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Archives for March 17, 2016

Society of Garden Designers announces new vice chairman


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Article source: http://www.hortweek.com/society-garden-designers-announces-new-vice-chairman/landscape/article/1387912

Trista & Ryan Sutter Talk Colorado Home Design

When the Denver Home Show rolls into the National Western Complex this weekend—March 18 to 20—Colorado’s favorite reality TV stars, Trista and Ryan Sutter, will grace the stage to encourage attendees to take risks in design and life. The couple, who met on the first season of the Bachelorette, currently resides in the Vail Valley, where Sutter serves as lieutenant in the Vail Fire Department and Trista works as a self-described “stay at home and work” mom. They recently filmed a pilot episode for a potential HGTV series called Rocky Mountain Reno, and although it didn’t get picked up, Denver Home Show-goers can look forward to the Sutters sharing behind-the-scenes details about being on HGTV and how filming the show fit into their bigger life philosophy. We caught up with Trista and Ryan to talk high-country design, leaps of faith, and surviving renovations.


5280: What can attendees of the Denver Home Show expect from your presentation?
Ryan Sutter: We’re not experts in any one field, so we decided to take a broad perspective. Our message is one a lot of people can relate to: Try new things without the fear of failure. If you’re thinking you need a change, go for it, whether that’s wandering around the Denver Home Show and looking for new ideas for your home or maybe a change in other areas of your life. Don’t be afraid of failure. We’ll definitely talk about how that fits with our experience with Rocky Mountain Reno. Although it’s not a show on HGTV now, it was a great opportunity.

Ryan, you have an undergraduate degree in architecture from the University of Colorado Boulder. How did the two of you gravitate toward a home renovation television project?
Ryan: Trista and I always loved to go look at houses together. I’m always interested in space and how rooms are organized. I’m big on efficiency in space.
Trista Sutter: Back in the day, I was a huge Extreme Makeover: Home Edition fan—not just for the home renovations, but for the inspirational factor. They really changed people’s lives. As for HGTV, I love any remodeling show. When we were getting ready for Rocky Mountain Reno, I’d just leave the channel on all day long.

How did the two of you merge your styles when you married?
Trista: When we looked at houses 13 years ago, I don’t think our styles were too far off. But when we walked into this place, we were attracted to different elements but both of us immediately knew it was the one. I feel like we have a core similarity in terms of mixing industrial feel with mountain design. Although in our home, Ryan is really interested in landscaping and does so much with that. I handle more of the interior.
Ryan: We definitely both have similar tastes in terms of mountain contemporary; we both like hardwood floors and vaulted ceilings. I tend to gravitate more toward simpler interiors, and she’s more Arts and Crafts.
Trista: Arts and Crafts?! I don’t think I’d call it that. I’d say sentimental—I love filling up our home with pictures of our kids and our family.

What makes renovations different in Colorado?
Trista: In Colorado, it’s all about the lifestyle. When people are renovating, it’s always about incorporating the environment into the design. That can be with reclaimed wood or woodwork or even the environmentally conscious paint products out there.

Any tips for couples managing renovations?
Ryan: My dad was an architect, and he always said he wished he’d gone to school to be a counselor. Really, it’s like anything in a marriage; there will be compromises and there will be concessions. I think a great way to manage it is to allow unique spaces for each of you. Trista is passionate about the master bedroom, so she takes the lead there. I have more involvement in designing the office.
Trista: Pick your battles. That goes with everything in my life, whether it’s in my relationship with Ryan or my relations with the kids. If he’s passionate about paint color or trim and you don’t care as much, let him have it. I also think it’s important to have grace for your partner. Give them some leeway when they are overwhelmed or stressed. Sometimes it only takes a moment.


