How to Make Your Home More Green
Check out these expert tips on making your home, yard, and even your car greener, cleaner, and healthier.
Environmentally Safe Yard Products
Fertilizer foe. It seems a little backward to play farmer and grow your own vegetables in your backyard, then shower them with a fertilizer that offers no benefit for body or earth. Instead, think natural and compost, Cole suggests. The food waste you throw in the garbage disposal or trash every day, like apple cores and banana skins, can be a nutrient-packed addition to your garden. Cole composts by putting aside his family's daily leftovers and tossing them outside in a pile. By churning the pile once a week, he can be compost-ready in a few months. When summer arrives, the trash has become a treasure, ready for spreading like mulch over the garden to make both food and flowers fabulous.
Grubby control. Looking for a lawn that's luscious and green? Among your fiercest foes are grubs that lunch on your lawn, creating brown and bare spots. Avoid toxic bug-killing chemicals and instead fight nature with nature. Spray microscopic worms called nematodes on your grass, says Marshall. The nematodes infest and kill grubs by eating them from the inside out (gross, yes, but effective). Even better, the more the nematodes eat, the more they reproduce, preventing future grub trouble and improving the health of your lawn without hurting your own.
Grass roots. Once you have your grub problem under control, manicuring your lawn so it's green -- and "green" with the environment in mind -- isn't hard. You don't need heavy fertilizers, says Marshall. Instead, learn how to cut your grass right. Don't cut it too short, but let the blades grow out 3 to 4 inches so the grass can establish a strong root system. Also, put the bagger aside. While you don't want to have big clumps of grass suffocating your lawn, a well-spread layer of fresh-cut grass acts as a natural fertilizer. Your neighbors will be jealous, and your lawn and your health will thank you.
Mosquito fix. Spring and summer bring warmer weather, longer days ... and pesky mosquitoes harboring dangerous diseases -- or at least itchy bites. Skip the bug repellents, Marshall suggests, and concentrate on eliminating standing water around your home, such as kiddie pools, birdbaths, and rainwater buckets. Mosquitoes lay eggs and make a happy home in water.