Organic Gardening: Think Local, Diversify and Design for Reuse

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Yesterday, I posted some Tips for “Green” Gardens from Carl Smith, PhD (right), a landscape architecture professor at the University of Arkansas School of Architecture and coauthor of the new book Residential Landscape Sustainability: A Checklist Tool.


Here are three additional recommendations from Dr. Smith.

Think Local—and Check the Label

A naturally occurring material is not automatically the eco-friendly choice.

Ask your supplier where materials come from. Natural stone trucked from hundreds of miles away may be no better for the environment than a concrete block manufactured just down the road.

Look for timber that is local and certified as being from a sustainable source. A Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) stamp is recognized as the most reliable.

Diversify Plantings

Native plants drive global biodiversity and can be a great environmental feature in your garden, especially if you live near an existing native habitat that you can help protect and extend.

But research is showing that noninvasive, non-native plants can also be attractive to many bugs and beasties.

Design for Reuse

Whether it’s looking old and tired—or you simply want to spruce things up a bit—remove, replace or repair garden items like decks, fences and areas of hardscape from time to time.

Use screws and bolts instead of nails to secure timbers. Use lime mortar or sand to bed paving instead of cement. These choices allow you to easily dismantle and reuse, rather than smash and dump (though, admittedly, it’s less fun!).

Tune in Wednesday for more of Dr. Smith’s tips. And for more articles on organic gardening, please click here.

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