Catch Trista and Ryan’s presentation on Saturday, March 19, at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., or on Sunday, March 20, at 2 p.m. Adult admission is $11 at the door or $9 in advance online; children 12 and under are free. National Western Complex, 4655 Humboldt St., 407-363-7653, homeshowdenver.com

Article source: http://www.5280.com/digital/2016/03/trista-ryan-sutter-talk-colorado-home-design

Oceanside gets a look at future Coast Highway – The San Diego Union

— Oceanside’s Coast Highway, one of the city’s main arteries, might look much different in a few years than it does today with fewer lanes, wider sidewalks and roundabouts.

The city adopted its ambitious “Coast Highway Corridor Vision and Strategic Plan” in 2009 that calls for a pedestrian-friendly boulevard with bicycle lanes, landscaping and traffic-calming features. The plan provides the vision but it lacks the detail, such as traffic analysis and street design.

For that purpose, the city is now conducting the “Coast Highway Corridor Study” and residents were invited Tuesday night to a workshop where they could offer input on the features they would like to see.

During the workshop, people were shown various alternatives for the design of the road, such as places where the road could be reduced from four lanes to two and intersections where roundabouts could be built. They were asked to provide their opinion on the various options. City planners and engineers were there to answer questions about the project.

“We know we want to go down from four lanes to two lanes, we know we want bicycle lanes, we know we want to preserve on-street parking — that’s not going to change,” said John Amberson, a city engineer overseeing the study. “But whether we landscape the medians, whether or not we put bulb-outs (a curb extension to calm traffic), what’s the street light going to look like, (ideas to improve parking) … that’s they kind of input we want so we can incorporate it into our plan.”

Dozens of people attended the two-hour workshop, including downtown residents, business owners and civic leaders.

Rick Wright, executive director of MainStreet Oceanside, said slowing down traffic on Coast Highway in the downtown area would benefit businesses. He said recent changes to a stretch of Mission Avenue west of Interstate 5 had shown the benefits of traffic-calming projects and praised the city for its efforts to bring them to Coast Highway.

“It’s really a bold initiative and I’m really proud of city staff for bringing this forward to the community,” Wright said. “I’m hoping that the community embraces it.”

Some of the changes to the road are already under way.

Late last year, a group of residents started a campaign to make part of Coast Highway safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. Members of the group said they wanted to prevent deaths like the one of Logan Lipton, a 12-year-old boy who was hit and killed by a pickup Oct. 22 while riding his bicycle to Lincoln Middle School on Coast Highway.

The residents said the road, especially a stretch from Oceanside Boulevard to Morse Street, is not safe because bicycle lanes are too narrow, the pavement is uneven and motorists drive too fast.

In December, the City Council agreed to take several steps to improve safety, including placing new speed limit signs and stepping up enforcement and bicycle education efforts.

The council also agreed in January to re-stripe a half-mile stretch of the road to create one lane of traffic in each direction, as well as a left-turn center lane, an eight-foot bicycle lane in each direction and an eight-foot buffer between the vehicle and bicycle lanes. The city will also install a pedestrian crosswalk, with a median refuge, near the Loma Alta Creek Path that will allow people to walk to and from Buccaneer Beach.

Those changes will be part of a pilot project that will allow staff to evaluate what might happen if all of Coast Highway was turned into a two-lane road.

City officials said the input provided during the workshop will be used to fine tune the city’s “preferred alternative” plan. That plan will be presented to the City Council on April 13. Then, staff will conduct an environmental study and a cost estimate on the plan later this year.

Article source: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2016/mar/17/oceanside-coast-highway-future/

Neil Sperry: Beware of shady alternative grasses

Have you ever wished you could grow grass in the shade? The Houston Astros did. And when I was a young horticulturist in College Station, I drove past the shaded cold frames where Texas AM agronomists were trying their best to find a grass that could be used in the new domed stadium — after they had to apply shading to one section of the roof to avoid the glare.

But that didn’t work out, and the team ended up with something called AstroTurf. Perhaps you’ve heard of it.

