Monday, April 16, 2007

Give Back to Mother Nature: Earth Day April 22

It’s Easy to Be Green with 6 Simple Solutions.

You don’t have to compost your kitchen waste or pick bugs off plants by hand to help the environment. From the red carpet to your favorite garden shop, new ‘green’ products are making it easy to have a beautiful yard while being good stewards of the earth in your own backyard.

Outdoor living trendspotter and garden guru Susan McCoy has gathered six savvy, yet surprisingly simple solutions for going ‘green’ this spring.

1. Plant, Plant, Plant! One of the simplest ways to give back to the planet without breaking your budget is to plant anything. “Just plant something, anything. A single tree, shrub, bush or container will help the environment,” says McCoy, founder of Garden Media Group, a public relations firm specialized in all things gardening.

“It’s one of the easiest ways you can make a difference. Imagine if we all planted jut one new plant every year!” Trees and other plants remove CO2 from the air during photosynthesis. This improves the quality of the environment by cleaning and oxygenating the air and removing carbon dioxide. Plants also help prevent soil erosion, control water cycles, and moderating temperatures. It’s the balance of nature at the most basic level.

2. Start with Healthy Soil
Pesticides and fungicides aren’t safe for people, pets or even the planet. Eliminate the need for harmful garden chemicals by pampering your plants with healthy, nutrient-rich soil from the get go. “Healthy soil, rich in minerals, nutrients and ’good bugs’, maximizes a plant’s own healthy immune system to let it naturally resist pests and diseases,” says McCoy. Compost your own or look for organic potting soils like Organic Mechanics available at Whole Foods stores this spring.

3. Reduce Fertilizer Use
Overfeeding is not only unhealthy for plants, it also causes excess nutrient runoff that pollutes our streams, bays, rivers and other watersheds. “Plants can only absorb so much fertilizer before the excess nutrient runoff into the groundwater,” says McCoy. Fertilizer runoff contaminates drinking water, kills fish and other sea creatures and causes problems like Red Tide. Reduce overfeeding by using environmentally responsible feeding practices, like the new slow-release fertilizer Dynamite. This 9-month plant food releases nutrients to the plant when the plant needs it most, never over or under feeding so there is minimal waste and runoff. Plus, it’s low in phosphate making it a nutritious yet earth friendly plant food option.

4. Water Responsibly
If you don’t need to water your plants as often, you’ll save gallons of time and money. But more importantly, you conserve water and protect the environment. “Substitute older cultivars with new and improved varieties bred ‘to drink responsibly’,” says McCoy. “Updated versions of classic plants like Knock Out® shrub roses require much less water than older cultivars while still offering the same great look gardeners love.” Other solutions: use ZEBA in your window boxes or containers. “ZEBA’s all natural, starch-based technology repeatedly absorbs and release water as needed by plants’ roots,” says McCoy. ZEBA is biodegradable, nontoxic and odorless.

5. Be Grass Green
According to Ethne Clarke, garden editor of Traditional Home, “Most gardens have lawns, and in some cases the lawn IS the garden.” She suggests mowing less frequently and cutting the grass longer so the top growth protects the roots. And water less frequently to force the roots to go deeper, which keeps them cooler and less susceptible to dry spell damage. She recommends using cornmeal or diatomaceous earth as an insecticide and pulling weeds before they set seed. For tough lawns, use a soil conditioner with good micro-organisms and aerate to encourage soil health. Try LazyMan Liquid Soil Aerator or Soil Conditioner for an easy spray on solution without back breaking work.

6. Be Kind to Flora and Fauna
After pouring hours of time, effort and in most case their hearts into the garden, no one wants to wake up one morning to find that their begonia bed served as a late night snack for the neighborhood wildlife. “Keeping my hydrangea from becoming deer food was a big problem as we live in the woods in Southeastern Pennsylvania,” says McCoy. That was until she started using DeerStopper, a 100% organic deer repellant. “All-natural products of today work just as effectively or better than their synthetic counterparts,” she says. “These products give me all the benefits with minimum health risks and harm to the environment. To safeguard our water supply and our pets and children who play outdoors, McCoy suggests trying organic and all natural animal repellants as an alternative. Learn more at

For more information about going green outside your home, please visit

No comments: