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Weekly Tips | May 14, 2012

Greening the Garden


It takes more than a “green thumb” to green a garden! If you’d like a greener thumb, consider replacing pesticides with mulch, starting a worm bin or grasscycling with a mulching lawn mower.    

 

Grasscycling
Is your yard debris cart getting full? Help your lawn recycle itself by mowing with a mulching lawn mower. No need to worry about loose clippings – mulch mowers blow grass clippings down into your lawn where they decompose and fertilize the lawn quickly.

You can also grasscycle with any type of mower by simply leaving the clippings on the lawn after you mow.

Make your own mulch
Set aside grass trimmings, leaves and pruned branches and put them to work! Mulching has many benefits including moisture retention, reduced soil erosion, better water conservation and reducing weed growth. (Read more about mulch here.)

Catch the rain
Whether it is easier for you to use a rain barrel or a homemade rain spike, you can save time and money on your water bill by letting nature water for you. You can reuse old 2-liter bottles in two ways: screw on a spike for slow watering, or cut off the bottom of the bottle to catch the rain.

Compost
Composting at home is a great way to minimize your waste footprint and put your fruit and veggie scraps, old newspaper, coffee grounds and breads back into the soil. If you are willing to share your home, deck, or porch with worms, worm bin composting is inexpensive and easy.

You can also compost with “green cones” or use any number of backyard compost systems. Getting started is easy - choose a composting method, feed the pile, keep it moist and in 6-12 months you can harvest your own homemade, nutrient-rich compost!

Green gardening help
There are many resources at your fingertips! Talk to the experts at the Garden Hotline at (206) 633-0224, managed by Seattle Tilth, for answers to your green gardening questions.

Resources: King County Make the Mulch of It | King County Natural Yard Care | King County Grasscycle and Mower Guide | Seattle Composting Resource Guide | Water Spikes | Water Drake | KING county rain barrel information King County "Kitchen Waste Composting with Worms" | King County E-Z Worm Composting Bin | King County Red Worm Vendors List | Vermiculture NW | SPU Tilth Worm Bin | Seattle Tilth Worm Bin Tips | SPU Composting 101 | Composting Yard and Food waste at Home | Cornell Center for the Environment “Invertebrates of the Compost Pile” | SPU Green Cone Guide | The Garden Hotline
 

The Big Picture

In 2009 approximately 32.9 million tons of yard debris was collected from curbside residential and commercial programs in the US, accounting for 13.2% of the total waste generated.

While 64.7% of the yard debris was placed in curbside yard waste carts for processing at industrial composting facilities, there is an environmental cost associated with collection, transport and processing any material.

Help reduce your waste footprint by taking steps to go green in the garden. 

Source: US EPA 2009 MSW Report

Reduce first. Reuse what you can, and then Recycle.


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composting  garden  grass  mulch 

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