|When xeriscape is mentioned, many people think of cactus and sand--or rock gardens. Mind you, both cactus gardens and rock gardens can be quite attractive. But that is not all xeriscaping allows. You can have a xeriscape landscape that is fully planted, colorful--and water-conserving. Nor do you have to use only drought-tolerant plants. The idea is to reduce overall water use by grouping plants with similar needs together--so you can have one area that uses some extra water and another area where you need no more water than nature provides. If you grow edible plants, the same principle applies.
Advantages of xeriscape
The seven principles of xeriscape:
also known as vermicompost, vermicast, worm humus, or worm manure, is one of the best things an organic gardener can add to their soil. Worm castings make an excellent fertilizer in your garden because they are full of water-soluble nutrients that are easy for your plants to access.While many of us have earthworms in our garden beds, worm castings are the byproduct of vermicomposting. Instead of bacteria slowly breaking down organic matter, worms chew their way through, speeding up the process and reducing contaminant levels in the compost. You could go get worm bins and start vermicomposting at home, but Worm-Gro does all the work for you, providing high quality worm castings without the work, the mess, or the smell. We suggest adding a one inch layer of Worm-Gro around your plants every six weeks. Your plants will be healthier and more productive with a steady supply of nutrients. For more great gardening tips, you can read the rest of this month's newsletter here.
PLANT SUMMER VEGETABLESAs our weather heats up, there are a few plants in the garden that won't fare so well. Many of the plants that do great in cooler weather just can't take the heat. As these plants bolt, wilt, and die back, they should be pulled out and replaced with ones that can handle the warmer temperatures. Distressed plants are magnets for garden pests, so it's better to pull them before they turn into aphid farms. There are a number of vegetables that will do well through our summers, including summer squashes, tomatoes, peppers, corn, beans, onions, and eggplant. Tomatoes and peppers do better from transplants this late in the season, but the rest can easily be grown from seed. Make sure to give your plants room to grow, especially the squash, peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant. If you'd like to grow corn, you'll want to grow a bunch of it to ensure that it will be fully pollinated by the wind. If transplanting, water daily for the first week or two to allow the plants to establish themselves. For seeds, keep moist through germination. Tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant likely will not produce fruit this summer if planted this late, but if you can get through the summer, they will be ready to go when the temperatures cool down again. It also will be helpful to add some flowers to your garden. Sunflowers make great bait for garden pests, as well as providing a distraction for birds and intermittant shade. Marigolds help ward off some garden pests. Planting a flat or two of any type of flower will help attract pollinators to your garden, but planting a few different varieties will add color and help attract different kinds of pollinators. While you are replanting your garden, it might be a good idea to add some slow-release fertilizer or worm castings to enrich your soil. Adding a layer of mulch around your plants will help to retain moisture and keep weeds at bay. It is also important to check the moisture levels in your garden regularly and adjust your watering schedule accordingly. It is best to water slowly to let the water soak down to the roots. Watering deeply but infrequently will help prevent root rot and blossom end rot. If you need any garden advice, feel free to ask. Our staff has a wealth of experience, and we'll be glad to answer an of your gardening questions. For more great gardening tips, read the rest of this month's newsletter here.
Pest Alert! Asian Citrus PsyllidWe're in the middle of a far-ranging infection that is literally affecting the entire planet. The culprit is an aphid-like insect no larger than the head of a pin, known as the Asian Citrus Psyllid; it can be the carrier of a deadly disease known as Huanglongbing (HLB), also known as Citrus Greening Disease, or yellow dragon disease. Once a citrus tree is infected, there is no cure. Citrus crops in Asia, Africa, India, South and Central America have been devastated. But the real story is that the psyllid has been found in Mexico, Hawaii, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Florida and most recently, in California. (more…)
Free Fruit Trees Riverside ResidentsMany of you may already be aware, but the City of Riverside has a fantastic program that allows residents to get a free fruit tree each Spring. Bring in the coupon that comes in your March utility bill, and get a free tree. It’s that simple! (more…)
Black-eyed Susans delight in shades of yellow, orange and gold colors with a black center, or "eye". A native plant of Tennessee, they are a popular addition to the water-wise garden. With flowers that are 2 to 3 inches across, and grow on long stems 2 to 3 feet in height, they make excellent cut flowers for vases and arrangements. Black-eyed Susans are biennial, which means they live for two years. But in those two years, they attract butterflies and bees that drink the floral nectar, in the process moving pollen from one plant to another, allowing the plant to grow fruits and seeds which travel by wind and re-seed themselves. (more…)
No doubt about it. Blueberries are hot right now! And rightly so--not only are they delicious, they have many, many health benefits as well:
- They offer the highest amount of antioxidants of any fresh fruit, which means they are excellent disease-fighters and are a prime player in the anti-aging arena.
- Recent studies suggest that consuming blueberries helps reduce belly fat, body weight and total fat mass; this is very encouraging news for those concerned with cardiovascular health.
- Blueberries help promote urinary tract health by helping to inhibit the growth of certain bacteria that cause urinary tract infections.
- Consuming blueberries has been shown to prevent or delay certain age-related eye problems such as macular degeneration, cataract, nearsightedness, farsightedness, dry eye and eye infections.
- Blueberries contribute to brain health by preventing degeneration and death of neurons; some studies even suggest they are particularly helpful in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.
- Their high fiber content, as well as the vitamins and other compounds found in blueberries help improve digestion.
- Blueberries are an excellent dietary source for preventing cancer, because of their high antioxidant content.
- Blueberries are considered a great, natural antidepressant--and all without the side effects of prescription drugs!
While many of us spend much of our time trying to keep insects out of our garden, there are some species that we’d like to attract. Beyond being beautiful, butterflies are an important pollinator for your garden, and attracting them is easy if you have the right plants around. A butterfly garden will provide you with beautiful flowers and butterflies to gaze upon, as well as give the butterflies food and a place to call home. (more…)
This past month has been a wonderful time to get outside and listen to your garden awaken from its dry-season slumber. For the past week I have heard a sharp increase in the bird songs in my yard. Western kingbirds have been calling from atop my neighbor’s pine tree, while scrub jays and acorn woodpeckers have been raising a ruckus in my oak trees. A pair of morning doves have been billing and cooing under my ceanothus and hummingbirds have been buzzing about and feeding on the blossoms of my manzanitas, white-flowering currant, black sage, and hybrid wooly blue curls. A sharp-shinned hawk went streaking through the backyard a time or two and yellow-rumped warblers (“butter-butts” as we like to call them) have been twittering in the toyon. You may think that we live out in a vast rural area of Valley Center or similar clime, but we live on a small suburban lot in Escondido. Since planting our bird-friendly native habitat garden, we have enjoyed spending many hours of birdwatching in our own little yard. (more…)
USDA Hardiness Zone: 9 - 11 Description: Stunning show from clusters of large rosy-pink trumpets with yellow throats. Beautiful spreading canopy makes an excellent lawn tree. Useful patio tree. Semi-evergreen. Light Needs: Full sun Watering Needs: Once established, needs only occasional watering. Average Landscape Size: Moderate grower to 25 to 30 ft. tall and wide.