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Preparing Your Garden

Spring is just around the corner and preparing a healthy garden ensures that it’s beautiful and pest-free throughout the season. There are key things to remember when starting your garden:

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  • Choose the right plants – look for California natives that attract beneficial insects like bees and butterflies.
  • Read the label and look for varieties described as pest- and disease-resistant.
  • Before you buy a plant, check the roots to make sure it’s not root-bound or the root crown is soft or rotten.
  • Create healthy soil by adding compost that will provide organic matter and the right nutrients to help grow strong healthy plants that can resist disease and insect attacks without pesticides.
  • Don’t pile soil around the plant any higher than the root crown and cover bare soil with mulch.
  • Use a mulch of leaves, bark, or composted manure and/or garden waste to provide organic matter to the soil and a steady flow of nutrients to the plants.
  • If you need to fertilize, use organic, slow-release fertilizers.
  • Get to know beneficial insects and their many stages of development. Juvenile ladybugs and other good bugs are often killed by mistake.
  • Pesticides should only be used as a last resort. Choose the least toxic product designed to kill a specific target pest.

By creating a healthy, organic garden, you are preventing pesticides and herbicides from entering local waterways and negatively affecting wildlife and the environment.

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