Garden Edge

Clean our your garden shed
As you clean up your fall garden, take a few extra steps and
clear out the pesticides and fungicides in your garden shed or
garage. Chemicals have a short shelf life. If you’ve had something
for more than a year, it probably isn’t good anymore. Get rid of
it.
Clean our your garden shed

As you clean up your fall garden, take a few extra steps and clear out the pesticides and fungicides in your garden shed or garage. Chemicals have a short shelf life. If you’ve had something for more than a year, it probably isn’t good anymore. Get rid of it.

Do not, repeat not, throw it in the garbage can. These are considered hazardous waste and it is unsafe to dispose of them with regular trash. You think, oh well, one little box of fungicide or a bottle of Malathion isn’t going to make a difference. Think again: This stuff increases harmful contaminants in local landfills, pollutes our water and endangers refuse workers.

Besides, it’s a dumb move since you can get rid of all the bad things legally and easily at the Household Hazardous Waste Collection this Saturday in Hollister. The collection takes place from 9 a.m. to noon at the City of Hollister Public Works Yard, 1321 South Street. For more information and collection events in other communities call (831) 636-4110.

As part of the Environmental Protection Agency phase-out of Dursban and Diazinon, the San Benito County Integrated Waste Management is encouraging gardeners to check their garden shelves for these harmful pesticides and take them to the Household Hazardous Waste Collection for proper disposal.

That’s what got me started, looking for Diazinon in my garden shed. I figured, “Why not get rid of all this old stuff” and ended up with 18 packages of assorted pesticides, dog flea spray, ant spray and, yes, a container of Diazinon that I can’t even remember buying.

Then, I kept going. I also lugged out 25 old paint cans, plus paint thinner, anti-freeze, weed killer, two old batteries and three mystery containers missing their labels but smelling suspiciously like liquid fertilizer. Who knows?

How can you tell if something is a Household Hazardous Waste item? Look for signal words on the label such as Poison, Danger, Warning, Caution or a Precautionary Statement.

If you are not sure, take it to the drop off site anyway. With my crazy assortment of chemicals, sprays and mystery containers, the HHW people gathered up everything and congratulated me on cleaning out my shed.

The collection facility in Hollister serves the City of Hollister, San Juan Bautista and unincorporated San Benito County. Santa Clara County residents can call (408) 299-7300 for information on HHW collections in those communities. The HHW Web site is www.hhw.org. By entering your zip code at that Web site, you can find the nearest drop off site and dates that site is open.

If you miss the Hollister collection on Saturday, additional dates this year are Nov. 16, and Dec. 21 from 9 a.m. to noon. Collection dates for 2003 are every third Saturday at the same time, same location.

When delivering your hazardous waste, put the containers in cardboard boxes since whatever you use to transport your stuff is not returned. If you are carting the bottles and boxes in your clothesbasket, for instance, it’s bye bye clothesbasket. At least that was the last I saw of my clothesbasket.

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A Reader Wants to Know: I’ve read that it’s best to stop fertilizing my lemon tree this month. And, I’ve also read that it’s OK to fertilize citrus through winter months. What do you think I should do in San Juan Bautista?

Joan Says: Like you, I’ve heard both versions from so-called “experts.” Here is my view: Fertilizer encourages new growth. New growth on a citrus tree can be badly damaged in a heavy frost. So, why take the chance? Stop applying citrus fertilizer at the end of this month. Start again in April. An added tip: Keep frost protection material handy through the winter months. Our beautiful citrus trees can be badly damaged very easily.

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Tip of the Week: Invest in spring and your garden by planting bulbs, shrubs, trees, perennials, groundcovers and lawn. But bait for snails and slugs to protect new plantings. Also, feed azaleas and rhododendrons with 0-10-10 fertilizer.

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The garden season is winding down but don’t tell that to the Plant a Row for the Hungry gardeners, who donated 65 pounds of tomatoes, chilies, basil and other mixed vegetables to Community Pantry this week. These late-season vegetables bring the total to 4,200 pounds of fruit and vegetables donated so far this year to help the hungry in our community.

If you have fruit or vegetables to share – especially those extra apples that you are ignoring on your tree – take the surplus to the Pantry at 30 Airport Ave., Hollister. Need help? Volunteers can help with the harvest; call (831) 637-0340 or check www.CommunityPantry.com

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