Dues are $25.00 per year for individuals and $45.00 for a couple. Dues should be paid by the end of May. First time guests are welcomed without charge; a second attendance at a charge of $5.00. Further attendance will require membership in the club and the second attendance fee will be credited towards the membership dues.
LET MOTHER NATURE BE YOUR GARDNER
GOING GREEN IN YOUR GARDEN
See article below.
Lee County has published
Lee County Landscape & Fertilizer
Best Management Practiced (BMP) Ordinance.
It has been in effect since May of 2009
For the purposes of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Best Management Practices (BMP) program, a BMP is defined by law as a means, a practice or combination of practices determined by the coordinating agencies, based on research, field testing and expert review, to be the most effective and practicable on-location means, including economic and technological considerations, for improving water quality in agricultural and urban discharges. BMPs for agricultural discharges must reflect a balance between water quality improvements and agricultural productivity (Section 373.4595(2)(a), Florida Statutes).
LET MOTHER NATURE BE YOUR GARDNER
Natural gardening is immensely better for our health and our environment, and it turns out that it's great for plants, too. Natural gardening creates stronger plants that can withstand stressors such as extreme changes in temperature, insects and disease. "The most significant benefit you will notice is your plants have greater tolerance for dramatic weather," said Garrett. "For instance, plants aren't as vulnerable to frost, and therefore can enjoy a longer growing season. These plants are also more resistant to insects and disease." A common misconception is that natural gardening is more costly -- but Garrett says it actually saves money in the long run. For one thing, you never have to rebuild the garden beds -- they just continue to get better and better. You'll also need to fertilize less often, because the natural products are slow-releasing and longer-lasting. GOING GREEN IN YOUR GARDEN Stop using all synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals that harm living organisms. Don't try to combine natural and conventional approaches, as it won't work, says Garrett. Fertilize with only natural products such as compost or natural fertilizer products two or three time a year. Feed the soil in which your plants grow with liquid fertilizer or compost "tea" (see recipe below) during the growing season. Create a compost pile, nature's own living fertilizer. It can be started any time of the year in sun or shade. Anything that was once alive can go in the compost, including grass clippings, leaves, vegetable and fruit food scraps, bark, sawdust, rice hulls, weeds, nut hulls and animal manure. Mix the ingredients together and simply pile the material on the ground. The best mixture is 80% vegetative matter and 20% animal waste, although any mix will compost. Build soil health with natural organic products and techniques. Apply compost, rock materials such as lava sand, granite and basalt and dry molasses (which you can find at gardening centers that cater to organic gardeners) to all planting areas. Mulch bare soil around all shrubs, trees, ground covers and food crops. This protects the soil from sunlight, wind and rain, inhibits weeds, decreases watering needs and mediates soil temperature. Native cedar is the best choice. Water only as needed. Natural gardening reduces the frequency and volume of water needed. Water when plants begin to wilt. Mow lawns only as necessary and leave clippings on the lawn. This returns nutrients and organic matter to the soil. Put occasional excess clippings in compost pile. For weed control, hand-pull large weeds and cultivate soil health. Mulch all bare soil to keep weeds to a minimum. Avoid all synthetic herbicides. Spray weeds as needed with vinegar-based herbicides. Control pests the natural way. Use natural products to encourage beneficial insects and spray plants with compost tea mixtures such as Garrett Juice, which is a mixture of natural ingredients including compost, water, apple cider, vinegar, molasses and seaweed (see below). If you aren't experienced and want to get started, Garrett says that vegetables and herbs such as garlic, chives, radishes, beans, peas and okra are easiest for beginners. "Also small tomatoes, most greens, including spinach during the cooler weather, and beets and sweet potatoes, which are almost foolproof especially for those with sandy soil." Note: If your plants are already growing strong, it's likely too late to go all the way green this season... but you certainly can start planning for a naturally healthy, environmentally friendly garden going forward. Recipe for Compost Tea and Garrett Juice: Make Compost Tea by soaking compost in water. Fill any container half full of compost and finish filling with water. Let the mix sit 24 hours, then dilute and spray on the foliage of any and all plants. Be sure to strain the solids out with old pantyhose or cheesecloth. For Garrett Juice, mix one gallon of water with 1 cup of manure-based compost tea. Add 1 ounce apple cider vinegar, 1 ounce molasses and 1 ounce liquid seaweed. For homemade fire ant killer, add 2 ounces of citrus oil to the gallon of Garrett Juice. For more information, visit Garrett's Web site at www.DirtDoctor.com. You can also e-mail questions to Garrett at email@example.com. Source(s): Howard Garrett is a registered landscape architect, organic horticulturalist, broadcaster and writer with extensive experience in landscape contracting, greenhouse growing, golf course planning and maintenance and organic product development. Garrett is author of several books, including The Organic Manual: Natural Organic Gardening and Living For Your Family, Plants and Pets, a non-regional guide to organic gardening (Tapestry). For more information go to www.DirtDoctor.com.