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Green Gardening Tips

The Martha Stewart Show, April 2007

These products and tips can make your gardening more ecofriendly.

The Pot Maker
Plastic pots are easy and convenient, especially for starter pots or young transplants and seedlings. But they are not biodegradable or very environmentally friendly. As a green alternative, the Pot Maker recycles old newspaper into pots. Take newspaper cut into 3 1/2-by-10-inch strips and roll the paper around press and fold under the end of the top section. Then, press the top (and paper) into the form and remove. You can fill this pot with soil and transplant seedling or sow seeds directly. It's also biodegradable.

Coir ("Crop Circles"): A Peat Alternative
Peat holds moisture, offers a structure to soil, and is commonly used as a growing medium and in potting soils. It grows in ecologically sensitive wetlands and bogs, and harvesting peat, environmentalists claim, damages natural balance of this habitat. A relatively new product that is beginning to make its way into mainstream gardening is an alternative to peat called coir.

A byproduct of extracting fibers from the husk of a coconut, coir -- also known as cocopeat, coir pith, and coir dust -- is the binding material that comes from the fiber portion of the coconut husk. The coir dust is washed, heat treated, screened, and graded before being processed into various cocopeat products and is usually shipped in the form of compressed bales, briquettes, slabs, and discs. The compressed coir is converted into fluffy coir by the addition of water.

Coir by itself does not have any nutrients for plant growth. Necessary nutrients will have to be added according to the plant that is to be grown exclusively in coir, and coir may also be mixed with sand, compost, and fertilizer to make good quality potting soil.

Task Force Push Mower
Push mowers used to be heavy, cumbersome, high maintenance, and not very effective. However, the new technology of push mowers is impressive -- they are light, and some are self-sharpening or don't need any sharpening for 7 to 10 years.

One thing that you do need to pay attention to is whether or not this can cut the type of grass that grows in your lawn. There are different grasses at different climates that will work well with different kinds of mowers. Each type of mower specifies if it will not work for something specific, so be sure to read the fine print.

( for providing sod for the segment.

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