For the birds and the bees – March 2021

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February is always the month that sneaks up on me, as it is a busy time of year for planning and getting ready for the next season and it feels just too short to get it all ready in time. It is hard to believe it has come and gone.

Now after a few warm(ish) sunny days in the garden, hearing the song of the birds and seeing new daffodils popping up out of the soil I know it to be true - spring is almost here!! I am so looking forward to the changing of the season and helping many new gardeners.

For our feathered friends I would  like to take this month to help spread the word keeping them healthy all year-long.

As you may know here in the Seattle area, and beyond, it has been a tough time for Pine siskins due to salmonellosis. This is a bacteria transmitted in feces and particularly by birds visiting feeders at which they can perch and defecate where they stand. Salmonella can affect many species, according to this Seattle Audubon write up, however we can curb the spread of the disease rather easily by temporarily taking down feeders and/or disinfecting them daily. Think of it as the avian version of ‚Äúwash your hands frequently.‚ÄĚ
Click here for tips to keep your feeders clean.

Happy Garden Tending.

Stay healthy, happy and keep your hands in the dirt!!
~ Lisa

Spring has sprung and babies are on the way!

While the upcoming spring season happily brings new growth of leaves, flowers, baby bunnies, and broods of birds there will inevitably be a flush of pests as well.

Working in the garden you may find all sorts of pests and it will be important to find your range of tolerance and plan accordingly to be proactive.

A full and healthy garden that provides food and shelter for beneficial insects is bound to host a few beneficial predators, thus the system should find equilibrium. Some pests are outside the range of tolerance either due to quantity or size - then we decide to take more aggressive action to control them. Just be sure to really do your homework.

Attending a recent workshop on gardening for bird habitat refreshed my memory to think about critters that may crawl through our gardens and receive poison carry that deep into the food chain.

For example you may be an avid gardener and birder, but not think about the rat poison in the back of the garage. The rat eats the poison, then wanders around the block for a day or so before dying, then an unsuspecting bird of prey eats the rat and almost certainly will die a very slow and painful death. This may have been the very bird you were hoping to attract to the yard.

 

A single barn owl can consume 1,500 rats or voles per year - how many of those may be poisoned?

One barn owl needs to eat about 79 pounds of mice a year. During its 10-year lifespan, that equals around 798 pounds of mice, which is about 12,775 individual mice!

There are many ways to minimize pests - think about some simple chores to make your space less inviting; keep pet food and garbage secured, remove old brush piles (small and refreshed ones are good for birds - stay tuned for more on that next month, cover vents and openings, cut overhanging branches and more!

In addition to rats and owls, the toxins in the food chain can be found to affect the smallest snail, house pets and even small children. Please reconsider using rodenticide in your gardens - there are alternatives!

If you are looking for a garden refresh or have a specific area in need of some attention this spring a pollinator garden may be just what you need!
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Whether you are looking to bring more flowers, veggies and herbs into your garden by attracting pollinators or if you are at a loss for what to do and just want to get started - this package is for you. Creating a healthy habitat for birds and insects throughout the year is such a rewarding experience for any level gardener.
Pollinator Patch Garden Kit  includes:
20 plants personally selected for your site,
a basic design so you can plant them for the greatest success*
your choice of a butterfly or bee house to support your newest garden neighbors!
$350 March Special -  $450 value ~ covers approximately 25 square feet
Pollinator Paradise Garden Kit  includes:
50 plants personally selected for your site,
professionally installed with appropriate soil and mulch
pollinator garden sign to proudly display
your choice of a butterfly or bee house to support your newest garden neighbors!
$750 March Special - $950 value ~ covers approximately 50 square feet

*Additional service available if you would like Eco-Restore install plants in the appropriate place.

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