Guide on How You Can Do Your Part to Help Preserve the Environment
Part 3 Yard and Garden Environmental Efficiency
Let us begin with a happy Earth Week 2010, Earth Month, and Earth Day, and yesterday especially, happy 40th anniversary Earth Day! WE have come a long ways from that first Earth Day in 1970, but we still have quite a ways to go. This week we are celebrating Earth Week, and yesterday was the 40th anniversary of Earth Day so we began a 5 part Earth Week 2010 Special Report How To Preserve The Environment. Today’s feature is about yard and garden environmental efficiency, and gives you some ideas on home to make your yard and garden more eco friendly. We hope you gain some insight as to how to protect your environment and can pass some of that along to your neighbors, friends and family to help spread the message this Earth Week, and especially on the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.
For those who are concerned about protecting the environment, it can be frustrating trying to encourage legislation or other governmental action in this day and age. Environmentalists are often left asking, What can I do? Motivating others can be both challenging and rewarding, but even this starts out on an individual basis. This is good news for all you natural born leaders! If you desire to protect the environment, you can rest assured that your efforts will not be fruitless, nor are you helpless. You can do something alone, and it does make a difference. If you have ever wondered what you, personally, can do to help protect your environment, here are some useful thoughts, ideas, and inspirations for the 40th anniversary of Earth Day 2010 this Earth Week 2010.
Earth Week Special Report How To Preserve The Environment Part 3 Yard and Garden Environmental Efficiency
Now that we have discussed some of the general basics, and the home, let’s talk more about your close environment – your yard and garden. What are some things you can do in your immediate area to preserve your environment?
Yard and Garden
Let’s move outside and look at environmental preservation in your own yard and garden. First, let’s look at the basic yard and the practices involved in planting and maintaining, and how you can include environmental preservation in those practices.
1. Lawn Equipment
In this exercise-crazy society, with its gym memberships and aerobics programs, people should be jumping to switch out gas-powered yard tools for hand-powered ones. Not only does this increase your physical activity, but hand-powered tools reduce noise and emissions and save money. Who hasn’t been enjoying a quiet summer day only to be disturbed by a lawn mower, leaf blower, weed whacker, or other gas-powered tool? Here are some common pieces of yard equipment and their hand-powered alternatives.
-Lawn mower/Reel mower or scythe
-Weed whacker/Scythe or bypass cutters
-Chain saw or brush cutter/Hand-held bow saw
-Snow blower/Snow shovel or push-broom
Another note on snow removal – use sand for traction instead of salt to preserve the integrity of the run-off from melting snow and rain.
Rather than bagging your yard waste in plastic bags, start a compost pile. Grass clippings, leaves, and twigs can be composted. Save the bags for nasty weeds. Speaking of weeds…
3. Natural Pest and Weed Control
There are quite a few natural means of pest control out there. Natural pesticides, such as diatomaceous earth or soap-based sprays, are commercially available these days. They can usually be found in your typical garden center. You can also make your own by mixing a tablespoon of vegetable-based, liquid soap in a gallon of water and spraying on plants.
Arrange the plants in your garden so that they repel pests naturally. For example, plant garlic and basil near tomatoes to repel bugs, especially aphids (which favor tomatoes).
4. Plant Native Plants
Try to emphasize native plants in your landscaping. This gesture of environmental protection and preservation goes beyond your yard and into the surrounding ecosystem. Many people do not consider the havoc they are helping to wreak when they plant non-native, potentially invasive species. Surely southern gardeners of the past who planted kudzu as an ornamental lament their choice!
Native plants are much easier to maintain, as they are suited to your local climate, soil, and weather. They will attract native species of wildlife as well, creating a balanced, natural ecosystem right in your yard.
5. Plant Flora to Attract Wildlife
Providing a sanctuary for wildlife is a fulfilling, environmentally protective effort. Here are some things to think about when trying to attract wildlife with your landscaping.
-Bees like flowering plants and herbs such as oregano, purple coneflower, wild roses, and lemon balm. Lemon balm can be invasive, so unless it’s native to your area, consider planting it in a container to protect your local ecosystem.
-For hummingbirds, plant tubular, brightly colored flowers such as bee balm (also known as bergamot), trumpet vine, and columbine.
-Butterflies enjoy many of the same plants as bees and hummingbirds, and of course the lovely butterfly bush is always a hit with these lovely winged creatures. Be aware, though, that the butterfly bush can be invasive, so like lemon balm, plant it in a container if it’s not native to your area.
-Berry-bearing shrubs will attract blue jays, wax wings, and various other berry connoisseurs. Raspberry, blackberry, barberry, and blueberry shrubs are just a few of the possible choices.
-Don’t forget how much flowering trees can attract wildlife. Tulip poplar trees will attract entire hummingbird flocks. Flowering fruit trees like pear and crabapple are beloved of bees.
-Sunflowers are beautiful and easy to grow as long as you have sun. Birds love sunflower seeds, and people can enjoy them as a healthy snack as well.
6. Feed the Birds
Provide food and shelter for local birds. The container you use doesn’t matter to the birds, but since you are establishing an environmentally protective lifestyle, consider recycling a plastic milk jug or bottle by making it into a bird feeder (there are many directions for making such feeders online). Use sunflower seeds or a commercial mix. Many birds and other animals like peanuts, too.
7. Solar Lighting
You want to see where you’re going if you are outside at night, and houseguests will appreciate a well-lit driveway and sidewalk. Look into solar lights for your yard and garden.
Is your driveway paved? If so, it is increasing storm run-off and potentially contributing to flooding and other ecosystem disruption. Look into a more environmentally friendly kind of driveway that will absorb rainwater, such as gravel or grass. Grass driveways will need to have an open support network or grid underneath, but the vegetation grows up and around the grid and the rainwater soaks into the open spaces. There are also pavement options for your driveway that are porous or permeable. Just remember to recycle your old driveway material if you choose to tear it out.
9. Invest in a Rain Barrel
Rain barrels are a fantastic way to save water and reduce storm run-off. You can wash your car, pet, or even your own hair in the rain water you collect, and plants thrive on this natural source of water. You will save a great deal of water by not using a garden hose for these activities. And you can share extra rain water with your neighbors.
We hope that our Earth Week 2010 Special Report How To Preserve The Environment Part 3 Yard and Garden Environmental Efficiency has helped in your bid to reduce your negative impact on the environment and you will refer or inform friends during this 40th anniversary of Earth Day and please remember to keep your yard and garden green! Happy Earth Day!
Now that we have discussed some of the general basics, home environmental efficiency, and your yard and gardens environmental efficiency, let’s talk some more about your close environment – your neighborhood, and community. What are some things you can do in your immediate area to preserve your environment in your neighborhood and community?
Stay tuned tomorrow for the next in our Earth Week 2010 Special Report How To Preserve The Environment Part 3 Your Neighborhood and Community, and we hope you will pass this along to friends, family, neighbors and anyone you may think will benefit from this report. Thanks again for visiting with us and have a great Earth Week and happy 40th anniversary Earth Day!