April is Gardening Month

After the winter storms, it’s truly a wonder to see how Mother Nature comes to life during springtime. As the hours of sunlight get longer and temperatures get warmer, you see the first signs of spring in sprouting bulbs such as daffodils and early bloomers like forsythia bushes. Hints of color interrupt the gray outdoors practically overnight. Chirping birds and singing frogs also contribute to the awakening of the new season.

I confess that my backyard is a sorry sight nowadays. The trees survived the wintry onslaught, but the bushes and perennials did not fare as well. The garden will need some major care that will span several weeks maybe even months. Even though I do not have a green thumb, the time invested in gardening definitely will be rewarding on the personal and environmental level.

Since April is gardening month, it’s a nice time to roll up your sleeves and have fun planting in your back yard. Here are some green tips to take care of your garden with minimal use of chemicals. Selecting native plants is also a way to reduce the need for chemicals to control pests and use water efficiently. You might have to go to the Web to identify nurseries in your area that sell native plants or visit USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service for state/territory specific information. Simple actions can go a long way to protect the environment.

Another “tradition” that I have tried to adopt at home has been to plant a tree on Earth Day. Our Earth Day trees have survived in spite of the winter storms this year. If you don’t have a back yard to plant a tree, maybe you can buy a good house plant for your apartment. Every environment counts—whether indoors or the great outdoors.

Are you planning anything special to revamp your garden this month?

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and chairs EPA’s Multilingual Communications Task Force. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.