Aside from the fresh herbs, veggies, and beautiful flowers, managing your own garden can be beneficial in several other ways. Kelly Lerner highlights some of the best:
· Plantings improve the energy efficiency and comfort of your home
· Your can grow your own food, in garden rows or edible landscaping
· You can restore the web of life by providing habitat for local fauna
· Planting native species restores the landscape that's best adapted to area
· A well-designed organic garden can improve air, soil, and water
· Your garden becomes part of a water and nutrient cycle that makes the best use of resources and reconnect you with how life works
When considering an energy-efficient home, a garden is ideal. Trees and vegetation help cool the home by providing shade (and blocking unwanted light), transpiration (the process plants use to keep from overheating which removes heat from the air), and directing breezes (the plants "sculpt" the wind, directing breezes towards windows or patios). In the winter, plants will lose their leaves and admit solar warmth. Not convinced yet? Below are some statistics that may change your mind about plants and energy.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture:
- Carefully positioned trees can cut a household's total energy consumption by 20 to 25 percent
- Planting trees is 10 times more cost-effective than building new power plants for summer cooling
- Through evaporation alone, one tree can produce cooling effects approximately equal to 10 room-size air conditioners working 20 hours a day
- A well-planned landscaping program can reduce an un-shaded home's summer air-conditioning costs by 15 to 50 percent
- A single tree, located to provide shade during the afternoon, may reduce wall and roof temperatures as much as 20-40 degrees. Shading your air conditioner could increase its efficiency up to 10 percent.
So even if you do struggle with having a "green thumb," working your way to your own garden is not only beneficial for you but for the environment as well, it also makes for perfect use of that compost you've been collecting.