The ideal of the “green lawn”

Everyone likes the beauty of a lush, green lawn that is weed-free and healthy.   But is your green lawn really “green”? i.e. Is it earth friendly ? Is it in harmony with nature?

You can have a green lawn and still be “green” or “eco-friendly”. Here are some ideas for lawncare and ideal of the green lawn .

Choose the right kind of grass

Start with the kind of grass in your lawn.  It is important to choose grass that will thrive in your climate.   If you are living in the North or Pacific Northwest, you should plant fescue and Kentucky bluegrass, which survive well in these cooler and humid climates.   If you live in the South or Southwest, you should plant zoysia, Bermuda and St. Augustine grasses, which survive well in warm and humic climates.   In the semi-arid plains or other cool areas, your best best is Buffalo grass.

Feed and nourish your soil

After finding the best grass for your area, it’s time to make sure your soil is nutrient rich and healthy.   Use organic products instead of synthetic fertilizers to feed your lawn.   Though more expensive in the beginning, organic products will pay off over the long haul. For example. organic fertilizers last longer than synthetic fertilizers, which means fewer applications of the organic fertilizer.   Important note: Just because you are using an organic fertilizer, it doesn’t mean you can be careless with its usage. Organic fertlizers can cause water pollution just as synthetics can. So be sure to sweep the fertilizer off sidewalks or driveways back onto your lawn to prevent water pollution. 

Keep the weeds under control

Pests are pesky. But before you reach for the toxic synthetic pest control product, give an organic, non-toxic pest control product a try. Today, there are plenty of safe pest control alternatives in the market. So you have no excuse to choose to add more toxic chemicals to your lawns to control weeds and increase pollution to our streams, rivers and the ground water. This helps maintain an organic lawn.

Improve your watering habits

Most people over-water their lawns. If you have moss growing on your driveway, or sidewalk edges, then it is a sure sign that you are over-watering your lawn. A cheap solution is to use an inexpensive lawn moisture meter to know for sure how much water you are giving your lawn.  If you can afford it, an intelligent lawn irrigation system may be your best bet.

Are you tapping into a free source of water in your home? Think rain water!  You can collect and reuse rain water. You can easily harvest rain water by placing a barrel under your gutter’s downspout.  With that, you’ll have plenty of rain water for free.  Nature’s own gift to you!  

Next, do you hose your driveway every so often?  If you, its time to kick that habit now. . Every time you hose your driveway, you are also washing away oils, toxic chemicals etc. which end up in rivers and other water sources, polluting them.

Be smart about mowing your lawn

Who knew that the exhaust from lawn mowers is a major contributor to air pollution? Now that you do, it’s time to choose a push mower. For health or other reasons if you can’t pick a push mower, you can do well to choose a plugin mower.  It has a better (smaller) carbon footprint compared to gas-driven mowers.

Also, when you are mowing your lawn, you generate a very useful resource that you normally throw away – grass clippings! Choose a mulching lawn mower instead.  Crushed grass clippings left on the grass by a mulching lawn mower provides food the grass, and conserves the amount of water needed for the grass to grow. Amazing isn’t it?

Say goodbye to gas-powered blowers

Are you using a gas-powered leaf blower?  Did you know that they are a major source of pollution with a major carbon footprint? You’d do well to revert to rakes and brooms for eliminating your leaves. And while this extra effort may seem too onerous, you will be pleased to know that you will be getting the exercise you need in the process. That’s a win-win. You help yourself while choosing a method that is earth-friendly.

Don’t waste your yard waste

Don’t get rid of your yard waste. You can collect it and compost it. Composting is a simple way to transform yard waste, and other organic household waste like vegetable and animal product waste into a nutrient-rich compost for your soil.

Go “green” by choosing synthetic?!

What? How can choosing synthetic anything be compatible with going “green”? Consider this. Let’s say you are living in a high drought area, but have a serious addiction to lush, green grass in your lawn. Choosing the conventional way, you will be consuming huge quantities of water, a scarce commodity in your region – that is certainly not friendly to the place you live in. What choices do you have if you still wanted to be “green” in this situation ? One suggestion : Choose synthetic grass. Synthetic grass looks lush and can bring the green you wish to your yard. It can last for over ten years , and uses little water . And it does look amazingly real ! Imagine that!  Finally!  A synthetic solution that is actually “green”!

All in all, these are practical ways for ensuring that your lush, green lawn is also “green”, and friendly to the environment of which we are a part .

 

How to grow sprouts

How to grow sprouts? They are fairly easy to do, and they are my favourite. Brussels sprouts are biennials that are grown as annuals. There are various types of brussel sprouts and they are divided into groups according to maturity.

The brussel sprout groups are divided into earlies, mid-season, and lates. Of note is that brussels sprouts are very hardy and can survive temperatures well below freezing. Plant heights vary from dwarf sizes of 35 cm to tall sizes of around 75cm. Brussels sprouts however quite slow growing.

The ideal soil for growing brussel sprouts is nitrogen rich and well manured.

When growing brussel sprouts they should be sown in middle to late spring, ideally straight in a seedbed, in firm but moist soil, in row approximately six inches apart. The brussel sprouts should be thinned in early Summer. If the brussel sprouts are grown close together then they will be more consistent but grow smaller in size which is no bad thing as it allows you some choice, and often like most vegetables smaller ones give much greater taste.

