Many homeowners go to great lengths to create a beautiful lawn and garden. As you daydream about blooms and produce, don’t forget to plan ahead to care for and protect grass and plants to ensure a full season of healthy growth.
Caretakers may want to consider how to manage a green garden in the most ‘green’ way. Puns aside, eco-friendly planting and treatments are healthy for the soil and plants,as well as your home. Following are a few tips provided by a Central Texas green garden enthusiast on how to prepare an environment-friendly lawn and garden.
As spring arrives in Texas, it is essential to amend—fertilize—your soil to prepare for the new season. Since the levels of chemicals and heavy metals in commercial fertilizers are difficult to pinpoint, a green solution here is compost. Making your own compost is a great way to recycle and make soil even healthier.
A compost pile should have an equal amount of browns to greens and alternate layers of organic materials of different-sized particles. The brown materials provide carbon, the green materials provide nitrogen, and water provides moisture to help break down organic matter.
- Fruits and vegetables • Eggshells • Coffee grounds and filters • Tea bags
- Nut shells • Leaves • Shredded newspaper • Cardboard
- Yard trimmings • Paper • Grass clippings • Houseplants
- Houseplants • Hay and straw • Wood fireplace ashes • Sawdust
- Wood chips • Leaves • Cotton and Wool Rags • Hair and fur
Another way to make sure soil stays healthy is to have neighboring plants; i.e., planting two types of plants close together so they help each other. Marigold flowers repel bugs, so keep some close to tomato plants to help keep leaves and fruits safe without pesticides. This also works with pairs like basil and rosemary—the bitter smell of rosemary keeps bugs away from the sweet-tasting basil leaves.
HELP IN YOUR PANTRY
Pesticides do not have to be expensive chemicals; the best ones can be found in a spice rack. Sprinkle a little cinnamon or cayenne pepper on soil or plant leaves to keep slugs, ants, and other critters away from plants. Cinnamon also acts as a fungicide for seedlings when transferred to the ground, and a healing agent for broken leaves and limbs.
Keeping a plant in a planter can be challenging, but putting rocks and bark at the bottom of the pot will help with water absorption, while a little cinnamon in the soil will stimulate root growth.
Watering in the morning and evening by hand is more sustainable and helps plants absorb that water before it gets too hot.
Small things like these can go a long way to make lawns and gardens beautiful and sustainable, without being too expensive.