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Tennessee Smart Yards

The Tennessee Smart Yards is manage by the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture.  We are currently setting up our yard to incorporate as many of their principals as we can, including:

  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle:  We have reduced our energy consumption and are recycling materials, such as lumber, yard waste, metals, another material.  We will also be using biodegradable packaging.
  • Right Plant, Right Place:  We learned the hard way that you can’t plant a sun loving crop in the shade and expect it to taste good.  Watermelon comes to mind.  We are also planning for Tennessee native plants in our cottage gardens.
  • Manage soil and mulch: We are building healthy soil by using layers of manure, wood chips, and other natural amendments.
  • Water Efficiency:  We have a very thick layer of wood chips between the ground and our planting medium.  This allows rain water to be absorbed instead of flooding.  We also have rain barrels.
  • Use fertilizer appropriately:  We grow our foods and flowers naturally, without adding chemicals.
  • Manage yard pests:  We have pests.  Everyone that gardens has them and everyone that doesn’t garden has them.  We are learning how to manage the pests naturally, and as our gardens mature, we are noticing the change of insects and other little critters.  Frogs have shown up, as well as lady bugs and praying mantises.  We didn’t bring these in!  They just started showing up.
  • Reduce storm water runoff and it’s pollutants:  The wood chips, rain barrels and rain gardens are how we reduce storm water runoff.  The wood chips also act as a filter.  We are planning to add ponds and a rain water system that works with our rain barrels once the barrels are filled, so we can manage the overflow.
  • Provide for wildlife: We are hosts to countless hummingbirds!  We also have frogs, cardinals, mockingbirds, finches, bluejays and many others that show up on our homestead.  TVA has adjoining property that is kept wooded, so there is quite a bit of wildlife going through our yard, including a black bear!
  • Protect waters edge:  We do not have any water edges right now.