October 6, 2010
Bring on the butterflies and bees
Provide a pesticide-free sanctuary for our pollinator pals, such as butterflies and bees, by growing a diverse variety of native flowers they’re particularly drawn to, such as wild lilac, goldenrod, and lemon balm. (Gardens with 10 or more species of attractive plants have been found to entice the most bees.) If you haven’t already heard, we’re in the throes of a major bee-loss epidemic, which is causing beekeepers in North America and Europe much hand-wringing. Because pollinators affect 35 percent of the world’s crop production—and increase the output of 87 of the leading food crops worldwide—extending a little hometown hospitality could go a long way.
October 6, 2010
Make compost from kitchen scraps
Compost like a champ by throwing in your vegetable waste instead of allowing it to be trucked off to the landfill. Known as “gardener’s gold,” compost enriches soil fertility by giving it a shot of high-powered, plant-loving nutrients. Aside from stimulating healthy root development, the addition of rich and earthy compost also improves soil texture, aeration, and water retention. Why waste your hard-earned cash on commercial products when the real deal is free for the taking? Speed up the process with the help of summer worms or go wriggle-free (if you’re the squeamish sort).
October 5, 2010
Adding a rain barrel is an inexpensive and effortless way to capture mineral- and chlorine-free water for watering lawns, yards, and gardens, as well as washing cars or rinsing windows. By harnessing what’s literally raining from the sky, you’ll not only notice a marked dip in water costs, but also a reduction in storm water runoff, which in turn helps prevent erosion and flooding. Pop a screen on top of your barrel to keep out insects, debris, and bird missiles, and make frequent use of your water supply to keep it moving and aerated.