- Special Sections
- Public Notices
By Judy Koehly
To start out the new year right, sign up for a gardening class at the community college and/or take a seminar offered by the Extension Center. There is always new information coming out that will help you with your gardening skills and it’s a great way to meet more gardeners.
Fertilizer offers a wonderful boost to help your turf and your bedding plants to grow healthy and robust; however, fertilizer that falls on roadways will go directly into creeks, streams and rivers and can cause excessive aquatic plant growth.
This misapplication of fertilizer is causing terrible environmental problems, so please resolve to be extra careful when applying fertilizers, including all types of compost, mulch and manures.
The use of native or naturalized plants will not only make your gardening chores easier, but are the best plants for our unique environment in southeastern North Carolina.
Native plants are well adapted to our area and thus require fewer pesticides, less irrigation and less fertilizer. They will give you a more attractive landscape with less maintenance. A few examples are live oak, bald cypress, southern wax myrtle, magnolia, yaupon holly, red maple and the Carolina cherry laurel.
The use of mulch on your garden will prevent weed infestation, insulate plant roots and help retain soil moisture; and will greatly improve the appearance of your planting beds. Mulched-up leaves, pine straw, and grass clippings are all excellent choices for mulch material.
Composting makes good sense for the environment and for the health of your garden plants. Using your organic kitchen waste to feed your garden rather than the landfill is a win-win situation. You can establish a compost bin or purchase a barrel made especially for the task. Visit www.eartheasy.com/ for more information on how to compost in your own back yard.
You will save yourself a lot of grief if you always use the right plant in the right place. When you purchase a new plant, carefully read the tag and follows the suggestions on the amount of sun and water required. Remember that four hours of direct sun in southeastern North Carolina is equivalent to six or eight hours of direct sun in the more northern states.
Recycle your live Christmas tree. You can use it as an erosion fence or decorate it with pine cones that have been rolled in peanut butter and birdseed and place it in your yard for the critters to enjoy. Christmas trees are also being used for beach re-nourishment projects.
And most importantly, resolve to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor in your own back yard.
Send your gardening questions or comments to: Brunswick County Master Gardener Column, P.O. Box 109, Bolivia, NC 28422, or call 253-2610. Enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope if requesting information or a reply. Answers may be printed in this column.