Fertilizer: Go Native. Save the Planet.

High Tech High Blog Series: Blog 6 of 7

What comes to mind when you read the word “fertilizer?”  Lawns? Farms? Family garden projects? What about water pollution and dead zones?

It’s hard to believe a substance famous for helping plants flourish in one environment can destroy other environments only a few miles away in our lakes, rivers and ocean.

Fertilizers are made up of mostly nitrogen and phosphorus  which, when applied sparingly and responsibly, can create a healthy, strong plant. But when overuse and over watering cause these compounds to flow into other areas, they cause aquatic plants to grow out of control and overrun their delicate ecosystems. 

This is Where YOU Come In. 

native-plants water conservation fertilizerYes, YOU and everyone with a lawn or garden can help end fertilizer pollution.  It takes a lot of work to keep nonnative plants alive in Southern California, because those plants natively thrived in a much wetter, more fertile environment. Instead of breaking out the hose and fertilizer spreader, consider the many beautiful and delicate native plants that love the Southern California heat.



These plants love the San Diego climate as much as you do:

– Miniature Hollyhock                     – White Sage

– California Lilac                            – Wooly Blue Curls

– Manzanita                                   – Desert Mallow

– Baby Blue Eyes                           – Ian Bush

Lemonade Berry                          – Milkweed

 – Sugarbush                                  – Scarlet Bugler

And many more native plants

If you can’t bear to part with your beautiful garden, try a natural fertilizer like recycled coffee grounds (free from Starbucks!) before you heap on the chemicals.  Remember, there’s always a natural alternative. You just have to be willing to find it. 

To research and help prevent further pollution, a class of 50+ students from High Tech High school in Point Loma, California teamed up with San Diego Coastkeeper® to conduct the “Oceans Away Project,” a project designed to help inform the public of the consequences of their daily actions.