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Gardening Facts & Tips

Gardening Facts

Here are some facts that may surprise home gardeners who probably think gardening is always a “green” practice and good for the earth:

  • Homeowners apply 10 times more pesticides per acre than farmers
  • The average homeowner spends at least 40 hours/year mowing their lawn (equal to one week of vacation)
  • The amount of gasoline each year in the U.S. used to care for lawns is 800 million gallons (by comparison, the Exxon Valdez oil spill was 11 million gallons)
  • About 40% of residential water use is for lawns and gardens
  • Yard waste alone accounts for 20% of municipal solid waste
  • Mowing your lawn for one hour produces as much pollution as driving a car 650 miles
  • When pesticides are applied regularly, 60-90% of the soil’s earthworms are killed

We need to rethink the way we garden just like we are rethinking our building construction methods as we seek to find sustainable lifestyles that preserve more of our natural resources for the future.

Conservation Gardening Tips

  • Consider shrinking your lawn area by creating tree or shrub “islands” within your lawn that can be mulched
  • Replace any non-native landscape plant that dies in your yard with a native plant
  • Create a small bed of native plants somewhere in your yard (along a walkway, against a fence, etc) to help support more wildlife
  • Compost your yard waste (leaves, weeds, extra grass clippings) rather than sending it to the landfill
  • Make or buy a rain barrel to reduce storm water runoff from your home and to use for garden watering
  • Try to use less pesticides, fertilizers, municipal water and gas-powered equipment as you maintain your yard and garden
  • As you remodel or replace roof sections, consider a “living green roof” on a portion of your home
  • Buy garden plants that are grown or products that are produced within several hundred miles of your home – long distance shipping of products adds an environmental impact (gasoline use, air pollution, etc) that can be reduced if you buy locally
  • Click here to learn more about the Homegrown National Park program: