2007 Naturally Beautiful Backyards Tour information

Natural Gardening Techniques Used (1942 cape cod):

Reduced lawn and grasscycling. We have reduced the lawn, adding and expanding flower and vegetable beds each year. The old suburban lot had a 20 X 20 lawn for the kids to play badminton, soccer and such. The new urban lot was originally all lawn, which has been reduced to a few organic/ kidney shaped areas. Grasscycling is the practice of cutting the lawn at 2"-3" and leaving the clippings on the lawn to decompose as an organic nitrogen fertilizer.

Nectar and pollen plants for birds and insects. When selecting plants I use native plants first, and add other plants using the "right plant, right place" guideline. I pay attention to bloom succession and make sure that I include larvae host plants as well as those needed for adult pollinators. The Ana's hummingbird in our area does not migrate and needs food year-round.

Existing sprinkler system converted to drip irrigation. The new urban lot had an existing sprinkler system. We have maintained the underground lines and timer, but have capped or converted the sprinkler heads to drip irrigation.

Digging weeds by hand and use of ground covers and mulch. I begin weeding in February between rains and this significantly reduces the amount of weeds during the growing season. Additionally, the use of ground covers and mulches helps control weeds.

Composting and vermicomposting. We have 2 yard compost bins and 3 indoor worm bins.

Primary Earth-friendly Gardening Tenents:

*Tolerate minimal damage to plants and lawn from pests.
*Build and maintain healthy soil by using compost and natural soil amendments.
*Use chemicals as a last resort (IPM).
*Use native plants when possible. They are adapted to the climate, soil and area pests.
*Attract Beneficial Insects to increase pollination and decrease harmful pests.
*Conserve water by using responsible watering methods.