May 23, 2024

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Eco-friendly spring gardening tips |

3 min read

You can make your garden green in more ways than one with the advice of two local master gardeners.


It’s almost planting season in the DMV, meaning your backyard can be transfomed into an environmentally friendly oasis this spring. To help get you there, WUSA9 spoke with two master gardeners of Northern Virginia — Alyssa Ford-Morel and Joanne Hutton. They shared five things gardeners need to know about working with Mother Nature to have a healthy growing season.  

  1. Observe your space. Notice how much sun your garden gets, whether or not it will need drainage in case water pools up around it, and test your soil. “You’ll find out by doing a soil test the PH of your soil, whether it’s acid or alkaline, and you’ll find out what nutrients are present or not present so that you know if you need to amend that soil,” Ford- Morel said. 
  2. Plant natives. “We want to make sure that if it’s ornamental that we’re having more native plants, fewer non-native plants, and especially no plants that have been deemed invasive an environmental problem,” Ford-Morel said. Be sure to do your research before buying new plants. It isn’t illegal to sell invasive plants at nurseries or garden centers. Most counties have a list of what plants are considered invasive in your specific area. 
  3. Once you’ve planted, keep your garden maintenance eco-friendly by watering deeply and infrequently. This helps roots grow deep and conserves water. Bonus points if you use collected rainwater! 
  4. When those pesky weeds pop up, avoid using herbicides and pull them instead. “The Zen of weeding is not to be underrated,” Hutton said. Pulling weeds is a great way to learn more about your plants and soil, helping you become a better gardener. Herbicides can spread to other plants or insects which can harm or even kill them. 
  5. When the season is over and the leaves start to fall, leave them! According to Ford-Morel, “Those leaves are what nature gives our insects and other animals as the place to live during winter. They hide under the leaves either as larvae as eggs or as an adult and if we rake away the leaves, we’re raking away their home.” To help keep your yard looking clean, Hutton and Ford-Morel both recommend creating a brush pile so there is still a place for all the little critters to live. 

So, whether it’s your first time planting a garden or you have two green thumbs, we can all do our part to make sure our gardens are environmentally friendly. 

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2024-04-18 22:12:50

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