PRFCT Tips

Tagged with "Habitat"

Nov Tip1

Closing The Food Loop - Part 1

November 17, 2022

It’s Fall and here comes the Plant Biomass -- leaves, twigs, tumbling grasses, and the last of the fluffy seedheads. Biomass is all the organic stuff your property makes and, in the PRFCT world, gets to keep…all for itself. Plant biomass provides habitat for insects and adds decomposing matter, which makes healthy soil, which feeds healthy plants, which makes more biomass. That’s the way of the food web loop.

We are all hearing about Leave the Leaves, so while we are figuring out how to do that, why not just do it all, and close the loop: save ALL your biomass? Imagine: No biomass sent to the landfill; no fertilizers, mulch, or compost bought in. Nothing your property makes is treated as garbage. Total harmony, perfect balance, major good for the planet, and for you.
Leaves alone can be a challenge to manage, and they degrade quickly, what about the longer lasting stuff: Twigs, branches, even whole trees; how to find a place for them? ARTFULLY!

Leaves: Chop (when dry!) with a mower and leave as many as possible on the lawn. Next batch can go into planting beds, chopped or not. All the rest – compost. Chopping does damage to insects tucked in for the winter, like Fireflies and Luna Moths, so please do keep that in mind.

Twigs: Make habitat piles as ephemeral art. Wrens and Thrushes especially like having such places to hide from predators and nasty weather.

Every place’s pile has its own personality. The bigger a garden, the more biomass it makes. The more habitat it hosts.

Branches: Get them chipped and use them for garden paths and for smothering difficult weeds.

Get inventive! Every fall, every fallen branch, every invasive shrub cut down, a new opportunity.

Trees: Log piles make great dividers and screens, plus habitat for native bees, chipmunks, and snakes. Yes, you really do need snakes, they eat voles.

Stumps: The heart of a Hügel, (the hill in HügelKulture) PRFCT Earth style. Place stumps and funky logs in a shallow hole. Cover with twigs, sod/soil, leaves, compost, whatever needs a place to decompose. Wet it all down well. Plant a cover crop, or finish with an imaginative use of biomass, like more twigs, or leaves. The stump, deep in the center of it all, emanates moisture and feeds the biome. Artful decomposition.

Meadow and Flower Bed Cuttings (late spring): Haystacks! So many wonderful ways to make them– old sticks can get used up inside…also handy for smothering weeds.

Piet

Winter Watch

December 12, 2021

Surely you have heard about leaving the leaves by now.  So, of course, we want to take you to the next level—leaving pretty much everything.  Every seed head of every tree, shrub, grass and flowering plant is a potential food source or shelter for wildlife.  Standing (and resting) vegetation protects the soil and all that lives on or in it. There is a lot of life going on that you can help to make it through the winter. 

So please don’t mow that meadow, don’t chop plants down and remove them from the garden.  Every cut is a wound, and a loss.  Why not see it all differently—less work and, in your newly winter watchful eye, a place full of beauty, and life, and wonder.  

April 9, 2020

The PRFCT Relationship

April 09, 2020

Why not take advantage of this at-home opportunity to get to know your property better -- to work on your relationship? Have you spent quality time with your place, looking and listening? Learning from it. Do you understand and embrace its needs? How do you decide what is best for it? All on your terms?   
 
Go outside and take a good look at every square foot of your place, without judgement. What is going on? What is doing just fine, and what needs you? Appreciate all that is beautiful that happened all on its own. 
 
You and your land have been living together;  is it time you took a vow to be true to it? No cheating.  A relationship based on mutual input, not domination.    
 
What does that mean? This year’s PRFCT Tips will be your guide. 
 
Step One: Review all the maintenance and fertilizer/pesticide treatments you or your professionals have been applying to your property. What are they? Why are they needed?  
Check out their health and environmental effects here:  https://www.beyondpesticides.org/resources/pesticide-gateway
Or email us with questions: info@perfectearthproject.org 
 
Go back outside. Is your property bursting, buzzing and chirping with life? Treasure it. Make that vow: I will do this place no harm. Practice.  
 

The Ten Commitments

September 21, 2019

If the dire news of the climate crisis is making you feel overwhelmed, why not make some promises to a piece of earth. If everyone made their property, or one they frequent, into a natural refuge, there would be much less to worry about.  

Here are some of our promises…send us one of yours.  
 
1. I will think of my place as my friend, my family. I will work with, not against it, and do it no harm. It will be a sanctuary.  
2.  I will let this place keep all that it produces: no biomass will leave the property.
3.  I will make a compost pile, even if I probably won’t turn it.
4.  I will carefully consider everything I bring here—can it be used for a long time, can it be composted or repurposed, does it really need to be plastic? 
5.  I will use no toxic synthetic chemicals. 
6.  I will take a moment to learn about an insect before I decide if I really need to kill it. 
7.  I will plant native plants to provide habitat for insects and birds. 
8.  I will get to know the names of all the plants, animals and insects that live in this place, or at least the big ones.
9.   I will reduce the size of my lawn to just what gets used.  
10.  I will let go a bit, let nature be my collaborator, and help me keep my promises.  
 
Sept 10 TIP

KEEP OR KILL?

September 10, 2019

A friend called recently to ask for our opinion on a backyard situation. A large number of caterpillars were descending from webs in a tree and nibbling on his plants. He called in a tree expert who recommended that the offending tree be cut down and removed. Was this truly the only way to manage the problem?  

Happily, we could tell him to do nothing: keep the tree, and not to worry about the plants. The caterpillars are Fall Webworms, whose webs start showing up in late summer.

The parents are  pretty little white moths. They are native to the US; highly prolific, they lay their eggs in sunny spots on a large variety of host trees. The eggs hatch into the “worms” which weave the nest (same as silk worms). The nests protect them from predators, but they must come out to eat more leaves.  
As it is late in the growing season, the leaves they eat have already done their photosynthetic job and losing some of them to the webworms is no real loss to the parent plant. Many of the caterpillars will in turn become food--for birds and predator insects who need the protein for migrating or overwintering.  

So, just let them be.
Sadly, the people who don’t know about all this may be spraying, pruning, or even chopping down a whole tree.  Compare that to what a few little caterpillars can do. 
 
Note: Our last tip mentioned that milkweed doesn’t provide resources for anything but Monarch butterflies. This is not true, there are a large number of butterflies, bees and insects that benefit from milkweed, and I was quickly brought to task by some of our well informed readers, many thanks to them. Here’s more https://www.xerces.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/Wings_sp11_milkweed.pdf 

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