Quick Tip: Design a “Green” Garden

Making some simple changes in what you plant and how you care for your garden can create a healthier space the whole family can enjoy.

Photo: Flickr

A Green, Healthy Garden
The old adage, what goes around comes around is especially true in your garden. Because plants aren’t the only things living there, your garden should be a friendly place for children, pets and you. Blanketing it with petroleum-based pesticides and fertilizers is not only toxic, it kills the friendly insects, bacteria and fungus that are essential to a healthy garden.

Natural Alternatives
Fortunately, there are a lot of great natural options, like iron phosphate pellets for slugs, citrus oil-based weed killer and Pyola spray for pest insects. Products like these use naturally occurring chemicals to solve common garden problems, and they’re worth a closer look.

Organic Materials
Probably the best thing you can do for your garden is to add organic material to the soil with compost. Unlike chemical additives, nutrients in compost are available to plants as they need them, making it very difficult to use too much.

Native Planting Is Green
What you plant is even more important than how you plant it. If it’s native to your area, it will probably do better in your garden and require far less water, fertilizer and hassle than something exotic. Rather than coddling a vast expanse of lawn, design areas with mulch, low groundcover plants or even a rock garden. You’ll use far fewer chemicals that can leach into the soil and the water supply, and you won’t have to work as hard all season!

Green Garden Tools
Another way to be green in the garden is to use non-polluting garden tools. Instead of cranking out exhaust with the rototiller or tractor, pick up a shovel or a hand mower and save yourself a trip to the gym.