Friday, June 17, 2011

Floridize Your Yard!



This website has some great information for Florida gardeners, but some of it could apply to folks
outside of our state
Thanks to Nanette over at Bay-Friendly Landscaping
for the introduction.


Here are a couple of articles about two of my favorite garden topics, reducing the lawn and natural pest control:



Kicking the lawn habit

Start small. Replace a corner of your lawn with a bed of shrubs, small trees and groundcovers. Or plant that butterfly garden you always wanted. Dig up the grass, or cover it with newspapers or plastic sheeting for a few weeks and then remove it. Turn over the soil a bit, plant your new plants, and cover them with about 3 inches of mulch. Water and weed regularly until the plants get a toehold in their new home. You can install some edging to define the new bed and keep that troublesome turf from creeping in.

Then grow. Expand your landscape beds over time, and before you know it you’ll be devoting your weekends to relaxing instead of mowing, weeding, and edging. Add interest to your yard with meandering pathways that define your landscape beds and reduce maintenance time. Pathways can be created from shell, gravel, flagstones or mulch. Add a seating area or water feature, such as a pond or bird bath. You can create themed gardens —
with butterfly plants in one bed, and maybe a scent garden in another with tea olives, gardenias and jasmine.
Keep what you need.
Pets and kids need a place to play. Respect their turf.
Look for unused portions of your lawn
to convert to landscape beds.






Pest patrol

Know thy enemy. The No. 1 rule for pest control is to know what’s infiltrating your territory before calling in the chemical troops.
Call the Pinellas County Extension Service for help at 727-582-2100
if you need help.

Get good bugs. Ladybugs love aphids, mites, mealy bugs and leafhoppers. Buy them online or at your local garden store. Spiders are your friends — widows and recluse spiders
are the only poisonous varieties in Florida.

Garden brew. Mix water with a little vegetable oil
and dish soap to spray on your plants.
Neem oil is another product that can be quite effective.

Go natural. A soil-dwelling bacteria called Bacillus thurengiensis (BT for short) is a widely available alternative to chemical pesticides. Sprays made with pyrethrins — natural organic compounds —
also are effective.