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Free Wood Chips – Mulch This

If we really want to consider all aspects of sustainability, we must consider our economic contributions.  I’ve been thinking green for many years, and now is the time (more than ever) to continue to refine how I act green.

So, if for example, natural systems should produce and decompose to produce again, then we need to be thinking very locally.  If mulching is important in gardening, then what better source than truly local – mulch from your neighborhood or your own yard.

The City of Portland was trimming tree branches near electrical wires this week, and we saw the sign, “Free Wood Chips.”  So, we told the gentlemen we would like to take them up on the offer.  Friday, 10 cubic yards of wood chips were dropped on our driveway, the same spot that hosted 4 cubic yards of screened dirt three months ago.  Being able to sieze opportunities like this is crucial when thinking about going green.  How can we use what we have?  What options are within our reach that won’t cost us out of pocket anything?  Not only have we not paid for these, I’m comparing this to all the $3.50 bags of cedar-bark mulch we purchased from Lowe’s last summer; but we also got them delivered for free too!  Just think about it.

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My backyard is so plain, what should I do?

Plant things of course! Visit a local nursery, like Portland Nursery, for a variety of local plants and start digging. October through May is a great time to transplant in the Portland Area because of our rainy season. The ground is soft, and you don’t have to worry about the constant watering of plants in the summer while they get established.

The more things growing in your backyard, the more birds and bees you will attract because you are giving them a basic element: food. We need birds and bees to pollinate trees and flowers, so start planting today!

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How do I attract native species to my garden?

So, going native is always the preferred method. You want to boost your local biodiversity and improve that culture of plants and animals while minimizing the threat invasives pose on your local environment. A good first step would be to contact your local Audubon society to find out just some local birds that you want to see in the area. They might be able to help with identifying plants too. And, if they can help you with the birds, they can help you with which flowers the birds like, which will help you in your backyard.

Here’s a link to our “Backyard Biodiversity” page: Another nifty site to examine is this site on natives: Go to that site and enter your zip code and surf around. And, of course, go back to the U-W Extension site,, I sent last time. There is a Wisconsin Native Plant source, which I’m sure is similar to Escanaba. Additionally, scroll down and check out their whole backyard, “Rethinking Yard Care” series. It’s really helpful.