Sustainable, Earth-friendly Gardening Tips
1. Choose NATIVE plants for their benefits and biodiversity, not just for beauty. They:
2. offer a varied menu for wildlife: pollen, nectar, berries, nuts
3. provide shelter
4. erosion control
5. are hardy, tolerant, resilient and less-fussy garden options
6. Support local growers, farmers, nurseries. Ask about plant sources, "Where did this come from?"
7. Be less tidy! Nature needs some habitat messiness for its critters to thrive,such as: mud, leaf litter, bare soil, dead tree snags, pithy stems, and even"weeds" -- all help to feed or shelter wildlife and to replenish soil biomass.
8. Shrink your thirsty, hungry, high-maintenance lawn. Biologically, it's a sterile monoculture, a green desert. Replace even a corner of it with a naturalizing native plant or rain garden, a meadow, or veggie patch.
9. Garden greenly. Healthy soil promotes healthy plants. Shun toxic, harmful fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides. Make and use your own compost. Trade in your polluting landscaping tool arsenal for rechargeable,battery-operated, QUIET tools. Use rain barrels to collect roof runoff.
10. Learn! Use science-based .org and .edu websites when noodling online and get the facts
11. Act! Enlist others. Involve children. Volunteer. Reduce, reuse, recycle, repair, refuse (straws and plastic packaging). VOTE!
Our Own Articles (show first few sentences then read more)
Tending the Garden 7/19/18
Save Our Trees
Natural Plant Sprays (courtesy of Milton Garden Club)
Directions: best to spray plants in the early morning before the sun gets too hot. This will lower the risk of burning your plants' leaves. It's a good idea to test first. While these recipes are natural and less harmful than commercial sprays, they will still kill good bugs along with the bad. Use sparingly and treat only infected plants.
Use for common pest infestations such as aphids, white flies, thrips, and mealy bugs. A few drops of citrus essential oils are especially effective against ants and scale and help the spray adhere to plant surfaces (as does the liquid soap). Combine the following in a spray bottle and shake; spray the plant thoroughly including the underside of leaves:
• 1 1/2 tsp liquid soap (biodegradable product like Murphy's Oil, Castile or Ivory soaps)
• 1 quart water
• a couple of drops of orange or lemon essential oil
All-Purpose Garlic Chili Pepper Spray
This repels Japanese Beetles, borers, leaf hoppers, and slugs. Garlic also repels larger pest like slugs and deer; reapply after rain.
• Natural Insecticidal Soap (recipe above)
• 1 Tbsp.chili powder (or fresh, or dried, hot peppers)
• 5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
Allow garlic and chili powder to steep overnight. STRAIN and add to Natural Insecticidal Soap. Should keep for 1-2 weeks.
Baking Soda Spray
For treating plants with fungal diseases (like roses with Black Spot):
• 1 Tbsp.baking soda
• 1/2 Tbsp. oil
• 2 quarts warm water
Add baking soda and oil to one cup of warm water until it dissolves. Mix in with remaining water. Remove the most severely affected leaves first and discard in a trash bag (not compost bin). Spray plant with the solution and repeat every few days. This mixture is best made and used immediately.
BOOKS -GARDENING FAVORITES
Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens
Douglas W. Tallamy., Timber Press, 2007 and subsequent reprints
Gaia's Garden: a Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture
Toby Hemenway, Chelsea Greene Publishing Co., 2000
Native Plants for New England Gardens
Mark Richardson and Dan Jaffe, Globe Pequot Press, 2018
Native Plants of the Northeast: A Guide for Gardening and Conservation
Donald J. Leopold, Timber Press, 2005
The Living Landscape: Designing for beauty and biodiversity in the home garden
Rick Darke and Doug Tallamy, Timber Press, 2014
The Contrary Farmer
Chelsea Green, 1995
Composting- an Easy Household Guide
Chelsea Green, 2005