Going Green
by Veronica Sliva
by Veronica Sliva


Veronica has been gardening for as long as she can remember. When other kids were reading comics, she was reading the Stokes Seed Catalog. In the past 25 years Veronica has written hundreds of articles about gardens and gardening for magazines and newspapers. She also develops online content for Internet websites. Her regular newspaper column, In the Garden is enjoyed by readers in Durham Region, and The Garden Party is read throughout the greater Toronto area. She is also a regular contributor to

When not consumed by her garden she enjoys photography, birding, spending time at the cottage and ballroom dancing.

Veronica makes presentations on gardening topics to a variety of groups including horticultural societies, garden clubs and service clubs.

Veronica owns Sliva Communications, a business that provides a full a range of writing services including business and marketing material, technical documentation and anything that requires a wordsmith. She is a seasoned technical writer with a post graduate diploma in Technical Communications.

Veronica is a Regional Director for Canada of the Garden Writers' Association, Chair of the Oshawa Valley Botanical Garden Task Force, and a past president of the Brooklin Horticultural Society.

February 23, 2014

Going Green. It can be confusing. But, the basic concept is very simple. It’s about adapting an environmentally responsible lifestyle to help our planet stay viable for future generations. How can you go a little greener?

Be Mindful

Start by thinking about your consumption practices. Consider your grocery shopping habits – what do you buy, how much, where? How often do you eat out? How do you commute to work (by car or public transit)? What kind of vehicle do you drive? Where do you buy your clothes, electronics, and furniture? What types of cleaning and personal care products do you use? Consider what environmentally friendly practices you already embrace. Do you bike instead of driving, use energy-efficient lights, reusable shopping bags? Once you have a picture, you may be able to tweak a few everyday habits.

Reducing Consumption

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle is an old slogan. We are well indoctrinated into the habit of recycling thanks to government agencies that have spent a fortune educating us. In fact, we are so good at it that there is often more supply than demand in the recycling market. We aren’t so good at reducing. If we reduced our consumption of goods there would be a lot less to recycle and thus more of everything saved, including money.

Make a Difference

Here’s a list of things to do that will help you make a difference:

Waste Not

• Before you throw something away consider if it can be used by someone else.

• Donate gently used clothing and toys to charities or resale shops, and think vintage when you want a new wardrobe item. Visit consignment and resale shops. You’ll find one-of-a-kind, affordable treasures. The hunt can be fun.

• Scour flea markets and garage sales before you choose buy a new household item.

• If you grow veggies, plant and harvest a little extra for local food banks. Plant a Row Grow a Row is a program to assist in feeding the hungry in Canada. See or toll free 1-877-571-GROW (4769).

Buy Local

• Buy products produced as close to home as possible. Local means less transportation costs and less fuel emissions. Vegetables are a good place to start, especially during the growing season when so many varieties are plentiful and they are at their peak of freshness, flavour and nutrients.

Go Organic?

• Non-organic apples, bell peppers, celery, cherries, grapes (imported), lettuce, nectarines, peaches, pears, potatoes, spinach, and strawberries are more likely to contain higher pesticide residues than other fruits and vegetables. For these fruits and veggies opt for organic whenever possible.

Shrink Your Lawn

• Expanses of green turf take an enormous amount of resources. Eliminate some of your lawn and create a more natural landscape. You ultimately use less water and reduce chemical usage and save some money too. As well, you’ll do less mowing and raking.

Gather Rain Water

• Harvesting rain water in barrels helps to conserve water and save money. Rain water is soft and pure and requires no treatment. You can use it to water your garden, your houseplants or even wash your hair with it.

Compost, Compost, Compost

• By composting you reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill sites, thus reducing greenhouse gases. Composting organic kitchen and garden waste produces rich humus and improves the soil. You also save money on chemical fertilizers.

Plant Edible Ornamentals

• You can produce a beautiful landscape as well as tasty food for the table by integrating edible plants into your garden. For example, runner beans, ruby chard, globe artichokes, nasturtiums and garlic chives blend happily with purely ornamental plants.

Use Local Materials in Landscape Projects

• Rather than using exotic materials trucked in great distances for your landscaping projects, consider using stone, salvageable concrete, used bricks, and other recyclable materials found locally.

Choose Alternatives to Power Equipment

• Instead of a power lawn mower try a push mower. Fiskar’s new reel mower is worth checking out (

• Instead of a string weed trimmer use hand shears, a scythe or a hoe.

• Instead of a gas blower for leaves, use a rake or broom.

  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row