A "carbon footprint" is a measurement of all of the greenhouse gases we produce, individually and collectively, from both primary and secondary sources. Your garden is already the greenest part of your home. Yet there is more you and your garden can do to help save and protect the environment. Use these steps to reduce your carbon footprint in the garden.
Grow your own vegetables and fruits. In addition to reducing your carbon footprint, you and your family will also save money on groceries and gas, and eat healthier, fresher, and tastier food.
Compost kitchen and garden waste. Using compost is an inexpensive way to provide nutrients to your plants, flowers, trees, and vegetables. It also reduces the amount of waste you're adding to the local landfill. You can buy or make a compost bin, or simply use an out-of-the way corner of your yard. Add anything biodegradable, including grass clippings, raked leaves, raw vegetable and fruit-based kitchen waste (not dairy products, meat, or processed foods) and some shredded newspaper or cardboard. Turn the compost pile frequently and keep it slightly moist to hasten the decomposition process.
Plant trees, shrubs, plants, and flowers. The less grass your lawn has, the less gas you'll consume while mowing it. In addition, trees absorb carbon, which helps the environment. In some areas, well-kept landscaping will also add value to your property.
Apply mulch liberally around plants and trees to conserve water. Mulch also reduces weeds.
Use solar landscape lighting to conserve energy. If you have a pond, use a solar-powered pond fountain.
Plant shade-producing trees near your home to help cool the house during hot weather and block some of the wind in cold weather.
Replace air filters and perform other regular maintenance on your lawnmower, including keeping blades sharp, to reduce mowing time in order to save energy. Consider switching to a hand-powered push mower if it's practical to do so.
Plant slow-growing grasses that require less water and need to be mowed less often. Some of these grasses are also reported to choke weeds, reducing the need for chemical weed killers.
Collect rainwater in barrels and use it to water your garden, trees, and plants.
Reduce the size of your yard by creating patios for outdoor living space, add a rock garden, or create a meadow of native wildflowers.
Use hand tools instead of electric- or gas-powered tools when possible.
Reduce the amount of chemical fertilizers and pesticides you use on your lawn.
Lay soaker hoses to use as little water as possible, and only where it's needed.
Plant native plants that are well-suited for your area. They generally require less fertilizer, need less extra water, and are less prone to pests, reducing the need for pesticides.