California has been in the news since January due its drought status and governor-mandated cutbacks on water usage. But any area can experience drought. What happens when you’re having a particularly dry season (or year)? Is there anything you can do?
Actually, one of the best ways to safeguard against drought conditions (and to use less water, yet still have healthy plants) is to add compost to your lawn and garden. Compost helps retain water when it does rain (or when you run the sprinklers). At the same time, it provides aeration so that important lawn fauna can continue to survive, leave their casings and other important fertilizer materials and improve your garden’s health.
Adding compost or mulch is easy. Bank about 3 – 5″ of compost around the base of your plants (don’t pack it in) and as it spreads out due to time and the elements, scoop it back gently with a shovel or rake, or simply add more. For your lawn, sprinkle compost right on top – it will settle over a period of weeks and will provide the perfect “water catch” – and fertilizer – for your grass.
During drought conditions, we don’t recommend starting a worm colony in your compost (known as “vermicomposting”). Worms may naturally be attracted to your compost, but in dry conditions, things may simply not be moist enough to support a large colony of these beneficial creatures. Instead, wait for wetter times before actively adding worms to your compost pile.
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Late summer is an exciting time for the hobby or pro gardener. Why? Because for many fruits and veggies, it's harvest time! But did you get even more than you wished for? If you have an overabundance of berries, we have just the solution for you. Make a wonderful jam you and your family can enjoy all through the autumn and winter months.
As home gardeners, there is a tendency to focus on the plants and practices in our own yards and on our own tables. But as you probably already know, there's so much more to gardening. Example: our readers often ask, "What's the difference between organic and conventional gardening?" It can be a confusing subject, especially as different organizations, different farms, and different gardeners may have very different definitions. Let's break things down when it comes to organic vs. conventional gardening.