|Lawn Care For Busy People|
Ecological Landscape Design and Organic Lawn Care
There is a growing recognition, that the expanding suburban landscape is having a negative environmental impact. Suburban development often includes vast energy dependant monocultures (perfect, grass lawns). They consume a significant amount of natural resources, (water to keep them green and gasoline to keep them trimmed), and they reduce the amount of habitat available for native wildlife. Over use of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides can leach into water supplies and be harmful to children and pets. Trends toward ecological landscaping and organic lawn care are lessening the detrimental effects of these designs. Many landscape designers are recommending native plant species, and even golf course managers are moving toward organic methods.
In practical terms our goal should be to move away from designs that depend on an extensive use of energy, without asking people to give up their lawns entirely. There are a number of options:
* Buffer zones and open space requirements in subdivisions allow for wildlife corridors and bird habitats.
* Leaving a portion of each lot in a natural state will invite birds and beneficial insects into the yard, while reducing the amount of grass to water and mow.
* The use of native plants in the design will greatly reduce the amount of care needed for the plants to thrive.
We should stop worrying about whether our lawns looks like the eighteenth fairway of the local country club. Many of the "weeds" that appear in our lawns are considered to be medicinal, by herbalists, and others attract beneficial insects.
We should stop over watering our lawns. Don't worry about your grass dying. Grass will turn green when it rains. Trust me.
If you must have an all grass lawn, there are organic methods that claim to do as well as chemicals will. It's probably a good idea to test any remedy before applying it to your entire yard. Spot treating problem areas will often be all that is needed.
Ecological Landscaping Considerations
The first and most important thing to consider in an ecological landscape design is an environmental assessment of the site. Is it more like a sunny meadow or shady woodland? Is it wet and marshy or dry and well drained?
Secondly, find out which native plants thrive in your particular environment. This can be easily done by taking a closer look at what is growing in undeveloped areas around you. Look at areas that most closely resemble your site. Species that are flourishing in the wild in similar ecosystems nearby are more likely to do well, with little or no care, than species growing in different ecosystems, not to mention different regions of the country or world.
Some purists would argue that only native species be considered, but I personally feel that non-invasive species from other parts of the world are acceptable if used in the proper environmental setting. Whenever possible choose species that are propagated locally and select varieties that are disease, pest and drought resistant. This will preclude the need for intensive care and excessive watering.
Many native plants are often found growing as part of a larger community of plants. For reasons we don't thoroughly understand, plants appear to form symbiotic relationships with each other. This may be for shade, nutrient contribution or protection from pests to name a few. When studying the local landscape, pay attention to plant relationships. In the wild, vegetation occurs in layers from groundcovers to taller plants and shrubs and often to a tree canopy above. These layers provide a diverse habitat for a variety of wildlife. Recreating these conditions in even a small part of your site will help to enhance the overall health of the environment around you.
In many instances homeowners will wish to deter certain wildlife species, while attracting others. While it may be possible to discern which plants attract different species in the wild, it may not be as easy to determine which plants will deter them. Local landscapers and plant nurseries will often be able to advise you about this.
Wherever you live and whatever your landscape consists of, a little thought about working with the natural environment and a commitment to organic lawn care practices, will save on maintenance cost and benefit the larger community landscape.
Chip Phelan, a contributing editor for Organic Gardening Review, is an organic gardener living in Rhode Island. He has been gardening organically for 30 years while working as a sculptor and photo imager. He has recently created a research garden to experiment with organic and small scale sustainable gardening techniques.
Organic Gardening Review is a resource center for organic gardening enthusiasts and features his efforts and interests in all aspects of organic gardening. Find us on the web: http://www.organicgardening-review.com
Looking for a place to share organic gardening info? Visit our Organic Gardening Discussion Forum at: Organic Gardening Forum
How to Grow Blueberries
Along with lip-smacking sweetness, flower and foliage are also worthy reasons to grow blueberries. White, bell-shaped blossoms make a lovely addition to a spring garden and fiery scarlet foliage adds drama to a fading autumn landscape. In addition to taste and appearance, blueberries are ripe with medical advantages; they help lower cholesterol and studies suggest that blueberries also reduce the risk of some cancers.
Garden for Birds #3
Well, another week is passing us by.
Funniest Pond Stories-Part 1, May 2004
Get ready for some gut-wrenching, laugh out loud hilarious pond stories from all over the world...
How to Win the War Against Slugs and Snails
Slugs are one of the most hated of garden pests. You may have spent time carefully planting out your seedlings into the bed, but when you return next morning, you find chewed leaves, the growing points nibbled away and a mass of slimy trails all around. All clear evidence that garden slugs, or sometimes snails, have been enjoying a nocturnal feast at your expense.