That was 50 years ago, and we’re still tilting at windmills today. People don’t believe me when I tell them that there is no grass that will grow and thrive in fewer than five or six hours of hot, direct summer sunlight daily. I get a whole lot of pushback. “Oh, it’s not the shade. The soil has eroded. There — look at the tree roots on top of the ground.” Or, “Those tree roots are sucking up all the fertilizer and water. I just need to add more.” Or, “Grass was growing there last year, and now it’s all gone. I can plant it again.”

I could keep typing excuses for hours, and every one of them, much as I hate to say it, would be wrong.

So here’s my new approach. If your grass is failing beneath a shade tree, and if that tree is out by itself in the yard, look closely at the pattern of turfgrass die-out. If the trunk of the tree is like an arrow into a bulls-eye, gardeners, that’s lack of sunlight. Need additional proof? If the pattern of die-out gets worse the closer you get to the trunk, that means the heavier shade there is taking its toll. As the tree grows larger, so does the bald spot.

St. Augustine is our most shade-tolerant grass. It’s planted from sod, so it gets pretty pricey if you’re trying to get it established over a larger space. In my 46 years helping North Texas gardeners, I’ve seen thousands of people who have invested big dollars in new grass, only to find that it wasn’t going to do any better than the old grass that died.

Some of us (yes, I’m in the group of antagonists) even tried fescue. It needs about the same amount of sun as St. Augustine, but we found out that we would have to overseed it anew every September, and that it would become browned and thin during the summer. (It’s a cool-season grass that is planted in fall, grows in the winter, and tries its best to survive the summertime heat.) Fescue is also a water hog, making it somewhat impractical in this land of curtailments.

We tried removing one or two lower limbs so our lawns could get more sun early and late in the day, and maybe that helped for a while. But eventually, even that gave out as the trees kept growing bigger. Plus, we decided that if we removed any more branches, our trees would begin to look like tall palms.

This is where I step in with a note of encouragement. Shade landscaping doesn’t mean you give up. It means that you just readjust the dial. You change to more shade-tolerant ground covers in place of failed turf. You choose from the wide assortment of shade-loving shrubs and small trees, and you rethink your annual and perennial choices in color. You do have some very nice options.

It helps if you can see all of this in actual practice. Drive to older parts of town where the trees are fully matured. See how they’ve handled the same problem we all eventually encounter. Visit the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, Chandor Gardens in Weatherford and the Dallas Arboretum. Take notes and make lists of the plants and ideas you like. Talk with your nursery professional, and perhaps even hire a landscape designer to interpret it all for you.

This is a great time to put all this into practice. Nurseries have the best selections of the year. Plants are vigorous — ready to be planted and grow. So stall no longer. Begin your life in the shade. And remember how much you appreciate that shade come mid-July.

Neil Sperry publishes Gardens magazine and hosts “Texas Gardening” from 8 to 10 a.m. Sundays on WBAP/820 AM. Reach him during those hours at 800-288-9227. Online: http://neilsperry.com.

Best plants for shade gardens

Ground covers: mondograss, liriope, Asian jasmine, purple wintercreeper euonymus, ferns, aspidistra (cold-sensitive), English ivy, and for smaller spaces, dwarf mondograss and ajuga.

Shrubs: many types of hollies, including (in increasing order of height) dwarf yaupon, dwarf Chinese, Carissa, dwarf Burford, Willowleaf, Mary Nell, Oakland, Nellie R. Stevens, Warren’s Red possumhaw and yaupon. (I’m not a big fan of Savannah holly in our alkaline soils.)

Vines: Carolina jessamine, sweet autumn clematis, evergreen clematis, crossvine, English ivy.

Annuals: coleus, caladiums, elephant ears, begonias, impatiens, nicotiana (flowering tobacco) and pentas (partial sun).

Perennials: ajuga, oxalis, summer phlox, hostas, hellebores, Solomon’s shield, ferns, and various bulbs such as jonquils, spider lilies, naked lady lilies, oxblood lilies and fall crocus.

Tropicals: for textural interest, use container plants such as crotons, Xanadu philodendron, aglaonemas, ferns, sansevierias, pony tail, peace lilies and dracaenas.

