Details for FAMILY FOCUS COVER 17
Create Backyard Oasis a O ne benefit of having a yard is the ability to create your own ecofriendly oasis right at home. Through smart gardening and irrigation, you can contribute a piece of green to the Earth, providing cleaner air and a good environment that encourages healthy ecosystems. Global Stewards has ways to create a backyard habitat that invites nature in. ATTRACTING ANIMALS You don’t have to turn your yard into a menagerie to encourage wildlife. In addition to a hummingbird feeder, you can attract these creatures with different types of flowers and by avoiding chemical pesticides. To attract other types of birds, plant a variety — seeds, berries, nuts and other food sources will keep birds coming and staying, as will both deciduous and evergreen trees. In addition to food, these provide places to rest and hide as well. While they’re less funsounding than birds, getting a bat or two into your garden is good for you and the bat. They eat thousands of mosquitoes a night. Bird baths provide water, and a “night garden” that includes afternoon-blooming or night-scented flowers like evening primrose, phlox, fleabane, goldenrod and moonflower will help attract bats. ECOFRIENDLY GARDENING Growing your own food is a great way to reduce your footprint; throw in smart irrigation and compost you made yourself and you’re a sustainability hero. When looking for what to plant, choose plants that are native to your area and thus better able to thrive in the natural conditions without lots of extra watering or pesticides. Beyond what you plant, make your gardening processes more Earth-friendly. Instead of raking and throwing away leaves, use them as fertilizer or just leave them on the ground; dead leaves provide critical habitats for butterflies, lizards, toads, chipmunks and earthworms. Put away the gas-powered equipment and pull out a rake, a push mower and a hoe to work the dirt. NO BACKYARD? GREEN UP YOUR PATIO You can cultivate potted plants or plants in windowsills, even grow your own vegetables in containers. Find a big container, good soil and a spot in or out of the house that gets at least six hours of direct sunlight a day. Fertilize the plants regularly and water frequently enough that the soil is never completely dry. Talk to employees at your local gardening store to get ideas on what grows well in a pot.