Simply put the more space brussel sprouts have to grow in the larger the size and crop they will give, and the crop will last longer enabling harvesting over a much longer period.

Brussel sprouts do need careful watering as they like to be kept moist. On taller varieties the stems will need to be earthed up as they grow for support. Discoloured or weak leaves must be removed as soon as possible to prevent disease. As with broad beans keep the bed as weed free as possible.

Brussel sprouts are mature and ready to eat in around just twenty weeks after sowing. When picking brussel sprouts do so from the lower parts of the plant and then work your way up as the plants mature week on week.

For more general information on brussel sprouts then find out about how to grow vegetables.

Lawn Mower Safety

When most people think of Lawn Mowers, what comes to mind is usually basic information that’s not particularly interesting or beneficial. But there’s a lot more to Lawn Mowers than just the basics.

The lawn power is considered to be one of the most dangerous tools at home. Each year, more than 10,000 people are brought to the hospital due to lawn mower related accidents. The sad part is that many of the victims are below 18 years of age.

The range of injuries often treated includes deep cuts, minor burns, loss of fingers or toes, broken bones and a lot more. Believe it or not, even people who are not using the lawn mower directly also get hurt. To prevent this from happening, you should be well aware of the proper use of the lawn mower.

When you are using the lawn mower for the first time, be sure you read all the safety information located in the operator’s manual.

Companies are well aware of the dangers of using a lawn mower and have already installed certain safety devices. Never tamper with it and be sure to check that these are working properly.

Before you work on your lawn, walk around to see if there are any stones, toys and other objects which might enter the machine and fly out causing serious injury.

Since children are sometimes the victim of lawn mower accidents, keep them away from it. If you are working on the lawn and your children are nearby, have them supervised by another adult because if the lawn mower you have does not have a bag to collect the debris, this may fly out and cause an injury.

Children should never be allowed to ride the lawn mower because this is not a toy. There have been incidents where children who were riding accidentally fell of the lawn mower and have been badly injured.

Knowledge can give you a real advantage. To make sure you’re fully informed about Lawn Mowers, keep reading.

One way to prevent that from happening is to put a collection bag near your lawn mower. You can also put a plate that covers the opening where the cut grass is released.

If you have finished working in one area and have to move to another one, make sure that the mower blade has stopped moving before leaving the current location.

Proper attire must be worn when working with a lawn mower. So you don’t accidentally slip when and have your toes cut by the blade, be sure you are wearing shoes and not sandals. Since the motor of a lawn mower is very noisy, you better wear some protection for your ears.

When you are cleaning the lawn mower, be sure you are wearing protective goggles and gloves so grease does not get on your hands or eyes.

If you have a gasoline powered lawn mower, be sure to put fuel outdoors and not inside the garage or tools shed. It will also be a good idea to do it only when the motor is cool because gas is flammable.

For those who have not yet bought a lawn mower, it is best to get one that will stop moving once you let go off the handle. This is also known as a dead man’s switch which is very useful safety feature.

The lawn mower is a machine that should only be used by an adult. Although some parents let their children mow the lawn as a chore, these people have to be aware of the safety precautions so they or others will not sustain any injuries as well.

Square foot gardens can be used by anyone, anywhere

Using the square foot gardening method in a raised bed garden, everyone can be a gardener!

It’s true – even if you live in an inner city apartment building on the top floor! Mel Bartholomew’s “Square Foot Gardening” book gives you a detailed, step-by-step method for creating your own raised bed gardens that will produce an abundance of fresh vegetables in your own back yard. The best part is that it will require very little effort on your part, once you get your raised bed garden planted.

Growing your own food is more popular than ever, and even if you have limited space available for a garden, you can create an area large enough to grow a few of your favorite vegetables and herbs. A raised garden bed can also be the perfect solution for first-time, or experienced gardeners who have physical or mobility limitations.

Plants need air and well drained soil in order to thrive; raised beds provide both. The soil does not compact as easily in the elevated bed, and as a result, is easier to aerate.

Raised beds can be filled with rich garden soil, so it doesn’t matter what the make-up of your natural soil is, and you can modify the level of acidity to fit the needs of your produce. You can choose the location of your raised garden, whether you’re looking for a shaded or full sun garden area.

According to EarthEasy.com, raised beds can also extend the growing season, as the soil warms earlier in the spring. You can also build a cloche over the bed to keep moisture and heat in, and pests out. Harvest produced from raised beds is typically 1.4-2 times greater than a traditional garden, due to optimum growing conditions.

Building a square foot garden

If you’re looking for an easy way to grow fresh vegetables in your backyard, but don’t want to mess with tilling and digging and weeding, square foot gardening is the answer!

You can either build your own frames for the raised bed garden, or you can purchase a raised bed garden kit.

You will be amazed at how much produce can be grown in a single 4’x4′ squared foot garden.  One single bed produces 4 heads of broccoli, 8 heads of cabbage, 1 eggplant, 4 pepper plants, and 12 onions. Since the vegetables are harvested at different times during the summer, the small space is used to its maximum potential.

Garden can be handicap accessible

There are raised bed garden options for individuals who have physical disabilities also. Even if bending and kneeling has become too painful or impossible to do, you can still enjoy the benefits of growing your own vegetables and flowers. There are a variety of beds that come in all sizes and heights, for those individual who are more comfortable sitting or standing while performing gardening tasks.