Long Island has finally had its first measurable snow of the season – and it seems like a split decision between those of us who want more, and those who will be very grateful if the unseasonably mild weather continues until spring officially arrives on March 20.

For those of us who love to garden and work outside, it is time to look at garden catalogs for new plants and seeds, check to see what tools may need to be replaced, and gaze longingly at our yards.  Perhaps some pruning could be done?

The Long Island Sound Study has a new page on its website, devoted entirely to gardening, and how home gardeners can help ensure the health of Long Island Sound.  The opening statement on the page conveys such as lovely image “Estuaries are the gardens of the oceans – filled with life and vital habitats for so many species, including us!” This phrase conveys the natural beauty of estuaries, as well as the importance of estuaries to the ecosystem.The page can be found at http://longislandsoundstudy.net/get-involved/what-you-can-do/around-your-backyard/sound-gardening/

What home gardeners do has an impact on Long Island Sound, even if the garden is not located directly next to the Sound.  Small streams and brooks feed into rivers, which in turn empty in the Sound.    Pesticides, fertilizers, and pathogens are washed into these streams, or in to storm drains.  Pollution in the sound comes from sewage, whether from sewage treatment plants or septic systems.  Too much nitrogen can cause algal blooms which robs oxygen from the water.  This threatens marine life.

The Sound Gardening page is full of good suggestions and gardening tips for how a home gardener can help.  Organic lawn care, alternatives to traditional large lawns and using native plants are discussed.  Using native plants and creating a diverse habitat in your yard will also help wildlife, and attract birds, providing an extra benefit to the environment.  The site is full of great links and information, and will certainly help armchair gardeners daydream productively until gardening season is upon us again.