April 25, 2014

Elyria
Intermittent clouds
52°F
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How Does a ‘Green’ Garden Grow?

Whether you’re a gardening guru who has acres of perfectly landscaped greenery, or you’re short on space and potted petunias on the patio are your idea of gardening bliss, it’s possible to change your habits and really embrace a ‘green’ thumb.
Gardening green involves using all-natural products and nixing those chemical-laden ones that are commonly relied upon. Here are some tips and techniques to have you seeing more green in the garden.
Au natural: Think natural products and strategies for your landscape. One of the best ways to promote strong roots, stimulate growth, aerate the soil, and encourage water retention is with the application of compost. Compost can easily be made from kitchen scraps, such as remnants of vegetables, egg shells and coffee grounds. In fact, this nutritional powerhouse is often referred to as “gardener’s gold.” Why send it to the landfill when you can create a small compost pile and turn leftover dinner into rich fertilizer?
Don’t be bugged by bugs: There are many insects that are very beneficial to your landscape. Earthworms are shy fellows that do a great job of aerating the soil by burrowing through the ground. Butterflies and bees can pollinate flowers. Certain spiders and centipedes can eat harmful insects that may prey on your greenery.
Use recycled products: Today there’s a bevy of gardening materials made from recycled products. From rubber tires turned into mats and mulch to flower pots made from recycled plastic, you can embrace your eco-friendly sensibilities.
Find an alternative to lawn: Did you know that an estimated 40 million acres of the 48 contiguous American states are covered in lawns? That pretty much makes grass the #1 irrigated “crop” of this country. Instead of spending countless hours mowing, edging and trimming your lawn, devote some grass space to other plants — even a vegetable garden. Then you get more bang from your gardening buck, including vegetables you can bring to the dinner table.
Be water-responsible: Conserve water by harvesting rainwater to use for your lawn and garden. If you must haul out the hose, water in early morning when there’s less chance of the water evaporating in the hot sun before it quenches plants’ roots. Install a rain barrel, such as are for sale at various plant nurseries, or the Lorain County Soil and Water Conservation Service has a limited number of rain barrels for sale (call the Lorain County Soil and Water Conservation Office at 440-326-5800).