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Eco-smart gardening

15 easy eco-gardening techniques to incorporate into your yard By Tania Moffat

The best way to show your eco-friendly side is to go plant a tree - or two, or three... T

oday, more than ever, concern for our environment has become paramount. It is only natural that this concern would have an influence on our gardening

practices. Many gardeners have been incorporating eco- friendly aspects to their gardens for years, perhaps some- times without even knowing it. As a country, Canada has taken an interest in pursu-

ing more eco-friendly methods in pest and weed control. Many cities, municipalities and towns have banned pesti- cides for cosmetic use and moved to more earth-friendly insect pest control methods. How can you incorporate eco aspects into your garden

and help the earth? It is easier than you may think to get started. Many aspects require a little common sense and adjustment to our regular practices. Here are 15 things you can do to make your garden more eco-friendly: 1. Plant trees! Trees are one of the best and prettiest

ways to reduce our carbon footprints. They improve air quality by filtering out air pollutants and carbon diox- ide, in addition to releasing oxygen. They provide shade, prevent soil erosion, and offer homes and food for wildlife.

18 • Summer 2016

Trees are efficient tools in fighting the greenhouse effect and in creating biodiversity. 2. Mulch. Mulching around trees and shrubs will help

to conserve moisture and benefit the well-being of your plant. It keeps roots cool in the summer heat and insulates them over the cold winter months. High quality wood mulch helps to cut down on weeds and releases nutrients as it decomposes. Read the label to ensure it is made from natural wood. Quality mulches are the by-products of lumber milling and processing, just another part of reduc- ing waste! Top up your mulch every year and ensure it does not remain chronically wet. 3. Fight without chemicals when you can. Diatoma-

ceous earth and other natural based products can work wonders for your pest control needs. Often simple home- based solutions can help and prevent chemicals from leach- ing into the ground. Water and dish detergent will kill any number of plant pests, vinegar (see tips on how to use it in the garden on page 6) and other regular household items can also help depending on your needs. You don’t have to abandon chemicals, but start with natural solutions

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