Wednesday, March 23, 2011

March Conservation Tip

Gardening Tips

Spring is in the air, or let's say should be in the air, our spring here in Northern California gets drowned by rain on a daily basis.
Nevertheless, at some point the rain will stop, hopefully, and we will spend more time outside and in our backyards and gardens. So I thought some "green" garden tips could come in handy.

In order to spruce up these tips with some color I was on the lookout for some spring flowers. Not much luck outside, the few flowers that braved the rain here in Half Moon Bay got flattened by last weeks hail. Hungry for some color, I went to the Half Moon Bay Nursery and was not disappointed!

A group of local artists, seeking refuge from the weather, had the same idea.

In spring mode now? Good, here now some better weather gardening tips:

1. Try to look for natural and organic alternatives to fertilizer.

The use of inorganic fertilizer is causing a toxic buildup of chemicals in our soil and drinking water. Residential users of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides apply more pounds per acre of these chemicals then farmers do. As these pollutants run off, they harm aquatic life, especially here on the coast, and contaminate the food chain.
And natural fertilizers, compost and organic materials encourage native earthworms. Earthworms are nature's soil conditioners and manufacture great fertilizer.

2. Compost your kitchen waste and garden clippings. It is easy and keeps green waste out of the landfill. Compost improves soil structure, texture, and aeration and increases the soil's water holding capacity. It also helps soil fertility and stimulates a healthy root development. Best of all, it's free.

3. Mulch, if you are mulching your flower beds and trees with 3" of organic material you will conserve water, add humus and nutrients, and discourage weeds. Bonus: It gives your beds a nice and clean appearance.

4. Problems with aphids? Try natural predators like these little critters

or try spraying infested stems, leaves, and buds with a very diluted soap water, then clear water. It works even on the heaviest infestation.

5. Plant native plants, they are adapted to your local climate, are less prone to insect infestation and need less fertilizer.

6. Think of replacing high maintenance lawn with herbs

or a vegetable garden

7. Weed problems? Normal vinegar, applied on a sunny day takes care of them, it's a safe and organic weed killer.

8. Snails? Instead of poisoning them, which also might poison the birds that later eat the snails, try collecting them early in the morning. I once offered the kids a quarter for each snail they found in the garden, it was a VERY effective way of getting rid of a lot of snails...I have lowered my price per snail since, it got a bit expensive...;-)
If you absolutely need to use a deterrent, try Sluggo, it is a non toxic snail killer. After digesting Sluggo, the snails will stop eating and die within a couple of days.

Now, let's hope we have less of this

and more of that

If you have another great "green" garden tip, please add it in the comments!

Happy Spring!

1 comment:

  1. Very nice, Susanne. This makes me want to hop into the car and drive to the nursery!