Small trees: Japanese maples, dogwoods, redbuds, Mexican plum, tree-form Nellie R. Stevens and yaupon hollies.

Article source: http://www.star-telegram.com/living/home-garden/neil-sperry/article66660532.html

Healthy Dixie Council awards Community Garden Grant to …

ST. GEORGE — The Healthy Dixie Council has awarded its first Community Garden Grant in the amount of $7,500 to the Switchpoint Community Resource Center.

The grant program is targeted to assist grassroots efforts to establish community gardens in Washington County to help increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables. The garden will be located on the Switchpoint grounds immediately behind its newly-constructed Food Pantry.

“We are delighted and grateful to the Healthy Dixie Council for its generous grant to help us launch this worthwhile community garden project,” Switchpoint Executive Director Carol Hollowed said. “Our garden will provide much more than healthy food for our residents and food pantry. It provides an excellent job-training opportunity for residents, who might then become employed in a landscaping business or garden center, the opportunity for residents to learn more about and appreciate the health­-related value of eating fresh produce, and encouragement for outdoor exercise all in a setting that encourages cooperation and positive interaction among residents and between residents and volunteers.”

Ray Shanklin, a retired executive with substantial gardening experience, has volunteered to make a significant commitment to the project. He has also recruited a number of enthusiastic volunteers. A local, respected nurseryman, Healthy Dixie’s news release said, Shanklin has offered to teach classes on gardening to Switchpoint residents. He has also identified several master gardeners from the area who are willing to work with Switchpoint residents on an ongoing basis.

“It was apparent to the HDC that Switchpoint and its volunteers had put considerable effort into its plan for a community garden. It had enlisted the help of people with exceptional experience and skills,” Healthy Dixie Chairman Arthur LeBaron said. “Its grant application was well thought out and thorough. We are pleased to present our first grant to Switchpoint and expect great success in its efforts.”

Along with increasing physical health, community gardens provide a greater sense of community ownership while increasing relationships with neighbors by sharing gardening skills and responsibilities.

Healthy Dixie is a group of Washington County citizens involved in government, business and education who are committed to promoting healthy habits in the county. The council strives to encourage positive lifestyle and legislative change through community and government outreach and education with the goal of improving the overall health of the county’s citizens.

The “Community Garden” grant program is part of the outreach Healthy Dixie Council is making in its overall mission. In addition to the grant program, Healthy Dixie has worked with government agencies to formulate policies that delay water impact fees for community garden plots.

The Council distributes grants for programs which encourage active lifestyles and healthy nutrition habits. It also creates community-based events and participates in wellness expos.

Event details

  • What: Presentation of grant and ribbon-cutting
  • When: Thursday, March 17, 2016 at 3 p.m.
  • Where: Switchpoint Community Resource Center, 948 N. 1300 West, St. George

Resources

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

 

Article source: https://www.stgeorgeutah.com/news/archive/2016/03/16/prc-healthy-dixie-council-awards-community-garden-grant-to-switchpoint/

Know Your Madisonian: Gigi Holland helps keep city properties pretty and green

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Article source: http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/know-your-madisonian-gigi-holland-helps-keep-city-properties-pretty/article_5deadd89-cab3-524a-9a48-6680d1dd7c0c.html

Every Blooming Thing: Drip irrigation important – Appeal

Posted: Wednesday, March 16, 2016 7:33 pm

Every Blooming Thing: Drip irrigation important

Julie Renier
For the Corning Observer

Appealdemocrat.com

I have been a gardener all of my life — planting flowers and vegetables has always been my most important rite of spring. Each spring, I compulsively fill every available space with something that blooms or is edible until I must finally quit planting due to lack of space … or a lack of emitters.

I find no joy in hand watering my gardens and landscaping. Decades before water conservation was a concern, my interest in conserving my time sparked my interest in drip irrigation. The packed red clay soils of both Missouri and the foothills of Red Bluff have made drip irrigation even more of a necessity. The water runs off the clay if not delivered slowly and directly. Even if you are fortunate enough to live in the valleys with real soil drip irrigation is still well worth the effort.

