Do nothing, do good

Posted on | April 8, 2010 | No Comments

This 2009 photo by Allen J. Schaben of the Los Angeles Times captures the dynamics of Southern California's native watersheds in one shot, from snowcapped local mountains to the Pacific.

As a spring heat wave sends the snow on LA’s mountains gushing into the storm drain system, most of us can only dream of what the county would be like if its rivers and streams had not been channelized or buried. But rather than wait for a return to Eden, there are things that we can do to protect the Pacific as the snowmelt is plated out to sea.

That is goof off.

As Home Depot ads exhort us to unleash a whole lot of “do” (by which the chain seems to mean rush out and apply weedkillers, fertilizers and pesticides to our gardens), we can sit on our hands, read a book, snack perhaps.

If your plants are peaky, it probably means that the soil condition is bad, not that the plants needs a steady drip of fertilizers. If you want to protect and feed your lawn, just leave the clippings on it after you mow. Grass cycling will not only bring the benefits of mulch improving the soil, it also will help to continuously re-seed. If you need to amend the soil around roses or vegetables, try chicken manure, but make sure that there is no run-off into the gutter after you water. To keep the soil cool and encourage beneficial organisms and animals such as earthworms, by all means mulch your beds, but not too heavily and leave a nice open collar clear around the root crown of any plant.

If you apply fertilizer, know that anything that you broadcast heavily around your garden stands a good chance of being washed into the ocean by a late rain or irrigation. By ripping open a big can of No this spring, your purse will stay full(er) and the ocean will be spared the byproducts of Do.

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