Mid-Atlantic

April, 2009
Regional Report

Mind Your Bird Feeders and Baths

Encourage birds to stay nearby into spring and summer -- for your viewing pleasure and for insect (including mosquito) control. Clean feeders with 10% bleach in warm water. Scrub bird baths with a brush. Replace bird bath water every three to five days. Keep seed dry. Toss musty, wet or moldy food. Clean hummer feeders every three to five days, more often when the weather gets hot.

Birds, Chemicals, and Cats Don't Mix

Most herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides are toxic to birds. Avoid using these products near areas where birds feed, bathe, or rest. Strategize to keep birds safe from domestic and stray cats. Keep your kitty indoors. Place feeders in spots that aren't accessible to stray or feral cats.

Reduce Bird/Window Collisions

Do you find dead birds who've flown into your glass windows? Windows reflect the sky and trees so birds try to fly through them. Attach decorations to the glass to reduce reflections. Some companies specializing in bird supplies sell decals specifically made to warn birds away from windows.

Tend Your Tree Trunk

Mulch or soil against the base of the tree trunk holds moisture that makes the bark rot. Even if you've conscientiously kept mulch 4 to 6 inches away last season, it's likely back against the trunk. So pull mulch 6 inches away and flatten it like a blanket (not a high collar). Also look at the soil level. If you can't see roots growing from the trunk, the soil is too high. Very gently scrap the soil away so it doesn't touch the bark. The bark will be moist and easy to damage, so be careful. Stop when you feel roots spreading from the trunk. That's the root flare. Roots are designed to tolerate moist soil; bark is not.

Plant a Vegetable Garden for Money in the Bank

If having fresh, organic produce isn't enough incentive, growing your own can save you about $530, according to National Gardening Association's figures. The NGA calculates that a well-maintained food garden yields about 1/2 pound of produce per square foot of garden area through the growing season -- about $2 per pound. The average-size garden -- 600 square feet -- can produce 300 pounds of produce worth $600. Subtract the $70 most people spend on gardening supplies. That leaves you with $530 in food savings. (Your labor cost? Well, consider gardening exercise without the gym fee and with unlimited health benefits.)

GardeningwithKids.org Catalog

Special Report - Garden to Table

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