Organic Garden Design, March 2021 DGC Zoom Meeting

Our virtual meetings continue to be well attended, with over 20 Driftwood Garden Club and Cottage Gardeners Club members logged on to Zoom.  DGC Program Co-Chair Sarah Bates introduced our March 2021 speaker Cathy Harragian, who has a background in science. Cathy ran an organic apple orchard for many years and continues to grow woodland medicinal plants.

Cathy’s Organic Garden Design presentation emphasizes Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to promote the safe, least-toxic solutions to both pest and pesticide problems. Her goal is to create beautiful, low maintenance, low chemical landscapes for all seasons.

A corrugated cardboard band for insect control can traps pests without chemicals.

Cathy recommends leaves or wood mulch over cardboard as a safe method of weed control.

Tedders pyramid traps: Pyramid traps are designed for weevils, but will also trap other insects. In agricultural settings, these traps are used for identifying the time that pests are active. The traps are baited with bits of apples to attract the plum curculio weevils to establish the time that plum curculios are flying to a potential host. A company to source the tedder traps is Great Lakes IPM. www.greatlakesipm.com

One of the tenents of successful organic design is diversity in the garden. Plant the right plant in the right place. Include many native varieties to attract beneficial insects and pollinators. Harragian cited an example of preventative pest control when she planted a host plant as a diversion in the apple orchard. She also recommends interspersing edible plants, such as kale, in the flower garden as a way to increase diversity. 

Good groundcovers for shade in moist soil with good drainage: blood root (Sanguinaria Canadensis), goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis). For shade areas in medium soil: Allegheny pachysandra (Pachysandra procumbens), American ginger (Asarum canadense). For sunny dry areas: bearberry (Arctostaphylus uva-ursi), Low sedum (Sedum album) Stonecrop (Sedum divergens), Epimedium.

Plant native Bloodroot as a groundcover for spring bloom.

American Ginger makes a good groundcover.

Grow non-GMO plants from seed and preserve heirloom seeds suitable for our New England climate. Seed Resources:

Johnny’s Seeds   www.johnnyseeds.com

Fedco Seeds  www.fedcoseeds.com

High Mowing Seeds  www.highmowingseeds.com

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