Hunkering in place has done curious things to me. I have begun to push seeds into the soil. I planted cranberry beans once rescued from the UCSC Farm and Garden and grown again by a beauty named Faith. She once lived next door and sprouted many seeds.
My friends, Mary and Dan, gave me worms. If I take care of them, they’ll give me castings for my garden.
Getting out in the garden feels like a reprieve, and I am appreciating outside space more than ever.
It’s been terrifically hot here along the coast of California. It gets hotter earlier every year, and as a result, my garden is swelling and sprouting all varieties of veggies.
Despite the fact that the tomatoes are setting, and the zucchini are flowering, it’s never too early to think about the dormant time. The earth will tilt, and slant and winter will come again.
You may think I am “out of my gourd,” but I’m already preparing the soil and the land for winter. Doing so ensures that the garden will provide more bounty than ever next year and the following.
I use organic practices that support healthy soil.
Organic farming practices have long been proven to help foster and restore soil health, replenish it with organic carbon, and preserve underground biodiversity. And some organic strategies provide a bigger bang for soil health than others.
A study conducted by the University of Maryland, in collaboration with The Organic Center, provides an understanding of the organic techniques that have the most impact on soil health.
The study, published in the scientific journal, Organic Agriculture, identifies four practices that are the most critical to good soil health:
- Planting cover crops,
- Applying combinations of organic inputs,
- Increasing crop rotation diversity and length, and
- Conservation tillage.
I am practicing all four to increase my soil fertility and biodiversity and help store carbon in the soil and out of the atmosphere.
I plant flowers for summer, fall and even winter.
Right now, I feel it’s essential to tidy up the flowerbeds. This means getting rid of unwanted weeds and dedicating entire beds into a floral carpet.
It also means planting beneficial plants that flower and bloom.
Sowing these plants will attract insects that eat the bad ones: Bergamot, Butterfly weed, Caraway, Cilantro, Cosmos, Dill, Fennel, Gloriosa daisy, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Lobelia, Marigold, Parsley, Penstemon, Poppies, Queen Anne’s Lace, Spearmint, Statice, Stonecrop (Sedum), Sweet Alyssum, and Yarrow.
Many of them create beauty in the garden and can be dried and made into fall and winter arrangements.
I’m considering expanding my garden storage area.
Garden storage is essential to making sure that your garden remains tidy, seeds stay dry, and gardening tools are safe at hand.
Right now, I have a large plastic tub that’s brimming with garden gadgets and irrigation contraptions. But wouldn’t it be great to have a shed rather than a storage box?
A place to store the garden furniture, electrical tools like the lawnmower, or my husband’s chainsaw. A metal shed can be very long-lasting during the winter months, you can read steel building reviews online to get a better idea of ones that would suit your needs.
It could even be a sort of feature in the garden, with a lovely design or quirky paint job. Perhaps I’ll paint mine with flowers and ladybugs.
Set aside space for a green organic backyard!
A green lawn next to a flowering veggie garden provides cool respite on a hot afternoon. If done right, this oasis will flourish year after year.
And, there’s no place better to start reducing pesticide use in your community than in your own yard.
Saying ‘no’ to store-bought synthetic pesticides doesn’t have to mean saying ‘yes’ to a lawn filled with weeds. It simply means changing to a new way of getting rid of them. There is an alternative out there: organic land management and care.
My friends at Stonyfield Farms have provided 4 easy tips to Change Your Own Backyard!
- Stop using harmful pesticides.
- Use only organic fertilizers.
- Test your soil so you know what it needs.
- Keep your mowing height to 3 inches to outcompete weed germination.
For now, watching my garden grow, is all about heat, play, and love, while having an eye on the change of seasons.
Winter will indeed come again, even if the heat rises today.
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