Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Monday, April 6, 2009
- Check out this blog's February entry, entitled "On and Off the Couch: February To-Do's" for seed and plant resources.
- Remember to give your seeds and plants loose, organically amended soil. Manure, mushroom compost, household compost are all fine amendments. Add liberally!! Green sand is a mined mineral, available at garden centers, that provides the soil with potassium (for disease resistance and overall plant vitality), loosens clay and binds sand. Raised beds offer best control of soil quality.
- If you have rabbits, groundhogs, squirrels or other guests squatting on your property, be sure to fence your garden. Apply wire netting to the fence, and dig it into the ground at least six inches straight down and then a good six inches perpendicular, into the garden area. Planting marigolds at the perimeter of your garden will further discourage munchers. Bird netting over berries and grapes will keep birds from taking your entire crop. Leave a few for the birds, though! And check often to ensure that no animal has become entangled in the net.
- Fertilize, if you must (a rich, well-amended garden bed does away with the need for fertilizer) with fish emulsion, sea kelp (both available at area garden centers) or manure tea, which is made by filling a potato sack or other porous material with manure, placing it in an old trash can, adding water and letting it sit for a few days...then applying the liquid to plants. If your garden is planted in less than wonderful soil, apply any of the aforementioned weekly.
- Create sturdier support systems than you initially think you'll need for climbers and tall plants. Purchase or make your own. Be diligent to attach new growth, regularly.
- Hang banana peels near plants to control aphids.
- Provide lots of sunlight, water as needed and weed around the plants every so often.
- Harvest and enjoy!
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Friday, April 3, 2009
Thursday, April 2, 2009
- Planting deciduous trees on the South side of the house to shade it in summer and let the sun in during winter months. Air conditioning costs can be cut from 10 to 50%.
- Planting evergreen trees on the North side to act as a windbreak in winter as well as in summer when hot breezes can permeate your home.
- Siting your air conditioning system in a shady spot or on the North side of your home.
- Locating a trellis and vine on the South side of the house.
- Planting shrubs in close proximity to the house to create a lower windbreak in winter, keep out heat in summer.
- Making gardens...plants release moisture which cools the air as it evaporates.
- Installing a solar powered fountain, for the same cooling effect.
From the National Academy of Sciences...
The NAS estimates that urban America has 100 million potential tree spaces (places where trees could be planted). It further estimates that filling these spaces with trees and lightening the color of dark, urban surfaces would result in annual energy savings of 50 billion kilowatt-hours...25% of the 200 billion killowatt-hours consumed each year by air conditioners in the U.S. This would reduce electric power plant emissions of carbon dioxide by 3.5 million tons (32 metric tons) annually and save users of utility-supplied electricity 3.5 billion dollars each year.
Photo from www.discovery.com