Turn Your Banana Peel into Good!

 

Backyard Compost Collection

How can you amend your soil and garden without chemicals? This is from the Compost Foundation, and see their video below:

Have you ever looked at a banana peel and thought, “Is that it?” Does life go on? Could this humble peel serve a greater purpose?
We’re telling the new story of compost as the regenerating, probiotic solution for restoring land and balancing the climate.
60 billion pounds of food material go to landfill every year, creating methane gas that is poisoning us and destroying our home. Meanwhile, we’re throwing away the building blocks of life. We’re INSANE! JUST STOP IT!! So what’s the solution?”

See the video on composting:  Composting Story
My tips on composting. Read here

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Give Your Yard a Dose of Happy

Deep-rooted plants absorb more water than turf grass. Cone flowers, bee balm, and black-eyed Susan

Just making a few adjustments to your yard can make big difference for our climate. If everyone does a little bit, it adds up to a lot! Some amazing statistics on our lawns from “greener lawn” below:

*Grass covers more land in the US than any other crop.

*It’s estimated that there’s up to three times more acres of lawns than corn, according to NASA

Fritillary butterfly on bee balm.

*Homeowners use up to 10 times more chemical pesticides per acre on their yards compared to what farmers use on their crops, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Some other ideas to slow climate change and help pollinators:

**plant a rain garden

** Add diversity

** Love pollinators

** More on bees an butterflies

Minnesota Public Radio on a “greener” lawn:

Grass isn’t greener

Adding new pollinator plants is not easy if you are a hosta gardener or a new gardener.

I would start small by adding a few of these: purple cone flowers, black-eyed Susan, bee balm, a few asters, and columbine.  I suggest these because many garden stores sell them, they are easy to grow, add diversity, and are loved by pollinators.

Fall Gardening is for the Birds

Dried up cone flowers are a gift to the birds but not to the human eye. I took this picture in July
Dried up cone flowers are a gift to the birds. I took this picture in July

As I write this the goldfinch are eating seeds from dried up purple cone flowers, and hummingbirds are still flitting around for nectar.  Below is an excellent article on fall gardening by writer Val Cunningham.  My suggestions follow.

“As they fly around your neighborhood, birds won’t be attracted by gardens with flower stalks cut neatly to the ground and plant debris raked up and removed.” V Cunningham .http://www.startribune.com/leaving-your-garden-a-little-untidy-this-winter-helps-birds/327498161/

My additional suggestions for fall gardening are:
*Pull out all the invasive and bad plants
*Plan for next year. What worked and what didn’t work? How can you add more native

Hummingbirds and bees love this red menardia nardia
Hummingbirds and bees love this red
menardia

plants ?  (My favorites are milkweed, Liatris, cone flowers, bee balm  hyssop, wild geranium and asters)
*Plan where you can add a rain garden next year to capture the rain from your house, driveway or yard. http://bluethumb.org/raingardens/

011Birds love driveways with seeds and leaves, but please keep our waterways clean by sweeping sidewalks, driveways and street from leaves and debris.

 

Gardeners Beware: Neonicotinoids

The native Canada Anemone is blooming now!
The native Canada Anemone is blooming now!

It is worrisome that most plants still contain neonicotinoids!  Native plants are Neonicotinoid free

Purchasing plants that are free of neonicotinoids is a challenge.  I went to the local nursery that claimed to not use neonics.  They don’t use the neonic pesticide, but their suppliers might.  The clerk was very helpful, but most of the annuals

Swallowtail on a dianthus
Swallowtail on a dianthus

were not neonic free.  I had to search through the plants for specific containers, but the large majority of the plants still available could have been treated with neonics.

Report Release from Friends of the Earth: Gardeners Beware 2014

In a study commissioned by Friends of the Earth and conducted by independent scientists at the Pesticide Research Institute, findings show that most “bee-friendly” garden plants sold at major retailers in the US are routinely pre-treated with bee-harming pesticides, with no warnings to consumers.

Bees are dying at alarming rates, and neonic pesticides are a key contributor to recent hive losses. Bees and other pollinators are essential for two-thirds of the food crops humans eat every day, and contribute over $20 billion dollars to the US economy. Our own food security is tied closely to the survival of bees and other pollinators – we must take swift action to protect them.

The power to practicing bee-safe pest control is in your hands. Read the full report here and learn how to get started.

http://libcloud.s3.amazonaws.com/93/72/9/4735/Gardeners-Beware-Report-2014.p

 

 

What You Can Do to Help Bees and Other Pollinators

Bees love St John's Wort and Vervain
Bees love St John’s Wort and Vervain

It seems crazy to be talking about pollinators as another Polar Vortex hits Minnesota, but I really liked the below post on “10 things You Can Do To Help Bees.”  Also, the thought of flowers makes us happy!! I consider myself a pollinator plant gardener and get enormous joy from the birds, bees, butterflies and other wildlife that love my chemical free plants and yard. Bees are important for the survival of many of our foods and flowers, and the drastic decline of our bees and butterflies can be blamed on many things, but habitat loss from droughts and floods; pesticide use; and the mono culture that has been created with our corn and soybean culture are three of the top concerns.  All of us can do better for our bees and butterflies.  See what you can do.

What can you do for pollinators?

1. Plant bee-friendly plants.  A few of my favorites that bees also love are chives, Anise Hyssop, bee balm (Menardia), golden rod, and asters.  Do not purchase plants at Lowes or Home Depot. They may contain hidden pollinator killing chemicals.  Find native plants for your area: http://findnativeplants.com/
 
2. Dandelions and clover are good for pollinators and bring many pollinators into your yard. Both bees and monarch butterflies love dandelions!
 

3. Don’t use chemicals or pesticides on your lawn or garden, and never use the Neonicotinoid pesticide.

4. Purchase organic food and local raw honey

A new book by Heather Holm
A new book by
Heather Holm

See the link below for the remainder of the list:

http://www.queenofthesun.com/get-involved/10-things-you-can-do-to-help-bees/

http://www.ecosystemgardening.com/top-10-herbaceous-plants-to-attract-wildlife-to-your-ecosystem-garden.html