Thursday, April 3, 2008


What could be greener than a patch of green?
Many of us are antsy to get ouside and began anew with our backyards or more likely, 4X4 garden squares in front of our apartments. Either way, here are some tips to green your garden:

Use organic soil amendments
Test your soil. If needed, add organic soil amendments or fertilizer.

Get Compost for your Garden
If you live in NYC – you can buy it for cheap at the greenmarket in Union Square or at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden; if outside of the City, lots of municipalities have free compost giveaway days

Use natural pest control
Choose natural remedies and organic treatments for insect pests. You can get rid of bugs by picking them up yourself, repel pests with hot pepper spray (buy a commercial spray or make your own: Combine 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid, 2 tablespoons of hot red pepper sauce, and one quart of water in a spray bottle), attract birds and animals that feed on pests by providing shelter, water, food, and nesting sites.

Use natural disease control
Choose natural remedies and organic treatments for plant diseases.

Choose the correct watering system
An effective watering system can save water, time, and money.

Apply Lots of Mulch
Mulches prevent weeds and conserve water. Many cities give away free mulch on designated days.

Grow seeds and plants suitable for your climate
Choose plants and seeds appropriate for your climate: they'll grow better and require less water and fertilizer.

Practice Xeriscaping - we know you're all over this one...
Xeriscaping is environmentally friendly landscaping that uses native and drought-tolerant plants, shrubs, and ground cover. The word xeriscape is a combination of the Greek word xeros (meaning "dry") and landscape. Cuts down on your water useage.

Introduce beneficial predators to keep pests away
Beneficial predators keep insects away from your home, garden, yard, or farm, thus eliminating the need for toxic pesticides that can harm people, pets, and the environment. You can use ladybugs, caterpillars, lady beetles oh my (you can buy at Gardens Alive!) or hope they stop by.

Use Natural weed Control
Prevention is the best medicine when it comes to weed control. To do so, disturb the soil as litte as posible, destroy them before they flower and go to seed, don’t leave areas of bare soil, and use mulch. Get a head start on eliminating weeds, and use natural remedies for weeds that have taken hold. If you don’t want to pull them out yourself with a hand or a hoe (best to do in the rain), look for non-selective weed killers made from vinegar and citrus or vinegar and clove oil, suggested brands are: Gardens Alive! WOW! Supreme Pre-Emergent Weed Control, Burnout 2 Weed & Grass Killer Concentrate

If you don't have a garden of your own, try houseplants, window boxes, or fire-escape plants. You can even volunteer and work on a really big garden - your local park.

Learn more at

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