563Meesha/stock.xchng

DCL

* With apologies to Dr. Suess.

Greenwashing exists everywhere. One would think that an activity as simple and genteel (yeah right...) as gardening would remain unscathed. No. We gardeners have our fair share of greenwashing to deal with as well. I'm disappointed by how many articles I see, both in print and online, advising gardeners to buy this or that gadget, and they'll be well on their way to a green garden. Usually, these items are made from plastic, cost more than they're worth, and have very little actual use beyond making the consumer believe they're a greener gardener because they own it.

Do you know what? Screw 'em.

Green gardening has very little to do with having a "green thumb" and absolutely nothing to do with what equipment and gadgets you can afford to buy for your garden. It has everything to do with thinking creatively, paying attention, and limiting the amount of external resources your garden uses. None of that costs a dime.

What is green gardening?

- Avoiding chemicals (both natural and man-made) that have an adverse effect on wildlife.

- Responsible pest and weed removal (those ten things at the ends of your arms are the best tools ever.)

- Responsible use of water.

- Composting to turn waste into a beneficial soil amendment for your garden.

- Providing a haven for beneficial insects.

- Mulching bare soil to reduce water evaporation and weeds.

- Avoiding planting invasive species.

- Using drought-tolerant plants as often as possible to reduce your watering needs.

- Using native plants when possible to help support local wildlife.

- Reusing and repurposing items for your garden, rather than throwing them away and buying new.

- Repairing tools instead of throwing them away and trading up for a new model.

- Avoiding equipment that requires fossil fuels, such as gas-powered lawn mowers, trimmers, and leaf blowers.

- Knowing that just because it's labeled "organic" doesn't always mean "completely safe."

- Educating yourself about the plants you're growing, as well as the wildlife (good and bad) that visit your garden.

These things don't cost money, and you won't see a flashy commercial or magazine ad promoting them. No corporation will ever get rich from the activities I listed above. But they're the only things that matter if your goal is to grow a green, sustainable garden.

How do you practice green gardening?