The earth is a pretty cool place to live. Do your part to make it last, it's easy. Photo courtesy of NASA
1. Go Organic
There's no reason to use chemicals in the garden. I've haven't sprayed anything in my garden for nearly 30 years and my garden thrives. Feed the soil, not the plant and you'll always have a great garden. Compost equals a green thumb.
When I made the switch decades ago, I read everything I could get my hands on about organic gardening. I found out EVERYONE was an organic gardener before WWII, as there were no chemical pesticides, fertilizers or herbicides.
2. Don't obsess about killing bugs
Unfortunately Madison Avenue has vilified insects. My radio partner and bug expert Jessica Walliser says this, "99 percent of insects in the garden are either good or benign." When you use a chemical pesticide, you kill the bad bug, but you also kill good bugs and soil life too. Mother Nature does a pretty good job of creating a cycle of life where good bugs control the bad. You'll always be a more successful gardener working with nature instead of against.
Dill is the number one plant to attract beneficial insects.
3. Nothing Grows Better Than Grass When It's Happy
That's why we try so hard to keep it out of our flower beds and vegetable garden. When a lawn has the correct pH and fertility the grass will outgrow anything. A soils test from the Penn State Extension Service is under $10 and will tell you everything you need to know about your soil and how to improve it.
4. Plant a Tree or Shrub
Trees are good, they take carbon dioxide and convert it into oxygen, make shade and are beautiful. Flowering shrubs do the same thing.
5. Don't Panic
When there's a problem with a pest or disease in the garden figure out what's going on and target the problem specifically in a way that doesn't disrupt the balance of nature.
6. Water Smart and Mulch
"Water is our most precious resource." That's a quote from every filmstrip or video we ever saw in school and it's true. Mulch your garden to preserve moisture and keep the soil evenly moist. When we don't get enough rain, soak the plants in the morning at their base.
7. Help Pollinators and Birds
Plant lots of flowers for pollinators like bees, butterflies moths and more. Create an attractive area for birds, they eat lots of pests. Birds need some cover for staging and nesting, something to eat like sunflower seeds and water. Not only do they help you garden, birds are fun to watch.
8. Get Help
Not sure what to do when there's a problem in the garden. Every good garden center has people who will help. They also have a slew of organic solutions to solve those problems. If you're bringing in insects or a diseased plant, make sure it's in a sealed plastic bag.
9. A Small Difference is Still a Difference
Don't think you're organic garden can change things, guess again. Every step in the right direction moves us all to a better place to live.
10. We All Live Downstream
Use your big brain to make decisions which will benefit you, your family, your pets, your neighbors and the environment.