How green does Shawn's garden grow? Very green! - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

How green does Shawn's garden grow? Very green!

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Going green can mean a lot of things - from recycling to driving a fuel-efficient car.

News 8's Shawn Styles is going green in his garden. He's sharing his organic method of growing herbs and vegetables and how it benefits his health and the health of the planet.

Our day starts with Molly in the garden feeding the fish so they'll eat the mosquito larva and to put out seed to attract the birds. That works out pretty good because birds are hungry and always looking for food. Another key is running water.

My father designed his gardens to create an eco-system, that's what we've done, planting what will attract what we want. The flora is water wise but colorful and a food source. Two of those are bougainvillea and buddleia for the monarch butterflies.

That's part of the reason there's so many. The other - milkweed - it's the only plant monarchs lay their eggs on and that the caterpillars will eat, which leads to the cycle of life: egg to caterpillar, caterpillar chomping away, jay-hooking to the chrysalis and then to butterfly. This wouldn't be possible with pesticides which kill bad and good bugs.

Besides monarch butterflies, tiger swallowtail will make an appearance, as well as the painted lady which is smaller and very quick.

By letting Mother Nature help, we don't have to worry about residue on our dogs another key is good soil. Organics from the kitchen end up being composted and that is spread around to provide the nutrients for brilliant color: Lion's tail that explodes in orange, the giant and fragrant angels trumpet, plumeria that seems to bloom non-stop from spring to fall, yellow daisy's that give in multiple ways and sunflowers. The seeds they drop turn into volunteers and what's left the other birds will eat

It's the combination of plants, beneficial insects and the creatures who visit that help make our garden green.

Additionally, by not using any pesticides I don't have to worry about harmful residue on any of the vegetables and herbs we cook with throughout the year.

Shawn's Green Garden Tips

  • Compost leaves and organics from the kitchen. The compost helps as a soil conditioner, a fertilizer, and works as a natural pesticide for the soil.
  • Landscape with plants that are natural to our region or do well in a semi-arid climate.
  • Utilize natural predators in your garden to control invasive insects. This will allow you to remove pesticide from your gardening routine.
  • Select annuals the will provide volunteers for next year.
  • Amend your soil using natural fertilizers.
  • Provide a food and water source for birds, they will help control invasive insects.
  • Landscape with plants that will attract nectar eaters as well as food for their larva.
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