With the coming of a new year, we have the chance to better our lives and turn over a new leaf. Why not start by living a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Clip this list of green alternatives and see how many you can apply to your daily life. You may be surprised at just how green you can be with very little effort, and who knows, maybe it will be contagious.
Water your garden with a rain barrel. Hook up a rain barrel to your downspout or attach a fancy copper water catcher and start storing water for those hot summer days. Your barrel will weigh over 400 lbs when full, so ensure you find a level place to store it. One quarter inch of rain will yield 200 gallons of water.
Gather your neighbors and start a community garden to grow your own vegetables. This is a great idea especially for people with limited yard space or apartment dwellers.
Set up a composter and treat your garden to free compost. Fill it up with any non-meat food scraps, vegetable peelings coffee grounds, leaves and grass cuttings. Your plants will love it and you’ll be buying less garbage bags.
Plant a tree. Build your own forest by planting trees and seedlings. They look beautiful, provide shade and habitats for animals and birds. They’ll even do their part to improve air quality by filtering out pollution and boosting oxygen.
Find alternatives to insecticides. Fight garden pests with organic means, such as dish detergent and water. Take some Ivory Liquid detergent mixed with water at a ratio of one to two percent and spray your plants to coat bugs and suffocate them.
Use solar power to light your walkway. Save money on bulbs and electricity with solar powered garden lights. You’ll love the wire-free installation. Where solar isn’t practical switch to low voltage or LED lighting.
When landscaping, focus on using native species of plants to help stop the spread of invasive, non-native vegetation.
Make a habitat. Help support our feathered friends by hanging feeders or bird houses, set up a bird bath and plant shrubs that bear fruit.
Let nature take care of mosquitoes naturally. Build a backyard bat box and let them feast on between 500 to 1,000 mosquitoes per hour. That sure beats spraying bug repellent.
Remember push mowers? They’ve become all the rage as an eco-alternative to gas mowers for cutting your lawn. They save money, mess and you get additional exercise.
Don’t forget the mulch. Adding mulch to your garden in the winter protects your plants from the cold and in the summer months keeps the soil cool, prevents water loss and helps to control weeds.
Reduce, reuse and recycle every chance you get. It may take some time, but just by being aware you will increase your practice of the 3 “R’s”. The next time you go to throw out that old piece of lumber, fencing, or light fixture, stop yourself and take a load to the local reuse store. You may also find that reclaimed lumber fits the bill for your next building project.
Carolyn Capalbo is an expert military relocation specialist and real estate agent serving Northern Virginia real estate. Visit Just4Real.com to find updated market information about areas in Prince William, including Ashburn VA real estate.