What Happens Downstream Matters
Jane Mio continues her work on the Estuary Re-Vegetation Project Site with her teams of local Volunteers.
Saturday, September 17, 2022
Location: South of Laurel St/Broadway bridge above the Mike Fox Skateboard meadow
Volunteers: 5 residents, 2 Downtown Street Team members
Total Volunteer Hours: 14
On September 17, Jane and her intrepid group of 7 volunteers invested 14 hours supporting and nurturing the San Lorenzo River estuary. We’ve seen in the past months their ongoing work of removing invasives, working to control erosion and general clean-up. In September, they readied the land for fall and winter rains. Seed heads from the established native sages were harvested for spreading along the bank to increase the growth of this plant, so important to animals, large and small, winged and not, that live along the river banks.
Watching for seasonal changes in our properties and gardens, such as ripening seed heads, clues us into seasonally appropriate gardening tasks. With the fading of garden greenery, we are reminded of the approaching fall and winter, focusing on putting the garden to ‘bed’ and our hopes for rebirth in the spring.
What’s mulch got to do with it?
Turning and covering your compost pile gives it a final push with the fall warmth. The cover protects all of the goodness in the pile from leaching out in our winter rains. Planting areas cleaned of annuals or fall pruned, along with the layering of a fresh application of mulch and fallen fall leaves, tidy the space but also work to ensure nutrients are provided to the root zone of your perennials. All plant matter below the soil should remain when cleaning up healthy annuals. If you remove the tops, they can be added to your compost. The roots of the annuals will eventually break down, adding more organic matter to your planting areas. The applications of compost ensure the continued link between beneficial bacteria and mycelium/fungi and the breakdown of organic matter, increasing aeration in the planting areas and increasing water retention in our dry summers.
Areas you hope to plant in the coming months can also be prepared this way. Without digging, which disrupts and kills the mycelium in our soils (thus, part of the reason for leaving annual roots in place), the layered compost and leaves will break down and nurture your soil, preparing it for future planting. Be sure to leave plenty of newly fallen leaves under your trees and shrubs so that they, too, benefit. Depending on the optimal times to plant seeds harvested from your garden or introduce/expand plantings of all types, your garden will be ready to receive them with minimal disturbance to your soil.
The San Lorenzo Valley Native Habitat Restoration Program integrates environmental and community needs to restore the riparian habitat and ensure the ongoing health and beauty of the watershed.