Be wise about the bay when it comes to gardening

Gardening practices here do affect the Chesapeake

October 03, 2011|By LISA PREJEAN |
  • Shanon Wolf, a Master Gardener who chairs the demonstration garden project at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center in Sharpsburg, tends to a Bay-Wise garden at the center.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

The Master Gardeners Bay-Wise program educates people living in the Chesapeake Bay watershed area about gardening practices that keep the bay healthy and productive.

The program is free and provides valuable information to area homeowners, said Ruthanne Mills, committee chair of the Bay-Wise Program for Washington County.

"I think it's just good stewardship of our land, taking care of our environment," Mills said.

Residents can schedule a visit from Master Gardeners, who will answer questions and can certify yards and gardens as bay-friendly.

According to a pamphlet produced by the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension service, Bay-Wise can help a home-owner:

  •   Fertilize wisely and only when needed.
  •   Control storm-water runoff.
  •   Water efficiently.
  •   Mulch appropriately.
  •   Compost indoors and out.
  •   Recycle yard waste.
  •   Manage pests with Integrated Pest Management practices.
  •   Select appropriate plants, with emphasis on native plants.
  •   Encourage wildlife.
  •   Protect the waterfront.

Once a yard is certified as Bay-Wise, the home-owner receives a plaque to display.

For more information about the Bay-Wise program, go to

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