June 2020
Soil is the foundation of all life on Earth! Attend one of OCSCD's online educational programs, or engage with our many environmental education partners throughout Ocean County. Experience nature at its roots!
Unique Plants & Wildflowers of Barrens and Bogs
June 4, 10:00-11:00am
Hosted by the Pinelands Commission
OCSCD's Education Outreach Specialist, Becky Laboy, will introduce you to an array of beautiful wildflowers, adapted to survive in the challenging conditions of barrens and bogs. The varied habitats of the Pinelands are home to unique plants such as Pink Lady's Slipper, Golden Heather, Sand Myrtle and Sundews. Hosted by the NJ Pinelands Commission, this program is one of many in a weekly "Pinelands Speaker Series". You can watch "live" via the Pinelands Commission's YouTube page. Read more about the Pinelands Speaker Series through the Pinelands Commission's Press Release. For questions, contact Paul Leakan, info@pinelands.nj.gov
Combating Climate Change with a Jersey-Friendly Yard
July 23, 10:00-11:00am
Hosted by the Pinelands Commission
As climate change manifests across the planet you may be experiencing gardening challenges in your own backyard. Becky Laboy, OCSCD's Education Outreach Specialist, and Karen Walzer, Public Outreach Coordinator for Barnegat Bay Partnership, will show you how to use the Jersey-Friendly Yards website, tools and resources to select appropriate plants for your sandy soil, turn your yard into a sponge and provide habitat for wildlife. Hosted by the NJ Pinelands Commission for their weekly Pinelands Speaker Series. Watch "live" via the Pinelands Commission's YouTube page. For questions, contact Paul Leakan, info@pinelands.nj.gov
Soil is the Foundation of Your Garden
Flowers bring us joy! You don't need a green thumb to grow beautiful flowers, you just need to choose the right plant for your soil. First, determine your soil's texture - how much sand, silt and clay comprise your soil? Then, determine the moisture content of your soil - is it well-drained, medium-drained or wet? Finally, what is your soil's pH - is it very acidic, slightly acidic, neutral, slightly alkaline, or very alkaline? If you are not sure, send a soil sample from your garden to the Rutgers Soil Testing Lab. Are you planting in an area that has full sun, is partly shady, or very shady? Last step - select your plants using the Jersey-Friendly Yards Plant Database based on the conditions in your yard. Happy Planting! Photo: Beebalm ( Monarda spp.)
Plant Suggestions for Sandy, Well-drained, Slightly Acidic Soil
Blue Giant Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) is a long-blooming, sun-loving perennial herb known for its bright lavender-blue flowers and fragrant leaves. The flowers are a good nectar source for bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. 
Woodland Sunflower (Helianthus divaricatus) is a wildlife-friendly plant that provides nectar and pollen for native butterflies and bees, and seeds for a variety of birds. It can grow up to 5ft tall. Use it in sunny or shady borders.
Eastern Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) is a shade-loving, wildlife-friendly perennial with attractive foliage and uniquely shaped flowers. This plant is a hummingbird magnet and a host plant for the Columbine Duskywing Butterfly.
For more information about education programs and events pertaining to soil, water, conservation and native gardening, please contact Becky Laboy, Education Outreach Specialist, Ocean County Soil Conservation District: education@soildistrict.org .