Four Ocean-Friendly Gardening Tips

Many San Diegans are concerned about keeping our waterways clean. In fact, surveys conducted across San Diego County show that more than 50% of residents believe that pollution of our creeks, lakes, and beaches directly affects them and their families. Yet in many urban areas, water runoff is the #1 source of ocean pollution.

This runoff is largely caused by improper rain collection infrastructure leading to flooding and wasting water that could alternatively irrigate landscapes and replenish groundwater. Read on for our favorite tips to make your yard ocean-friendly and build in proper infrastructure in your garden to do your part!

1. Retain & Recharge: Catch that rain! Using earthwork techniques such as swales or basins can passively rehydrate watersheds and keep the rain on your property long enough to sink into the ground with each rain. Additionally, adding a rain barrel to your gutter is a simple way to protect local water supplies by preventing runoff, prevent flooding and collect water that can be used to irrigate your landscape in warm seasons for free! ⁣

2. Conserve & Divert: Many neighborhoods in San Diego have yard drainage systems such as French drains, weeping tiles, and sub-surface drains intended to carry stormwater from your property to the road or street. However, they are not meant to carry water from other sources such as irrigation runoff or wash water from your property. Because that water is not treated before it reaches our local waterways, it is key to prevent toxic substances and cleaners from running into them.

TIP: When you use water, hose down items away from your yard drain or temporarily cover your drain with a bowl or mat. You can also reduce outdoor water use by using dry methods such as sweeping to clean your yard and patio.

3. Garden Smart: Avoid application of unnatural fertilizers and pesticides, which can run off with the next rain. Instead, opt for organic amendments such as kelp, fish emulsion, blood meal, manure, and compost. Creating healthy soil increases nutrients and permeability to better allow water to absorb instead of leaving your yard. ⁣

TIP: Composting is a great way to put your kitchen and garden wste to use creating a full-circle soil amendment. There are many different techniques to compost. Learn more here or check out our upcoming composting workshops. 

4. Native Plants: Opt for plants and trees native to your area instead of decorative imported species and standard grass. This helps make your yard more water-wise and less thirsty, especially in warm seasons.  ⁣

TIP: Replace traditional grass with mulch and ground-covering native plants to cut down on your water use while keeping your yard beautiful.

Want to learn more? Take our Water Wise Gardening Workshop on Saturday, April 27th in Pine Valley!