With spring around the corner it is time to get your gardens and yard ready for the sunny days…. looking of ways to go green? See our top nine tips below specifically for landscaping in Victoria BC. Want help or more information? We now have a landscaping department and we would be happy to come by and give you a free consultation and estimate.
- Keep it real: You know what they say about Mother knowing best? Well, Mother Nature never needed to steal sips from a chemical cocktail of pesticides, weed killers, and chemical fertilizers to keep her act together. Nix the poisons and layer on some all-natural compost, instead.
- Make compost from kitchen scraps: Compost like a champ by throwing in your vegetable waste, instead of allowing it to be trucked off to the landfill. Known as “gardener’s gold,” compost enriches soil fertility by giving it a shot of high-powered, plant-loving nutrients. Aside from stimulating healthy root development, the addition of rich and earthy compost also improves soil texture, aeration, and water retention. Speed up the process with the help of earthworms or go wriggle-free (if you’re the squeamish sort).
- Buy recycled: If your delicate aesthetic sensibilities balk at the idea of reusing yogurt or takeout containers to house your hydrangeas, check out the myriad environmentally friendly planters and raised-garden kits now available. It takes less energy to recycle something than to mine virgin materials, so whether you choose recycled copper, plastic, or even rubber to anchor your tender shoots, it’s all copacetic. Admire your handiwork and eco-smarts while lounging on recycled lawn furniture.
- Grow your own food: Buying organic produce can admittedly get pricey, so how about growing your own food instead of painstakingly manicuring that lawn for the umpteenth time? It’s time to return to the use of gardens as food sources–you won’t find fresher (or cheaper) eating anywhere else.
- Join a community garden: Urban dwellers: You can still get in on the hoeing and growing action by signing up for a plot at your local community garden. Community gardens typically have a communal composting area, as well, so if you don’t have room for one of those triple-duty rotating barrel composters in your home, here’s your hookup.
- Go native: Now that you’ve learned some of the merits of “de-lawning” your home, consider replacing the ol’ putting green with native and indigenous plants. There are great native plants for Victoria including ones like Snowberry & Oregon Grape. Already adapted to local conditions, native plants are easy to grow and maintain, generally requiring less fertilizer and water, as well as less effort to rein in pests.
- Harvest rainwater: Adding a rain barrel is an inexpensive and effortless way to capture mineral- and chlorine-free water for watering lawns, yards, and gardens, as well as washing cars or rinsing windows. By harnessing what’s literally raining from the sky, you’ll not only notice a marked dip in water costs, but also a reduction in storm water runoff, which in turn helps prevent erosion and flooding. Pop a screen on top of your barrel to keep out insects, debris, and bird missiles, and make frequent use of your water supply to keep it moving and aerated.
- Water with care: While we’re on the subject of water, adopting a few smart-watering habits will do much to stretch out your supply, especially during dry, hot spells in the summer. Adding mulch and compost to your soil will retain water and cut down evaporation. Plus, soaker hoses or drip irrigation only use 50 percent of the water used by sprinklers. Water early in the day so you can avoid evaporation and winds. And the best place to drench your plants? Directly on those thirsty roots.
- Bring on the butterflies and bees: Provide a pesticide-free sanctuary for our pollinator pals, such as butterflies and bees, by growing a diverse variety of native flowers they’re particularly drawn to, such as wild lilac, goldenrod, and lemon balm. (Gardens with 10 or more species of attractive plants have been found to entice the most bees.) If you haven’t already heard, we’re in the throes of a major bee-loss epidemic, which is causing beekeepers in North America and Europe much hand-wringing. Because pollinators affect 35 percent of the world’s crop production–and increase the output of 87 of the leading food crops worldwide–extending a little hometown hospitality could go a long way.