Drip irrigation allows you to deliver the exact amount of water the plant needs when it needs it- saving water and increasing the health and productivity of the plant. A battery timer on the system allows you to water when most beneficial, depending upon the plant.

You can find a great deal of useful information about drip irrigation on the internet or from books of course. I would highly recommend drawing a map with the dimensions of the areas (zones) you want to water so you can roughly calculate your parts. A word of advice- buy more than you need and save your receipt. There are many different systems and materials that can be utilized but the following outlines what I use for my 4 zones to water grape vines, an orchard, vegetable garden and landscaping.

There are some basic parts you will need- each faucet requires a backflow preventer, a battery timer (you can buy them with up to 4 individual outlets that allow you to program each zone), a water filter to keep your system from clogging with particles and a pressure reducer. The drip irrigation system itself requires main tubing (5/8 is common), reusable hand tightening fittings (corners, 3 ways, straight connectors), goof plugs (2 sizes on each one), spaghetti or micro tubing lines (to run from the main tubing as needed), soaker lines and emitters. Tools needed are the tubing punch tool and scissors or a box cutter.

The end of the system are emitters which come in 3 styles- flag types, pressure compensating and micro spray emitters (which create various degrees and sizes of umbrella shaped watering). All of the emitters are rated as to gallons per hour (gph) of water delivery. The emitters you need will depend upon the length of your line, the elevation changes and the plant types that are being watered. You will need to do some math to make sure you will have adequate pressure for each zone.

We are so very fortunate to live in an area of commercially irrigated fruits and nuts because this has created a wonderful resource- a locally owned and operated business which has the knowledge and inventory for drip irrigation for all gardeners! I rely upon Alsco,Inc. for my supplies and expert assistance when needed. If you are a beginner or have questions, be sure to take your map.

There is great satisfaction in hearing my system surrounding the house begin to water early in the morning on designated days. I love to go outside to watch the drip irrigation system at work. Flocks of small birds have learned to sip a fresh drink from the emitters as they run. I have the satisfaction of knowing that my efforts are conserving water and my time by providing my plants with the water they require automatically. It is also comforting to know that if we need to leave for a few days, my plants will thrive in our absence.

Red Bluff Garden Club is a private non-profit organization affiliated with National Garden Clubs, Inc: Pacific Region: California Garden Clubs, Inc. and Cascade District. Garden Club. We meet the last Tuesday at 1 pm each month at 12889 Baker Road in Red Bluff. All are welcome.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016 7:33 pm.

Article source: http://www.appeal-democrat.com/corning_observer/every-blooming-thing-drip-irrigation-important/article_b078985a-ebe8-11e5-882f-c7aa7664df13.html

Gardening tips for every budget from RubbeRecycle

Spring is right around the corner and the time to begin planning garden upgrades is now. All it takes is a little time and effort to turn a drab garden into something colorful and lively. The following tips from RubbeRecycle offer a great starting point for all of your gardening projects.

Free Garden Updates

  • Clean up existing plant beds by removing weeds and overgrown plants. This will make everything look neat and organized, and will allow your beautiful and colorful plants and petals to bask in the sunlight, in all of their glory.
  • Prune shrubs. Keep to a natural shape, avoiding turning them into a ball or square shape. Overgrown shrubs can invade walkways and patios, giving an untidy look. When pruned and tamed they look classic and sophisticated, making a simple dressing for your yard and garden.
  • Trim tree branches that hang too low and create hazards. A low tree branch not only gets in the way of walkways and head room, it also poses the risk of falling, hitting or scratching someone.

Updates for $100

  • Create a welcoming entrance with one or two big pots filled with colorful plants. Bright colors are fun and inviting, and having them placed at the entrance makes guests feel welcome. They create the statement that your home is well kept and cared for.
  • Make a significant impact on your landscape with a few 5-gallon trees for about $35 each, if you plan to stay in your home for at least five years. Trees not only bring more life to your yard, but they also are great for providing much needed shade. Shade can help keep your home cool and your guests from overheating from the beating sun. Some plants also require shade.
  • Buy seeds, such as a mix of wildflowers, and cover much more ground than $100 worth of plants. Simple flowers breathe life and excitement into your landscape.

