New Mexico’s soils typically lack the organic matter necessary to provide sufficient plant nutrients and water retention. Native plants tend to need less organic matter than adapted plants, but most plants benefit from the addition of some organic matter, such as compost, into the soil.
A roof-reliant landscape is not a short-term project that can be quickly accomplished in a weekend. Rather, it takes careful planning and patience to establish such a landscape. By definition, roofreliant landscaping uses plants that (1) can establish themselves within three to five years and (2) can, once established, bounce back quickly after a period of drought. In an ideal roof-reliant landscape, plant material is phased in over the course of several years so that the landscape can fit within a strict water budget3. One example of such a schedule might be:
Mary Perlmutter has a great solution for black spots in roses. The best part about it is that it mainly consists of the readily available ingredients of tomato leaves and onions.
10 Tomato Leaves
1 Medium Size Onion
½ Cup of Rubbing Alcohol
Stick(about the size of a chopstick)
Finely chop that tomato and onion and combine with the alcohol. Allow the mixture to sit overnight. After removing the more diseased leaves from the rose use swab tied to the stick to apply the mixture to the entire plant including the underside of the leaves.
A great tip from organic gardener Marion Hess is to use powdered milk to ward off tomato blight before it gets started. Her ingredients:
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered nonfat milk
½ cup Epsom salts (optional)
1 shovelful of compost (optional)
Sprinkle the powdered milk and optional ingredients into the hole before planting and mix with the surrounding soil. After planting your tomato, mix in an additional 2 tablespoons around the plant. Add a couple of tablespoons of powdered milk to the soil every few weeks taking care not to damage the developing root system.
This month's column defines 28 forms of water, but that's only the tip of an iceberg of definitions for one of the few essential sources of life.