How to Grow Snow Peas
Snow peas may have been named because in bright sunlight their light green pods look as if they might be tinged with frost. One of the oldest vegetables, the earliest recorded pea was grown in 9750 BC on the Thai-Burma border. Since snow peas are a favorite addition to Asian dishes, this pea might very well have been a snow pea ancestor.
Straw Bale Culture Technique
In general, plants grown in straw bales appear to require less water than when grown in soil. Another benefit to using straw bale culture is the garden bed will turn into compost offering some additional nutrients to your vegetables and herbs. The constantly composing environment warms up to provide gentle heat to the roots of plants and for your greenhouse. After some preparation and processing the compost will also begin to generate Co2 which will help to boost your plant's growth rate.
Themes of Shade
A Shade Garden can be created in any of several different types of shade. It can be in the mottled shade that comes from a broad leaf tree to the deep dark woods mentioned in Robert Frost's "Stopping by A Woods on A Snowy Evening". We have morning shade (not so good for a shade garden if this area gets afternoon sun - it will much too hot and drying) and afternoon shade. And we can even create or modify our shade with man-made constructions. Each type of shade supports different types of plants although there is over-lap. Of course, you should always be prepared to experiment with your garden.
Slugging It Out In The Trenches
In an effort to introduce a shaft of sunlight into a particularly gloomy conversation, I recently asked a gardening acquaintance of mine to explain the difference between a slug and a snail.
Herbs: Growing Your Own
The first thing you need to do when deciding to create your own Herb Garden is to decide on the size of the plot of land you want to use. This will depend on what herbs and how much you want to grow. Unless you are an experienced gardener or a herb fanatic don't make your plot too big at first. Remember, you can always add to it later. You can create a raised bed to grow your herbs in and always add more when you decide you need to grow more. Remember to plan out your planting sequence and keep records of what is planted where as well as marking your planting with plastic nametags.
A Garden Bench: A Beautiful Addition To Any Garden
Okay, so you have spent hours upon hours creating the perfect garden. You have chosen only the choicest flowers, agonized for days over their placement, and even bought that much too expensive antique statue to set it all off. Now that it is finished, you know that you have created something truly special, something that is unique, and a place in which you could see yourself relaxing after a long, hard day. The only problem is: There is nowhere to sit and relax, no vantage point from where you can absorb the peace and beauty that all of your hard work has brought you. Do you know what you need? A garden bench.
Are My Grapes Ready to Harvest?
This is the time of the year that I keep hearing the question "When do I harvest my grapes?" Or sometimes the question is phrased "Are my grapes ripe yet?" And then there's the "Are they ready yet?"
Set Out a Feast for Your Feathered Friends
February is "Feed the Birds" month in much of North America. And what great timing! If you're going through a cold winter, you can help the wintering birds that are going through it with you. If you live further south, you'll have not only year-round feathered friends to feed, but also an influx of migrating visitors from colder climates.
Gardening--Fun and Frugal!
Whether you are an avid vegetable gardener, a beginning herb gardener or just like to have a pretty yard, these frugal tips may help you save a little money!
Organic Roses in the Flower Garden
Many people believe growing their flowers and vegetables organically is healthier for them and their environment. It is natural that you may wish to grow your roses this way also. Using the pesticides and insecticides that are usually considered to go along with growing roses and keeping them healthy can cause many people have to health problems . Maybe you just don't want those kind of chemicals in your garden and around your children. This article will give some pointers in using more natural methods of growing your roses.
February in the Garden
Often in February there is a surprisingly warm day. Everybody sheds their coats and puts a bounce in their step. The next day they hear a snow plow at 4 AM. But the brief warmup gets you thinking "what is there to do in the landscape?"
This is a project I've had on the back burner for many months now, but now it's finally ready!
Winter Gardening Looking Towards Spring
Ok, the title "winter gardening" might be a tad bit misleading. I am not suggesting that you actually garden during the winter but you should be using this time to plan your upcoming garden. As you look out at your yard and garden area during the cold months of winter, let your thoughts run wild and you will be amazed at what images you can conjure up. You might even want to try some of your new found ideas this spring!
The Home Garden
The garden should be near the house and away from trees. If it's some distance away from the house, it will not be as well looked after, nor will most use be made of vegetables grown. Vegetables near trees cannot get full sunshine; even more important, tree roots will rob them of water and fertilizer they need to do their best.
The Meanings Behind the Colors of Roses
Roses are a sign of love and friendship and by giving someone a rose you are telling them how truly special they are. There are a number of colors of roses available and each one represents a different meaning to the receiver. If you are looking to purchase roses for that special someone, but aren't quite sure which color would best suit your relationship, keep reading to find out what each color represents.
It?s Gardening Season!
It's gardening season again! Are you ready? Whether you are a seasoned gardener, or are looking to start gardening, you will likely need supplies and plants. If you shop smart, and use the tips below, you can get that garden running with very little money. And you can save a lot of money on your grocery bill as well.
|home | site map|