Cleaning Your Water Garden and Preparing for Winter

Cleaning Your Water Garden and Preparing for Winter

Organic Gardening, Sustainable Landscaping
Like any outdoor water source, a water garden collects organic matter that needs to be cleaned out. The best time to do this is when the water temperature is cooler, such as in the fall. This helps minimize any stress to fish that may live in your water garden. A few basic steps to cleaning your water garden and preparing it for winter include: Get a holding container for the plants or fish, being sure it is large enough to hold the amount of water needed to sustain the plants and fish for several hours while you are emptying and cleaning the water garden. It is best to keep the holding container in the shade during this time, also. Fill the holding container with water from the water garden, then…
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How To Build a Compost Bin

How To Build a Compost Bin

Soil & Compost, Sustainable Landscaping
Learn how to build a compost bin for your garden suited to your needs. Wire Mesh Compost Bin Wire mesh compost bins are versatile, inexpensive and easy to construct. They may be used as holding bins for composting moderate amounts of yard wastes or as turning systems for quick composting of larger volumes. Holding compost bins are a convenient way of composting yard wastes with little effort: Simply add wastes as they are cleaned up from the yard. With no effort besides occasional moistening compost will be ready in 6 months to 2 years. Attention to chopping materials, maintaining moisture by watering and covering piles with plastic, and occasional turning will produce compost in less time. The compost bin can be easily moved to turn piles or to harvest finished…
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How to Build a Rain Garden

How to Build a Rain Garden

Sustainable Landscaping, Sustainable Living
There's a new garden in town. It is (mostly) easy to install, looks good year-round, requires almost no maintenance and has a terrifically upbeat impact on the environment. No wonder a rain garden is such a great new gardening trend! Storm water runoff can be a big problem in summer during heavy thunderstorms. As the water rushes across roofs and driveways, it picks up oil and other pollutants. Municipal storm water treatment plants often can’t handle the deluge of water, and in many locations the untreated water ends up in natural waterways. The EPA estimates as much as 70 percent of the pollution in our streams, rivers, and lakes is carried there by storm water! By taking responsibility for the rainwater that falls on your own roof and driveway, you…
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Keep Plants Green with Gray Water

Keep Plants Green with Gray Water

Self Sufficiency, Sustainable Landscaping, Sustainable Living
In times of drought, most organic home gardeners must ration their water usage, watering vegetables and favorite flowers while watching their lawns and other plants wither. But across the country some intrepid gardeners are foregoing the tap and turning to another source: gray water. Gray water is commonly defined as any household waste-water except for toilet water. (That's called black water.) In arid communities with annual water problems, such as California, Florida and the Southwest, gray water systems have been in use since the 1980s. But in many other parts of the country, using gray water is actually illegal. [caption id="attachment_1562" align="alignleft" width="300"] There are many benefits to using gray water in the garden[/caption] The main concern about gray water is the potential for adverse health effects. Gray water can…
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Organic Garden Yards – Oh the Controversy

Organic Garden Yards – Oh the Controversy

Community, Food Supply, Healthy Eating, Sustainable Landscaping
If you are not allowed to grow and eat your own food, then the legality of any other basic right is up for grabs. While it seems to be a new concept in the United States, it is not a new concept; who controls the food supply, controls the people. I have sat on my hands regarding this topic for some time now... but this heartbreaking story, explains a situation that is becoming disturbingly common in America today. Will they be coming for your lemon verbena and catnip next? Where will they draw the line, you can't grow squash because the squash bugs will become a neighborhood nuisance? In case you are not aware of Karl Tricamo, from Ferguson, Missouri, USA, he was involved in a Front Yard Garden Controversy…
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Trees Tame Storm water-Interactive Poster

Sustainable Landscaping
This is so cool! Rain refreshes the land and nourishes the green landscape. But as houses, stores, schools, roads and parking lots spread and natural tree cover is lost, so is the absorbing effect of vegetation and soil. The welcome rain becomes costly stormwater runoff. Without the benefit of trees and vegetated infrastructure, waterways are polluted as oils, heavy metal particles and other harmful substances are washed away. Fish and wildlife suffer, drinking water becomes expensive or impossible to reclaim, property values are reduced, and our living environment is degraded. http://www.arborday.org/trees/stormwater.cfm Link provided by Shawna Lawyer Struby from Going Local
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Time To Feed The Fungi

Soil & Compost, Sustainable Landscaping
Considered as one of the most strenuous annual chores when owning a home, dead leaves blowing in from a neighbors yard or just simply blowing makes one understand the invention of the chain saw. They provide shade in the heat of summer and spectacular color in autumn but the most important function of leaves on deciduous trees is to die and fall to the ground. Healthy soil consists of many organisms including bacteria and fungi. Both microbes are major contributors to the soil food web. Bacteria thrive on green food. A perfect example would be grass clippings dispersed on the freshly cut lawn. Fungi love brown food. That resource is readily available as dead leaves. Grass clippings and chopped leaves are an invaluable supply of organic matter that feed the…
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5 Easy Steps to Sustainable Gardening

5 Easy Steps to Sustainable Gardening

Organic Gardening, Sustainable Landscaping
1) Observe your space Where is the sun / shade? (watch the patterns during the growing season throughout the day) How is the land sloped? (south faces warmer & sunnier than north - use to your advantage!) Is it windy? (plant some trees or shrubs to act as a windbreak!) 2) Think about what you like to eat and see! plant some of your favorites! choose varieties that are suited for your climate (local garden stores usually specialize in these!) plan plantings that compliment each other (grow sunflowers as a trellis for pole beans!) 3) Soil is the start work soil in spring only when it begins to dry (not when soggy you'll lose important soil structure!) add Organic Matter! add Organic Matter! add Organic Matter! (in the form of…
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Using Your Lawn’s Landscape to Cut Energy Bills

Outdoor Living, Sustainable Landscaping
Whoever says you can't "kill two birds with one stone" when becoming more energy efficient is absolutely wrong! There are ways to cut down on your home's energy expenses while adding beautiful landscapes to the yard and, in turn, likely increasing your home's value. A well designed landscape will: Cut your summer and winter energy costs dramatically Protect your home from winter wind and summer sun Reduce consumption of water, pesticides, and fuel for landscaping and lawn maintenance Help control noise and air pollution By planting trees in optimal locations, you can save up to 25% of your home's energy consumption for heating and cooling, which ends up being anywhere from $100 to $250 annually. In less than 8 years, you will have likely earned back whatever price you put…
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