Prepare your lawn for natural care

If you decide to stick with grass rather than native plants, it's important to set yourself up for success. Whether you're planting a brand-new lawn or caring for an existing one, there are a few simple ways to keep it green and lush. If you're starting from scratch and planting grass seed, it's a good idea to Check the topsoil. A lawn needs at least four inches of topsoil to thrive. Eight inches or more is even better. If you can only dig an inch or so into your yard before hitting rock or...

Greener Lawn

You already know about the types of chemicals in your home, but what about just outside your door Many homeowners take great pride in their lush lawns. Yet acres of thick, bright-green grass cost far more than a few bags of fertilizer and some weed-killer Pesticides and fertilizer get into homes and run off into lakes, rivers, and drinking water supplies like wells. Some of these chemicals are harmful to humans and animals. Watering lawns uses a huge amount of precious water up to 60 of all the...

The grass is greenerwhen its the right kind

The first thing to do when you're switching to natural lawn care is to take a good look at what you're growing. Is your lawn the best kind of grass for your area In warm, dry climates, for example, you want a grass that can tolerate drought conditions and recover quickly after an extended dry spell. Temperature range, shadiness, rainfall, humidity, wear all these factors affect which variety of grass grows best in your region. And knowing which one works best can save you water and cut back on...

Get smart about fertilizers

Fertilizers promote plant growth, making your lawn lush and green. But what's in that stuff you're feeding your lawn Both natural and artificial fertilizers contain elements that help plants grow like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium but they get those nutrients from different sources p Look for low- or no-phosphate fertilizers. As mentioned on page xx1, phosphorus is a plant nutrient, but there's probably already enough of it in your soil to feed your grass. (Have your soil tested if you're...

The Trouble with Pesticides

Pesticide, insecticide, herbicide, fungicide The suffix -cide comes from cida, the Latin word for killer. The chemicals that kill lawn pests like insects and weeds can also be toxic to people and pets. That's why you see those little plastic flags warning you to stay off recently treated grass. every year, people in the U.S. dump more than 100 million pounds of pesticides on their lawns and gardens. Suburban lawns and gardens actually get more pesticides per acre than most agricultural areas....

Say goodbye to weeds

If weeds seem to like your natural lawn-care program as much as the grass does, you don't need to poison the weeds to get rid of 'em. Instead, try these approaches Deep watering. As page 37 explains, when you water your grass deeply, you encourage the grass to grow long roots. This means the grass will be more deeply rooted than the weed seedlings that want to take up residence. When the top inch or two of dirt dries out, the weeds dry out and die. But the grass, whose roots go deeper, can...

Mowing Tips

It's probably no surprise to learn that gas-powered lawn mowers create lots of pollution. For small lawns, consider an old-fashioned push mower (also called a reel mower) you'll get a workout and a great-looking lawn. Electric mowers are another option there are cordless models if you're worried about mowing over the cord. Set your mower blades as high as they'll go. Like other green plants, grass converts light into food through its leaves, so if you cut the grass too short, you're basically...

Drop liquid castile soap

4 drops grapefruit seed extract or eucalyptus oil, both of which are disinfectants. Undiluted eucalyptus oil can irritate the skin, so handle it carefully. 10-12 drops essential oil(s). choose scents you like to boost disinfectant power and leave a fresh smell. Lavender is a good choice, as is lemon or tea tree oil. Or try a combination, like six drops of lemon oil, three of orange, and three of lime to make your home smell clean and delicious. Mix all the ingredients in a clean 32-ounce spray...

How Household Chemicals Can Affect Your Health

The following table spells out health problems that common household chemicals can cause. Household products are packed with potentially harmful substances, so this table can't cover them all. If you want to learn about a specific product or ingredient, check the Household Products Database from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at http hpd.nlm.nih.gov. Search for a product by name to see possible health effects and safe handling instructions. Search for an ingredient to get a...

Disposing of Household Chemicals

By now, you're probably ready to gather up all your cleaning products and dump them in the trash. Not so fast While it's a good idea to remove harsh chemicals from your home, you need to dispose of them safely. The earth will thank you for it. To get rid of household chemicals, don't throw them in the trash, pour them down a drain, or burn them. If your community has a day designated for hazardous waste pickup, unload them then. If you're not sure how to dispose of hazardous waste where you...

