April 22 is Earth Day, a day to raise awareness about, and to celebrate, the Earth’s natural environment. It’s also a day for people of Oceanside to do something good for the planet.
There are lots of ways to help the environment, including by reducing your net electricity usage, by conserving fresh water supplies, and by planting trees. You can also reduce the use of chemicals and pesticides in your home’s garden or yard.
One such trick is replace chemical-heavy pesticides used for weed killing with your local newspaper instead. Newspapers can be effective in killing weeds, and preventing new ones from growing, while also protecting the Earth from contaminants.
The method is basic — use a wet newspaper “carpet” blocks both sunlight and oxygen from reaching the soil, starving weeds that have already grown, and those that have yet to break soil.
Here’s how to do it :
- Confirm that your newspaper uses soy-based ink — most local dailies do.
- Stack a dozen pieces of newsprint and thoroughly wet it
- Place the wet pages on the area affected by weeds
- Cover the wet pages with a thin layer of mulch
That’s it. Over several weeks, the covered weeds will decompose into the soil, providing nourishment to other plants and vegetation. If you find that the initial newsprint stack “failed”, repeat the above steps, doubling up on the number of news pages and mulch.
Make sure that your newsprint is the “standard” newsprint, too. Avoid glossy circulars and coupon pages which use different paper and often use less Earth-friendly ink.
According to the EPA, during summer months, lawn and garden watering account for roughly 40% of a typical home’s water use.
It’s a statistic that reminds us how “green lawns” can be wasteful to both the environment and household budgets – especially with drought conditions expected and water costs rising in many U.S. municipalities.
As a homeowner in Carlsbad , to help Mother Nature and your wallet, consider added a rain barrel to your home.
A rain barrel is a rain-capturing system that collects and stores water runoff from your roof. Often attached to a home’s gutter system, a standard rain barrel collects and holds 55 gallons of water which can then be reused to water plants, wash cars, and clean driveways among other uses. Because the water is natural (i.e. not treated with chlorine or lime), it’s also ideal for window washing.
Rain barrels can be purchases at most hardware or garden stores, or online via Amazon.com, for example. Or, they can be hand-built.
To install your rain barrel, first find a location for it, either under a downspout or near one. Make sure to select a stable location because water weighs roughly 8 pounds per gallon. A full rain barrel will weigh over 400 pounds, therefore, so be sure the ground beneath the it is solid and flat.
Next, if your rain barrel is hand-built, use PVC piping to reroute falling water into the mouth of the barrel itself, making sure to create a water-tight seal between the piping and the downspout. Or, if you’re using a store-bought rain barrel, follow the manufacturers instructions to “connect” the rain barrel to the downspout.
And, as the last step, be sure that the mouth of the rain barrel is protected from outside debris such as leaves, flowers and bugs. A formal lid or a covering made of wire mesh makes for a suitable protective cover. Most store-bought rain barrels will be sold with a covering.
That’s it. Just remember that basic maintenance will be needed. Water caught by a rain barrel should be used regularly to prevent “standing water” and protective screens should be cleaned regularly.
For a step-by-step guide to building your own rain barrel at home, click here.