Sunday, April 11, 2021

5 Ways to Green Your Spring

Black eyed Susans are a native
plant in my region
Click for photo credit.
Here in Illinois, we are enjoying a beautiful start to Spring. This early spring season has brought out all of the early shades of green:  chartreuse, celery, lime, and mint. The daffodils are blooming and the tulips will soon follow. 

Given all this greenness, I thought it would be a great time to provide 5 suggestions as to how you can green up your spring season and make a fresh start on your sustainability agenda.

1. Find your famers' markets and join a CSA. As the farms start getting seeds and plants in the ground, it is a good time to join a CSA (community sponsored agriculture) farm and find the schedule and locations of your local farmers' markets. Everyone likes local food and we should all try to support local producers.

2. Prepare your home for spring ventilation. Heating and air conditioning are some of the biggest users of energy in your home. While we may have some chilly nights ahead, it's time to open the windows and get some fresh air in the house. Turn off your heat and pull out an extra blanket at night. On warm spring days, spend time outside in the shade until the house cools off. Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have never been higher and it makes sense to hold off the air conditioning for as long as you can (if you even need it!).

3. Ditch the car. Springtime brings some of the best weather for walking and biking. Ditch the car as much as you can and take advantage of the weather. Did I mention that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have never been higher?

4. Join or organize a spring cleanup. Many neighborhoods, parks, and communities organize spring cleanups to get rid of the litter that accumulated over the winter. If you cannot find one, organize one. Or, as you walk to some destination (see #3 above), take a trash bag and do your own self-paced cleanup.

5. Plant native plants. Often, we try to plant exotic plants to spruce up our gardens. While we all have a range of exotic plants in most of our yards and gardens, it is worth taking the time to find out more about local native plants in your region and to use that knowledge to make better landscape choices as we plant or replace plants in our gardens.

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