To be honest you probably won’t find many Eco-warriors hanging around Starbucks drinking over priced coffees. But I’d like to try and make an important point if I make, about how we simply do not make enough use of the resources we have. There is a reason that probably one of the most important mantras of the ‘green’ movement is – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. It is important because if everyone applied this to their own lives it would have a simply stunning effect on the resources we use on this planet.
So what’s with this Starbucks example and how does it help my carnations?
The answer is simple – it lies in a waste product produced by any coffee shop – coffee grounds.
They are extremely rich in nitrogen and can provide a huge boost for any garden soil. Normally coffee is far too acidic to put on the soil but the brewing process actually removes this. In fact the coffee grounds are almost neutral having an average pH of about 6.9 depending on the type of beans used. They also have a carbon nitrogen ratio of about 20 – 1.
You can apply these grounds directly to your garden but they are especially useful when put around nitrogen loving plants. There are many gardeners who suggest that using coffee grounds produces wonderful carrots, melons and vegetables too. In fact there won’t be a problem using on almost any plant in your garden as long as you don’t over do it.
Another use, although I have to admit I have never tried this is to use coffee grounds to deter slugs and snails. Many gardeners swear by this so it might be worth a try. The idea is though, coffee grounds sound like waste but in reality they have as much value to a gardener as buying an expensive bag of compost or fertilizer from your local garden center.
So save your coffee grounds, reuse them in your garden. Next time you’re having a coffee somewhere ask the proprietor what he does with his coffee grounds. If he throws them away remind him of the garden benefits, you could even suggest that he uses it as a promotional tool. Give away bags of used coffee grounds when you buy a coffee, should help attract more customers and help the environment too.
If you search around the internet you’ll find much, more detailed information on what sort of plants and vegetables benefit from the nitrogen high coffee grounds.
If you walk through somewhere like London or Chicago, you may have noticed a huge reduction in the number of green front gardens. There is a growing trend for minimalist and maintentance free gardens and that usually means paving over them and removing the grass.
This is the perfect example of a how single individual decision can end up having a huge overall impact on our environment. It might seem quite trivial in the grand scheme – paving over your front garden to provide a place to park that extra car. However when thousands and thousand follow this trend the overall impact can be devastating.
It has been estimated that in London over the last few years, the loss of green space due to disappearing front gardens is equal to the size of 22 Hyde Parks. Can you imagine the public outcry if someone suggested concreting over even one Hyde Park? But this has happened in little steps slowly reducing the amount of green in our lives. If the effect is so huge in one City who knows what the overall global effect is.
It’s not just a British or American phenomena either, the problem has been growing across the developed world. Some surveys have estimated that over two thirds of urban front gardens are now partly or totally covered with paving or concrete.
So why does this matter?
You might think that these individual pockets of green are so small that they really don’t matter. But you’d be wrong the potential environmental issues can be far reaching. There’s of course the impact on wildlife, less gardens means less insects, bees, butterflies. This will reduce the numbers of birds drastically over time.
Green spaces also help absorb the pollution we produce – obviously the more we have the better. Even simple problems like dangers to pedestrians as pavements now become gateways to drives can cause real problems in busy areas.
Removing gardens also can cause problems with flooding, a garden is a natural soak away. Concrete paving doesn’t absorb any water so there’s an increased risk of flash flooding due to less gardens. If anyone has watched how quickly flood waters from a river crosses over our concrete towns they’ll know this is the truth.
So whenever possible please consider the enviroment before paving over that garden. If you want low maintenance then try using a combination of gravel and a few shrubs. Most shrubs take very little looking after and they still will help attract wildlife to your garden. If you do have to put in a hard surface then try and consider the potential drainage. There are slabs which have built in drainage holes and porous materials that let water pass through without causing damage.
For some people, organic can be a magical word, but is food from an organic and natural garden really as safe as everyone says it is? It doesn’t matter the places you go, natural is becoming more prevalent. When you buy natural food whether it’s fruits or vegetables, are you ever curious about how safe it is? In this piece, you will learn some new information about organic food that you may not have known.
33% of the food purchased in the united kingdom was proven to have measurable levels of pesticides and chemicals within them, and this was done by a scientist in the UK. These kinds of chemical substances were used to enhance the crops, and are considered to be harmful to the human body. The exact same study indicated that this was a fact throughout the developed world, and the amounts of contamination were almost the same, and it wasn’t any different for organic food. The pollution was principally caused by the water in the ground that was ingested by the plants. Bug sprays and fertilizers make it possible for plants to grow bigger and quicker but it seems that this has been done at a price.
The chemical compounds are actually entering into water tables which are spreading into everything we eat. In essence, the only solution to not use this water is to use distilled water, but then you will be missing the proper nutrients. The contamination even was spread out by the wind currents. Almost all of the fertilizers and bug sprays are sprayed on the crops, so when the wind is blowing they can be carried anywhere. The air is full of contamination, from who knows what poisons, or where they come from, but they continually circle the globe. Your organic garden may take damage because of this fact.
You never know what might be swirling around in the air and even the best safety measures might not work. Regrettably, unborn and newly born children may be subject to these pesticides. No one actually knows the valid effects of all these pesticides and chemicals that we have been allowing corporations and farmers to put on our food. Just some of the issues we can experience with chemicals are types of cancers, weakening the immune system, and the breakdown of the nervous system.
