Top 10 ways to go green in your garden

Julie Chai's top 10 ways to go green in your garden

1. Strengthen your soil

Work in a few inches of compost every time you plant -- it makes the soil light and loose so plant roots can really spread out, and it builds in natural nutrients that feed plants.
>> Good earth: When and how to amend garden soil

2. Plant smart

Good choice, adapted to your area, often low-water and immune to pests and diseases.
>> Knock-out photos: 8 great natives
>> Fresh Dirt: Latest garden finds, ideas

Lots of gorgeous choices that are light on resources.
>> Lose the lawn: 14 inspiring yards

Attract beneficial:
Bring good bugs to fend off the bad bugs naturally; lotta plants that do this are beautiful, colorful bloomers.
>> Pollinator pots

Right plant right place:
When a plant gets what it wants, it will do well; healthy plants are more resistant to bugs and disease so you won't need toxic chemical controls

3. Grow your own

Food travels on average 1500 miles before reaching your plate -- that's a lot of fuel and pollution involved with transportation. by growing your own, you're doing several things -- minimizing pollution, and saving yourself a lot of money.
>> Video: How to grow veggies in a pot
>> Plant an edible backyard
>> One-Block Diet

4. Lose your lawn

They use a low of water, fertilizer, and care (often by polluting gas-powered mowers).
>> Lose the lawn: 14 inspiring yards

5. Mulch

Keeps soil moisture in (saving our resource), keeps weeds down (saving you work), and insulates roots (keep plants healthy and looking good).
>> Q&A: Mulch basics

6. Water wisely

-- Change irrigation systems based on seasons
-- Make sure heads are going in the right places and you're not watering the sidewalk
-- Switch to drip
>> Match your irrigation system to your plants

7. Flex your muscles

Use hand tools instead of gas-powered.

8. Use permeable paving

Opt for pavement options that let water and air through.
>> Water-wise garden makeover
>> Conserving water

9. Compost

Use what you'd otherwise send to the landfill to make something you'd buy.
>> Video: How to make compost

10. Go organic

Minimize chemicals -- pesticides, fertilizers; switch to organic and natural where possible.
>> Gentle pest controls

About Julie Chai
Julie Chai is the associate garden editor and test garden manager for Sunset magazine. She writes regularly about growing edibles, small-space gardening, outdoor decorating, and low maintenance landscapes. An avid do-it-yourselfer, she loves helping new gardeners get started.

(Press release)

Sunset magazine (, the premier guide to life in the West, invites the public to enjoy all the beauty, bounty, and flavors of the West when it opens its Menlo Park, CA grounds for Celebration Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, June 6th and 7th. Join Sunset's editors, along with experts from the worlds of food, wine, garden, home, design, and green-living, as they share tips, tastings, and demonstrations that highlight the theme, "Discoveries in Your Own Backyard."

Celebration Weekend sponsor, Honda, will be giving away a 2010 Honda Insight at the event as part of the Celebration Weekend Honda Insight Giveaway Sweepstakes.

"I look forward to Celebration Weekend all year long," said Katie Tamony, Sunset's Editor-in-Chief. "There is nothing quite like enjoying a glass of wine and expertly prepared food on the Sunset lawn on a beautiful spring day. The setting and the experts we've assembled make this a truly inspirational and memorable experience."

The featured attractions of this year's Celebration Weekend are the debuts of two new Sunset Idea House programs: the Modern Cottage and the Sunset Outdoor Kitchen. Celebration Weekend guests will be the first to tour these exciting structures, which demonstrate how much can be achieved when you look to your own backyard for inspiration. Open house tours of the Modern Cottage and Sunset Outdoor Kitchen will continue each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday between June 12-July 19 (closed July 4th). More information about the open house tours can be found at

With the Modern Cottage Idea House, Sunset sets new standards for forward-thinking design. Created by Casper Mork-Ulnes, award-winning architect and creative director at San Francisco's Modern Cabana company, the Modern Cottage offers an elegant solution for expanding family space in a cost-conscious, fun and sustainable way. Comprised of just two small modular living spaces, the 350 square foot structure—which can be used as guest house, home office, studio, etc.—provides a light and surprisingly spacious environment with a footprint small enough to fit in the backyard!

The Modern Cottage Idea House's extensive decking will be the stage for an exciting line-up of home and design experts. From discussions on "Materials and décor ideas from the Modern Cottage" to "The simple, smart ways to an energy-saving home", the Modern Cottage Presentation Stage is the hub for learning about the latest trends in sustainable living and design from leading minds in the industry.

Additionally, the hottest trend in kitchen design is taking up permanent residence in Sunset's "backyard" and will be making its debut during Celebration Weekend 2009. The Sunset Outdoor Kitchen will provide a stunning contemporary outdoor cooking and entertaining venue just outside the famous Sunset test kitchen. Celebration Weekend visitors will be able to tour this state-of-the art facility as well as attend a selection of cooking demonstrations.

Another not-to-be-missed attraction is the Secondhand Sunset booth where visitors will be able to shop for treasures uncovered from the Sunset prop studio, library, Idea Houses, and even editors' own closets. Proceeds will benefit a local charity.

Be sure to sign up early for Sunset wine editor Sara Schneider's popular wine seminars, which bring visitors on a journey down the west coast to discover six new intriguing and yet-to-be-discovered wine regions: Oregon, Anderson Valley, Paso Robles, Washington State, Santa Cruz Mountains, and Santa Barbara County.

Sunset editors Allison Arieff, Julie Chai, Miranda Jones, and Margo True will also be participating in a variety of seminars, demos, and presentations.

The stellar line-up of celebrity chefs, garden gurus, Idea House, and design speakers also include:

* Jamie Lauren, executive chef and Bravo TV Top Chef season 5 contestant

* Sara Snow, host of "Get Fresh with Sara Snow" on Discovery Health and author of Sara Snow's Fresh Living

* Cindy Pawlcyn, executive chef, restaurant Owner and James Beard award-winning cookbook author

* Aaron McCargo Jr., host of "Big Daddy's House" and season 4 winner of The Next Food Network Star

* Aaron Dillon, fourth generation citrus nurseryman, Four Winds Growers

* Flora Grubb, owner, Flora Grub Gardens

* Hank Jenkins, exterior designer, Lushland Design

* Cynthia Sandberg, owner, Love Apple Farm

* Nick Damner and Casper Mork-Ulnes, founders of Modern Cabana

* Matt Golden, president and founder of Sustainable Spaces

A complete schedule of presenters and events can be found at

"There are so many treasures to be found in your own backyard—especially here in the West. We hope you'll join us in our backyard to discover something new, fun, and fresh," continued Tamony.

Event sponsors include: Benjamin Moore, California Pizza Kitchen, Francisco International, Redwood Creek, Hawaiian Airlines, Honda, Kraft, Safeway and Tillamook Cheese.

Event Information:
What: Sunset Magazine Celebration Weekend
Date: Saturday and Sunday, June 6th and 7th
Time: 10am to 5pm
Prices: $15 General Admission, $12 Senior Citizens
Kids: Free Under 12
Discount: Get $1 off if you bike to the event. Get $1 off if you park at Sun Microsystems at 1601 Willow Road, Menlo Park (east of Highway 101) and ride the free shuttles to the event.
Tickets: Sold at the door.
Location: Sunset Headquarters
80 Willow Road Menlo Park, CA 94025
More info and stage schedules:

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