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Posts Tagged ‘advice’

CalpopsGarzasWash08www.montereybaycnps.org/

Let’s do it. Get rid of the grass, at least most of it and plant fire resistant, drought tolerant, disease and bug resistant, sexy, wild, natives.  Native fire resistant plants are a real asset to your yard anywhere in California. Did you know that a watered apple tree or Indian Hawthorne burns better than an unwatered Ceanothus, and with just a little water Salvias (Sages) are harder to light than a watered fruit tree?  This and much more information about fire prevention  provided by Las Pilitas Nursery. Easy fixes for high risk fire areas.  Here is a picture of a garden landscaped with fire retardant plants.garden-tour-2

Plant natives grapes which are fire resistant make a beautiful arbor or barrier and you can eat the grapes.  fire_562s

Plant natives to attract bird, butterfly and hummingbirds.  Milkweed is the only plant the monarch uses and it also attracts swallowtails.  butterflyweedThe natives  are very low maintenance. They can be very showy and spectacular like our California Lilac,  Ceanothus, left, Ceanothus_L.T.Blueor low and inconspicuous like Pacific Mist Arctostaphylos, right.images Pacific Mist loves coastal sandy gardens where it grows one foot high and 6-8 feet across. Then there are the fragrant varieties for your smelly garden. California Mock Orange (Philadelphus lewisii) center.  Thumbnail pictures from Las Pilitas.

a494-1

And so many sages.  This one is called Hot lips and hummingbirds love it. large_salvia

Natives have everything you need for a carefree spectacular garden.   Save money on water, pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, save time, mowing, weeding, hedging, spraying, and the energy savings in hard labor are all good reasons to Go Native.

By planting natives and getting them established, which does take a little time in the beginning, you can just let them do what comes naturally and leave all the work to them.  There are perennials which come back every year, annuals that reseed themselves, hardwoods, softwoods, bushes and trees for the layered effect.   There are many varied reports on  deer resistant natives.  You will have to check with your local extension or neighbors on what works best in your area.  I think the general consensus is they love roses and if they are hunger they will eat anything.  So, this one is up to you.

Check out the gardens below.

nativeplantswww.thedigeratilife.com/…/

p_ng_mass_bl2www.cnps-yerbabuena.org/…/local_gardens.htm

gardenwphttp://tinyurl.com/ctx8l4

This is a very good site.  Full of fun facts and information.  It is hosted by Randy White. The site below, Food Not Lawns, is just a little off subject. I just thought I would put it in here to give you something to think about.  It is well worth a look see.  You can’t help but learn something.

flores_food_not_lawns_1

http://www.foodnotlawns.net/

I have taken you on quite a tour and it is just the tip of the iceberg.   If you just want to get started a good place to start learning about natives is at  the California Native Plant Society.  They have field trips to local areas and a great list of nurseries that carry native plants.   One nursery on the list is Las Pilitas.  It has an online Landscape and  design plan.  You just answer some questions about your planting area and it will tell you what plants to plant and where. Also, a must read on fire prevention.

And now that you are thinking about Going Native you can also start thinking about what you are going to do with all the extra time and money you will have after planting a native garden.  The time you save you could spend oh, I don’t know, sleeping, surfing.  Kowabunga.

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The wigglettes!

Hey gang! Here’s a bit more information about the worm bins we created in the last episode. So now you have NO excuse not to start one. 🙂

  • First, make sure you get red wigglers for your bin. They like working in close quarters. Earthworms are just the opposite. They hate being confined and are much better out in the wide open spaces.
  • Next, our dear little babies don’t like light; that is why we painted the drawers black. To keep it dark. Even though they have no eyes they are light sensitive. Too much light exposure paralyzes them and they dry up and die in less than an hour. Then you cry. Then you have a little wake, with music and a nice glass of wine…. Anyway, keep the bin in a shady cool spot with good air circulation.
  • Now, make sure they have enough “bedding”, i.e. wet newspapers. No glossy or fancy paper. Keep it simple. They will eventually digest all the bedding into compost also.
  • Tip: The ratio is 2:1. Two pounds of food for every pound of worms. There are about 1000 worms in a pound. One pound of worms can eat 2 pounds of food in a day. Yes, that’s a LOT of kitchen scraps!
  • Finally, don’t give them any moldy or spoiled food or the bin will start to smell and attract flies. Keep it fresh. And remember no meat, dairy or citrus. They are picky eaters in that respect and will just high tail it out of there.

If you want to make worm tea or wrangle give a holler. We got people and places for you to go to learn more. Tell us how you are doing, too. We’d love to hear how well (or not) it’s going!

I wrangled for the first time about a month ago. Because it’s more precious than gold, I used the worm tea for my favorite plants and I started some tomatoes with the compost. It is, without a doubt, the BEST, MOST COMPLETE compost you can find. And you can grow  your own!

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Tom Ogren is a genius. Last week we did a frenetic cross-town exposition on plants, allergies, and health with him. As he showed us around SLO, pointing out the allergy-inducing plants that abound in public places, it sunk in to me that we’ve been pretty careless about how we’ve landscaped our homes and our city. (I’ve created an interactive map of our journey so you can follow along and see which plants Tom identified).

Tom explaing the finer points of oak pollination to me.

Enter Tom Ogren. His findings mark the next step in creating a sustainable, livable environment. In a nutshell what Tom has discovered over 25 years of investigation and analysis is that allergies are getting worse—and we are responsible.

Why? Because we apparently don’t like cleaning up a mess.

Now, during our walk, Tom threw out a few latinate terms that I certainly can’t remember (you’ll have to read his book to get the full story), but the gist is that many female plants produce seeds or berries.

Which fall off.

