Friday, April 18, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Here’s what smart gardeners know

A dry creek bed is one of the ways the Missouri Botanical Gardens manages water-runoff properly. SHNS photo

SH13C020GARDENER March 4, 2013 -- A dry creek bed is one of the ways the Missouri Botanical Gardens manages water-runoff properly. (SHNS photo courtesy Joe Lamp'l)

By Joe Lamp’l

It happens all the time. I’ll get a call or an email from a group wanting me to give a presentation at an event. Eventually, it basically comes down to the same question: “What would you like me to talk about?” The response: “Well, our theme this year is XYZ.” And that’s how my rather extensive library of presentations has grown. I’ll often create a new presentation around what the group would like to hear. Such presentations are also the bases for many of the articles I write for this column, which is the case today.

The theme of this particular conference was “smart gardening.” Here are a few key aspects that I came up with.

Managing water
Earth is often referred to as the water planet, since so much of the surface is covered by it. Yet of all that water, only about 1 percent is readily available to us for our various needs — including watering lawns and gardens.

But considering all the water that’s out there, why, then, do we talk so much about water conservation? Because where water ends up after we use it, and how polluted it may become, are the real issues.

The water we conserve today doesn’t help the drought in Africa. But such conservation does help keep local sources of water from being depleted. Since much of the availability of water is weather-related, think of conservation as insurance for those times of drought in your area.

Using mulch
If every gardener and weekend warrior would mulch more, we’d use less water, cut down on the chemicals needed to fight pests and diseases, reduce the weed population, improve our soil and have a mulch healthier garden and a better-looking landscape. This is one truth that is as good as it sounds. Mulch derived from natural products, such as bark or wood, or leaves, grass clippings or straw, all help to do all the benefits mentioned here.

Overusing chemicals
For every action, there’s a reaction. I first heard that saying from my dad when I was a young boy. It’s true for everything. In the garden, as we blanket our plants and lawns with fertilizers and pesticides, although it may have the intended effect, it’s the unintended consequences that we just don’t seem to grasp.

When we apply a pesticide, for example, to kill an insect, do we think that a songbird might come along behind that poisoned pest and eat it? Millions of songbirds each year die because they ingested a pesticide-tainted insect. Do you know that many of the chemicals used to kill weeds are highly toxic to amphibious creatures? Even if you don’t spray near a water source, runoff and drift can deliver the same sad consequences.

One of my favorite quotes comes from John Muir: “Tug on anything in nature, and you find that it’s connected to the rest of the world.”

Organic vs. synthetic
As an organic gardener, I don’t use synthetic, manmade chemicals in my garden. Yet that doesn’t mean organic products should be used without care. Even the most naturally derived products, like pyrethrum, used as organic pesticides are nonselective, and will kill many creatures they come in contact with. Does that make them better choices?

In my garden, Mother Nature rules. Instead of using chemicals, I try and create an environment naturally, mainly through building healthy soil and planting in the right way, which allows her to do the work. She hasn’t let me down yet.

Scripps Howard News Service

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

News

 
Chuck Rairdan joins school board race

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

Going green at church, school, everywhere

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Former caretaker convicted of murder, elder abuse

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1, 3 Comments | Gallery

Old friend helps Brad and others find kidneys

By Dave Jones | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
For the record

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

 
UCD to host Global Health Day event

By Cory Golden | From Page: A2

Ukraine insurgents reject call to quit buildings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 2 Comments

 
Need a new best friend?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
‘Hitchhiking’ dog looking for new home

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Volunteers needed for Grad Night

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Davis grad makes rain collection a business

By Jason McAlister | From Page: A4 | Gallery

A few spots left on history tour

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Chipotle fundraiser boosts Emerson tech upgrade

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Event to provide nature scholarship

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Online K-12 school holds info night

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Volkssporting Club plans North Davis walks

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Schwenger lawn signs available

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

 
Students have new options on leasing front

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Groups join for a day of service

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
NAMI backers walk in Sacramento

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Food for the hungry

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

.

Forum

Dad makes mom look bad

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

 
UCD IS responsible for students

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

In search of great ideas

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
Please keep the nursery open

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Early help is a great investment

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
More tax money? Answer the question

By Rich Rifkin | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

.

Sports

Fox coming to UCD; Riffle heads to Florida

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

 
DHS’ Golston goes full-bore on the diamond

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Devils show more life in loss to Mitty

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Sharks double up Kings in Game 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Aggies lose a slugfest in opener at Riverside

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
DYSA roundup: Intensity has big week; 10U games dominate schedule

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Sports briefs: Aggies set the academic bar high

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Pro baseball roundup: Susac sends Sacramento to a rare loss

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

.

Features

.

Arts

‘Transcendence’: A whole new level of tedium

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
‘The Bloom’ paves way for Whole Earth Festival

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

DHS tribute to Tony Fields slated for April 25-26

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
UCD, city team up for Music on the Green

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

.

Business

Ford turns its Focus to domestic market

By Ali Arsham | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Friday, April 18, 2014

By Creator | From Page: A9

 
.

Real Estate Review

Featured Listing

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER1

Professional Services Directory

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER2

Lyon Real Estate

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER3

Jamie Madison

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

Yolo FCU

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

Acacia at Huntington Square

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

Travis Credit Union

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER5

Kim Eichorn

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

Suzanne Kimmel

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

Lynne Wegner

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

Kim Merrel Lamb

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

Chris Snow

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

Patricia Echevarria

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

Sheryl Patterson

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

Don Guthrie

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

Andrew Dowling

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

Coldwell Banker

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER10

Coldwell Banker

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

Julie Partain & Dick Partain

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

Heather Barnes

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

Malek Baroody

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER13

Karen Waggoner

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

Willowbank Park

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

Julie Leonard

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

Tim Harrison

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

Team Traverso

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

Tracy Harris

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

Lori Prizmich

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

Raul Zamora

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

Joe Kaplan

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

Coldwell Banker

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

Open House Map

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

F1rst Street Real Estate

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER20