Monday, January 17, 2011

Rules to break in the garden from Washington Gardener Magazine

I know January is the month to set new rules for ourselves, but Kathy Jentz, Editor and Publisher of Washington Gardener Magazine, had some great rules to break in the garden. Read her full newsletter for more great local gardening information, including her suggestion for rules to follow:

5 Old Rules to Break, by Kathy Jentz

1) Turf is King – The green suburban lawn is no longer the ideal or the goal. Turfgrass is one of the most wasteful of our natural resources, not to mention high time-consuming to maintain by the owner. Today’s gardeners are looking at other groundcover choices including expanding shrub borders, installing edible beds, and hardscaping pathways.

2) Spray Away – Chemicals used to be the answer to all of your garden’s ills, but along with killing grubs, they were also taking a toll on your own health and that of the local environment. The key words today are diagnosis first, then exploration of chemical alternatives second. Living with some imperfection is very 21st Century.

3) Dig and Double Dig – Just a few years ago, we were all urged to dig in that compost and fertilizer to really work it in. Researchers have shown that we are doing far more damage to the soil’s structure than any benefit. In addition, we are turning up new weed seeds that would otherwise be dormant. Stop digging and start layering on organic materials to decompose and work their own way.

4) Fertilize Everything – Fertilizer spreaders are joining the VCR and transistor radio in scrap heaps. Most fertilizer applied on and around plants washes away and into our local streams. Today the word is to feed the soil, not the plants. Healthy soil promotes strong growth. Add your own homemade compost and organic mulch to your beds to provide nutrients.

5) Water Copiously – The oscillating sprinkler is another dinosaur headed for the junkyard. Good gardeners know to group their plants by their watering needs and to use drip irrigation, not overhead sprinklers or hoses.

Washington Gardener magazine is the only gardening magazine published specifically for the local metro area — zones 6-7 — Washington DC and its suburbs.
For more information, visit their blog.

In honor or Martin Luther King Day

All I'm saying is simply this, that all life is interrelated, that somehow we're caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason, I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality. 

— Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr Day. I have to admit, that history was never my favorite subject in school. I liked math and English and anything that allowed me to go outside (science, phys. Ed, photography) but my mind tended to wander when listening to lectures or reading about the events that helped to shape our world, even if the “events” were current ones.

I was a child during the lives and deaths of many great men, and although I heard about their deaths, I knew very little about their lives. I was too busy chasing frogs and fireflies (and eventually boys) to have an interest in much that was going on outside of my own little world.

As an adult, of course, I now realize the magnitude of what these brave and powerful men and women accomplished during their lives: the freedoms and the rights that they fought for and helped ensure for the rest of us. As an adult, I realize how difficult it is to stand up for what one feels is right and fair and just and to not just stand up, but to move forward on those beliefs and to try to make a change and make a difference to the lives of others.

I know. This is a gardening blog. And you may think that it doesn’t really have anything to do with Martin Luther King Jr or any of the great men and women that came before us but it does. Our present world is the result of the convictions and the acts of those who came before us. Just as our future world will be the result of what we do here and now during our time on this earth.

As I like to remind my readers from time to time “ All of Life is Your Garden. Plant something Good.”

For more information about Martin Luther King:

Martin Luther King Day of Service

Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday – Presidential Proclamation

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