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Ten Steps to Green Gardening

by Karen Lawson, All About Lawns Columnist

Green, also called sustainable gardening, helps preserve natural resources. By using "green" gardening practices and products, you can protect the environment while growing healthy plants, trees, and produce crops.

How would you like to improve your lawn?
  • Make it greener
  • Eliminate patches
  • Less weeds
  • Make it thicker
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Keep Your Garden Green: Conserving Water
Water conservation is increasingly important as demand for water escalates. Here are some ideas for conserving water:

  1. Collect rainwater: Rainwater is a green method of reducing your water bill while providing your plants with water relatively free of minerals and chemicals.
  2. Mulching saves water and protects plants: Mulch, or chipped bark and garden waste, provides a layer of insulation that helps prevent evaporation of moisture and deters weeds. It also protects your plants from extreme in temperature. You can buy mulch from sustainable sources; check package labeling.
  3. Xeriscaping: Landscaping with drought tolerant plants helps conserve water. Contact your local university extension service for recommendations on plants suitable for xeriscaping in your area.
  4. Replace non-native plants with native plants: Naturally occurring plants can help maintain a habitat for insects and birds that act as pollinators. Indigenous plants are typically more resistant to disease and predation by pests than non-native species.
  5. Install sprinklers and a drip system: Automatic sprinklers and a drip system can keep your plants healthy without wasting time or water. These systems operate on timers and can be adjusted as necessary. Drip systems allow for slow but deep saturation without runoff or erosion.
  6. Start Composting: Lawn clippings, leaves, and other organic plant material can easily be converted to compost. Compost provides organic nutrition in place of highly concentrated fertilizers that can pollute water and Earth.

Green Gardening: Rethinking Your Garden

  1. Replace chemical pesticides: In the 1960s, biologist Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring detailed the devastating effects of the chemical pesticide DDT on wildlife and the environment. Today, safe alternatives including insecticidal soaps and natural pest control products are widely available. Reduce pollution and keep your garden green and safe.
  2. Buy and Use Green Products: Use gardening supplies and tools made from recycled materials and sustainable sources. Limit purchases to items you need; Careful planning can help you get the most out of what you have.
  3. Recycle: Composting and mulching recycles garden waste. It's also important to recycle plant and product containers, and to buy gardening supplies made from recycled materials.
  4. Share the Bounty of your Garden: Neighborhood gardens and co-ops are a great way to share and trade what you've grown with your neighbors. You might even pick up more hints for successful green gardening.

National Wildlife Federation: Gardening in an Environmentally Friendly Way

About the Author
Karen Lawson is a freelance writer with an avid interest in gardening and horticulture. She earned BA and MA degrees in English from the University of Nevada, Reno.

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