Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Weeds Are Like Belly Fat

It's always fun to find a fellow blogger who puts a new, interesting slant on an eco-friendly gardening technique. So I got a kick out of a post that I found on Sprinkler Juice called How to Kill Weeds. In it, the writer compares weeds to belly fat and mentions that getting rid of both of them require time and discipline.

Weeds really are like belly fat. No matter how hard you try (or think you are trying), both of them keep coming back. You work and work for HOURS and they find a way to creep back into your life. 

You try new things, you spend money on new products, and you might see some results for a few days but then suddenly.. 
they're back. 

And you start over. Pretty soon you become depressed and start blaming yourself because surely you must be doing something wrong, right? You start thinking that maybe you are just not good enough. You were never meant to have a flat stomach or a weed-free lawn. 

This leads to you eventually giving up, quitting. Throwing your hands up and saying, "Forget it! I'm not even going to care anymore because nothing I do is good enough!"

Getting Rid of Weeds is Easier than Getting Rid of Stomach Fat

The key is making time and setting up a routine. Just like exercise, you have to do it consistently in order for it to make any difference at all. But the thing about exercise is that it needs it to be a daily ritual. Starting out, it probably won't hurt to work on your lawn a little bit each day but once you get to the point to where you're just keeping it weed-free, you're looking at once, maybe twice a week tops.

Once a Week
Be strict with yourself. The obvious time for yard care is Saturday morning. Tell yourself that every Saturday at 7am, you are going to be out in the yard picking some weeds. Pick and pull until they're all gone. If you are doing it consistently each Saturday, there is no way you are going to find yourself up to your neck in weed problems. 

The best way to kill weeds is doing so with the environment in mind. Here are some Eco-Friendly Options For Weed Control:
  • Hand Pulling - More of that in a minute.
  • Boiling Water - For weeds in sidewalks, driveways etc, you can pour boiling water directly on the weed.
  • Corn Gluten Meal
  • Solarization
  • Hand Torches
  • Mulch
Picking Weeds By Hand 
If you have a few weeds popping up here and there in your flower bed or around your yard, the best thing you can do is take the time to pull the weeds, one by one, by hand. Get down and dirty and make sure you pull up the roots. 
The nice thing about picking weeds by hand is that you see the results instantly. With weed killers you don't really know if it's going to work and even when it does work, it doesn't work right away. 
Pulling weeds can be a relaxing and meditative exercise. Turn on some music that puts you in a good mood and lose yourself in pulling weeds. Don't think about how terrible and nasty they are for ruining your yard. Think about how much joy it brings you to kill them! Click here to read the rest of the post.

Here are some of my previous posts about eco-friendly weed control methods.

Please Don't Poison My Planet

Zen and the Art of Landscape Maintenance

Changing Your Relationship With Weeds

AND, here's one that might help anyone with a belly-fat problem!

Health Benefits of Eco-Friendly Landscaping

Ideas for a Green DC

I saw this article on Paisajismo (a landscape magazine) the other day:

Washington, D.C. leadership has requested input from a range of organizations as it develops a new “unified vision” and “comprehensive framework” for a more sustainable Washington, D.C. The end goal: to connect sustainability with economic development and become the number-one, most sustainable city in North America. Washington, D.C. is currently ranked eighth in a recent Economist Intelligence Unit report sponsored by Siemens.

As part of this process, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) polled members from its Potomac, Northern Virginia, and Southern Maryland chapters and incorporated their input into a set of bold recommendations in the priority areas identified by the city government.

There are a lot of great ideas in the list. My only comment is that, as always, most of the ideas seem to be geared more towards business and government rather than what the average property owner can accomplish from their own homes and yards. However, the report does reiterate many of the ideas that green gardeners follow, such as re-using water, using trees for shade, using native plants and providing spaces for wildlife in our own home landscapes.

