Spring time is here for many of us, or just around the corner! Before you head to your local big box store for a flat of showy annuals, consider these few things you can do for a greener, more sustainable, yard or garden, and save some cash too!

– Use native or adapted plants which need less or no irrigation and will demand less pest control. Plants like these evolved for your region’s climate and conditions – that’s why they will need less care.

– Start transforming grassy sections of your lawn into planty sections! Use the above mentioned native plants for best impact. Grassy lawns use up a lot of water, gas for the mower and time. Using weed killers and other pesticides on your lawn may accomplish a short-term goal but adds toxins to your home environment, bad for your kids or grandkids, pets and yourself!

– Go with permaculture principles when planting your veggie gardens. Plant fruit trees and bushes that will remain in the ground year after year – berry bushes, apple trees, pear trees, pomegranates, figs! Decide what will grow in your region with the sun and soil requirements you have. How much do you plan to spend on veggie plants or seeds this year? Why not spend half that amount by investing in a blueberry bush or two which will pay off year after year…in bushels!

– When raking up leaves and plant debris, use them as mulch rather than throwing them away. Decaying leaf matter is the perfect mulch – why buy packaged mulch when you already have some in your yard?

– Xeriscape your yard green! Use plants that require no extra irrigation

Here are a few resources to help you get started:

NC Native Plants – Browse recommended species, consult lists and galleries of natives and non-natives
Native Plant Database – Search by common or scientific name, view recommended species by state, or – the macdaddy – search using several different criteria to find just the plant you need for your situation.
Plant Native – allows you to search for regional plants but even better, to search for nurseries that sell native plants in your state.
Lawn to garden. Convert!
Permaculture Institute


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