Simple Steps to Growing an Environmentally Friendly Garden

During these so-called green times, would it surprise you to
find out that most home gardeners are not following environmentally
friendly practices when caring for their lawns and gardens?
During these so-called green times, would it surprise you to find out that most home gardeners are not following environmentally friendly practices when caring for their lawns and gardens? In fact, only three out of 12 environmentally friendly practices are being followed by more than 50 percent of all U.S. households.

That’s the word coming from the National Gardening Association, which recently conducted a nationwide survey of home gardeners. According to the study, there are three garden practices that U.S. households are doing a pretty good job following:

• 67 percent are keeping their gardens safe, clean and well-maintained to add beauty to their homes.

• 65 percent are watering their lawns and plants only when needed, using water wisely.

• 53 percent are reading and following the directions carefully when using pesticides and fertilizers.

However, there are nine areas in which home gardeners are failing:

• 45 percent are leaving grass clippings in place when mowing their lawns. I’ve been using a mulching mower for years now, and let me tell you, leaving the clippings in place does nothing to detract from the appearance of the lawn.

• 43 percent are keeping fertilizers, pesticides, and yard and pet waste out of water sources and off pavement. This means being careful about washing down pavements and driveways after fertilizing or spraying.

• 42 percent are choosing the right plants in the right spots for our climate, sun and shade, and rainfall. This can be solved by simply being more careful before planting and reading the plant label.

• 42 percent of us are applying mulch around trees, shrubs and throughout garden areas. A 2-inch layer of mulch on any bare garden dirt will not only improve the appearance, but will also help prevent weeds from germinating and help prevent water evaporation.

• 39 percent are cutting their lawns at the highest recommended mower setting. A pet peeve here: Home gardeners are cutting their lawns too short. Higher grass blades translate to savings in water and fertilizer, and your grass will be healthier.

• 28 percent are recycling yard waste by composting grass clippings, leaves and other organic material. If you don’t compost yourself, at least make use of garden recycling bins each week.

For more information on the survey and how you can garden in an environmentally friendly way, check out the Web sites www.gardenresearch.com and www.garden.org.

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