WE NEED TO ADD SOME TEXT HERE EXPLAINING WHAT THIS PROGRAM IS ALL ABOUT, AND WHY THEY WILL WANT TO FILL OUT THIS FORM AND BUY A SIGN
Please check off the following practices used in your garden. Please note that ALL items in this section are required.
San Diego County Friendly Plants, which are acclimated to our unique environment, are featured in the landscape. They require a minimal amount of water and little or no pesticide to thrive in their micro-climate.
Pesticides, if used at all, are used according to University of California IPM (Integrated Pest Management) guidelines.
Supplemental fertilization of non-edible plants is applied only if plants exhibit obvious symptoms such as yellowing, or if a soil test indicates fertilization is required. Only organic or slow release fertilizers are used.
If a lawn is present, it is being mowed at an appropriate height based on the grass type. Clippings are either left on the lawn ("grass cycling"), composted on-site, or sent to municipal green recycling.
Grass clippings, fertilizer and soil are not hosed off the driveway and walkways into streets. Washing materials off hard surfaces into the street carries pollutants into storm drains and ultimately into ground water, waterways, and the ocean.
All of the following practices are required for Earth Friendly Garden certification:
Landscape plants and lawns are irrigated only when needed according to the needs of the plant.
Sprinklers are turned off when it is raining.
If an automatic irrigation system is used it is checked at least monthly while operating to see if repairs or adjustments are needed.
Problems with the irrigation system and outdoor faucets are repaired promptly.
A timing method, such as a kitchen timer, is used in the following situations: - when watering by hose end sprinkler to assure that it is turned off in a timely manner - when using a manual in-ground sprinkler to assure that it is turned off in a timely manner
Check the practices used in your garden. These practices are based on eight principles for protecting the environment. By observing these principles we can see, for example, how plant selection influences garden waste or how soil care and watering practices can impact water quality and waste. The following Principles and Practices are meant to be a starting point, but are not meant to be comprehensive. Please note that there are a minimum number of checked practices required for each category.
Landscape Principle #1- Conserve Water and Ensure Water Quality
Practice A. Efficient Irrigation and Scheduling
(Minimum 3 Practices, unless otherwise indicated)
Mulch is used to reduce water loss through evaporation. If no irrigation system skip to "Practice B"
Avoid overspray on hard surfaces, leaking or broken sprinklers, nozzles dispensing water irregularly and run-off from obstructions (mailboxes, lighting, rocks, inappropriately placed plants, etc.)
If no automatic irrigation controller, skip to "Practice B"
The irrigation controller's features are used to your advantage, such as the percentage feature to allow for simple seasonal water adjustments, or the use of multiple start times to allow for irrigation cycling to aid in run-off control.
If lawn is present, irrigation is converted to low-flow nozzles that apply water at a slower rate so that more water is absorbed into the soil.
Irrigation in shrub and perennial beds is converted to drip irrigation or soaker hoses.
A rain sensor is installed on the irrigation controller to automatically shut off irrigation during rain.
A Smart Controller is installed to monitor soil moisture to automatically water according to plant needs.
Practice B - Plant Choices to Conserve Water
(Minimum 2 practices)
Plants are grouped by water needs (hydrozones) and watered independently from each other. For example, each of these has a separate valve - fruit trees, vegetable bed, low-water use shrubs and perennials, high water use shrubs and perennials, lawn.
Lawn is eliminated or minimized.
If lawn is present, low water use grass is used - for example Bermuda, St. Augustine, Buffalo Grass, Carex, or Seashore Paspalum.
Dormant warm-season grass is not over-seeded with rye grass in the winter.
Low water use plants predominate in the ornamental (non-edible) landscape.
Practice C - Rain Harvesting
Permeable hardscape is used in the landscape to allow infiltration of rainwater into soil.
Rainwater is channeled into swales and kept on site. Downspouts are directed to a rainwater catchment system such as a rain barrel or rain garden. Rainwater is kept on site to help recharge groundwater and to keep it from going to the storm water system.
