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As time permits, I will be adding more helpful pamphlets and guides. As a Soil Scientist, who has worked over 30 years for USDA, Natural Resource Conservation Service, I have many helpful guides to those who want to learn more about soils and plants.

  • Coming Soon
    The Use of Soil Surveys and Information for the Home Owner
    How to Determine the Texture of your soil
    How Much Water should I put on my soil?
    What is a House Plant vs Outdoor Plant?

Bringing Conservation to Your Back Yard

This is a series of pamphlets developed by USDA, Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). Conservation Practices are another way to Go Green and at the same time enjoy the plant and wildlife in you back yard.  As a Soil Scientist, I can assist you in any aspect of creating beauty in your back yard. Click on any headings and you can download any topic. Also, I am creating a 2 page condensed version.

Backyard Conservation-Farmers and ranchers, and many homeowners, are making progress in natural resource protection. You can join their conservation tradition, right in your own backyard.

Basic Information on Subjects "In Your Backyard"
Composting ~ Mulching ~ Nutrient Management ~ Pest Management ~ Pond ~ Terracing ~ Tree Planting ~ Wetland ~ Wildlife

Composting-All organic matter eventually decomposes. Composting speeds the process by providing and ideal environment for bacteria and other microorganisms. The final product, humus or compost, looks and feels like fertile garden soil This dark, crumbly, earthy-smelling stuff works wonders on all kinds of soil and provides vital nutrients to help plants grow and look better.

Mulching-Mulching is one of the simplest and most beneficial practices you can use in the garden. Mulch is simply a protective layer of material that is spread on top of the soil. Mulches can either be organic-such as grass clippings, straw, bark chips, and similar materials--or inorganic-such as stones, brick chips, and plastic. Both organic and inorganic mulches have numerous benefits:


  • protects the soil from erosion
  • conserves moisture, reducing the need for frequent waterings
  • maintains a more even soil temperature
  • prevents weed growth
  • keeps fruits and vegetables clean
  • keeps feet clean, allowing access to garden even when damp
  • provides a "finished" look to the garden

Nutrient Management-Twenty nutrients have been identified that are required by plants. Of these, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are required in relatively large amounts. Nitrogen is associated with lush vegetative growth, adequate phosphorus is required for flowering and fruiting, and potassium is necessary for durability and disease resistance. Calcium, sulfur, and magnesium are also required in comparatively large quantities. These six nutrients are referred to as macronutrients.

Pest Management- Pest management can be on of the greatest challenges to the home gardener. Yard pests include weeds, insects, diseases, and some species of wildlife. Weeds are plants that are growing out of place. Insect pests include and enormous number of species from tiny thrips, that are nearly invisible to the naked eye, to the large larvae of the tomato hornworm. Diseases are caused by fungi, bacteria, viruses, and other organisms, some of which are only now being classified. Poor plant nutrition and misuse of pesticides also can  cause injury to plants. Slugs, mites, and many species of wildlife such as rabbits, deer, and crows can be extremely destructive.

Backyard Pond- Backyard ponds and water gardens are for birds, butterflies, frogs, fish, and you and your family. These ponds are typically small, sometimes no larger than 3 to 4 feet in diameter. They may be built in barrels or other patio containers. Water is effective in drawing wildlife to your backyard. It is also a natural, relaxing, and scenic addition that can provide interest and enjoyment. (Download: Our 2 Page Version or Original 4 Page Version)

Terracing- Terraces can create several mini-gardens in your backyard. On steep slopes, terracing can make planting a garden possible. Terraces prevent erosion by shortening the long slope into a series of shorter, more level steps. This allows heavy rains to soak into the soil rather than run off and cause erosion.

Tree Planting- Trees in your backyard can be home to many different types of wildlife. Trees can also reduce your heating and cooling costs, help clean the air, add beauty and color, provide shelter from the wind and the sun, and add value to your home. Before planting a tree, ask yourself these questions:

  •  What purpose will this tree serve?
  •  Is the species appropriate for your area?
  •  How big will it get?
  •  What is the average life expectancy of the tree?
  •  Does it have any particular ornamental value such as leaf color or flowers and fruits?
  •  Does it have any particular insect, disease, or other problem that may reduce its usefulness?
  •  How common is this species in your neighborhood or town?

  •  Is the tree evergreen or deciduous?

Wetland- A mini-wetland in your yard can provide many of the same benefits that natural wetlands offer. A mini-wetland can replace the important natural functions of wetlands that may have been lost when your community was developed.

Wildlife- Habitat is a combination of food, water, shelter, and space arranged to meet the needs of wildlife. Even a small yard can be landscaped to attract birds, butterflies, beneficial insects, and small animals. Trees, shrubs, and other plants provide shelter and food for wildlife.








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