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Elena M. Michel, Msc.


Greening Your Green Thumb

Posted on May 6, 2014 at 1:15 PM

It's that time of year again. The temperature is rising and so are your allergies. But the good news is that it's time to get back into the yard and exercise your green thumb. 

It feels as if the market is saturated with tips and how-to ideas that will make your garden greener. Sustainability has endured internationally to prove it is not a trend, but rather a lifestyle integrating itself into every facet of our lives. Gardening is no exception. In this week's g.i.y. blog we weed through the non-sense and get to the root of good green gardening.


  • Composting. Composting is always a good idea. Any non-meat food and natural yard waste can be composted. You can purchase a composter from most stores that sell plants or order one online. Otherwise, you can save money and resources by building your own from shipping pallets. Composting is fuss free and ensures that you'll have quality soil for years to come.

  • Organic. There seems to be a lot of debate over organic plants and plant food verses everything else. The benefits of going organic is the reduction of chemicals in the soil and groundwater. The long term environmental impact of non-organic plants and fertilizer affect both your local ecosystem as well as your immediate yard by squelching all of the natural nutrients in your soil. Also, organic fruit and veg taste so much better than chemically altered and fertilized food.

  • Plants. If you're like me, you like to save money where ever possible. Planting perennials (instead of annuals) ensures a lasting beauty as well as a one time purchase. The enjoyment of watching your perennials thrive year after year certainly outlasts your blooming summer annuals. Environmentally, annuals carry a larger embodied energy than perennials. Further ensuring the success of your plants and perennials lie in choosing those which are indigenous to your area and more like to thrive.

  • Rainwater Harvesting. Harvesting rainwater is a method by which water is collected and stored in large bucket or barrel. Rainwater barrels linking to your rainwater drain pipes are available for purchase. Nevertheless, any bucket or barrel in an optimal spot will do. However, whe ever open water is exposed to the air, it becomes a breeding ground for certain insects. Pour vegetable oil into the water, and a thin film will rise to the surface to deter unwanted insects. Overall, rainwater harvesting saves on your water bill and reduces water consumption.

These basics will enable you to get the reflective balling rolling in your yard. Fortunately, there are countless resources to utilize for any further inquiries: NWF, Sierra Club, Mother Earth News, and Sustainable Gardening for Dummies. Good luck greening your green thumb!

Categories: Water, Lifestyle, Sustainability

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