Rainwater is not diverted to street, sidewalk or alley.
Landscape Principle #2 - Conserve Energy and Protect Air Quality
Practice D Provide Shade
Shade trees or shade structures are located on the south and/or west side of the house to shade the house in the summer
Shade trees on the south and/or west side of the house are deciduous (lose their leaves in the winter) to allow the sun to warm the house in the winter.
Trees shade concrete, asphalt and other hardscape to reduce heat island effect and ozone formation.
Solar panels shade the roof of the house.
No air conditioning is used.
The air conditioning unit (if present) is shaded during the hot summer months
Practice E - Use Hand Powered or Electric Tools
In order to reduce particulate matter in the air, leaf blowers are not used
Material is swept back into the landscape or picked up by hand.
Shrubs, vines and turf are maintained with hand-powered or electric equipment rather than with gas powered mower or hedge pruner.
Landscape Principle #3 Nurture the Soil
(Minimum 2 Practices)
Garden beds are relatively untrodden. Pathways are used to navigate the garden to alleviate soil compaction.
A 1/2" to 3" layer of soil amendment such as compost, humus, worm castings, etc. is added to garden beds at least once a year.
A 2" to 4" layer of organic biodegradable mulch is maintained over tree roots, shrubs, and beds to smother weeds, retain soil moisture , moderate soil temperature and feed the soil by adding organic matter as the mulch breaks down. Mulch is replenished once or twice a year to maintain a 2" - 4" layer.
Mulch is not piled up next to tree trunks.
Lawn areas, if present, are periodically aerated.
Landscape Principle #4 Reduce Waste and Send Less to the Landfill
New plants are selected on their ultimate size to fit within the space allotted, thus reducing the need to prune, saving time, and resulting in less garden waste sent to the landfill
Garden and food waste are added to an on-site compost pile, thus reducing off-site green waste.
Food waste is composted with earthworms.
Garden waste not composted on-site is placed in green waste containers.
Old sidewalks and other inert construction material are used on-site (such as recycled concrete walls and paths) in order to reduce , reuse, and recycle
Practice H Reduce Lawn Waste
(Minimum 2 if lawn is present)
Lawn is no more than 20% of landscaped area or less than 200 square feet.
Lawn irrigation and fertilization are minimized to limit excess growth.
Slow/low growing grass is used - for example Seashore Paspalum, Carex pansa/ praegracilis, or Buffalo grass.
At each mowing less than 1/3 of the length of the grass blade is removed. This promotes a deeper root system, lowers water use, reduces waste sent to the landfill, and requires less fertilizer and labor.
"Grass-cycling" is practiced by leaving grass clippings on the lawn to decompose and return valuable nutrients to the soil.
Landscape Principle #5 Practice Responsible Pest Management
A strategic use of environmentally safe and effective methods to keep garden pests and diseases under control. Successful Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs combine several methods for long-term prevention and management of garden and home pests.
(Minimum 2 Practices)
The landscape is monitored regularly for signs of pest and/or disease infestations.
Before taking action, pests or diseases are properly identified, thus minimizing harmful effects to beneficial insects.
Practice J Pest Control through Cultural Methods
(Minimum 2 Practices)
Plants are chosen for their pest and disease resistantance
Good sanitation is practiced to reduce pest habitat
Crop rotation is practiced for annual vegetables and ornamentals – avoid planting the same type of plant in the same place every year
The irrigation system is designed to reduce or eliminate pest and disease problems, such as over- or under-watering, or problems such as mildew can be aggravated overhead irrigation.
Practice K – Pest and Weed Control through Physical Methods
(Minimum 2 Practices)
Weeds are suppressed through the use of mulch or permeable landscape fabrics.
Weeds are hand-picked, hoed or cultivated.
Pests are trapped or impeded using newspaper rolls, boards, solution attractants, and barriers.
Pests and/or their egg masses are hand-picked from plants or washed off with a hard stream of water.
