Monday, March 30, 2015

Sheet Mulching Catches On

Anne in her sheet-mulched garden.
Photo: Lori Eanes.
Bay-Friendly Qualified Professional Anne Weinberger recently published "the zero-waste recipe for converting lawns to low-water gardens" in The Monthly. Big fans of sheet mulching that we are, we asked if we could share her article here on the Bay-Friendly blog. Here is Anne's take on sheet mulching. 

Could the drought have an upside? For hundreds of East Bay residents who have made the leap into losing their lawns, it has meant not only liberation from the battle between green grass and green living, but also the opportunity to put their personal style into a low-maintenance garden—as well as to earn a hefty rebate.

The latest gardening trend—sheet mulching—has been the win-win solution for homeowners who have been paralyzed with the thought of digging out and hauling away hundreds of square feet of heavy sod or using dangerous grass-killing chemicals.

Sheet mulching is a simple technique for eliminating lawn by smothering it with a "lasagna" of recycled, composted, and renewable materials.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

DRIP: Not Just a Four-Letter Word

Drip is not just a four-letter word. It really works! Although drip has been misunderstood, maligned, and basically abused, it is the best watering strategy to keep plants healthy and happy.

Drip has the distinct and unique capability of delivering the exact amount of water that individual plants require. If the irrigation zone has plants that are all of the same water-need classification (like all low-water plants), inline drip grids may be effectively applied. If the irrigation zone has plants of different water needs (like low-water plants mixed with moderate-water plants), individual emitters can be used to address each plant’s water needs directly.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Lose Your Lawn Talks: Spring Schedule Posted

Remove your lawn without tearing it out! Our spring series of free Lose Your Lawn Talks begins this Saturday, February 28th with a talk at Lyngso Garden Materials in Redwood City. Bay-Friendly Qualified Professionals will demonstrate the tools of lawn conversion with the innovative technique of sheet mulching. Following Bay-Friendly practices you’ll learn how to conserve natural resources, reduce pollution, create a vibrant garden, and save time and money.

Attendees receive a free copy of our Bay-Friendly Gardening Guide (retails for 12.00), resources for climate appropriate plant selection and irrigation, and a chance to win raffle prizes. Below is our current schedule of Lose Your Lawn Talks (please note that additional talks may be added).

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Kiss that Kikuyugrass Goodbye

Kikiyugrass from UC IPM
Bay-Friendly recently received an inquiry about the effectiveness of sheet mulching over Kikuyugrass. First off, Kikuyugrass is a warm-season grass that spreads quickly and thrives in areas with moderate temperatures. Because of its extremely vigorous growth habit, it is considered to be a weed in coastal and some inland areas of California; hence the question for how to get rid of Kikuyugrass, which we passed along to our Bay-Friendly Landscape Trainer Stephen Andrews. 

You can indeed sheet mulch over Kikuyugrass. Following are some key points for to consider as well as a link to the UC IPM Pest note on Kikuyugrass.  

1. Prepare the site by mowing or weed whacking as close to the soil surface as possible. Leave all of the cut material in place.

2. To effectively control Kikuyugrass, preparation along the edges of walks, drives, and related areas is critical. Edges must be "cut in" to a depth that will match the grade of the walk or drive when sheet mulching is completed. In this case you will need to cut in approximately 8 inches and then taper back into the project area 18-24 inches. The removed edge material should be dispersed evenly over the project area.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Bay Area Rainwater Catchment Systems


Inspired by the early winter storms, which filled up rain barrels across the Bay Area, we asked folks to share photos of their catchment systems. We've also been amassing our own photos from field visits with Bay-Friendly gardeners and landscape professionals over the years. Below is a collection of these systems which captures the variety of available materials, styles and sizes. 


50-gallon repurposed wine barrel, Novato

50-gallon rain barrel, Alameda

65-gallon rain barrels, Oakland

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Join Our Staff: Executive Director Position Open

We are looking for an individual committed to the Coalition's mission of promoting sustainable landscaping across the Bay Area to join our staff in a leadership role. The Bay-Friendly Coalition's Executive Director is currently open.

The Executive Director (ED) reports directly to the Board of Directors and is responsible for the organization's consistent achievement of its mission, program and financial objectives. The ED ensures ongoing programmatic excellence, and consistent quality of finance, administration, fundraising, communications, and systems. The ED oversees all the operations of the organization, and provides direction to ensure the growth and well-being of the organization within the fiscal constraints of the budget.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Turf Alternative - UC Verde Buffalo Grass

Photo credit: Takao Nursery
Spurred by recent inquiries about the "Bay-Friendliness" of UC Verde Buffalograss, we thought it was time for a post about this drought tolerant lawn alternative. "There should be no question about this," according to our Bay-Friendly Landscape Trainer, Stephen Andrews, "UC Verde Buffalograss IS Bay-Friendly. This turf alternative meets LEED and Green Building Council criteria. Through field trials it has proven to meet sustainability criteria for drought tolerance, low water use, pest resistance, low fertilizer need, and the ability to be resilient to high traffic. The plant material is suitable for both commercial and residential applications." 

Stephen reminds us that as always, it is important to remember the Bay-Friendly principle of Landscaping Locally. "When considering the use of UC Verde, a complete site analysis must be performed to ensure that it's a good fit. Use of the site—playing  field, meadow, turf alternativemust be weighed with habitat considerations, microclimate, and irrigation." Bay-Friendly Designer Susan Morrison tested this turf locally at her home and we asked her to share some of the basics about growing UC Verde Buffalograss in the Bay Area.