June is Healthy Homes Month which is a great reminder to double-check that our houses are safe and healthy. Installing smoke alarms and radon detectors, keeping the air free of dust and allergens, and securing poisonous substances are all ways to keep us healthy indoors.
Here are three things to keep in mind for the outside of your home.
1 | Water
Even in the land of 10,000 lakes, it’s important to be responsible about water use to save both a precious resource and money.
- Water in early morning. Avoid watering in the evening; plants could stay wet all night, encouraging rot.
- Plant drought-resistant turf and plants. Changing what kinds of plants are growing in your yard can mean you’ll need to water less.
- Water just what needs watering (not the sidewalk or driveway) or use a soaker hose. This can save up to 60% more water than a traditional sprinkler.
2 | Mulch
Mulching simply means covering the soil with some kind of material that benefits the garden.
- Mulching helps to control weeds without the use of chemicals. It also improves moisture retention (meaning you save on water).
- Mulch helps both your plants and trees. It helps control temperatures so they don’t get too hot or too cold
- You can purchase different types of mulch at garden or hardware stores, but mulch doesn’t have to be expensive. Use grass clippings from your lawn, raked leaves in the fall, or even a thick layer of old newspaper.
3 | Improve the soil
The quality and type of soil in our yards affects what grows—and what doesn’t.
- Find out what kind of soil you have by getting it tested at the University of Minnesota Extension. For a small fee, the service will tell you what kind of soil you have and how to improve it.
- Compost helps to enhance soil naturally. Compost can be one way to improve the growing conditions without spending a lot of money on fertilizers (although, depending on your soil, you may still want to add fertilizer).
- Compost improves the ability of the soil to release nutrients. It can also increase activity of earthworms—a sign that your garden is happy.
- Compost might include yard waste like grass clippings or kitchen scraps such as coffee grounds, egg shells, and fruit/vegetable waste. Avoid meat products, feces, and waste that may have weed seeds.
Not a home owner yet? Contact one of our home ownership advisors to discuss the process.