Does recycling actually save energy

It obviously takes energy to recycle. The process involves sorting, processing, and transporting materials. So does recycling save more energy than it uses Consider these facts It takes 95 less energy to get aluminum from recycled cans than it does to process aluminum from bauxite. Recycling plastic bottles uses about 70-75 less energy than creating new ones from scratch. It takes about 60 less energy to recycle steel than to mine iron ore and produce new steel. Recycling paper uses about 40-45...

Appliances

Most appliances can be recycled for scrap metal. Here's how it works The appliance gets torn to pieces by a giant shredder, magnets pull out iron-based metal, and then other metals such as aluminum get separated out from the detritus. Many appliances contain some materials, such the plastic liner in a dishwasher, that can't be recycled, but the process significantly reduces what gets thrown out. Appliances containing Freon including refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioners require special...

The Meat Industrys Environmental Hoofprint

As you learned in the previous sections, industrialized farming raises concerns about health, humane treatment of animals, and farming communities. Another big concern for people who want to eat green is how the meat and dairy industries affect the environment. These farms pollute the air, water, and earth, and have a massive carbon footprint. Way back in 1997, a report by the U.S. Senate Agricultural Committee warned, The threat of pollution from intensive livestock and poultry farms is a...

The Chemicals You Live With

Your home is your castle, your sanctuary, the place where you raise your family and relax at the end of the day. But rather than being a safe haven, many homes are a minefield of chemicals that can affect your health and harm the planet. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has called the typical American home the number one violator of chemical waste per capita because many of those chemicals get tossed in the trash or go swirling down the drain. Let's take a tour of a...

Recycling What Goes Around Comes Around

Recycling is a good idea that's been around for a while. Modern recycling was born in the environmental movement of the 1960s and '70s. To coincide with the very first Earth Day April 22, 1970 the Container Corporation of America, a major producer of recycled paperboard, sponsored a contest for art and design students to create a logo that symbolized the recycling process. UCLA student Gary Dean Anderson won with his triple-arrow design that has become one of the most recognized symbols on the...

Veggie Power

We're used to thinking that cars have to run on the liquefied remains of dinosaurs, but there are other, renewable fuel sources. Biodiesel, ethanol, and vegetable oil are all emerging as plant-based options that can reduce our dependence on oil to keep the world moving. The following sections have the details. Biodiesel is a clean-burning fuel made from things like vegetable oil (including used cooking oil, called WVO for waste vegetable oil), algae, and animal fat. Most biodiesel is made from...

Give Your Lawn a Drink

Many people water their lawn more often than they should, which wastes water and doesn't help the lawn. When you practice natural lawn care, you don't need to water as frequently because the well-aerated soil soaks up water and holds it like a sponge. The best time to water is in the morning. Watering in the evening can make your lawn vulnerable to fungus. Here are the two most important things to know about watering Water infrequently. Watering too often encourages thatch (page 33), while less...

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Radon, testing and removing, 140-141 rainwater, collecting, 68 Rapanui Organic Clothing, 215 rating system, LEED, 118-120 ReadyMade magazine project archive, 96 rebates from utility companies, 144 rechargeable appliances, replacing, 61 recipes all-purpose cleaner, 19 fabric softener, 26 insecticidal soap, 197 laundry detergent, 25 toilet cleaners, 25 Reclaimed Lumber Company, 133 reconstituted siding, 137 recycling appliances, 114-115 appropriate items for, 103-104 cars, 115-116 cellphones,...

Disadvantages Of Planet Earth

There are some downsides to using biomass, including Air pollution. Biomass emits greenhouse gases when it's used to generate fuel. If the carbon isn't offset by replanting crops, biomass contributes to global warming. Direct burning of biomass also releases particulates, although these can be minimized with an emission control system. Energy use. It takes energy to plant, grow, harvest, and transport the crops used for biomass. Unless these activities are done responsibly, biomass can use up...