Sustainability Committee at Grays Harbor College Rotating Header Image

July, 2010:

Sustainable Gardening Practices

■ Mulch.  Natural mulch, such as grass clippings and fallen leaves, helps retain moisture and adds nutrients to the soil, cutting the need for water and fertilizer.

■ Reduce grass.  Lawn mowers account for 5 percent of our nation’s air pollution, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.  Replace grass with flowers, bushes and trees to trim your work load, eliminate pollution and attract wildlife.

■ Xeriscape.  Planting native, drought-tolerant plants helps cut water use and maintain soil integrity.

■ Catch rain.  Using rain barrels saves water and money while providing a ready source of water for outdoor plants.

■ Go native.  Not only do native plants require less fertilizer, water and pest control, but they also serve as pollinators and food for native wildlife.

Compost   Compost   Compost   Compost   Compost   Compost   Compost  

This tip is brought to you by Janet Parker, the Grounds Supervisor at Grays Harbor College.  Thanks Janet!

Green House Cleaning

Anyone who has had vinyl siding on their home for more than a few years has realized that cleaning it isn’t as easy as the advertisers claim.  Yes, hosing will knock off the loose dirt, dust, spider webs, and some bird poop, but that method falls short when it comes to cleaning off the algae. That insidious algae that takes root in the little etched lines that make the siding look like real wood.  That persistent algae that comes back year after year, despite our best efforts to eradicate it.  Many folks resort to pressure washers which use 2 to 4 gallons of water/minute (yikes!) or solutions like ’30 Seconds’ which claim to be ecological friendly—but how can something that uses bleach be that friendly? 

I started using a formula just this year that is wonderful.  It works incredibly well and doesn’t hurt the environment or the person handling it.  I rinse the siding first, then apply the solution with a polyvinyl brush, scrub, and then rinse.  Yes, it requires elbow grease, but the results are well worth the effort. My siding is 15 plus years old and white; after using this method, it looks brand new.

 1 cup Murphy’s Soap

 1 cup white vinegar

 1 gallon of water

This tip is brought to you by Carol Staricka, the Education Center Manager at Grays Harbor College.  Thanks Carol!