Women's History Month perfect time to 'greenscape'

  • Published
  • By Carol Wall
  • Randolph Women's History Month Committee
March is Women's History Month, and this year's theme is "Women Taking the Lead to Save Our Planet," a fitting theme with the today's emphasis on being "green."

With spring just around the corner, it's a perfect time to "greenscape."

Here are some planet friendly tips that can improve your lawn's and garden's health and appearance:

Healthy soil

Dig or till 1-3 inches of compost into bed topsoil. Compost helps loosen hard soil and provides nutrients that will feed and protect plants. You can purchase compost, or make your own using leaves, flowers and grass.

Vegetable scraps and coffee grounds can be used as well but don't use meat, dairy or oils which attract pests. Turn the compost every few weeks and sprinkle some water on it during dry weather. You'll have to be patient; it takes 3-6 months for the waste to become dark and crumbly.

Healthy lawn

Mulch grass clippings to "grasscycle" your lawn. Grass clippings will decompose quickly providing nutrients and reducing the need for nitrogen by 25-50 percent.

During the growing season, mow regularly so that you cut only one third the height of the grass. This will minimize the amount of grass clippings and make your lawn healthier because the clippings will decompose quickly and provide free fertilizer.

Smart watering

Water infrequently but deeply. If you notice that footprints remain after you walk across your lawn, it is time to water. Vegetables and other annuals should be watered at the first sign of wilting. Established trees and shrubs only need water in very dry years.

To lower your water bill and get more water to your plants follow these tips:
· Build your soil with compost to hold water, and mulch to reduce evaporation
· Use a soaker hose or drip irrigation system
· Set sprinklers to ensure they don't water the pavement
· Water during early morning hours, and never when it's windy

Pest management

Not all bugs are bad. Ladybugs help protect plants by eating aphids and other pests. They can be purchased from a variety of sources, including most plant nurseries. To keep them from flying away, you can make a mixture of half soft drink, half water and spray it into the bag that the ladybugs come in. This will cause their wings to stick to their body for about a week.

It is better to release your ladybugs early enough in the pest cycle so that they have time to do their job. Regular, repeated releases of small amounts are more effective than one very large release. For most home gardens, 1,500 ladybugs are sufficient. They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three months.

Finally, remember to "Reduce, Reuse and Recycle."

Pass these tips on to others so that they, too, can take the lead to save our planet and enjoy a healthier yard and garden.

Information for this article courtesy the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and www.naturescontrol.com.