I was so fortunate to speak to Lake and Valley Garden Club members and community in Cooperstown NY. Among the many amazing projects to protect water quality in this community is the buffer strip the club designed and planted to capture and filter runoff from downtown Cooperstown before it gets into Lake Otsego. Really awesome!
Here is a copy of the NYS Child Safe Playing Fields Act, a wonderful model for every community and every state!
On April 30th the New York State Senate unanimously passed a resolution brought by Senator Peter Harckham supporting all 23 Garden Club of America Garden Clubs in New York State and their work on The Great Healthy Yard Project! Senator Harckham will help us move this project forward with NYS agencies and the many places he has influence. Thank you Senator Harckham!
Fireflies are actually beetles. Their larvae eat the larvae of snails and slugs, so they are great to have in your lawn and garden! Adult fireflies eat plant pollen and nectar.
Fireflies are believed to be decreasing in number throughout the world because of pesticides, decreased habitat, and light pollution.
Pesticides, weedkillers, and synthetic fertilizers kill fireflies, their larvae, and the larvae of snails and slugs that they eat.
If you don’t kill the fireflies they eat insect pests. And of course, they make summer nights really beautiful!
Strong soil culture is the best way to boost our plants without chemicals. Gardening without chemicals protects our drinking water. It also protects the good soil bacteria and fungi that naturally fend off plant diseases.
Synthetic pesticides, weedkillers and even fertilizers are biocides, they kill the good bacteria and fungi in your soil. Over fertilization also causes grass to die and is the biggest cause of thatch.
It will take a while to build your soil, but if you are patient the soil culture that has been killed with biocides will regenerate.
Certified organic weedkillers and pesticides are much healthier, but also kill good organisms, so I don’t like to recommend “replacement” chemicals. Instead follow some basic tenets to strengthen your soil and plants.
If you run into a problem figure out what is causing it and address that. Just like a doctor wouldn’t prescribe antibiotics for “malaise” but only for a specific problem, gardeners need to know what the problem is to know the cure. And just like in medicine, a healthy soil and healthy plant are the best weed and pest prevention.
So this spring:
1. Test your soil, particularly if areas of your lawn or garden are problematic.
2. Replace only the nutrients that are missing with certified organic soil amendments or compost once the soil temperature warms up to 65 degrees. Adjust the pH for the needs of specific plants.
3. For areas of lawn, overseed with grass seed in the spring to outcompete weeds.
4. Consider adding some clover or alfalfa to your lawn. Both are legumes and fix nitrogen from the air and make it available to your grass.
5. Give our Organic Lawn Care Brochure to your lawn professional. It is a great place to start and is downloadable from this web site on the “download” tab.
6. The next two posts will be on weed control and pest control, but start with the soil!!!!!
7. Email problems and triumphs so we can share.
Kathleen Parker’s comments in the Washington Post on the UN report (IPBES) predicting extinction of 1/8th of all plant and animal species is spot on.
The report emphasizes it is not too late to make changes that can repair the ecosystem we rely on, but they need to be transformative changes, now.
Making people understand that degradation of the environment has a direct detrimental effect on public health and wellbeing is the only way to get people to make this change.
Start with your yard, stop using chemicals, because you can and because it will make a significant difference.
But as Parker says, “But big companies have to sign on, and governments have to create incentives and policies to advance sweeping change.”
Great article in The Atlantic on a trouble some topic. Human drugs are polluting the water – everywhere.
“Waterways can contain traces of many drugs—among them antifungals, antimicrobials, and antibacterials, as well as ones for pain, fertility, mood, sleeplessness, and neurodegenerative diseases. If current trends persist, scientists estimate, the volume of pharmaceuticals diffusing into fresh water could increase by two-thirds by 2050. Recent modeling shows that a platypus living in a contaminated stream in Melbourne is already likely to ingest more than half a recommended adult dose of antidepressants every day.”
“And Atlantic salmon smolts exposed to benzodiazepines—medications, such as Valium and Xanax, that are frequently used to treat anxiety—migrate nearly twice as quickly as their unmedicated counterparts. Recklessly so, for the juvenile fish are likely to arrive at the sea in an underdeveloped state and before seasonal conditions are favorable.”
These drugs are in our drinking water, too. Let’s do ourselves and the salmon a favor and dispose of pharmaceuticals responsibly. Bring them to a police station drug takeback near you.
Today, April 26th, is National Drug Take Back Day. The DEA sponsors this program to help prevent diversion of prescription drugs. This is a great time to get rid of any unneeded or expired medicine in a safe, responsible way.
Protecting drinking water is an important component of the program, and collected drugs are burned in high temperature incinerators with scrubbers.
So smart, in so many ways. And after today use their data base to find a police department near you that takes back drugs on a daily basis. There is also a direct link on the front of our web site.
One of our favorite restaurants La Cremaillere, sent out Dandelion Food Facts:
“-Dandelions are not weeds, but are from the same family as sunflowers.
-A dandelion seed can travel up to five miles before it lands.
-Every part of the dandelion is edible.
-1 cup of dandelion greens = 535% of your Vitamin K and 112% of your Vitamin A requirement.
-Up until the 1800’s dandelions were seen as extremely beneficial and people would remove grass to plant dandelions.”
Here are some great spring dandelion recipes, but only good if you are not putting chemicals on your yard!