Garden Club – Birds

March Meeting: There was a good turnout for the March 18 meeting. The meeting’s theme was for the birds… that is, our feathered friends in our area. Garden Club member, Karl Kuhn, an avid “birder” in Niguel Shores, gave a wide-ranging presentation, with photos, of interesting birds (not to mention “Big Bird”), many of which frequent our neighborhoods, either as visitors in their migration, or as happy residents. His presentation prompted many questions from the audience about the nesting and feeding habits of our avian friends…and no, there isn’t much we can do about the noisy crows!

As an added bonus, we heard from Jessina Peterson, Shores resident, who has a passion for bluebirds, and spoke, about methods for attracting bluebirds, finches, hummingbirds and others. Habitat and appropriate feeding are critical to attracting these feathered friends.

Coming up in April: We’re going on an outing! A busload of members, friends and guests will travel to Beverly Hills to visit Greystone Mansion. Built in 1927 by legendary oil tycoon Edward L. Doheny and perched in the storied and scenic hills of one of the most elegant neighborhoods in America, Greystone Estate is a Beverly Hills and Los Angeles treasure, recognized since 1976 as a historic landmark in the national registry of Historic Places.

Following the tour, a visit to the Farmers’ Market next to CBS City will provide a pleasant respite and a wide variety of eating choices. Afterwards, a snooze on the bus while leaving the driving to our wonderful driver.

Veggie Gardening: If you haven’t attempted growing vegetables, and would like to give it a shot, here are some basics to consider before you buy your first seed packet: Do you have enough sun exposure? Vegetables love the sun. They need at least six hours of full sun every day, and preferably eight.

Know your soil. Most soil can be enriched with compost and be fine for planting, but some soil needs more help. Vegetables must have good, loamy, well-drained soil. Check with your local nursery or local cooperative extension office about free soil test kits so that you can assess your soil type.

Placement is everything! Avoid planting too near a tree, which will steal nutrients and shade the garden. In addition, a garden close to the house will help to discourage wild animals from nibbling away your potential harvest.

Decide between tilling and a raised bed. If you have poor soil or a bad back, a raised bed built with nonpressure-treated wood offers many benefits. Vegetables need lots of water, at least 1 inch of water a week.

These are the essential tools: spade, garden fork, soaking hose, hoe, hand weeder, and wheelbarrow (or bucket) for moving around mulch or soil. It’s worth paying a bit extra for quality tools. (And don’t forget the Tylenol for those aching muscles the next morning!)

Gardeners, I think, dream bigger than emperors. —Mary Cantwell

—Morrie Meadow

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