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phosphates encourage algae growth, which is harmful to fish and river foliage. Look for a middle number of zero on your fertilizer bag to be most ecologically friendly. River Keepers is one of several local organizations working to bring back an environmentally friendly device that homeowners' grandparents probably took for granted: the rain barrel. Simply, it's a barrel that collects rainwater that runs off your home's roof, usually through a downspout. It's a water-conserving tradition whose time has come again. The water is generally softer than what comes from the tap. Your garden will love it, since rainwater is free of chemical additives that plants neither need nor want. Its slight acidity helps them access soil nutrients. The rain barrel helps keep moisture from collecting around your home's foundation and provides a source for watering prized plantings if water restrictions are in force later in the summer. For information on how to build a rain barrel, e-mail christine@ riverkeepers.org. Summer 2009  9

Outdoor Design & Living Guide - Summer 2009  

Issue 1 - Summer 2009 issue of Outdoor Design & Living Guide of Fargo-Moorhead

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