TURN BACKYARD INTO GARDEN. - Knowledgebase Question

DALY CITY, Ca
Question by SGTTAN0214
October 7, 2009
HOW CAN I ENTRICH THE SOIL IN MY BACKYARD(AFTER I PULLED ALL THE WEEDS AND OTHER)?WHAT KIND OF VEGETABLES AND HERBS CAN I GROW(I LIVE IN DALY CITY/CA)AT THIS TIME OF YEAR.HOW CAN I TAKE CARE OF GOPHER PROBLEM TOO.I HAVE SOME BUSHES AND THE LEAVES LOOK LIKE THEY ARE EATEN BY SOME KIND OF INSECTS.HOW CAN I ELIMINATE THIS PROBLEM?
THANKS!


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Answer from NGA
October 7, 2009

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You can enrich your soil over a period of years and end up with rich garden loam if you add organic matter. Start by spreading 4-5 inches of organic matter over the planting bed. You can use compost, aged manure (fresh manure can be too hot and might contain weed seeds), shredded leaves or whatever organic matter is readily available in your local area. Dig or till this organic matter into the soil - 8-10 inches deep. Plant your perennials or veggies and mulch over the bare soil between the plants with additional organic matter. A 2-3 inch layer will help suppress weeds and slow water evaporation. At the end of the season dig the organic matter into the soil and add a fresh layer. Repeat this process annually and you'll end up with rich garden loam - and a spectacular garden.

This time of year you can plant cool season veggies and annuals. Leaf lettuces, peas and beans, chives and parsley are good to start with. Cool season flowers include pansies, primrose, snapdragons and chyrsanthemums.

Moles and gophers can be exasperating when they take up residence in a yard. The critters tunnel through the soil feeding on grubs, worms and beetles. Sometimes they chew through plant roots and bulbs, causing damage to the plants. The best way to control these pests is by trapping. Invest in one or two scissors-type traps and set them in the active runs. The best approach is to use a stiff metal probe (like a straightened wire coathanger) to find the main runs. Start at a mound of soil and explore the ground with the probe, finding the longest tunnel. You'll be able to tell by whether or not the probe penetrates into the soil easily. Short tunnels are used infrequently, so your best chance of trapping will be by placing a trap in a frequently used main run. Once you've found a likely tunnel, set the trap and cover it with a section of turf or a board to exclude daylight. Keep setting the trap until you stop catching moles and gophers. It may take an entire season, but persistence pays off and eventually you'll reduce the population of the creatures. Healthy soil naturally has a large population of insects. As long as the insects inhabit the soil, moles and gophers will be attracted. Wish there were an easier way to eliminate moles and gophers from the landscape.

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