Tuesday, March 25, 2008

It’s Easy To Be Green, Week 7

This is another installment of Lichterman Nature Center's twelve week It's Easy To Be Green program that MLGW employees are participating in.

Last week we focused on the yard, now we are in your garden!

Composting yard trimmings and certain food scraps reduce by one-half the volume of trash a household sends to a landfill, and composting is easy to do. All organic matter, including leaves, grass clippings and yard trimmings, can be used. In a matter of weeks, yard waste will be changed into valuable fertilizer and mulch.

Action Items:

Visit Lichterman Nature Center’s Plant Propagation Center with your family to learn how to start a compost pile. Use your compost to plant a flower or vegetable garden. The compost adds important nutrients to the soil.

When mowing the yard, allow grass clippings to remain on the lawn to decompose and return nutrients to the soil. A mulching lawn mower blade speeds decomposition.

Create a low maintenance yard. Plant groundcover, shrubs, and other well-adapted native plants that require no mowing, minimal watering and maintenance. These plants also provide food and habitat for birds, butterflies and other animals.

Plant a tree with your family! This is a great way to reduce greenhouse gases. Trees suck up carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) and make clean air for us to breathe. Trees shade your home in the summer which helps reduce energy and cooling costs.

Start a worm composting bin (vermiculture). Vermicompost, or worm castings, is a nutrient-rich natural fertilizer and soil conditioner. For more information about starting a worm composting bin, visit Earth 911.

Water the lawn or garden in the early morning or evening to limit evaporation.

Lichterman Nature Center grows native and other plants suitable for our area. These plants are for sale to the public in early April. Call for dates and times. Lichterman staff and Memphis Area Master Gardeners can help you and your family to select the right plants for your garden. They can also tell you how to care for these plants.

Composting has multiple benefits. Using compost saves fossil fuels associated with manufacturing, packaging and transporting chemical fertilizers. Compost encourages beneficial microbes and reduces the need for chemical pesticides and herbicides. Plus it is free!

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