There are many ways to be environmentally friendly in your garden.
One way is by collecting rain water in a rain barrel to water your plants, instead of using tap water. This can save you money on your utilities and help reduce your impact on the environment.
Making my own rain barrel is a project I have on my list to do as soon as possible. When I complete it, I'll be sure to let everyone know how it went.
I visited Home Depot with my sister-in-law in Lexington last week for "Ladies' Night," and we learned about rain barrels and how to make our own compost bins.
The leaders teach about environmental concepts during each event. This month was composting; next month it's going to be about hydroponics.
Compost bins hold non-protein food scraps and other biological material like grass clippings and yard waste. All that biological stuff decomposes into high-quality soil you can use to fertilize your garden.
Some common ingredients for compost bins are coffee grounds, egg shells, unused parts of fruits and vegetables and tea bags.
Making the compost bin was very easy and during the special event, Home Depot supplied all the materials for free. The Home Depot I visited hosts "Ladies' Night" the first Tuesday of every month.
All we needed for the compost bin was a large utility bucket, about 3 feet of PVC tubing and a wooden frame. The frame was pre-made for us, but it's a very simple design I could recreate in my garage in a matter of minutes with some 2x4s, a couple of bolts and a power drill.
The bucket has holes drilled in the sides to provide ventilation and in the bottom for drainage.
Our compost bin currently has trimmings from our tomato plants, old banana peels, coffee grounds, apple cores and strawberry leaves. We keep it in a sunny spot on our back deck where the sun can heat it up and help everything break down quickly.
If compost gets too smelly, you can add peels from citrus fruits to freshen it up. So far, ours doesn't smell at all.
We plan to use our composted soil on our tomato and pepper plants, which we bought at the 4-H greenhouse sale earlier this year.
If you already compost and have any tips or tricks, feel free to email them to me and I can share them here.
Amanda's animal fact of the week
Sloth bears extract termites by gouging a hole in a mound and sucking out the insects through a gap in their front teeth.