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California Drought – Why Should I Care?

The California drought is very serious for all of us. The impact may not be felt much until at least spring of next year but will likely continue for many years. It is believed that parts of California will never recover from the drought. The San Joaquin river which provides water to residents and water for growers is sinking and listed as the number 1 endangered river.  The recent rains in California are not enough. The news reported that 75” are needed between now and next September which would amount to a storm every day from now until then. How will this impact the rest of the U.S.? About ½ of our fruits, vegetables, and nuts are grown in California including 99% nuts, 95% broccoli, 91% grapes, 92% strawberries, 90% tomatoes, and 74% lettuce. Growers in California have been planting much less than usual and ripping out almond trees because why plant if you can’t water. What percentage of produce is grown in your state and consumed by people in your state? Utah grows only 12% of their produce. Produce buyers in California will likely be going to other states to purchase produce which will lessen the availability in those states and increase prices. I have noticed price increases for produce for some time now. If we cannot get fresh produce we will either have to import it from other countries which don’t have the same safety and pesticide regulations or grow it ourselves. Because California growers are not growing as much they have less need for employing people to plant and harvest which in turn throws people out of work. California’s Central Valley Sinking   What can we do? Learn to grow as much as you can of your own food. Start with 1 – 4 things and expand

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Why Not Grow Nuts?

Nut trees are an edible plant that many people don’t think about planting in their yards. There are several less known nut trees but today I will focus on some of the better known. Plan before purchasing and take into consideration mature size. Growing Nuts Nut trees require full sun and well-drained soil. For some, you may need to plant two trees for pollination. Filberts and hazelnuts grow on 12 – 20′ trees depending on variety and how they are pruned. Hazelnuts and filberts begin producing in 6 years. The names Hazelnut and Filbert actually refer to the same tree and nut.  Two trees of different varieties are required for pollination. Almond trees look much like a peach tree, grow 12-20′,  and begin producing in 3 or 4 years.  I first planted almonds after hearing that they should grow anywhere that a peach tree will grow. I never lost a crop until the magpies eventually figured out what delicious edible nuts were growing on the trees. In addition to the nuts, almonds have beautiful spring flowers. In most cases two different varieties are required for pollination. Walnuts are much larger trees (40′) so considering mature size is especially important. It may be many years before your walnut tree is old enough to produce so the sooner you plant the better. Also, walnuts contain a substance (juglone) that is toxic to some plants. Lawn will grow near a walnut tree although I would recommend keeping a space of at least 3′ in diameter between any tree and a lawn area. Some other plants won’t do so well so you would want to research and avoid planting sensitive plants within the drip line of the tree or using the walnut leaves as mulch on such plants. Recipes for Nuts I love nuts

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Parking Strips

Parking strips – what to do with them? Most have grass but is that really the best option? Grass in a parking strip* has never made sense to me.  All that mowing, watering, etc and what is it used for?  If you are going to have grass in your landscape use it for sitting and or playing for you, your children, or your pets.  We don’t usually sit or play in a parking strip.  If you are going to sit in your parking strip why not create seating instead? * Parking strip:  the strip of land between the sidewalk and the street.  Depending where you live it may be called: mow strip, berm, besidewalk, boulevard, boulevard strip, city grass, curb lawn, curb strip, devil’s strip, easement, furniture zone, grass bay, grassplot, hellstrip, nature strip, neutral ground, park strip, parking, parkway, planter zone, planting strip, road allowance, road verge, roadside, sidewalk buffer,  sidewalk lawn, sidewalk plot, snow shelf, street allowance, street easement, street lawn, swale, terrace, tree belt, tree lawn, utility strip, verge So, instead of grass, plant (or replace your grass) with drought tolerant plants, groundcovers, or edibles.  Check your city ordinances and HOA rules before installation to see what is allowed.  If your city or HOA requires you to have a lawn there work to get the ordinances or rules changed. Why replace the grass? Less water Less work More food production (I would recommend not growing edibles within 2′ of the road due to car exhaust) More attractive From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/     More photos: Garden Inspire on Facebook If you are thinking “How would I do this?” Contact me and I can help you    