Which we then have to pick, sweep, or scoop up.

So, to avoid the trouble, we just plant male trees instead. And this is where we shoot ourselves in the foot—or up the nose. Because male trees usually produce pollen.

Tons of it.

And since it doesn’t have anywhere else to go, it goes right up the schnoz.

Bottlebrush: it might look gorgeous, but you'll want to enjoy from a distance

Not that any of this was intentional: for many years landscapers and homeowners simply chose plants based on their aesthetic appeal. The most obvious example of this type of philosophy can be seen in the water-intensive lawns and plants that still dominant our cityscape. Now, however, given the burgeoning awareness of our limited resources, there has been a concerted move toward sustainable landscapes. Beautiful new front yards are beginning to appear based on this new, sustainable approach.

We need the same awareness to burgeon (I love that word) about creating allergy-free landscapes. It is a means of creating a sustainable environment for our eyes, lungs, and immune system. Seriously. Given the amount of money we invest in anti-allergy medications, this is a very expensive problem that could significantly reduced simply by changing our landscaping practices.

And some cities are already doing it. With Tom’s advice and guidance, several cities in the southwest and, believe it or not, in New Zealand, have adopted landscaping policies that forbid certain plants and that require the planting of female versions of others. They’re very progressive. Even feminist.

Lastly, Tom recommended a few things you can do to at least limit the effect of seasonal allergies. A list:

  • DON’T rub your eyes. Some pollens look like miniature ninja stars or balls of spikes, so rubbing your eyes when they itch will only result in itchier eyes that are now bloodshot
  • If you’ve been outside for a while (especially if it’s been windy), take a shower and put on fresh clothes once you’re inside
  • If your allergies are really bothering you, stay in the shower, close all the windows and the door, and make it hot—the steam will help clear your sinuses
  • If it’s a bad allergy day and you can make it to the beach, do it—the fresh air from the ocean will clear you up
  • Lastly, and most importantly, buy and eat local honey

I had no idea the last bastion of male dominance would be in the plant world. Go figure. Now that I do know, feminists unite! Let’s get female plants their rightful place in our yards and streets!

How about you? Do you have allergies? Have they gotten worse? How do you deal with them?

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So, we started our winter garden in December to film it, which was actually a bit late. And it was just pure luck that we are having such a warm winter and and everything is growing like crazy. If you’d like to take advantage of the beautiful weather, too, it’s not too late to throw some “winter” veggies in the ground.

The best way to find out what to plan is to check with local nurseries. They’ll stock up on the veggies that are in season and ready for planting. Farm Supply (who I absolutely love, by the way) is carrying broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, lettuce, bok choy (OMG, Bok Choy is the winter version of zucchini) seed potatoes, onion sets, peas, and lots of other cold-loving plants.

If you have some organic garlic cloves around stick them in the garden, too.

You can start many of the plants—like radishes, carrots, spinach, lettuce—from seeds since they are fast growers. Others you can start from…starts. Hah! Once again, check with your local nursery, they’re the experts.

The Old Farmers Almanac has a time schedule for planting by the moon. So if this is your first or you are going to plant the second round like we are, now is the time.

  • The time to plant flowers and veggies that bear crops ABOVE ground is during the LIGHT of the moon that is, from the day the moon is new to the day it is full, this is a waxing moon. I like to think of it as wax on, like in Karate Kid. Wax on is a clockwise motion adding to the light of the moon. Waxing. Above ground crops Brussel sprouts, lettuce, Bok Choy (OMG) radishes, spinach, etc.
  • Flowering bulbs and veggies that bear crops BELOW ground should be planted during the DARK of the moon: that is, from the day after it is full to the day before it is new again. This is called the waning moon. Again, in Karate Kid Wax off. So this is a counter clockwise motion decreasing the light of the moon. Waning. Below the ground crops like Potatoes, onions, carrots, garlic, leeks, etc.

The month of February starts out with a waxing moon so plant above ground crops up until 2/9. The full snow moon is 2/9. So plant your below ground crops on the waning or dark of the moon. Or not. Some swear that planting by the moon makes a real difference. Others, who have to get stuff in the ground so they can film it, do it whenever they can. (I’m sure Samson will write a post about how he’s SKEPTICAL about planting by the moon. I say skeptical, schmeptical).

Old Farmer’s Almanac shows the following planting dates according to the moon for:

  • BEETS 2/10-23
  • BROCCOLI 2/24-3/10
  • BRUSSEL SPROUTS AND CABBAGE 2/24-3/10
  • CARROTS 2/15-23
  • CAULIFLOWER 2/24-3/7
  • CELERY 2/24-28
  • COLLARDS 2/24-3/10
  • ENDIVE 2/24-3/10
  • KALE 2/24-3/10
  • LEEKS 2/15-23
  • LETTUCE 2/24-3/7
  • ONION SETS 2/10-23
  • PARSLEY 2/24-3/10
  • POTOTOES 2/10-23
  • SPINACH 2/7-9, 2/24-3/10
  • SWISS CHARD 2/7-9, 2/24-3/10
  • WHEAT, SPRING 2/24-28

Plant away! And we’d love to hear how it goes. Oh, and if you have any other questions, leave them in the comments. Oh, and if you have a nursery you really like, let us know about that, too.

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Have you built anything cool recently? Do you have any advice for fellow sustainability seekers? Perhaps you have step-by-step instructions for building a worm bin that you’d like to share.

Or maybe you’d like to see us do a step-by-step worm bin construction on the show. Let us know and we’ll try to work it into future episodes.

And if you have any advice for this blog (links, content, ideas, etc.) shoot us a comment and we’ll be happy to consider it.

Thanks!

S&J

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