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OUR GROWING PRACTICES

What is sustainable? Sustainability rests on the principle that we must meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Therefore, stewardship of both natural and human resources is of prime importance. Sustainable farmers maximize reliance on natural, renewable, and on-farm inputs integrating three main goals--environmental health, economic profitability, and social and economic equity.

Organic Gardening
Organic gardening is growing food without the use of petrochemical pesticides, herbicides and inorganic fertilizers that pollute our soil and water. It relies on the use of beneficial insects, diversity of plants, and the use of compost to supply the soil with nutrients.

Native Plants and Trees
Planting native plants and trees is one of the best ways to work with, rather than against, nature. By matching plant species to your particular area you will have plants and trees that take less care and energy and will be healthier than exotic species. Another benefit is that native birds, insects, and other wildlife have evolved with native plant species and are able to use the fruits, nectars and habitat these plants and trees provide.

Backyard Composting
Backyard composting is a method of returning organic waste back into a nutrient rich soil amendment. Good compost contains huge food resources that plants need to grow. Ultimately, compost improves plant health by supplying nutrients to the soil. There are three methods of composting: hot, cold or trenching, and good compost can be achieved by using any of the three.

Drip Irrigation
Drip irrigation is a controlled, slow application of water that flows under low pressure through plastic pipe or hose laid along each row of plants. The water drips out of tiny holes that are made in the hose wall or from fittings called emitters that are plugged into the wall at proper spacing. Soil moisture remains constant, and air is always available. By delivering water directly to plants, little is lost to evaporation or runoff so this technique is very water efficient. A variety of emitters allow the proper amount of water to be delivered to each individual plant. It is one of the best techniques for watering gardens, fruit trees, vines and container plants.

Mulch
Mulch protects the soil by helping it retain moisture, suppresses weeds and insulates plants from extreme temperatures. Any material such as wood chips, straw, nut shells, paper, sawdust, leaves, seaweed, grass clippings or compost can be used as a mulch. Mulching is a way to recycle materials that might otherwise be discarded and simultaneously improve your soil.

What is Integrated Pest Management?
Integrated pest management (IPM) is an ecosystem-based strategy that focuses on long-term prevention of pests or their damage through a combination of techniques such as biological control, habitat manipulation, modification of cultural practices, and use of resistant varieties. Here at Native Springs Nursery we use only organic pesticides when necessary.

Why do we encourage and promote the use of native plants and trees in our gardens and landscapes?
Because they are fascinating, superbly functional and immensely beautiful. There is an incredible variety of native plants, something for every soil and moisture condition. There is the sugar pine a magnificent tree with huge pine cones, wood sorrel with its pale pink trumpets above masses of clover like leaves and scarlet monkey flower with brilliant red flowers. Some native plants can be extremely drought tolerant and therefore very valuable in the water conscious garden. Yet other natives can be used in and around ponds and other seasonally soggy areas. Native plants create seasonal interest and attract wildlife providing an ecologically friendly way to make your garden a habitat for birds, butterflies, frogs, toads, lizards and a myriad of insects and native pollinators as well. And yes native plants and trees can be relatively care free if you take the time to choose well and match the plant to the environment. When you plant locally appropriate native plants you can also skip a lot of the fertilizers because for the most part they just don’t need them.

What is inviting to wildlife also benefits the broader environment.
Gardening as a form of ecological restoration. The choices we make in our yard, whether it’s a half acre or a small back patio, can make a big difference to wildlife and to the environment in general. When you use native plants in your landscape I think you help create a buffer between humans and wildlife by providing forage and shelter for the varied assortment of critters that live all around us. Use of local native plants make useful and beautiful gardens that help restore ecosystems lost or fragmented. We can all become backyard restorationists.

Recycle and Re–use
Items that are normally thrown away can be used in the garden. Paint–stirring sticks and old forks can be used to display vegetable seed packets. A broken pot can be a toad house. An old chair or table can hold container plants. Make your garden fun and whimsical and a joy to visit.

Rigid, black plastic pots that bring plants into your garden can be returned to nurseries for growers to re–use.

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