by Charlene Burgi
The annual Eco-Friendly Garden Tour is scheduled for Saturday, May 14th. In preparation, we are visiting lovely gardens that will be open to the public for your viewing pleasure. The preliminary visits are always fun as they allow me to see what other gardeners are doing. Interesting and often impressive ideas or techniques present themselves on these outings that are too good not to share. For example, one gardener pointed out that she used old cotton sheets and towels to sheet mulch her pathways. She thought of the idea while cleaning out her linen closet. And, why not? Cotton is a natural fiber and will decompose in time.
Another gardener uses her dog house to protect seedlings in the cold winter evenings. And her dog is much happier sharing time indoors with his owner.
While I haven’t seen this one in person, I heard from a reliable source that another creative gardener relegated her old iron bed to the garden and used the head and foot boards to frame her planting area! She gives a whole new meaning to the word flower bed! Can you just imagine what this will look like when it is in full bloom?
We are looking for volunteers to work at the Eco-Friendly Garden tour. The shifts are four hours long, and you get free admission for you and one friend plus an Eco-Friendly t-shirt. If you are interested in volunteering, call Wendy Menara at 415-945-1512. I will share more information about attending the Eco-Friendly Garden tour in a future blog.
Don’t forget that daylight savings time starts this weekend. The days are getting longer which means we can spend more time in the garden. Marin’s frost days are typically over by the end of March. This is the perfect time to start planting seeds indoors or in a hoop or greenhouse so the seedlings are ready to plant in the garden in April. Wash used trays and pots with warm soapy water before planting in them again. Use a soilless planting mix for the best seed germination and water the seeds gently.
You can create your own mini-greenhouse by placing clear cellophane wrap over the planted container and setting it in a warm well-lit window. Remove the wrap when the seeds germinate and move your container to an area that receives indirect sunlight. A word of warning–plant seeds that germinate at the same time in the same container. I once divided a tray into four sections, planted seeds that had various germination times and ended up trying to keep them balanced with light, water, etc. The lesson is that even seed planting should be hydrozoned!
You can make markers using Popsicle sticks to identify seed cells or containers. I also save toilet paper rolls to plant seeds like hollyhocks that have a long tap root. You can plant container and all once these long rooted seedlings are big enough to move outdoors.
There’s still time to register for the next FREE Bay-Friendly Gardening Workshop on March 12 at Marin Art and Garden Center to learn more about soils, compost and sheet mulching. Walk-ins are welcome too. The event will be held in the tent area on the northeast side of the property from 9:00 a.m.-noon. Dress warmly, bring garden gloves and learn to do the “compost dance.” Click here to register.