Soil solarization is used for weed control
Practice L – Tolerate a Small Number of Pests and Encourage Beneficials
(Minimum 2 Practices)
A small number of garden pests are tolerated since control may kill beneficial insects.
An environment is provided that encourages beneficial organisms so they can aid in control of garden pests.
Beneficial insects, such as predatory mites, parasitic nematodes, trichogramma wasps, lady beetles, green lacewings, and mealybug destroyers are released into the garden to help control garden pests.
Practice M Pesticides
(If pesticides are used - Minimum 3 Practices )
The least toxic pesticides are used to control properly identified garden pests.
Broad-spectrum pesticides are avoided in order to protect beneficial organisms.
Pesticide instructions are read and followed carefully.
Pesticides are properly stored, handled and disposed of.
Landscape Principle #6 Select Appropriate Plants
Use the Right Plant in the Right Place
(Minimum 2 Practices)
Conditions involving climate, soil type, and sun exposure are considered when planning a garden.
Trees/plants under power lines are low-growing.
Low maintenance plants predominate in the ornamental (non-edible) landscape – to reduce water consumption, fertilizer use, pruning, green waste and labor.
Invasive plants are not present in the landscape. Invasive plants grow rapidly and outcompete native or desired plants. They also, degrade wildlife habitat, and increase fire danger. - see http://ucanr.org/sites/gardenweb/General/Invasive_Plants/
Locally grown plants are purchased. Most plants in locally owned retail nurseries are purchased from local wholesale nurseries, and are acclimated to our unique environment, and will not go into shock as easily as plants shipped in from distant growing areas. Reduced shipping distances means less fossil fuel is consumed.
Landscape Principle #7 Create Habitat and Protect Wildlife
Welcome birds, butterflies, lady bird beetles (lady bugs), lizards, and bees to encourage pollination, to eat unwanted pests, and for simple enjoyment.
(Minimum 2 Practices)
Appropriate native plants are included in the garden to provide natural food for native wildlife.
The diversity of plants provides year-round food for wildlife.
The landscape provides one or more water sources to provide an area for wildlife to drink and bathe. Some possibilities would be a recirculating pond or water feature, butterfly dish, or bird bath. Chemical additives harmful to wildlife are not used. The water is removed and replaced frequently to prevent mosquito breeding.
Cover is provided for shelter and a place for wildlife to raise their young.
Pet cats are kept indoors. Indoor cats live safer lives and do not kill wildlife. The American Bird Conservancy estimates that up to 500 million birds are killed each year by cats — about half by pets and half by feral felines . (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/21/science/21birds.html).
The use of loud garden equipment such as lawn movers, chain saws, and blowers is minimized because it discourages wildlife.
Landscape Principle #8 Grow Food
In San Diego it is easy to grow herbs, vegetables, berries and fruit. Growing edibles helps reduce "food miles" and gives you fresher more delicious food.
(Minimum 1 Practice)
Edibles are grown in the back or side yards.
Edibles are grown in the front yard.
A variety of edibles are grown.
A variety of pollinator-attracting plants such as flowers, herbs, and native plants are grown.
Edibles are grown according to season. For example, in the winter, cool season vegetables such as lettuce, cilantro, carrot, parsnip, beet, radish, turnip, kohlrabi, white potato, spinach, lettuce, celery, asparagus, cabbage, onion and cauliflower are grown. In the summer, warm season vegetables such as tomato, basil, watermelon, cantaloupe, winter squash, summer squash, cucumber, snap and lima beans, and sweet corn are grown . See http://www.mastergardenerssandiego.org/Vegetable%20Planting%20Guide1.pdf
Edibles are chosen with an understanding of micro-climate, pruning, feeding and irrigation requirements.
Chill hours are taken into account when purchasing new fruit trees and berry plants. See http://fruitsandnuts.ucdavis.edu/chillcalc/index.cfm; http://www.mastergardenerssandiego.org/schools/gardenbook/planting/fruit.html
Chickens are kept for egg/meat production. Chicken coops are sited according to local ordinances - usually 50' from any house.
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