The Redway Feed Help Desk answers visitors’ questions about gardening and such. If you have a question you’d like to see tackled by the Redway Feed crew, contact us with your question, then keep an eye on the Help Desk section of the site and maybe you’ll see it answered here!

Humboldt Organic Gardening Tips

Humboldt Organic Gardening Tips

Organic gardening in Humboldt County can be tricky. There are various climates in our county. Some gardening climates are seashore gardening (or influenced by the salt air); some are mountainous gardening climates; others enjoy warm protected valleys. So there is no one method for organic gardening in Humboldt County.

Actually, every yard or farm is unique with more than one eco-system within it. You might find gardening on the south side of your property to be significantly different than gardening on your North side. We all have unique different sub-eco systems within our gardening area.

Below are some organic gardening tips that are general in nature, but before you try them, you might want assess their value in your unique gardening area.

  1. Planting caraway loosens compacted soil. So if you have a “hard-pan” patch, plant some caraways seeds and then next season, amend the soil when it’s easier to work (by the way, compost the caraway at the end of its season).
  2. Plant garlic near blueberries to help keep the plants free of Japanese Beetles and Aphids.
  3. Not all bugs are bad for a garden – encourage good bugs like Ladybugs and they will help keep the detrimental bugs at bay. Ladybugs feed on aphids and a single adult can eat 5,000 aphids in its lifetime! They also east mealy bugs and spider mites as well as the eggs of potato beetles and European Corn Borer. Caraway, dill, fennel, scented geraniums and dandelions are just a few of the plants that attract ladybugs (look for bright orange stuff on your plants, that’s Ladybug eggs!).
  4. Water in the early morning because generally the wind is lower (so the water doesn’t blow away) and it’s cooler so the water doesn’t evaporate. It’s best to water early, low and long about once a week.
  5. Yellowing of plant leaves is more often a sign the plant is lacking magnesium rather than lacking water. Seaweed plant feed is a good source of magnesium.
  6. Feverfew planted around roses tends to keep the Aphids away. Planting marigolds around tomato sets also keeps bugs away.
  7. To help prevent “damping off” in seedlings, sprinkle the top of your potting mix with cinnamon – it’s a natural fungicide.
  8. Powdery mildew makes plants look awful and it isn’t good for them either. Mix one part milk to nine parts water and spray it in plants once a week to keep it away.
  9. White grubs can be a problem in the lawns and gardens around Humboldt County. Keep their numbers down by aerating the ground so it drains well, this will discourage females from laying their eggs and it keeps the moss down too.
  10. Wait until the ground freezes before applying mulch OVER your plants. Mulch acts as an insulator and prevents freeze-thaw cycles over the winter. If your ground doesn’t freeze, the mulch will still act as a weed control agent if you put the mulch around the plants not ON them.

Healthy Dog Food

Healthy Dog Food


Selecting a good dog food is the first step to a healthy, happy dog.  Sometimes people feed their dog the same food every day without even thinking about whats in it, and it doesn't seem to be hurting the dog.  But your dog’s food may be affecting it’s health more than you realize.  Dogs can't tell us if their tummy hurts or the food doesn't agree with them or their bones are developing correctly, so it's important to pick a food known to make you dog healthy and happy.


There is a Pet Food Law


Nearly all the dog food packages say it's healthy so how are you to know which one is an which one is not heathy for your dog?  There is a law that requires all pet foods have life sustaining nutrients in them before being put on the market — but that doesn't mean it's healthy dog food.  Junk food will keep humans alive too but that doesn't mean it will keep us healthy!


Certified Healthy Dog Food


 What should be in your dog's food? The answer is not simple.  But there are some basic rules to follow.  An organization called The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) can help you determine what is healthy. The AAFCO sets a minimum standard for dog foods of 18% protein and 5% fat - which are two of the most important ingredients. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has official authority over regulating dog food, this AAFCO quality check is a good way to determine if your dog food will give your dog a balanced diet, so if a dog food package has a banner that says “Formulated to meet the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile.” that helps insure that the manufacturer has gone above and beyond to make a quality dog food. But even this label does not completely guarantee the healthiest meal for your animal.


Which is Healthier - Cheap or Expensive Dog Food?


There are some reasons to be cautious of many cheap dog foods. A lot of the pet food industry is actually an extension of the human food industry.  So sometimes at the slaughter house, all the parts of an animal that can't be packged for humans, is used for pet foods.  This can include intestines, hooves, or other unappealing and maybe even diseased parts of a farm animals.  This is not the healthiest choice for your dog.  Read the ingredients on the side of the package and look for "vague" ingredients  such as 'poultry by-products'.  What is that do you suppose?  It would be better if it said "made from free-range chicken meat".  Also, just because a dog likes how the food tastes does not mean it's nutritious.  Reading labels is tricky because dog foods can be labeled as 'Beef Flavor' and contain no beef at all!  And just buying the expensive dog food doesn't guarantee healthy dog food either.


One Healthy Brand Dog Food for All Dogs?


Remember too that which kind you should buy for your dog depends also on its size, age, and breed.  Today you can buy dog food designed for puppies, adults,  seniors or even diet formula's. And there is also the issue of which one your dog likes the best — just like humans dogs have favorite foods, so they prefer some brands over others (usually it is not the one filled with meat by-products!).


A General Healthy Dog Food Rule


In general, 'Premium' foods may be more effective at getting the good stuff to your dogs than cheaper stuff. They probably won't have the 'By-Products' some cheaper dog foods have. 'Natural' and 'Organic' foods generally don't have these by-products either.  Those by-products are know to cause allergies and other problems in pets. Dog foods labeled 'Hypoallergenic' contain ingredients with more nutritional value which are less likely to put your dog's immune  system into overdrive - which they say may be what causes allergies.


What if Your Dog Doesn't Like the Healthy Stuff


Ok, once you find the healthy dog food, what do you do if your dog doesn't like it?  Well remember some people prefer potato chips rather than peas and dogs might like the junk better too.  If your dog turns up a nose at the new healthy dog food, try switching to the healthy food gradually - maybe mix it half an half for a few days and eventually switch over to all healthy dog food. 


Other Ways to Know What Your Dog is Eating

There is one thing you can do to guarantee that you know exactly what your dog is eating; You can make your own dog food. If you have the time and the will, this method takes all of the doubt out of what you are feeding your dog. There are plenty articles and even whole books on how to do this.  Caution:  this does not mean just give them the scraps off your table!  If you have any doubts or concerns about what is or isn't healthy for dogs to eat, you can ask your vet or come talk to us at Redway Feed.  We read the labels and love having healthy dogs too!

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