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LizzieWeakley posted a blog entry in Lizzie Weakley's Green BlogEveryone says that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, but green doesn’t always mean environmentally friendly. Those homeowners who want to be conscious of their impact on the environment can start with their own yard care practices and what they grow. Doing so can ensure that both your yard and the natural landscape beyond stay green and healthy, and here are a few ways you can accomplish that. Use Native Plants When you use plant life that is common to the community, it helps provide food and resources for native animals. You can ensure local species survive with trees, shrubs, and plants that offer food and nesting material. Growing native plants also prevents the spread of aggressive foreign plants that could overtake the local native plants in your area. Plus, local plants are easier to grow and care for because they thrive in your climate. If you want a low-maintenance yard, then the garden center can show you which plants are easiest to care for and hardy plants for your climate. Feed Pollinators Bees help pollinate crops and flowers. Martha Stewart says 80 million pounds of pesticides are put on crops and communities across the United States annually. These chemicals kill bees and other animals that are susceptible to small environmental changes and displace others. Something as simple as planting flowers and fruits to provide nectars for pollinators can do a great deal of good in giving your local bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators a place to refuel. Anything that flowers can work, so when you’re considering plants to grow in your yard and garden, keep that in mind. Plant Trees You can help the environment by planting trees. Not only do trees help clean the air, but they also offer valuable shelter to birds and animals. Fruit trees especially can be a source of nourishment for the local wildlife. Not only do the flower buds provide nectar for pollinators, as previously mentioned, but they also give fruits and seeds to birds, squirrels, and other animals that are now running out of healthy food sources and shelter. To encourage birds to return to your yard, planting oak trees for shelter is a great idea, and the acorns they grow make for great food for animals. Cardinals and bluebirds are partial to dogwood trees, and pine trees are excellent for most bird species, as well as for animals. Use Organic Fertilizers Another tip is to work with gardening centers and landscaping companies that offer organic fertilizers as opposed to the more toxic varieties. These organic fertilizers are safe for pets and any birds, bees, or animals that visit your yard while still creating a green lawn. If you want to attract specific species, then the landscaper can also give you ideas about what bushes or flowers you can plant to attract them to your yard. Make sure that the fertilizers you get work well with your intended plants and lawn, as different plants and regions require different nutrients to thrive properly. You can make sure your side of the fence is greenest by adding local plants and trees. Organic fertilizer will protect your pets and ensure bees and birds are safe on your property. Whether you are familiar with the area or you want to know more about specific plants, the local garden center or landscape provider can help you discover the right ways to help the Earth in your little corner of the world.
LizzieWeakley posted a blog entry in Lizzie Weakley's Green BlogIf you’re looking to start your own garden, there’s a good chance that you want to grow your plants organically without using artificial pesticides or fertilizers. Organic gardening, however, comes with its own set of challenges that can make it a difficult task for beginners. Here are four expert tips to help you start your own organic garden. Start Small Many novice gardeners get ambitious and try to handle a large plot very early on, but it’s best to begin with a small area of land. To start, try growing in an area 50 to 100 square feet wide per member of your family. This may not seem like much, but you can grow plenty of plants in a small area if you plant densely and care for your plants properly. Beginning gardeners who start with a large plot often end up feeling overwhelmed and quitting, so start small to ease yourself into organic gardening. Use Quality Soil If you’re determined to grow your plants organically, it’s important that you use high-quality organic soil. The best way to do this is to incorporate a few inches of compost into the top layers of soil. Making your own compost is easy so long as you stay dedicated to composting all the natural food products you consume, and quality compost can do wonders for your soil quality and help keep your plants healthy. Use Organic Fertilizer Quality fertilizer increases your soil health and crop yields, and even if you decide to grow your garden organically, there are a variety of organic fertilizers available from places like Nature Safe. Reliable organic fertilizer formulas will provide excellent nutrition to your plants and help them grow faster without relying on chemicals or other artificial substances. Buy Plants When Starting Out Even if you plan to eventually start your own plants indoors, it’s best to buy most of your plants when starting out, as growing your own plants can be tricky for beginners. You can usually get starter vegetable plants for 25 cents to $3 per plant, which makes buying plants cheaper in many cases than starting your own plants, especially when you consider all the materials needed to use your own plants to start. By utilizing these four tips, even novice gardeners can start their own organic garden. Gardening can be a fun and rewarding hobby, especially when you know that you’re growing your plants without any artificial chemicals that may be harmful to you, your plants and the environment. Just remember to start small, buy your plants when starting out and use sufficient compost and fertilizer, and you’ll have a beautiful organic garden in no time.
Meghan Belnap posted a blog entry in Green Living BlogA lush, green yard starts with healthy soil, and that usually means using soil amendments to make sure that it's as nutrient-rich as it needs to be. With all of the different types of fertilizer on the market, it can be tough to make the best choice for you, your plants, and the surrounding environment. When it comes to organic fertilizer, there are some key advantages that shouldn't be overlooked. Long-term Improvement Most people don't really look past the nutrient boost that fertilizers give their soil, but a good organic fertilizer like Nature Safe has benefits above and beyond its nutrient content. As it breaks down, it can actually help improve the moisture-retaining capabilities and overall fertility of the soil itself over the long term. Better for the Environment Organic fertilizers are produced using the natural processes of decomposition, making them easily biodegradable. The production of conventional fertilizers relies on petrochemical byproducts, and is implicated in air, water, and soil pollution. Not only is it destructive to the environment to obtain the raw materials necessary to make it, its manufacturing process can actually damage vital ecosystems, drive out important plant and animal species, and spoil water sources. Wildlife Friendly Since they're so often hidden from view, it can be easy to forget just how much a yard depends on tiny creatures like earthworms and beneficial insects to stay healthy. While organic fertilizer has always been a part of nature, conventional fertilizers often end up adding nutrients to soil at the expense of the local fauna. Earthworms and other creatures have a harder time living in chemically amended soil, and the soil's overall quality suffers as a result. Slower Break Down This may not sound like a benefit, but it is. Conventional fertilizers deliver nutrients quickly, which is not the way plants or soil fauna have evolved to receive them. Organic fertilizers break down slowly, providing a sustained release of nutrients in a readily bioavailable form. Rather than having to cope with sudden gluts of nutrients, your yard can grow the way nature intended. When it comes to amending soil, organic fertilizers are far and away the superior choice. While it is possible to use them irresponsibly, organic fertilizers have far more benefits than risks even for novice gardeners. When used properly, the end result is a vibrant yard, healthy soil, and a cleaner environment.