A Greener Backyard – May 2011


Instead of using a wood sealer that contains chemicals and can harm wildlife, use natural linseed oil as a finish for wooden furniture, fences, and floors. Linseed oil protects wood naturally without producing harmful fumes.

It may be possible for you to reclaim water from bathing and washing clothes and dishes, and reuse it to irrigate outdoor plants. Check out the regulations and recommendations for greywater reuse for your particular area.

Place a rain barrel or extension on the roof downspout to catch or redirect rainwater. Use it to water your garden and houseplants. You will save money on your water bill, plus give plants the benefit of the natural minerals present in rainwater.

Consider installing drip irrigation.

Start a compost bin. Explore the internet for easy instructions on beginning one and maintaining it. I have even seen them in local hardware stores.

Consider xeriscaping your decorative garden and yard with drought-tolerant plants and native plants.

Next month, we are going to look at garden plants that sometimes “jump the fence,” becoming invasive species which then displace native plants.

Lastly, while in your backyard enjoying upcoming summer holiday parties, please don’t forget to plan ahead with an eye toward recycling and reducing your food waste. Use paper plates instead of plastic, or better yet, reusable. A water jug with paper cups instead of plastic disposable cups or individual water bottles. NO STYROFOAM! A washable tablecloth, not plastic throw-away. Food preparation scraps go into the recycle bin. And remember to put out three garbage cans labeled: Recycle, Compost, Trash.  Is your party in a public park? Pack it in and pack it out. Thank you!


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