Kim Lewand Martin interviews Mike Garcia of Enviroscape L.A.
As you know, this month our Everyday Eco-Habit is Going Water-LESS Outdoors. As the Landscape Design Coordinator for Enviroscape LA, what would you recommend for our Everyday People to do to help reduce their water usage Outdoors?
The one big take-a-way that everyone can do TODAY is to plant a Native plant. If your yard can handle it, plant lots of native. There are so many reasons to plant native. One of the biggest reasons to plant Natives is that they practically live on water they get from winter rains (once they are mature). More than this, Native plants attract pollinator insects like bees and butterflies. Native plants help to build better soils and actually attract good bugs to our soil.
I hear that home food forests are a popular new trend to help Go Water-LESS AND provide the freshest, most organic fruits and vegetables possible. Can you explain what a home food forest is and how to start one in their yard?
The idea of creating Food Forests is not new. All civilizations have had food forests of some type. The modern food forest idea has arisen from the Permacuture world. Permaculture is idea of living today without borrowing from tomorrow. Permaculture teaches us to partner with nature and to build upon three main principles….1. People Care 2. Earth Care 3. Future Care (Care for children). Basically, Food Forests are creating beautiful landscapes which are edible. Instead of using ornamental trees for the landscape, you would plant fruit trees such as apple trees and avocados. Instead of a ficus vine, you can plant passion fruit vines. Instead of green hedges, you can plant blueberry bushes. Strawberry plants can be ground cover! It is all irrigated with drip irrigation.
I know you are actively involved in assisting the City of Manhattan Beach to eliminate the use of herbicides and pesticides in city parks. Can you explain the negative impacts of these chemicals and provide us with other options we can use in our yards to help us Go Water-LESS?
A must read book on this subject is called “Kiss the Ground” by Josh Tickell. This book informs us about the government studies which document the history of modern herbicides and pesticides and how pervasive they really are and their damaging impact on human health. Besides human health, these chemicals that are sprayed on our foods are killing our soil. In the early 1970s, Monsanto patented a new weed control molecule called GLYPHOSATE. Glyphosate is commonly known as ROUND UP. Plants creat amino acids to make proteins. Round up prevents a plant enzyme from producing amino acids, shutting down the plant growth and killing the plant. This same chemical bonds to minerals, binding them to and making them unavailable to plants, humans or animals. You can google ‘Misfolded Proteins” and read how it works in detail.
Today, in just the USA alone, about one billion pounds of herbicides, insecticides and fungicides are sprayed on crops. That’s about three pounds per American each year. These chemicals don’t just disappear. They go somewhere and that somewhere is in the air we breathe, the water we drink, our soils, and our food. We interact with all these elements each day, which means that ultimately, these chemicals find a home in our bodies! Numerous studies link chemical exposure to human health and result in such maladies as cancer and brain degenerative diseases!
Can you shed some light on the drought issue in California and explain the future of water usage in California?
Over the past 100 years, waterfall records have been kept and Los Angeles on average will receive just under 15 inches of rain per year. This would make us practically a desert. Most of our water travels hundreds of miles from other states. Over one billion gallons of water are imported to southern California each day! About 20% of all electricity produced in California goes to power pumps which bring us our water. To water water is to waste electricity. Since we receive so little water, we will never be out of a drought. Water has become the new “Oil” Nations already fight over water and legal battles ensue over water in the USA. Our society must educate future generations about how precious water has become. Even though 70% of our planet is covered by water, only 3% of all earth’s water is fresh water and 2/3 of this fresh water is tied up in polar icecaps. We have been reusing the same 1% of water throughout history!
As a Landscape Design Coordinator, can you share with us the top three simple, Everyday Eco-Habits you recommend we all Pledge to adopt this month to Go Water-LESS Outdoors?
1. Plant Native plants which attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies. 2. Plant fruit trees and plants which can nourish you. 3. Watch YouTube videos on drip irrigation and purchase a simple DIY system for your home garden. And remember to avoid pesticides and herbicides. If you must spray, go on Amazon and put into their search engine “Organic weed killer” and you can chose from several options. The organic options are usually made from citrus oils and yes, they really work!
Founder of Enviroscape LA Landscaping
Landscape Design Contractor,
Certified Pond Builder
and Sustainability Specialist.
Phone: (310) 374-1199
Redondo Beach, South Bay, California