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Gardening With Laurie: Try green landscaping

Jan. 25, 2011 at midnight
Updated Jan. 27, 2011 at 7:28 p.m.

Laurie Garretson

By Laurie Garretson

Going green in the landscape can be a big decision for many gardeners. For those who have used chemical fertilizers for many years, it can be a big change. Green gardening, often referred as organic gardening, takes a new frame of mind, and for many, the will to learn a whole new way of gardening.

People who convert to organic gardening have made the choice to become more concise in their actions. At least those actions related to their landscape. Today, it's hard to avoid hearing about "going green." Everywhere you go, you're bombarded with messages about reducing your carbon footprint to help the ecosystem. For most of us, our day-to-day normal activities leave very little time to worry about how clean our generation will leave our rivers and oceans for the next generation. Who has the time to go green?

The idea to go green sounds great, but actually doing something about it can seem a bit overwhelming. How could one person improve the conditions of an entire planet? It will take the actions of a large number of people to have a large-scale effect. But that large number will start with one person, one gardener deciding to make some eco-friendly changes. Do you realize that your yard is the largest environment that you have the most control of?

Once you've decided that changes are needed, and that you'd like to leave your little spot on the planet in the best condition you can, then start with just one simple action. Consider starting your own compost pile. Start by saving all your kitchen scraps and other biodegradable things, and toss them in the pile. Or maybe it would be easier for you to just start fertilizing with a natural product. That means not using any type of chemical or synthetic product. This means using a fertilizer that only contains natural ingredients, nothing manmade. So, if you're not sure which type you usually use, start reading ingredient labels, or ask someone who would know.

A fun way to work your way into using fewer chemicals could be to use beneficial insects instead of chemical insecticides. Chemical insecticides are harmful to all life, not just insects. The next time you need to get rid of some pest insects, try releasing the right beneficial bugs that will eagerly eat up your pests. Nature has provided us with good insects and other natural ways to get rid of all unwanted pests.

Also, collecting rain water and using it to water your gardens is another easy way to go green. Mulching your gardens will help to prevent the water from evaporating, and mulch helps to smother many weeds. Don't send leaves and grass clippings to the landfills, recycle them and use them in your gardens as mulch. Any way to use less of the planets natural resources, such as water, is in the best interest for all of us.

Mother Nature is the original organic gardener, and she's had a green plan all along. Nature's plan got disrupted when humans decided they had a better way, and it will take us humans to reverse the damage that's been done.

Until next time, let's try to garden with nature, not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers

Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to laurie@vicad.com or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.

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