Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Smart Gardening...saving time and money in the garden

Luke Miller is the editor of Better Homes and Gardens® Garden Ideas & Outdoor Living. Each week he shares tips for saving time and money in the garden at www.bhg.com/smartgardening. He covers all aspects of the home garden, from how you can raise tasty organic produce to low-cost ways to plant a new garden.

Check out his Feb. 6 blog on Own Root Roses

All the presidential hopefuls have one thing in common: they want to bring about change. Change is good, they say. I guess that depends on what you want to change. Here are a few things I’d like to see change in the garden industry. Less Waste. It pains me to fill a garbage can with plastic nursery pots after planting. Some are Number-2 plastic and can go in the recycling bin, but many are made out of other plastics that aren’t readily recycled.
Some solutions: Look for plants in peat or coconut-fiber pots that can be planted directly in the ground. Re-use smaller cell packs to start your own seeds (reducing the need for even more containers). And see if your local nursery, retailer or botanical center has a recycling program.
More Composting. As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been really getting into composting lately. I want to make sure every last teabag makes its way into the garden via the compost bin. You can even compost kitchen debris in an apartment — there are small units available where red wiggler worms do the job for you.
Staying Local. Grow your own vegetables and herbs or buy them at a farmer’s market or roadside stand. The taste is almost always superior, the cost is usually lower, and you’ll be helping to save gas and reduce emissions. The easiest things you can grow are also what you’ll probably use the most: tomatoes and lettuce. Merging Edible with Ornamental. I predict there will be a movement toward landscape plants that serve more than one purpose. By that I mean, it won’t be enough to just have a privet hedge. We’ll be expecting an edible hedge, full of shrubs with eye-appealing looks and mouth-watering fruits and nuts. The shrubs are out there. Stay tuned to a future blog when I’ll introduce you to some good candidates. By the way: Do you know how eco-friendly your garden really is? Check out our fun quiz!

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