Updates for $500

  • Install Rubber Mulch to prevent weeds, retain moisture and keep your landscaping looking fresh for 20 years! This will help minimize routine maintenance that you have to do, which gives you more free time to enjoy your garden.
  • Invest in a couple of great architectural pots that make a statement at your entrance. Add rounded boxwoods or a seasonal planting of ornamental grasses and colorful annuals. Dressing your landscape with these accessories will give it a designer’s touch.
  • Add a bench or garden ornament, such as a trellis or birdbath, to a key spot. A nicely designed mailbox with some plantings at the base is also lovely. Statement pieces such as these will make your yard feel friendly and inviting.
  • Spruce up your foundation plantings with a border of long-blooming perennials. Additions like these really accentuate your house and make it pop.
  • Pay someone to professionally prune or selectively remove (and replace) overgrown shrubs. It’s okay: not everyone has the pruning touch! Well-manicured shrubs have a significant impact on your yard’s overall look and feel.

Updates for $800

  • Make your garden party-ready with a teak three piece outdoor bar. Small outdoor gatherings are great for meeting your neighbors or for spending time with close friends.
  • Buy an inflatable hot tub spa for the outdoors. Who doesn’t love a hot tub? What a great way to kick-back and relax either alone or with friends.
  • Invest in a pergola tent for garden parties. Warmer weather means entertaining season is ahead, but unfortunately you can’t predict if it’s going to be too hot or rain. This will provide shelter for both.
  • Secure your garden with an ornamental iron gate. Not only do fences and gates add to the value of your home, they create privacy and keep unwanted guests (whether human or animal variety) out.
  • Purchase an efficient large hose with a hitching post. A hose is a necessity if you have a yard with any type of landscaping or garden. Keep the hose handy by storing it on a hitching post. A hitching post can be both functional and decorative.

Updates for $1500

  • If you have enough space, update your garden with an outdoor wooden dining set or a set of granite table and stools. BBQ season will be here before you know it. Impress your guests with a well-designed area to dine and enjoy the garden.
  • Light up the space with aluminum wall lanterns/motion detectors. A well-lit garden is a welcoming garden. Wall lanterns hung around your property create the perfect ambience for entertaining and illuminating your hard work. Motion detectors provide light when you need it and also deter unwanted visitors from entering your property.
  • For expansive gardens, buy a mechanical grass catcher for efficient maintenance. You can chose to have your lawn mower mulch your grass and leaves or use a grass catcher so the newly mowed grass isn’t left on your lawn. If you have a large yard, this is particularly helpful.
  • Give your garden a high end classic feel with decorative/sculpted/Greek-inspired statues. They will immediately elevate your outdoor space from yard to garden. Your guests or neighbors are sure to be impressed!
  • Invest in a water fountain pool. A water fountain gives your back garden a touch of peaceful serenity. Sit back and relax while enjoying a good book or a cold one.

Rubber Mulch, available at RubbeRecyle, is the original and environmentally responsible mulch made from 100% recycled rubber used in gardens, playgrounds and sustainable landscaping. Rubber Mulch is weather resistant, durable, and the most cost effective mulch around. It is specifically designed to protect children from falls on the playground. Rubber Mulch helps homeowners increase the curb appeal of their house and create the home and garden they have always dreamed of.

Article source: http://www.examiner.com/article/gardening-tips-for-every-budget-from-rubberecycle

Spring gardening tips from master gardeners – News – Wayne Post …


Posted Mar. 16, 2016 at 2:01 AM


Wayne, N.Y.

