The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) works extensively with the nation’s farmers and ranchers to protect soil, water, air, plant, and animal resources while meeting production goals.
Working with agricultural producers allows NRCS to promote conservation practices approximately 1.4 billion acres of the privately held land in the United States. About 92 million acres of land in our country is tended by home gardeners. In an effort to promote conservation on these lands, NRCS has partnered with other organizations to produce, Backyard Conservation: Bringing Conservation From the Countryside to Your Backyard.
This full-color and informative online resource highlights 10 conservation activities that can be used in your backyard, shared spaces, and public places too.
- Trees add beauty and so much more.
- Trees, shrubs, and other plants can provide homes and food for wildlife.
- A backyard pond will likely become the focal point for all your backyard conservation.
- Wetlands filter excess nutrients, chemicals, and sediment and provide habitat for a host of interesting creatures.
- Composting turns household wastes into valuable fertilizer.
- Mulching cools, protects, and enriches the soil.
- Apply only those nutrients the plants can use. (See our previous post on soil test kits to help you get accurate test results.)
- Terracing makes flower and vegetable gardening possible on steep slopes.
- Drip irrigation and other water conservation practices can save water and money.
- Early detection and treatment of pests means a healthier growing environment.
In an effort to encourage composting and rain water harvesting, the County of Ventura Integrated Waste Management, Ventura Countywide Stormwater Quality Management Program and local Ventura County cities are sponsoring a compost bin and rain barrel truckload sale.
The truckload sale is available to all County of Ventura residents. Bins and barrels will be available at less than half the regular price. The sale will be held at the County of Ventura Government Center on Saturday, October 22, 2011. To learn more, please see their flyer.
The County of Ventura Integrated Waste Management Division website has many other fabulous resources for residents looking to improve the environmental health of their communities.
The NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Project provides “high value information and technical assistance to farmers, rancher, Extension agents, educators, and others” throughout the United States.
Founded in 1976, this nonprofit organization works to “promote self-reliance and sustainable lifestyles through wise use of appropriate technology. Its programs deal with sustainable and renewable energy, energy conservation, resource-efficient housing, sustainable community development, and sustainable agriculture.” These resources are available in Spanish.
Their information is organized under 14 topic areas:
- What is sustainable agriculture?
- Energy alternatives
- Beginning farmer
- Field crops
- Horticultural crops
- Livestock & pasture
- Local food systems
- Marketing, business & risk management
- Organic farming
- Pest management
- Soils & compost
- Water management
- Other resources
A variety of funding opportunities are available.
UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners will hold an Exploring Soil Types Workshop designed for home gardeners at the Thousand Oaks Goebel Center on Saturday, September 24 from 9:45 – 11:30 am.
Topics covered will include:
- identifying soil textures and types
- keeping garden soils fertile
- how to compost and add plant nutrients
The workshop is free, but advanced registration is required. You may register online or by calling (805) 645-1455.
Composting is a great green practice. Through the composting process waste can be recycled into a rich soil amendment.
This natural amendment is highly beneficial to plant growth, as it slowly releases needed nutrients over time.
In addition to the direct benefit to plants, compost helps reduce urban runoff and even conserves water. How is this possible? Adding compost to soil reduces runoff volume by improving water holding capacity and water retention while increasing water infiltration.
To learn more, including how to get started composting your waste, please see UCCE’s Composting Green Sheet or UC ANR’s Composting Is Good for Your Garden and the Environment, which is available in English and Spanish.