Last updateTue, 25 Oct 2016 5pm

The secret to a healthy garden: Let Mother Nature do the work

Patricia Larenas/Special to the Town Crier
A balanced and healthy yard includes edibles and California native and non-native plants.

By adopting certain practices and designing your garden to include key plant types, you can take advantage of so-called ecosystem services that build a healthy garden.

Ecosystem services are things that nature provides when the right conditions are met. The most important ecosystem services for home gardeners are pest control, pollination, soil fertility through decomposition of organic matter (composting), healthy soil leading to healthy plants, ambient climate control, moisture retention (less watering), food production and even remediation (breakdown) of harmful contaminants. I would add to the list the beauty and sense of well-being that gardens bring to our lives.

Long live the lawn: Los Altos native offers drought-resistant strategies

Bill Steiner’s grass is green, left, even amid the drought. He followed Max Todd’s water and maintainence instructions after having his lawn aerated, Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

Green lawns are not necessarily on the endangered list during the drought, according to Max Todd, a Los Altos native who owns Fairway Lawn Service.

How to keep your home safe this summer

Plant placement is important

Courtesy of Mary Dateo
The tree species pictured above and below make great 40-foot trees but not such great foundation plants.

Buckwheats: Iconic plant of the West

Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Buckwheats are always alive with pollinators and beneficial insects. These plants can range from compact cushions under a foot high to imposing 7-foot-high shrubs.

Submit a Letter to the Editor

The Town Crier welcomes letters to the editor on current events pertinent to Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View. Write to us at 138 Main St., Los Altos 94022, Attn: Editor, or email editor Bruce Barton at bruceb@latc.com. Because editorial space is limited, please confine letters to no more than 200 words. Include a phone number for verification purposes. Anonymous letters will not be printed.

You can also have your say right here at losaltosonline.com – scroll to the bottom of any story to add a comment. 

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