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Eco-friendly Tips for Spring

May 12, 2014

Eco-friendly tips for spring from inside your home to outside in your yard! Yes, spring cleaning and gardening are FINALLY in full swing. Here are a few tips to help you on your way to a green and clean home:

AROUND THE HOUSE

– Summer is a great time to experiment with new recipes that include fresh produce. Now’s the time to join a CSA and shop the farmer’s markets! Buying local and organic produce not only helps our local farmer’s and the earth, it ensures you are getting the highest quality and freshest produce available. Visit the GoGreen Web Directory to find out more about CSAs and Farmer’s Markets near you.

– If you haven’t already done so, during your spring cleaning consider organizing recycling bins in your garage or storage area to make it more convenient. The less work it requires, the more likely you will be to stick with it. Make it a family affair by getting the kids involved.

– Spring clean those closets! Turn those old t-shirts into rags to reduce the paper towel consumption in your home. Plan a garage sale or neighborhood swap for items you no longer need.

– Declutter the top of your refrigerator to make it more energy efficient. Cereal boxes, kitchen ware and other items prevent heat from venting properly, and make the appliance use extra energy. Also, be sure to clean the coils and grill along the bottom to be sure your fridge is working a peak performance.

-Add natural air fresheners to your home by purchasing PLANTS. Some of the most efficient air-cleaning houseplants include Spider plants, English ivy, rubber plants, and peace lilies.

– Ready to scrub your house from top to bottom? Be sure to not add harmful chemicals to the air by making your own natural cleaners. Here are a few recipes to try (be sure to test a small area first when trying new products):

1. Floors: Mix 4 cups of white distilled vinegar with about a gallon of hot water. If desired, add a few drops of pure peppermint or lemon oil for a pleasant scent. After damp mopping the floors, the smell of vinegar will dissipate quickly, leaving behind only the scent of the oil.

2. Glass: Mix 1/4 cup vinegar with 1 quart of water in a spray bottle. Spray on glass and wipe clean with old newspaper or a lint-free cloth.

3. Toilet: To clean your toilet, pour a cup of vinegar in the bowl before going to bed and then, in the morning, just brush and flush.

4. Scrub: Lemon and salt to scrub tough stains from tubs (make sure it doesn’t scratch)

IN THE YARD

– Now’s the time to create a compost bin in your backyard. Composting things like vegetable scraps, grass clippings and leaves gives you rich compost that adds valuable nutrients your plants need. Not sure how to get started? Here are a few tips.

– Conserve those precious rain drops by adding a rain barrel to your yard.  (And save on your water bill this summer at the same time!)

–  Rid your garden and yard from grubs, snails and other crawling insects without chemicals! How? Add bird feeders and nesting boxes to your yard. These encourage more visits by our feathered friends and opportunities for them to eat slugs, snails, grubs, caterpillars and other pests that destroy plants.

– Add native plants to your landscape. Native plants are adapted to your area, which means they naturally require less maintenance and water than exotic plant. Not sure what plants are native to your area? Check out this EPA Landscaping for Energy-efficient home map. Or hire an organic landscaper near you. Visit the GoGreen Web Directory for more information.

-Think twice about clover. Clover may be luckier than you think! According to Organic Gardening Magazine, Clover is drought-tolerant, virtually immune to diseases, and distasteful to common turf insects. And it generates its own food by fixing nitrogen in the soil making it a terrific addition to your organic lawn.

– Create your own pest control spray. Instead of using harsh chemicals to rid your garden of pests, try this All-purpose insect pest control from Organic Gardening Magazine:

  • Chop, grind, or liquefy one garlic bulb and one small onion.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of powdered cayenne pepper and mix with 1 quart of water.
  • Steep 1 hour, strain through cheesecloth, then add 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap to the strained liquid; mix well.
  • Spray your plants thoroughly, including leaf undersides.
  • Store the mixture for up to 1 week in a labeled, covered container in the refrigerator.

*The ingredients can cause painful skin and eye irritation. When preparing and applying, wear rubber gloves and keep the mixture well away from your eyes and nose.

– Tired of swatting flies all summer long?  Try basil instead. Place pots of basil at doorways and windowsills and on the kitchen counter to keep the flies at bay. (And add fresh basil to your summer recipes like tomatoes and sauces. YUM!)

How do you plan to GoGreen for spring? We would love to hear your tips!

 

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