b'GardeningWhether our garden is in a window box or on a large farm, many of us enjoy growing our own vegetables, fruits, fl owers and herbs.By using eff ective gardening techniques, we can produce plants to be proud of while preserving the soil, enhancing the absorption of rainfall, and protecting local streams and ponds from sediments and chemicals.Start by picking the right spot for planting.Choose a sunny location with good natural drainage.Whenever possible, avoid sloping areas and drainage channels that let topsoil wash away during heavy rains.If you live close to a dune or a coastal bank, it is important to protect these areas as they provide a buff er to waves-induced erosion and fl ooding. American beach grass works best within sandy dunes because it is tolerant of salt spray, exposure to wind and waves, and accumulations of sand, and it has a thick root system that help build up and stabilize windblown sediment.The roots of plants such as dusty miller, beach pea and seaside goldenrod also stabilize and build up sand dunes.Bayberry,Virginia rose and beachplum are good on back dunes and on the top of coastal banks as they are adapted to coastal environments and can tolerant to salt spray.As always, check with the Chatham Conservation Commission prior to undertaking new projects near the coastline to be sure you have the proper authorization.If you are landscaping the area of your septic system it is important to know the exact locations of all the septic system components and to landscape it is such a ways that you dont need to dig up your entire garden if repairs are necessary.It is particularly important to use native plants to eliminate the need for watering which can interfere with the eff ective functioning of your leachfi eld. It is important to choose plants that have non-invasive roots and that provide coverage over your septic system throughout the entire year.Low maintenance ground covers or wildfl owers or shallow rooted perennials are good choices. Check with the Health Department for a list of appropriate plants that can be used over leaching fi elds.WateringWater is crucial for good plant establishment. All newly planted areas need to receive approximately 1 of water per week during the growing season from April through October. By using native plants that are adapted to the sandy soils found on Cape Cod the need for watering can be largely reduced once the plant is established.Because the soils are so permeable and do not hold water well, plants that are not drought tolerant will require large amounts of water and will be more susceptible to insect and disease problems.A good two inches of mulch will help reduce the loss of soil moisture.Irrigation systems require a permit from the Chatham Water Department and if the system is to be installed in an area under the Conservation Commissions jurisdiction, a wetlands permit will be needed as well.Irrigation should be planned at least 10 feet away from the edge of the leaching fi eld of your septic system.If you already have an irrigation system, be sure it has a rain sensor to avoid unnecessary watering.Using a water collection system, such as a rainbarrel, is a good way to obtain water while reducing your water bill.With an average of 28 inches of rain falling on a 1000 square foot roof, over 15 thousand gallons of rainwater can be generated during the growing season.If not collected this rainwater can runoffas stormwater possibly causing erosion and pollution and is not available to replenish the aquifer. Look for local or county programs where rainbarrels are off ered at reduced price.Page 45bluepages.indd 45 8/26/2009 1:52:24 PM'