How I Got Started

I started Butterfly gardening many years ago. My yard has been a progression over the years, and has made many transformations. Twenty years ago I experienced Hurricane Andrew. My yard and house were destroyed. We decided not to replace the pool screening and open up the backyard and put in some landscaping. That was the official beginning of my love for gardening in South Florida. I added a beautiful water garden years ago, and have been adding host and larvae plants for pollinators, mostly for the butterfly, for as many years as I can remember. I had my yard certified as a Natural Habitat, through the National Wildlife Foundation. To have a natural habitat you need to provide and meet certain requirements: 1. Provide a food source, 2. Provide a water source, 3. Cover, 4. A place to raise young. I try not to use any pesticides in my yard. I vermicompost and recycle as many of my food scraps as possible. If I had more land I would have a huge compost bin to recycle all my yard cuttings. Basically, I try to lessen my carbon footprint on this earth. In my own little world or backyard I try to provide an ecosystem in my water garden, provide birdbaths, birdfeeders, hummingbird nectar sources, feeders, puddling areas, host plants and nectar plants for butterflies and other pollinators. I am hoping to raise everyone’s awareness of the importance of saving our Butterflies, Blooms & Bees. Without them our world and food source will be in trouble. I hope you all enjoy my journey. I am not a Master Gardener, or Master Beekeeper, an Entomologist, or Journalists. I am simply a Backyard Gardener who is trying to lessen her Carbon Footprint of this Earth.

I hope you enjoy my blogs.

Monday, January 21, 2013

New Year Gardening Rules to Live By

Well it is almost the end of January! It always amazes me how quickly time flies. I saw this picture posted on FaceBook at the beginning of the New Year and really liked it. I wanted to post it several weeks ago and now look it is January 21, 2013 already. Good thing I didn’t make “not to procrastinate” as one of my New Year’s Resolutions. I typically do not make New Year’s Resolutions because I think you set yourself up for failure. I did however make a few personal resolutions this year and so far I haven’t been very good at keeping them. I guess that is human nature.

Let’s hope I can be more successful at keeping these gardening resolutions. Actually, what caught my eye when I saw this post on Facebook is that I feel that I accomplished several of these in my gardening adventures last year. Maybe you can think about adapting some of these to your garden routine this year.

Start a Compost Bin: Starting a compost bin is so easy all you need is yard debris, and food scraps. Anyone can do this. I wrote a blog about this on October 14th. My bin is doing well and I compost all of my food scraps and yard debris. I tried putting in some Red Wiggler Worms but they disappeared. I just cannot seem to be able to vermicompost for any length of time here in Miami. But at least I am composting my food scraps and feel very good about lessening my carbon load on this earth. Everyone can do their part to help the environment and composting is just one way to do that. I am going to give one more last ditch effort to vermicomposting using a new method. I will keep you posted in the next few weeks using this technique.

Install a Rain Garden: Not really sure about this one but living in Miami in a tropical environment I think qualifies as a Rain Garden. Especially since last year we almost broke a record for the most rain in one year since 1959. I think we needed about 2 more inches of rain. There was so much rain last year. I was hoping that our weather patterns would change a little this winter but so far in 2013 we have just set a record for the most consecutive days in January about 80 degrees. Our winter was very warm last year as was most of the country.

Plant More Natives: I think that everyone knows how I feel about this resolution. Most of the plants in my yard are Florida Natives. Remember that native plants adapt to your ecosystem more quickly, are more pest tolerate, require less water, and attract pollinators and animals to your yard. I literally just went out to my garden to take a few pictures of some native plants and was able to enjoy the benefits, such as all the pollinators that are attracted to these plants. Here are a few pictures that I just took.

Build an Edible Garden: I am really pleased with my edible Bio-sustainable Square Foot vegetable garden. This was something I have wanted to accomplish for some time and I am really pleased with the results. More importantly, I have really enjoyed the vegetables and herbs that I have harvested so far from the garden. I look forward to reaping the rewards from my garden as many of the plants have not yet reached maturity.

Use Natural Pest Solutions: Well this is never an issue for me as I try never to use any pesticides in my yard. I will use a natural solution made from dish detergent and vegetable oil. Sometimes I may use Neem Oil but that is about it. Using Native plants that are more pest resistant is a great idea also.

Be More Water-wise: Well considering that we in Miami almost broke a record for the most rainfall since 1959, I really did not have the need to water. Planting natives to your area will also help because native plants do not require as much water. Also if you recall, I installed a drip irrigation system. That system saves a tremendous amount of water and I have it set for every 2 days for approximately 30 minutes. My garden is thriving very nicely.

I hope these gardening Resolutions help and give you some ideas on how you can improve your garden in 2013!
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