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Growing ‘greener’ garden easy

Want to go green in your garden and don’t know where to start?

There are some simple things you can do that will make your life less toxic.

•Instead of dosing bad plants with chemicals, try cutting them down, digging them up or simply slowing them by cutting them back.

•Pour straight vinegar on plants growing in the cracks of the sidewalk or between stepping stones. If you use it in the lawn, be aware that it can kill grass just as easily as it can slay a dandelion.

•Set your mower just one slot higher. If your grass is a bit taller, it is more likely to be healthier and shade out any weed seedlings that are trying to claim their territory.

•Make your next mower electric and mulching.

•Instead of throwing veggie scraps from the kitchen into the trash, slip them under any full bush or other perennial and let them rot. Bonus points if you have a compost pile or bin, but you don’t need one.

•Ignore most bugs in your garden, unless you know they are bad. When you spray bad guys, you can kill butterflies and lightning bugs.

•Expand the areas of non-lawn in your yard. Try adding six inches of mulch at the edge of each bed each spring and planting more ground covers.

•Choose no plants that are invasive.

•When you are in the mood to buy, look for those that are native to Indiana.

If you don’t know what to plant to accomplish the previous two steps, go to a reputable nursery – not a big-box store – and ask for advice. You can also call the Purdue Extension office at IPFW.

•Water less. Use less fertilizer. If you do so, you will likely mow less often. You might even find that you don’t need to water or feed at all.

Anne Gregory is a garden putterer, not a gardening expert, and Journal Gazette.net writer and editor. Garden photos (JPEGs, please) and tips may be sent to garden@jg.net (please put “The Dirt” in the subject line) or 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802.

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