Article source: http://www.waynepost.com/article/20160316/NEWS/160319869

6 Tips to Get Your Home Garden Growing This Spring

With spring springing into the air, many of us are turning our thoughts to the garden. It’s an exciting time. A winter of less-than-fresh veggies and preserves is giving way to what could be another great year of (or a first annual) bountiful harvest from the home garden. At least, that’s the way we all like to imagine it, so why wouldn’t we?

Small-scale gardens can be pleasant, relaxing things, not too labor-intensive, not too stressful if we allow them to be. We can set our gardens up to be low-maintenance. We can plant wisely to give our crops the best shot at being productive. And, we can do this without doling out loads of money.

Instead, we can take from what we have, use our waste to make our gardens bloom with food and spend as much time enjoying the natural beauty and flavor as we do toiling over its success. It’ll only take a few tips to get us going and growing.

1. Plant Early and Plant Often.

When planting from seed, it makes sense to start early so that, when the last frost is for sure behind us, the plants are big enough to be in the garden, which generally takes around a month. Also, a common mistake is to plant everything at once, but that will mean that everything is coming to fruition at once, possibly creating an overabundance of produce. Planting in two-week intervals is a better idea.

2. Mulch Everything Like it Matters.

A Quick Guide to Mulching Your GardenWikimedia Commons

 

One of the biggest tragedies of the modern farming system is that we have the tendency to clean the soil of all debris. Doing so is horrible for the sustainable growing. The sun will dry it out when the days are sunny; the rain will pound it to death when things get stormy. Uncovered earth is also open to wind and water erosion, encourages weed growth (hence all of the weed killers), and struggles to support the life necessary for healthy soil. Mulching helps with all of this, as well as adds nutrients to the soil as it breaks down.

3. No Tilling Means Less Weeds.

The other big blunder of how we farm versus how nature does it is that we constantly till the land, turning over the earth so that dormant seeds are freed to grow and microorganisms meet their demise. This method works for a while, but eventually, tilling leaves the soil depleted. That’s why fertilizers are such a necessity these days. Rather then till, it’s better to layer atop the existing place, such as with sheet mulching. It creates richer soil as well as preserves what soil life is already around.

4. Encourage Biodiversity.

Monsanto vs. Monarchs: Butterflies Are on the Decline and GMO Crops are a Major Reason WhyKenneth Dwain Harrelson / Wikimedia

 

 

Pests are often the result of an unbalanced ecosystem. When everything is stripped away and replaced with one type of plant (mono-cropping), the bugs that eat that plant are likely to set up shop. However, when plants are mixed, garden pests are less drawn to an area, and should one crop fail, there’s still something to eat. Also, encouraging beneficial insects with an insect hotel, lizards with some stones, birds with a bath, and other wild animals to hang around balances out the pest problem. Pests might get some veggies, but predators will get some pest. We all eat.

5. Keep Your Garden Close.

While the back corner of the lawn may feel like the perfect spot, in actuality, only the most attentive gardeners can work that way. Knowing this, it’s much wiser to plant the garden beds (or just make a container garden) near to the house, along well-trodden paths, around the patio and amongst other frequented places. For one, we are more likely to see the plants and care for them, and more importantly, grabbing a handful of arugula for tonight’s salad or some fresh herbs for the pasta is much easier when it doesn’t require walking to the far corner of the yard.

6. Include Perennial Plants in the Mix.

Annual plants complete their life cycle in one season, while perennials return each year. It’s always a good idea to include perennials in garden beds because they are less energy-intensive than annuals, which soak up everything they can in their short lifespan, not to mention the fact that they must be raised from seed each time. Perennials also mean that the bed (or plant pot) always has something on the go as well, so some sort of fresh veggies, herbs or fruit can always be at the ready.

After that, it’s important to remember that gardening is something most of us are doing for fun. Producing some of our own food is a great service to our bank account and to the environment, but it’s a process and one that doesn’t always work perfectly. The beauty with plants is that we can try again. Seeds are at the ready, and now our garden beds are too.

Lead image source: Panphage/Wikimedia

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Article source: http://www.onegreenplanet.org/lifestyle/tips-to-get-your-home-garden-growing/