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Archive for September 11, 2010

South Bay Botanic Garden Green Scene

The 3rd annual green scene is tomorrow, September 11th from 9 to 3:00pm, to be held at Southwestern College.

This free event promises many wonderful booths such as Olivewood Gardens, San Diego Beekeeping, Wildcoast and the San Diego Master Gardeners.

In addition they have three great classes;

· Composting with Worms 9:30 – 10:30 am

· Reusing Gray Water 11:00 – 11:50 am

· Growing Cool Season Vegetables 12:30 – 1:20 pm

· Guided Tour of the Botanic Garden 1:45 – 2:45 pm

                        Garden Talks (in room 1802) 

Hope to see you all there! 

We Are What They Eat

As with all things we consume and purchase these days it seems as though we have to constantly be on guard. Where did this come from? How was it raised/grown? What’s in it? and the list goes on and on….

Us “organic” home gardeners and backyard chicken raisers tend to, I will admit it, feel a little smug but we have to be just as mindful as everyone else. Every time I let my guard down and allow myself to be lulled into a false sense of security I’m jarred back into reality.

This time in the form of arsenic in chicken feed, the feed is claimed to have elevated children’s arsenic levels 50% and more above safe levels after consuming eggs from their backyard chickens. The additive at the forefront of this is Roxarsone and I urge everyone with backyard chickens to take 5 minutes and go outside and get the ingredients off of your chickens feed and study it. Although most feed suppliers have discontinued the use of the additive I think you might be surprised just how many ingredients you cannot identify yet alone pronounce.

Ingredients like Ammonium Hydroxide (yep, that’s the same one as your floor cleaner), Bentomite (a clay that can be found in cat litter) and the ever popular and broad artificial flavoring category which could and does contain just about anything. I have to ask myself is it necessary for our chickens and ourselves to consume these chemicals? You might find ingredients even more mystifying then these, take a minute to enter them into your google search engine and see what comes up. I wager you might be questioning why you or your chicken needs things like Methionine Liquid.

Lucky for us gardeners we have a happy selection of foods for our chickens to forage and hopefully some not so happy bugs because if we look back to our chickens prehistoric ancestors they certainly weren’t living off of corn and soybean meal.

Best plants for pollinators in the winter garden

Pollinators have a hard time finding food once all the spring flowers have died and gardeners focus on their winter crops but we could still use their services. Bees prefer the bright white, yellow and blue flowers while butterflies look for bright red and purple flowers.

Here is a list of plants that can brighten up your fall/winter garden as well as provide food and shelter for your hard workers.

1. Agastache (Hummingbird Mint)-  Blooms through fall providing nectar to hummingbirds and butterflies. ‘Blue Fortune’ the dwarf variety only gets 3-4′.
2. Bluebeard – Bees love this late summer bloomer.
3. California Goldenrod – Late bloomer that provides food to the three B’s! Bees, Birds and Butterflies.
4. Coreopsis Lanceolata – Good source of nectar that blooms well into summer with regular deadheading. 
5. Gallardia – Oranges and Lemons as well as the dwarf goblin are long bloomers with deadheading.
6. Prince Calico Aster – Native to North America, blooms late summer through fall, attracts bees and butterflies.
7. Rosemary – A great choice for bees that blooms late into the season and adds great flavor in recipes.
8. Rudbeckia –  Late season bloomer, provides food for butterflies.
9. Scabiosa (Pincuchion Flower) – Butterfly Blue attracts just what it’s name suggest and with deadheading will bloom throughout summer into fall.
10. Yarrow (Moonshine) – Great food source for native pollinators that blooms through summer.