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No matter where you live, we all look forward to enjoying life in our gardens and outdoor living areas. Living green is about sustainability and protecting our environment and it is so beneficial to each of us. Living your life as a "green family" has so many facets. When you are outdoors look around and ask yourself:
• Are we using harmful chemicals in the soil that feed our edible plants and flowers? There are many organic fertilizers available.
• Are harmful sprays being used to control insects? Check out natural alternatives that are even more effective than chemical based pesticides.
• Have we used an excessive amount of concrete? When it rains, chemicals leach from concrete into our soil. Can pea-gravel, pavers, stone slabs or reclaimed wood be used instead?
• Are we still using chlorine in our pool? Chlorine byproducts found in swimming pools, according to credible research conducted in the U.S., Canada, Norway and Australia show a link to higher incidences of asthma, lung damage, stillbirths, miscarriages and bladder cancer? According to About.com, "recently a chemical-free public swimming pool was installed in Fairhope, Alabama. It uses Ozone technology and avoids the use of chlorine altogether. This is a first for public pools in North America." This technology is also available for homes.
• Are we planning a new deck? Make sure to use green building materials. Refinishing an existing deck? Check out environmentally friendly stains.
• Are we landscaping wisely? Are shade trees being planted in a manner to keep the house cool? Are we setting aside an area to plant organic food for our family? Is xeriscape planting appropriate in our climate?
• Are we trying to avoid using gas or electricity powered blowers, trimmers and mowers? The alternatives offer exercise and saved money.
• Are we watering on a timer? Avoid watering mid-day. Are we harvesting natural rain water?
• Are we fighting pests like whiteflies and aphids naturally? Plants such as sweet alyssum, feverfew and coreopis attract beneficial insects which in turn feed on the pests.
These are just a few of the resources available for going green. Look to the index on the left of this page for more ideas to consider.