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Why I Don’t Use Recycled Tires

Tires are recycled as rubber mulch, garden edging, tree rings, and by homeowners for raised beds, growing potatoes, and other gardening projects. When you are driving,  your tires pick up toxins from the roadways including gasoline and oil. Maybe this is cleaned off the tires before use. Maybe not.  Also, consider what cleaners are used to remove them. Tires contain materials that I would prefer not to have in my landscape. There are studies indicating that these leach into the soil. Also, when these materials heat in the sun they give off fumes. If using rubber mulch and you ever want to remove it Good Luck!  Since it does not decompose like bark or other organic mulches it would be difficult if you change your mind and want it out. Tires stink. The smell of tires while sitting in a tire shop makes me feel sick. I want nice smells in my garden such as herbs, flowers, and healthy soil – not tire smell. If you need some more reasons or information: PDF about rubber mulch including references Is Rubber Mulch Safe for My Garden? Children and Athletes at Play on Toxic Turf and Playgrounds Synthetic Turf and News

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A List of Things To Do In Your Fall Garden

A list of things to do in the Fall: Start a Compost Pile – composting information   Compost Lawn Fertilize with organic lawn fertilizer– helps root growth over winter Apply pre emergent – corn gluten meal– prevents weed seeds from germinating (only if not overseeding your lawn) Remove leaves from lawn – mow, mulch, compost Aerate Topdress with compost Seed or overseed lawn (do not use corn gluten meal when planting seed) Mow until the first frost Lower mower height for the last mowing to 1 ½ – 2” Water until first hard frost Winterize sprinkler system – shutoff, drain Drain and store hoses   Garden Beds, Shrubs, Trees Cut back perennials if brown, remove annuals and weeds – add all except weeds to the compost pile (cutting back can be done in Spring if you prefer) Clean out vegetable garden whenever you are done or around first frost/before first hard frost – pick, sell, preserve, or donate produce Divide and/or transplant perennials Plant perennials, shrubs, trees Plant spring flowering bulbs Tulips Plant fall flowers, vegetables, and annuals – pansies, mums, lettuce, spinach, peas, kale Wrap bark of young trees – helps to prevent sunscald, cracking,  deer damage Wrap evergreens with burlap if desired Water trees, shrubs, perennials until the ground freezes Trees and shrubs – Prune dead or broken only After first frost – mulch plants which might frost heave – use straw or leaves Remove fallen fruit – compost Prepare Square Foot Garden beds Overwinter geraniums indoors if you want to save them for next year – dig up and place in a brown paper bag, replant in the spring or grow inside in a pot all winter Prepare tender plants to move indoors   Tools Clean out underneath lawn mower – disconnect spark plug first Add fuel

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Decorative Small Gardens

I have listed a few small garden ideas that may work well whether you have a small yard, no yard, or just want to add something different to your landscape. When using these decorative small garden ideas, always use potting soil and follow other directions for potted plants. Keep in mind that plants may not survive the winter unless planted in the ground or insulated from the cold. Stacked Garden   Pots of various sizes placed on top of or inside each other to make a terraced potted garden. Pots can be lined up straight on top of one another or tilted to the side. This one uses a piece of rebar going through the pots and into the ground or into the cement in the largest pot for stability. If using cement in the largest pot leave a few inches in the top of the pot to add potting soil for planting and keep in mind that the plant in the largest pot will not have drainage. To begin, stick rebar in the ground through the bottom pot, fill with potting soil, place next pot and fill, continue to last pot. After all the pots are filled with potting soil plant and water thoroughly. A stacked garden may need watered every day or two especially if using unsealed or unpainted terra cotta pots. Traveling (plant in a wheelbarrow or small wagon). This garden can be left in one spot or moved around for variety or to follow the path of sunlight through your yard. Whether it travels or not it can look like it could. Living scarecrow (Herb Companion magazine, June/July 1998, p. 53 – chicken wire filled with sphagnum moss and potting soil around a broomstick for support to form the body then planted with nasturtiums, climbers or

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