toxins to our soil.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that a garden grown without pesticides is a healthy and prosperous garden. And the bonus is that you will be growing and eating flowers and vegetables that are truly pure.
Speaking of weeds, I have recently read an article on Common Vetch, also known as Vicia Sativa. This weed is found in most gardens and is recognizable by its threadlike tendrils that cling to anything. Small purple, pink or white flowers bloom from spring to late summer. This is a pretty weed, and is a plant that has the ability to gather nitrogen from the air and put it into the soil.
Common vetch was imported as a cover crop and is used for hay and pasture. Today it makes a tangled mess among shrubs and perennials. Most gardeners view the plant as a pest. You can simply pull common vetch and, because of its nitrogen-rich roots, toss the plant on the compost pile after you pull it. Whatever your garden preferences, awareness is a key factor to ensure fresh, safe and future garden practices.
- Use water wisely while caring for plants and animals.
- Feed the birds.
- Plant summer annuals and tender bulbs.
- Divide, plant, and fertilize perennials.
- Prune shrubs after blooming and apply mulch after soil has warmed up.
- Apply first lawn fertilizer.
- Plant container and balled and burlapped plants.
- Make sure your vegetable garden is free from weeds and pests.
- Fertilize plants growing in containers every two weeks.
- Transplant evergreens.
Contact freelance writer Anita Stone at email@example.com.
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