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Ten Tips For An Earth-Friendly River Town Garden

RIVERTOWNS, NY—Getting ready to work in the garden? If so, it may be time to give some thought to the environment. While planting trees and shrubs is an earth-friendly gesture, some gardening practices may actually contribute to pollution.

Here are a few ways to create a beautiful garden while minimizing the negative impact on the earth.

1. Mulching works

Mulching can cut down the amount of water and fertilizer your plants need. Be sure to use all-natural mulch that is free from pesticides.

2. Curb your water enthusiasm.

For plants that need regular watering consider an irrigation system that measures how much water plants get. Use a rain barrel to catch any rain run-off from your gutters.

3. Choose plants that are already at home

Plants that are native to the area are less likely to need help in terms of water and fertilizer since they already thrive in local conditions.

4. Use plants to protect each other.

Plants such as marigolds, lavender, basil, lemon thyme, lemon grass, mint, rosemary, nasturtiums, petunias and chrysanthemums are all thought to repel insects.

5. Banish bugs by inviting birds

Birds love to snack on slugs and caterpillars. Bird feeders and nesting boxes invite these winged bug hunters into your garden.

6. Invite the right kind of bugs to feast in your garden.

A garden with sunflowers and marigolds is inviting to the ladybugs and lacewings that eat aphids.

7. Invite slugs to happy hour.

Too many slugs in your garden? You can keep these slimy intruders off plants by creating barriers of grit or crushed eggshells. Or you can place a shallow dish filled with beer in the garden. Slugs love beer and will not be able to resist getting in over their heads. The dish will have to be refilled when it rains.

8. Give up your lawn.

For many homeowners giving up a lawn may seem like a drastic step but lawns use a lot of water, fertilizer and weed killer. Also, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a new gas powered lawn mower produces as much air pollution in one hour of operation as 11 new cars do when they are each driven for one hour. If you can’t make the leap to a lawn-free garden, switch to a push mower. Cutting the lawn with a push mower is a good source of exercise and the clippings are good for your soil. Use only organic lawn products.

9. Recycle

Use recycled home goods such eggshells for starting seedlings. Scour tag sales for planters and other gardening tools.

10. Choose organic products to fertilize your plants.

If possible, make your own compost. Acid loving plants are happy to have your leftover coffee grounds.

Growing your garden a little greener is an earth-friendly gesture that pays off with planetary rewards.

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