Md. Farmers Offer Winter-time Planning Tips to Backyard Gardeners

ANNAPOLIS (Jan. 23, 2010) – Cold weather is here, but spring is just around the corner and now is the time to plan for your gardens. Maryland farmers have initiated a homeowner education campaign, “Take it from Maryland Farmers: Backyard Actions for a Cleaner Chesapeake Bay” to help gardeners by offering wintertime planning tips and online resources available at The campaign highlights the importance of garden planning during the colder winter months for stronger, healthier gardens and lawns in the upcoming growing season and a cleaner Chesapeake Bay. Additional topics include the wise use of fertilizers, trying pesticide alternatives and composting, controlling soil erosion and rainwater runoff, and conserving water.

“Farmers, like homeowners and all residents of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, play an important role in protecting our soil and water resources,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “It is a priority of the O’Malley-Brown Administration to protect the health of the Bay for all to enjoy and to strengthen our family farms. I encourage all Marylanders to take backyard actions that protect the Chesapeake Bay so that we continue to create a smart, green and growing future.”

“Our farmers spend much of the winter doing maintenance and planning upgrades to their operations that will produce strong crops and improve soil and water quality,” said Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance. “Many routine farm-based conservation measures can easily be adapted to backyard lawn care and gardens. With soil testing, rainwater management, and appropriate plantings along with equipment maintenance, homeowners can produce beautiful, thriving, Bay-friendly yards.”

Homeowners and gardeners can log onto to download the informational brochures, listen to the audio pieces, and link to additional resources. They can also call the University of Maryland Home and Garden Information Center toll-free 1-800-342-2507 (outside Maryland 410-531-5573) from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. to speak with a Certified Professional Horticulturist about easy-to-follow, Bay-friendly suggestions for their lawns and gardens.

Take it from Maryland Farmers: Backyard Actions for a Cleaner Chesapeake Bay was developed by the Maryland Department of Agriculture, the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension Home and Garden Information Center, the Maryland Sea Grant along with Maryland farmers through an agricultural awareness group. The program was made possible through grant funding that supports the implementation of the Statewide Plan for Agricultural Policy and Resource Management.

Source: Maryland Dept. of Agriculture

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