April showers bring May… Garden for Wildlife Month! Maybe you didn’t grow up with that particular version of the seasonal rhyme, but it’s not too late to make it the next verse. Not only do flowers and other plants need showers to stand up tall through the season, but wildlife needs water to survive. There are some simple ways to attract birds for your own backyard wildlife show —it’s as easy as capturing the rain and making it a dependable source of water for birds and other animals.
• Set up a Bird Bath– The absolute easiest way to provide water for wildlife? Put out a birdbath and to keep it filled. Done! Once the local avian community chirps its arrival, there’ll be a steady stream of fine-feathered visitation for drinking and bathing.
• Install A Mister– Husbands may not be known for green thumbs, but a good mister will help your garden grow by steadily spraying over plants or bird baths. It gives birds a chance to cool down, plus it encourages pollination, leaving tiny water droplets on flowers.
• Ponds and Fountains– Are you willing to take things one step further in your quest for a more eco-friendly garden? Installing a pond or fountain will prove a treat for various wildlife varieties and create a great place for frogs, salamanders and other animals to make their home. –Jenni Williams
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Household soaps and other cleaning products can be full of irritants such as synthetic detergents that biodegrade slowly and cause runoff during production. You can reduce your ecological impact by ditching synthetic ingredients and switching to all-natural castile soap. Castile soap is vegetable oil-based and made with only natural oils and extracts. Liquid castile soap costs less than $10 per concentrated bottle and can be found at health food stores and large national chains. Here are 10 of our favorite ways of using castile soap in 10 cost-effective ways:
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We all love our pets, so why wouldn’t we want to get them involved in the Green movement as well? Pets are just as capable of leaving a carbon footprint as we are, so it’s important to be environmentally responsible when it comes to caring for fido or kitty. Check out these five tips for green pet care!
• Scoop The Poop- Use biodegradable bags to pick up after your pet. It ensures that the waste won’t end up in a nearby stream and keeps plastic out of landfills.
• Food For Fido- You wouldn’t feed your kids meat that’s been deemed unfit for human consumption, so why would you give it to your dog? Many dog and cat foods contain fillers, preservatives and meat from diseased cattle. To keep your pet in top shape, try feeding him organic pet food. It’s made from organically raised farm animals and contains no artificial preservatives.
• Get Crafty For Kitty- You can make Green toys that your cat will love from scraps of cloth and yarn that you have laying around. Organic catnip is cheap and easy to grow, and makes a great filler for toys. Not only do these homemade toys cost a lot less than the pet store variety, but they are also better for the environment.
• Protect Native Wildlife- Always keep dogs on leash when outside and keep kitties inside only. Both dogs and cats are natural predators, and will hunt instinctively. Cats can decrease a bird population dramatically if allowed to roam freely. Plus, cats who are kept indoors live 10-12 years longer on average than their outdoor counterparts!
• Cleanse without Chemicals- Pets can be harmed by chemical cleaners, and are more likely to ingest them than humans are. Avoid using harmful chemicals in the house, such as bleach and anti-freeze. Instead, opt for more environmentally friendly options. Many companies sell Green cleaning products designed to be less harmful to animals. Always try to keep pets away from an area that has just been cleaned with chemicals. –Kristen Nipper
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By far the most dreaded household chore, cleaning bathrooms means headaches and burning eyes for many people. No one wants to bathe in germs, but many bathroom cleansers contain incredibly harsh chemicals that can not only harm you, but also the environment. Check out these eco-friendly alternatives to clean soap scum and other bathroom chores for a greener, cleaner bathroom.
• Scrub That Tub- A simple mixture of vinegar and water makes a miracle cleaner when it comes to getting rid of mildew buildup in the tub. Simply spray the solution on the problem area, let sit, then wipe away. Soap scum can be removed with a baking soda paste composed of baking soda and dish soap. Scrub with a toothbrush to remove stubborn patches.
• Polish The Porcelain Throne– To maintain a sparkling clean toilet, use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar rather then harmful bleach. Scrub the toilet once a week to keep it at its cleanest.
• Make Your Sinks Sparkle– You can polish your faucet with a vinegar and water solution and wipe mirrors clean with cloth and white vinegar. The sink basin can be cleaned with a mixture of baking soda, dish soap, water and vinegar, which should tackle even the toughest stains.
• Unclog Those Dreaded Drains– Instead of using powerful (but harmful) chemical cleaners to clear a clogged drain, try using a combination of baking soda and vinegar. First manually remove what you can from the drain, and then add the vinegar mixture. Let it sit for 15-30 minutes, and then run some hot water down the drain.
• For Fantastic Floors– There’s nothing grosser than a dirty bathroom floor. Try mopping the floor with a mixture of baking soda and warm water, and you can add some lemon juice for a fresh scent that’s WAY better than Pine-Sol. Hang bath mats to dry after every use in order to avoid a buildup of mildew. –Kristen Nipper
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Having a Green thumb should mean more than just being a good gardener! Follow these 5 simple tips on creating eco gardens to make your garden greener, both literally and figuratively!
• Send Pesticides Packing- Harsh chemical pesticides can have lasting negative affects on the soil and be deadly to certain wildlife. Instead opt for an organic means of controlling pests such as employing the use of ladybugs or moles to eradicate certain unwanted insects from the garden.
• DIY Compost- Artificial fertilizers are harmful to the environment. Try making your own fertilizer by composting scraps of food or using manure from a local farm in your garden.
• Catch The Rain- Using a container to catch rainwater is an inexpensive way to supply water to your plants as well as reduce run-off and soil erosion. Not only will you reduce your monthly water bill, but you’ll also have an extra source of water for other activities, such as washing your car.
• Grow Your Own Food- You can easily produce many common delicious veggies right in your own backyard. No need to waste gas driving to the supermarket and spending big bucks on organic produce that you can grow yourself. Consider collaborating with neighbors, with each household growing enough of 2-3 different vegetables to share among the group.
• Go Native- Plants that are native to your region will require less water and fertilizer, and be more naturally resistant to pests. They’re also less expensive than non-native plant species. –Kristen Nipper
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