New Series: Notes from the Garden with Kate

Hello, one and all! My name is Kate Jerome and, along with Venny Zachritz, I am taking an active role in managing the landscape of the UUA campus. I’m so excited to share with everyone our plans to turn our already beautiful landscape into a sustainably managed one.

We will be making a few changes, adding plants, and generally making the landscape into an educational resource for the congregation and the surrounding community. This landscape will become one in which there is even more beauty, that sustains pollinators and wildlife, and needs less and less input to keep it beautiful.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing with you the basic principles of this type of landscape management as well as keeping you abreast of the changes and additions we and our wonderful landscape group will be making.
If you are interested in talking with me further or have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me ( Or even better, come volunteer with our landscape group on the first and third Saturdays of the month, 9-11 am.

Trash For Now

Microwave containers are NOT recyclable in Asheville. The material, #5 polypropylene, requires high heat for reprocessing.

Bee Vigilant!

Read labels of products you use in your landscape.  Avoid products containing neonics. These are chemicals that are lethal to bees.  FMI:

Go Native

Replace turf grass with native species of grass. Native lawns use fewer resources  and improve the habitat for wildlife. Check with local garden centers and native nurseries for information on native grass species.

Get A Grip

Get a good grip on the gas cap.  After fueling your car, tighten the gas cap well to prevent evaporation of gas.  If the cap is not on tightly,  you could lose as much as 30 gallons/year!

Healthy Clippings

As you mow, leave your grass clippings on the grass.  The clippings which are 80% water  and contain nitrogen help to water and fertilize your lawn.

Microwave vs. Oven

Use a microwave to cook meals whenever possible. It uses about 1/2 energy of a conventional oven.

An Electrical Sabbath

List activities that your family enjoys that don’t need electricity. Choose a few for your Sabbath Day.


Clothes Dryers Are Energy Hogs

A way to make them more efficient: use longer drying times on the heat lowest setting, use the maximum spin cycle on the washer or consider air-drying your clothes.

Know Your Refridgerator’s Climate

Check the thermostat in your refrigerator to ensure your food doesn’t spoil. The ideal temperature is at or slightly below 40 degrees. A good place for foods that won’t easily spoil is in the door. It’s the warmest section. 

Save on Energy

To find energy-efficient products that are certified by EPA’s Energy Star program go to The site is a good resource for efficient products, information on rebates, and tips on other ways to save energy.

Choose Fragrance Free Products

Keep in mind when you’re reading the list of ingredients in personal care products that fragrance is the main ingredient associated with allergic reactions. Best to choose non-synthetic fragrances from plant essential oils.

Easy Way to Save Money

Set your water heater between “low” & “medium” (110-120 F); each 10-degree reduction saves 35% on water heating bills.

Nuke Your Dish Sponge

Kitchen sponges are moist and full of food particles—everything bacteria need to thrive. To keep your sponge “healthy,” microwave the damp sponge on high for one minute

Energy Savings Tip

Save energy by keeping in your body heat. Long-sleeved sweaters can add between 2-4 degrees in added heat.

Good Use of Plastic Bags

Do pick-up after your pets—cats as well as dogs. Fecal matter gets washed into the storm drains and is a source of pollution.

Buy Local Beer

Packaging accounts for 40% of an average beer’s emissions when you factor in transportation.  Good reason to buy local beer in cans.  Applies to wine purchases as well.

Another Reason to Use Cold Water

Clothing made with polyester, nylon and acrylic are sources of plastic pollution when laundered. If synthetic clothes are washed in cold water, the release of the micro-plastics in the material is reduced.  Another option: micro-plastic filters on washers.