Saved From the Gophers! Thanks CCC

Thanks to the California Conservation Corps crew members for all their hard work gopher-proofing and cleaning up the Mendocino College Preschool Garden! It was a beautiful fall day. Keeping the gophers and other burrowing critters out of the garden beds will definitely allow the preschoolers to see the fruits of their garden labor!!

How to gopher-proof you ask?
We dug out the raised beds, laid in gopher-wire metal mesh, and nailed it to the bender boards 3 - 4 " apart. We then filled the beds back in with a mixture of the original soil and compost. In addition to keeping the gophers out, this work helped aerate and add important nutrients to the soil.

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Bats Are Beneficial!

From Smithsonian magazine, October 2008, page 33:

Making History, Dark Knight
Kenneth R. Fletcher

Bats are a big help to plants because they devour leaf-munching insects, according to researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. The scientists conducted their investigation by covering plants with plastic and wire-mesh structures that let insects in but keep large bug-eating predators out. The research team then compared three groups: plant that were covered during the day (when birds are looking for food); plants that were covered at night (when bats are awake and hungry); and a control group of uncovered plants (open to all comers). The result? Plants sealed off from the bats had more leaf damage and were more infested with insects than the other two groups. While previous studies have extensively documented the beneficial relationship between birds and plants, scientists “have completely overlooked the important ecological role of insects-eating bats,” says Margareta Kalka, the study’s lead author. The Smithsonian research reveals that bats might do more to help sustain forests than we previously thought, says Kalka.

How to Combat Aphids

You know when you wake up in the morning and step out into your garden and BAM! Your amazing chard looks like Swiss cheese with a

colony of little bitty sized bugs munching away. These bugs are known most commonly as Aphids. Did you know that Aphids are monogamous, they typically will only eat one type of plant in their short lifetime, their young will also feed on that particular plant.

So, you ask yourself, WHAT?!? can I do to combat these little munch machines?
Here at the River School Garden Project we are very conscience about using any type of pesticide on our plants. So, we came up with an Earth friendly alternative that is very effective.
So grab an empty spray bottle and follow the recipe below:
5 tbsp Dr. Bonner's Magic Soap
3 tbsp Cayenne Pepper
Fill spray bottle with warm water.

Now fully armed your are ready to go back out into your garden and spray those aphids at Dusk. This way the water droplets on your leaves won't get burned by the Sun.


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