It’s time to begin thinking about the 2019 garden. If you are new to sustainable gardening, or if you want to introduce others to how to be more sustainable, here are the places to start:
Mulch grass clippings into your lawn. This is the most basic thing for everyone to do. If your landscape crew rakes and disposes of grass clippings, you are giving away the best source of nitrogen in your yard. Ask your crew foreman to use a mulching mower, and if your company does not have them, ask them to buy one. If they won’t do so, look elsewhere! Over time, using your own grass clippings will help you reduce the cost of lawn fertilization significantly.
Make compost and use it to fertilize your soil. This is another way to save money and it’s not hard with the wide variety of compost bins on the market today. Start small and increase your operation as you learn.
Use native plants. If you are just starting out, commit to trying a few native plants in your garden where you have space. Here are a few that are easy to grow and adaptable; purple coneflower, bee balm, coreopsis, black-eyed Susan, butterfly weed and Summer Beauty allium. These all grow in dry to medium sites and they like half or full day sun.
Conserve water by installing a rain barrel and using its contents first and watering only in the early morning or evening.. You can go even further to conserve water by using drip irrigation on your garden and NOT watering your lawn. We’ll have more to say about the lawn in a future post.
Provide for the birds, butterflies and bees by giving them food and water sources in your yard. If you follow step #3, your plants will be providing food! Then all you need to do is install a bird bath. For butterfly water, invert a wine bottle and bury it most of the way. Then fill the bottom indentation with a small amount of water.