I just spent all day Friday in my Board Training for the Kentucky Chapter of United States Green Building Council. (USGBC) Wow, what a day. I am so excited to be part of a group that is creating such major changes for the better not only in the built world but in all of humanity. This is the organization which has developed the LEED rating system, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, along with much more, and is truly a leading organization in the world of sustainability. Our Kentucky Chapter is only a few years old, but is growing by leaps and bounds, and we have much work to do. The time to change is now and we have to move quickly. Please visit these links for more info.
This chapter site discusses the new LEED Silver project, the Oldham County Library in LaGrange. Which Boone Gardiner did landscaping and site development in all sustainable ways.
Companion planting allows for plants to benefit from their neighboring plants. For example taller plants can offer shade to neighbors who require less sun. Other companions may attract beneficial insects or lure destructive ones away. Still, others fix enough nitrogen into the soil that they have extra to share.
For more information on companion planting check out: National Sustainable Agriculture
What is a Rain Garden?
A rain garden is a small area in a residential yard or neighborhood designed to temporarily hold and soak in rain water that comes from a house roof, driveway or patio. A rain garden is not a pond or wetland. It is dry most of the time and holds and filters water after a rain. Rain water is routed to the garden and filtered naturally by the plants and soils of the garden. Rain gardens typically are planted with a mixture of perennial flowers, ornamental grasses and woody shrubs that are adapted to wet and dry conditions. Water collected in the rain garden slowly infiltrates into the soil to support plant growth. In a properly sited and designed rain garden standing water disappears in less than 48 hours.
Benefits of Rain Gardens
Roof tops, sidewalks, driveways and patios do not allow rainfall to infiltrate into the soil. These impervious areas increase the amount of runoff from urban areas which can cause flooding and carry pollutants to surface water. Polluted runoff, including excess lawn and garden fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides, yard wastes, sediment, and animal wastes, drains daily into our storm sewers and endangers these water resources. Rain gardens can capture runoff from these areas and reduce the effect of flooding and runoff pollution. In addition, rain gardens provide many visual benefits, including diverse plantings of native flowers, grasses and ornamental plants. The raised berms in the rain garden also add height, contrast, and texture to level areas to create an attractive garden view.
-Nearly 70% of the pollution in our streams and lakes comes from storm water.
-Properly designed rain gardens can trap and retain up to 99% of common pollutants in runoff.
-Rain gardens deter mosquitoes because the rain water drains quickly and leaves the mosquito eggs to dry out.
-Rain gardens provide a desirable habitat that attracts birds and butterflies.
Contact the Boone Gardiner Green Team at 502.243.3832 to learn more about how to create a Rain Garden
Benefits of Composting
Composting is the most practical and convenient way to handle your yard wastes. It can be easier and cheaper than bagging these wastes or taking them to the recycling center. Most importantly compost improves your soil and the plants growing in it. If you have a garden, a lawn, trees, shrubs, or even planter boxes, you have a use for compost. By using compost you return organic matter to the soil in a usable form. This organic matter returned to the soil improves plant growth by helping to break up heavy clay soils and improving their structure, by adding water and nutrient-holding capacity to sandy soils, and by adding essential nutrients to any soil. Improving your soil is the first step toward improving the health of your plants. Additionally, healthy plants help clean our air and conserve our soil, making our communities healthier places in which to live.
–Improves soil structure and nutrient holding capacity
-Reduces soil compaction and crusting and fertilizer requirements
-Increases ease of cultivation and protects plants from disease
-Improves root growth and yields and water infiltration and drought tolerance
-Increases microbial and earthworm populations
-Prevents erosion of embankments, roadsides, and hillsides.
-Diverts organics from landfills into compost, reducing waste burden and methane production.
Composting Options at Boone Gardiner
Single bin units are low maintenance, and are good choice for those with limited space, such as apartment dwellers. These units are considered to be passive and do not require turning; however the lack of aeration causes the composting process to take 6 months to 2 years. This is also an appropriate option to create leafmould from trees in your lawn. Please speak with a Boone Gardiner Green Team Representative about how we can construct one for your home.