Safe guarding your food by cleaning them just isn’t as true as many people declare it is. Washing the peel will not be very helpful due to the fact certain chemicals leech through the skin and into the vegetable thus defeating the purpose of washing it. Organic and natural foods can continue to have chemicals within them, and this article revealed to you why organic might not be better Even so, they are in all probability still far healthier than what you get at a supermarket.
You’d love to look outside your window and see a beautiful, bountiful garden, and you’re willing to do the hard labor – but not if it means using toxic weed killers. Luckily, you can have loads of fresh flowers and produce growing in your garden without worrying about chemicals. You just need to find out which eco friendly weed killer works best for you.
Growing plants organically is an honorable goal, and it’s not as hard as you may think. Consider the fact that gardens have been around for centuries, but chemical weed killers have not. If natural, eco friendly weed killers worked back then, they surely deserve a shot now.
Before figuring out which eco friendly weed killers will help you grow your garden, it’s important to consider just why it is you’re shying away from chemical weed killers – after all, you don’t want to get sucked in by the lure of their apparent effectiveness and efficiency.
Chemical weed killers are actually quite expensive and can be harmful to children, pets and other plants. Worst of all, they have the potential to leach into our water systems. Even light rains can carry the chemicals from recently applied herbicides into storm drains, which lead right to our water supplies. They also seep into the ground, winding up in wells and even in streams and ponds.
Clearly the downsides of using chemicals outweigh any positives. So with that understood, here’s a list of effective eco friendly weed killers.
Mix salt and water in a spray bucket and spray directly on weeds. It will work, but you should know that salt sterilizes the soil, so its best used for the weeds that lurk among sidewalks, walkways and driveways.
This acidic liquid is one serious weed killer when poured directly on the weed’s roots. You can also mix vinegar with dish detergent and spray the combo on weeds. Lemon juice works just as well, but it’s often more expensive than vinegar, making the latter a more economical eco friendly weed killer.
Boiled water poured over weeds can scald them to death. With no cost involved, it’s worth a try, as long as there are no other plants nearby that could suffer from the heat.
Speaking of heat, a lot of successful gardeners swear by using this fiery sauce to put a damper on weed growth.
Along with these eco friendly weed killers, a little bit of manual labor is in order. Let the weed killers sit for a day or so, then pull up the weeds that are dying to ensure that they stay away. Also make sure that when you pull the weeds up, you get the whole root rather than just the stem. If you miss the root, there’s a good chance the weed will resprout.
If back pain leaves you wary of getting down on your hands and knees to pull those suckers firmly out of the ground, you can use a hoe to hack the roots apart. Remember that despite your best efforts, deep-rooted weeds might survive. In that case, use a hand rake or cultivator to dig them out of the ground altogether.
Basically, all mulch falls into two categories – organic and inorganic. There are obviously some benefits to using an organic form of mulch. The main benefit is that any organic substance will eventually break down. In that regard, organic is a much more eco friendly choice.
However, the type of landscape mulch that you ultimately choose to use depends on your personal needs.
- Pine Bark: Pine Bark is an extremely popular choice in many flower beds. It is extremely effective at controlling weeds and retaining moisture.
- Hardwood Mulch: You can get hardwood in two different types of mulch. The first is wood chips and the second is in a shredded form. Both types have advantages, but most people feel that the shredded option is easier to work with and more attractive. Shredded hardwood will also decompose more slowly than wood chips.
- Hay or Straw: First, there is a difference between hay and straw and hay should never be used as a mulch in your yard as the hay itself contains weeds. Straw can be used effectively, but it’s not really very attractive and it decomposes very rapidly. It is, however, a good choice to cover new lawn area while you wait for your grass to come in.
- Pine Needles: This type of landscape mulch is actually quite attractive depending on the type of flower beds that you have. It allows water to penetrate very easily and is effective at retaining moisture. It’s also a wonderful weed barrier. Think about walking through a forest that’s full of pine needles – how many weeds do you see? For a different look, pine needles are a great choice.
- Ground Cover: Okay, I know that ground cover isn’t exactly mulch, but I think it’s worth mentioning here. Many ground covers can be used effectively in place of mulch. It can be an effective form of weed control and will cover your soil – effectively protecting the root area of the plants and retaining moisture.
- Gravel, Stone, or Pebbles: By far the most popular of all inorganic mulches avaiable, these are good for places where your plants are permanent. Because rocks don’t decompose, it can be a real hassle when you want to replant in an area that’s already covered in rocks or pebbles. You only need about an inch of any of these substances to assist with weed control.
- Ground Rubber Tire Mulch: A fairly new option on the market, it is an interesting way to deal with tires. It won’t break down and never needs to be replaced. That said, since the rubber is typically dark colored (as in, BLACK!), it is going to generate additional heat in your garden, just like a asphalt driveway would.
- Landscape Cloth: Not really attractive at all, landscape cloth is usually laid as a weed barrier and then covered with another form of mulch for aesthetics. Landscape cloth is preferable to using garbage bags as it allows air to travel through it.
- Trash Bags: Again, these are usually used for weed control and not as a decorative measure. Never use clear plastic bags – they are not effective at stopping weeds. You can use black trash bags, but as mentioned above, using landscape cloth is a better choice these types of covers “breath.”
While not a comprehensive list of the types of mulch that are available, this should help to get you on the right path. What you should do now is head out to your local garden store. Look around at the options available in your area to see what appeals to you.