Going green is a phrase on everyone’s lips these days. We have electric cars, solar homes and businesses reducing their carbon footprints. Since gardeners are supposed to be stewards of the earth, it stands to reason that we should all pitch in and do our part as well. There are many ways we can affect the health of our neighborhood and by doing so, affecting the earth’s health too.
Change the way you think about your lawn
Lawns are so 20th Century. The sheer amount of energy, water, fertilizer and effort that goes in to maintaining a flat, green carpet that serves no purpose is monstrous. I happen to have a yard, not a lawn. Hundreds of native grasses and plants live without anything except mowing about every 10 days. There’s several acres, so it isn't a small, suburban lot. Several species of clover, dandelions, violets and small wildflowers welcome the bees and other pollinators. I use no fertilizer or pesticides to run off and pollute our waterways, no supplemental water other than what falls from the sky and the only things I remove are invasives if they happen to sprout. The lawn mower and weed eater are the only powered tools I use. However I’m planning on changing that as well.
Replace gasoline tools with battery operated tools
At this point, a rechargeable lawn mower is out of the question for me. I mow about 4 acres and affordable rechargeable mowers aren't really up to that task yet. They are probably out there, however my budget isn't up to it. However rechargeable weed eaters and leaf blowers are quite efficient and affordable. Hedge trimmers and orchard pruners are as well. You can be eco-friedly and go green with all sorts of small power tools. If you have a smaller property, cordless mowers for suburban lots are quite affordable and do a great job. Gasoline-powered tools are unhealthy for humans, wildlife and the earth and the sooner we stop using them, the better off everything will be. One thing that I’m really interested in is a rechargeable tiller. The well-known company, Snapper, offers a whole line of rechargeable tools with interchangeable batteries. That means the whole tool line uses a compatible power system, so you do not have to purchase a separate battery and charger for every tool. So, the tiller, hedge trimmers, weed eaters, mowers and even a chain saw can use the same battery. It is a very efficient system.
Solar lighting is easy and harms nothing
Solar is also very attractive to eco-minded gardeners these days. The evolution of solar lighting systems have come a long way since I purchased my first solar lights about ten years ago. They are brighter, last longer and come in so many different forms and colors, there’s sure to be something that suits your style. From useful walkway lights and spotlights, to decorative fairy lights and cute stand-alone solar lighted mushrooms, butterflies and bunnies, the sky’s the limit on what is available. The wonderful thing about solar, aside from the fact that there’s no drain on the power grid and not harmful to the environment is that you simply push the stake in the ground and you’re done.
Anyone can compost, even apartment dwellers
Going green is also about being responsible for what you add to your soil. Chemical fertilizers and poison pest and weed controls defeat the purpose we’re trying to achieve. Every garden should have a compost area or container. There are even small units for apartment dwellers that recycle kitchen waste. Gardeners with property can simply create a pile of green (wet or fresh plant material) and browns (dry plant material) and let nature break it down into nutrient-rich compost. If you want, there’s vermi-compostiong as well. That’s where a gardener keeps worms to help break down the scraps and their poop, or manure, is one of the richest fertilizers there is. And, yes there’s indoor versions for this method too. Worms are ordered on line and delivered right to your door.
Take good care of your little spot on this Earth
Gardeners see more than the average person when it comes to the health of the earth. When the insect population declines, we’re the first to notice. When fertilizer run-off pollutes our streams and aquifers, we see that too. There have been positive improvements in the last few years and green technology is leading the way. However it is up to us to step forward and steer people in the right direction. We need to educate people, young and old about eco-friendly methods that help growing and living things instead of harming them. We should be an example and if we ignore the message that the earth is sending us, others will ignore it as well. Take care of your part of the world and it will take care of you.
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