Vermicomposting is unique because it uses food scraps only, and no yard waste. It is ideal for people with very small yards, or no yard. Worm composting bins can be made in any size or can be purchased. A successful worm bin will not smell, can be harvested every few months and can be kept indoors or outdoors.
Multi-bin system is a series of three or more bins that allows wastes to be turned on a regular schedule. Turning units are most appropriate for gardeners with a large volume of yard waste and the desire to make a high-quality compost. Turning units produce compost faster because they supply oxygen to the bacteria in the pile. These units may also have less odor problems, which are associated with poor aeration. These units can also be constructed by the Boone Gardiner Garden Green Team.
Tumbler units are self-contained barrels that rotate for easy mixing and fast decomposition. They are more convenient because they are easier to turn. These bins are fine for small spaces and are usually animal resistant. These can be purchased at the Boone Gardiner Garden Center.
Sheet composting can be done in the fall. With this method, a thin layer of materials such as leaves (that have not been composted) are worked into the garden. By spring, the material will be broken down. The decomposition process ties up soil nitrogen, making it unavailable to other plants. Because of this, sheet composting should only be done in the fall when the garden is fallow.
Trench composting is useful if time isn’t a consideration. Organic material are buried in holes 8-15 inches deep, and then covered with soil dug from the hole. Decomposition takes about a year, as limited oxygen slows the process. It is recommended to avoid planting that area for a year, as the nitrogen available to plants may be limited by the decomposition process.
Contact the Boone Gardiner Green Team at 502.243.3832 to learn more about how to begin composting in your home
What is a Rain Barrel?
A rain barrel collects and stores rainwater from rooftops to use later for lawn and garden watering. The water collected in a rain barrel would normally pour off your roof directly or flow through roof gutter downspouts and become storm water runoff.
Benefits of Rain Barrels
Rain barrels are water conservation devices that can be used to reduce runoff. By storing and diverting runoff from impervious areas such as roofs, these devices reduce the undesirable impacts of runoff that would otherwise flow into streams and drains contributing to flood and erosion problems. Also, rain barrels can provide a source of free water for flower and vegetable gardens and landscapes. Additionally, because residential irrigation can account for up to 40% of domestic water consumption, water conservation measures such as rain barrels can be used to reduce the demand on the municipal water system, especially during the hot summer months.
– Lawn and garden watering make up nearly 40% of total household water use during the summer.
– It provides an ample supply of free ‘soft water’ to homeowners, containing no chlorine, lime or calcium making it ideal for gardens, flower pots, and car and window washing.
– A rain barrel will save most homeowners about 1,300 gallons of water during the peak summer months.
– Diverting water from storm drains also decreases the impact of runoff to streams and the Ohio River.
– A 1/2” of rain falling onto a roof that is 2000 square feet (the average size of home’s roof) drops approximately 2400 gallons of rain.
Standard Rain Barrel
Size: 24”W X 32”H
Standard Rain Barrel
Material: UV-stable poly-ethylene.
Description: This barrel is a good buy for someone who is looking for a simple, well-made barrel. This barrel has all the standard features and has the advantage of being made out of recycled materials. It is lightweight which means that it can be removed for cleaning. It comes with a removable aluminum mesh debris screen that is non-corrosive and durable. The back of the barrel is flat so it can be placed close to the wall of your home. There is an overflow port on the back of the barrel and there are also portals on either side of the barrel that can be used to hook several barrels together in series for greater storage capacity.
Size: 34”H x 24”W
Material: Oak, steel hoops, brass fittings
Description: The barrels are converted from barrels that were once filled with bourbon at Kentucky distilleries to fully functional rain barrels. The barrels are made out of white oak and are inspected by a Kentucky cooperage before they are sold as rain barrels. These barrels are extremely heavy, weighing about 110 pounds each. The wooden barrel is held together with steel hoops, which create a long-lasting, durable rain barrel. All the fittings on the barrel are solid brass and are threaded so that you can attach a garden hose to them.