by Charlene Burgi
April 1 and we are finally experiencing something reminiscent of hot summer days. The beautiful outdoor weather conditions have a remarkable luring effect. Those of us working indoors look longingly out windows and mentally make note of all the projects we can’t wait to tackle after work and on the weekend.
The joke is on me! The incredible amounts of rain we experienced—plus the rich composted material that I added to the soil—have equated to growth that would rival most rainforests. As a result, instead of seeing the sights at Cataract Falls, weeding is the first item on my list of things to do. The soil is still saturated and what a perfect time to pull weeds! With little tugging, the roots will free themselves and provide space for planting edible crops.
Exposing new planting areas is not the only benefit of weeding. We are harvesting the “greens” needed to layer when composting. If you have attended the Bay-Friendly class, “Gardening from the Ground Up,” you will remember the Compost Dance: “a little brown, a little green, add a little water and air and do the compost dance.” Spring is an ideal time to find the greens, but often more difficult to find browns. When facing this dilemma, I often let the green foliage turn brown before adding the brown carbon layer to the compost bin.
If you are facing huge areas covered with weeds, try sheet mulching. With this simple technique there is nothing to pull. The cardboard will knock down the weeds and they will decompose with time. And the garage will be clear of all the cardboard boxes you’ve been collecting for this very purpose. See our website for step-by-step instructions. Please use compost instead of bark (as seen on our website) if you are going to grow vegetables in the sheet-mulched area.
One word of caution: For most of us, it has been several months since our skin has seen the light of day. Please use sunscreen and wear a hat when venturing outside. We also need to stay hydrated. Stop, smell the freesias (they are still blooming) and enjoy a tall glass of tap water with a slice of lemon. How refreshing!
Spanish Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper Course Starts April 5
The Spanish Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (SQWEL) course starts next Tuesday in Marin. Eighteen hours of instruction will heighten water conservation awareness and teach water-efficient methods for managing the landscape. Please share this message with anyone you know, or work with, that speaks Spanish and would be interested in becoming certified. Besides offering the status of QWEL certification, this free course carries the WaterSense label and an invitation to become a WaterSense partner to all that pass the course. Click here for more information in Spanish and English.