Natural Care Newsletter
seasonal garden tips
mulching

Fall Top Ten

The fall is actually a great time to do stuff in the yard – the air is crisp, the soil is softer and the temperature is cooler. I will confess to sneaking in a few winterizing tips onto the list but since you are already buzzing around your yard, why not?

  1. Plants - Autumn is a great time to get new plants in the ground. The soil is easier to dig in and the cooler temperatures allow newly planted roots to get established and the excess water.
  2. Aerate and overseed grass lawns – If your lawn took a beating this past year, it could be a good time to aerate it. By aerating you boost root development. Once that is done, overseed with a rye/fescue mix and topdress with ¼ - ½” of compost.
  3. Pulling weeds – Weeding is made a bit easier in the fall by the softer, wetter soil. Fall is also when weeds are more manageable since they have not had a chance to develop deep roots.
  4. Cover crop - Have you ever considered a cover crop for your garden? It is a great way to keep weeds out and as they die in the spring, they replenish the nutrients in the soil.
  5. Sheet mulching – Sheet mulch is a great method to convert a barren or grass area to a new garden bed. It is a bit of hard work in the beginning, but then you can sit back and let it work its magic throughout the fall and winter months. Check out Snohomish Conservation District’s fact sheet on mulching here.
  6. Mulch beds – Speaking of mulch, fall is a great time to mulch garden beds. Did you know that leaves make a great mulch? Instead of putting them in the yard waste bin, simply rake them into your beds and as they break down, they’ll feed and replenish the soil.
  7. Clean gutters – Speaking of leaves, it is a good idea to give your gutters a good cleaning from all the debris that has collected over the last months (or years). It’s better to take a bit of time to do this now instead of having to deal with leaky or overflowing gutters later.
  8. Cover soaker hoses – Watering hoses become obsolete for the next 5-6 months so it is recommended to either put them away or cover with mulch so they don’t crack over the winter.
  9. Protect outdoor plumbing– It may not be necessary yet, but as the temperatures get colder and the use of outdoor watering hoses wanes, making sure that any exposed outdoor plumbing is covered is a good preventive practice.
  10. Have a rain barrel? As the rains increase, make sure your rain barrel is in good working order – replace parts, clean out sediment buildup and make sure it is secured. A full rain barrel can weigh as much as 400 lbs. 
Stormwater and You

Rain Gardens

Rain gardens are one of the ways to deal with stormwater runoff and a beautiful one at that. Rain gardens are a sized depression in your yard that is filled with a special soil mix and specialized plants that soak stormwater runoff from yards, driveways and especially house downspouts. These gardens act like sponges by soaking up large amounts of water and then slowly releasing it back into the surrounding native soil. Everett’s rain garden program began in 2011 as one effective measure to deal with localized flooding and has since grown to be a city-wide program, assisting over 50 homeowners to install qualified rain gardens on their properties via our rebate program.

The Rain Garden Rebate program is a year-long program. The 2018 rebate program will kick off with a series of informational workshops in February and March. Look for the flyer in your January/February water bill or get updated information at www.everettwa.gov/RainGardens

Rain Garden
North Everett rain garden.
Moss Invaders
moss and grass

At our fall natural lawn class the inevitable question of what to do about moss was brought up. Given our climate, the easiest answer is to learn to live with it. It’s green, it’s native and one doesn’t have to work very hard to grow it, right? But the more important question to ask is why moss is so prevalent in our lawns? Moss likes shady areas and soils that are compact and acidic. To get rid of moss you need to change its environment. Add sunshine to the area by pruning back nearby trees. Given our amount of rain, most PNW soils run slightly acidic. Lime is a natural occurring additive that can be worked into the soil to slowly help raise the pH. You can also help enrich your soil by aerating and amending it with compost.

In the News
Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary

Backyard Wildlife Certification

The city’s growth in recent years has been impressive in many ways. However, this development has dramatically impacted the natural environment, eroding wildlife habitat and driving out the animals which have historical made their homes here. One way we can help is to create enjoyable and environmentally friendly backyard habitats. The actions we take on our own properties can have a significant effect on the species that share this habitat with us.

The Pilchuck Audubon Society (PAS) is helping Everett residents get their yards certified as wildlife habitats. If you are interested in getting your property certified, PAS has some native plants, bird feeders and other incentives free of charge to help you enhance your habitat. Their experts can also provide advice on how to create a landscape that benefits birds, butterflies and other wildlife. You can contact the organization by email or phone: habitat@pilchuckaudubon.org; 360 421 8423. Information on the backyard habitat program can also be found on the PAS website.

Upcoming Programs

Rain Barrel Sale – Saturday, Sept. 30, 9a.m. – 12p.m.

Everett Public Works, 3200 Cedar Street

Each 55-gallon barrel includes a spigot, overflow, and double screen on top to keep out debris and bugs. Purchase pre-made rain barrels for $55/each, cash or check.
 
Make a Rain Barrel Workshop – Saturday, Oct. 14, 10. a.m.
Everett Public Works, 3200 Cedar Street
Come build your own rain barrel. The fee covers the cost of the 55-gallon barrel and all parts. You must pre-register for the workshop. Space is limited. Fee is $40, cash or check. Call 425-257-8992 to register.
 
Rain Garden Rebate Informational Meetings – March and April 2018
We will be travelling around the city telling people about the rain garden rebate program. Come learn about the benefits of a rain garden, how you can qualify and the timeline for the program. Look in your February water bill for specific dates and times or find them here.

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