Anyway, here are some  of the ideas from the American Society of Landscape Architects for a Sustainable DC.  You can read the full report by following the link, above.

If you want more ideas for how you, personally, can create a more sustainable DC, subscribe to the Metro DC Lawn and Garden Blog!

Energy: Reuse brownfields as solar energy farms. Through revised building codes and local tax incentives, expand use of smart tree placement and green roofs and walls. Reduce building energy use through green infrastructure. Incentivize the use of rooftop solar panels.

Climate Change / Mitigation: Reduce total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by expanding urban park land, further improving bike and pedestrian infrastructure, incentivizing the growth in the number of bicycle and pedestrian commuters, creating highly walkable pedestrian-only areas, and introducing new innovative forms of public space such as parklets and underpass parks.

Climate Change / Adaptation: Increase coverage of street trees for shade and expand use of green and cool (white) roofs in order to adapt to higher average temperatures along with more varied temperature fluctuations within the District. Improve building and landscape water efficiency measures. Develop resiliency plans for Washington, D.C.’s plant and animal life within parks and green spaces, including the introduction of wildlife migration corridors and heat and drought-tolerant plants.

Water:  Use Sustainable Site Initiative™ (SITES™) guidelines to improve water efficiency measures, require the use of appropriate plant species in public and residential landscapes, and enable rainwater capture and filtered or treated greywater (and even blackwater) reuse for landscape irrigation.  In addition, approve the use of rainwater cisterns for irrigation of green roofs and other green infrastructure. Improve the permeability of the District’s park surfaces and their ability to capture and store water. Create multi-use infrastructure, or rain gardens or bio-retention systems in District parks, turning them into green infrastructure and water treatment systems. Continue to expand urban tree canopy and preserve larger trees to manage stormwater runoff.  As part of a public education campaign, parks and public green space should follow the highest water efficiency standards.

Transportation: Expand bike and pedestrian infrastructure. Create safe bicycle infrastructure. Connect the Metro system with bike infrastructure and bikeshare stations.  Incentivize the growth in the number of bicycle and pedestrian commuters. Create highly walkable pedestrian-only areas, and introduce new innovative forms of public space such as parklets and underpass parks.

Waste: Set clear, ambitious targets and deadlines for achieving zero waste in the District and measure progress against targets. Ensure all building materials are reused in new buildings (if the materials are non-hazardous). Use Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) guidelines for park maintenance and eliminate grounds waste generated from Washington, D.C., parks through composting.

Built Environment: Invest in turning more brownfields into parks.  Develop an Internet-accessible inventory of all brownfields in the city to enable easier remediation and redevelopment of derelict sites by local developers. Create a certification program for remediated brownfields to facilitate faster reuse. Invest in retrofitting older school buildings to make them LEED Platinum and also integrate green school redesign activities into school curricula.

Nature: Develop a biodiversity and environmental education action plan based on the concept of biophilia. Recreate wetlands along riverfront edges and reintroduce native wildlife. Reduce the mortality rate of trees and extend their lifespan by enabling them to grow in larger tree pits with structural soils and under permeable pavements. Use appropriate trees grown locally for urban forestry campaigns. Experiment with growing trees in park nurseries.

Food: Develop a comprehensive urban agriculture plan. Evaluate all available empty lots (including brownfield sites) as potential opportunities for commercial and community urban agriculture. Allow local residential food production.  Allow and also increase tax incentives for rooftop food production.

Green Economy: Invest in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure improvement projects to boost job growth. Use green infrastructure systems, including green roofs, to increase number of local, non-exportable green jobs. Launch a comprehensive green jobs program, training chronically unemployed and former convicts in brownfield remediation, green roof installation, and other tasks. Launch a national campaign in an effort to lure the best green talent to the District.

Governance: Organize watershed councils at the local level and appoint ward-level sustainability advocates to help implement and align SustainableDC initiatives. Use Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) guidelines as a management tool for achieving high-performing landscapes across the district.

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