Waterwise Blog

Waterwise Blog

Gardening in Southern California

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sliced tomatoes on parchment paper

Too Many Tomatoes?

It’s tomato time!  My kitchen is overflowing in tomatoes – yellow, red, round, huge, grape shaped, gold with black shoulders (the fantastic ‘Indigo Kumquat’), and so many more. I always overplant tomatoes. Why? Because I LOVE TOMATOES! By time I plant the varieties I teach with in seed starting workshops,...


I Hate to Harvest – A True Confession

I love to grow vegetables but I hate to harvest. I love to start start vegetables from seed. Even before the first set of leaves unfurl, I’m dreaming about planting each seedling in my raised garden beds.  I carefully labeled everything so I can track who grows where… I visit...


Let’s Plant! Seed Starting Workshops 2020

https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/451363110th Anniversary Series Since 2010, I’ve taught hundreds of people to grow their own vegetables, herbs, and flowers from seed In this workshop, you’ll learn my easy, hands-on methods and secret tips for growing and feeding your family wholesome, organic produce from your backyard or your balcony. I brings the seeds...

Mulch vegetables with straw

April is the Time to Plant Warm Climate Vegetable Gardens

Yeah! It’s time to plant summer veggies in warm climate vegetable gardens. Tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and other summer vegetables are good to plant now, whether from seed or from seedling. Wait until the end of the month when the soil is warmer before planting basil, pumpkins, and squashes. Every year, I...

California poppies

Go Gently into the Wildflowers

California is on Fire! Southern California’s hillsides are ablaze with gorgeous tapestries of wildflowers – orange poppies and ground pinks, golden fiddlenecks and bluebells, blue-eyed grass and native violets (they smell like peaches!). There are so many kinds of flowers – more blooms than anyone can remember seeing before! Those...


Let’s Plant! Seed Starting Workshops

— Join Nan for a hands-on workshop near you — Tickets must be purchased in advance to reserve your spot and supplies. March 16, 2019, 9:30 am to noon, Community Roots Farm, Oceanside, CA, Purchase tickets March 17, 2019 , 12 pm to 2:30 pm, Bancroft Center For Sustainability, Spring Valley,...


Keyhole Gardens – a new take on growing vegetables with less water

A few months back, I did a garden consultation for a couple who asked me about building a keyhole garden in their backyard. Keyhole garden? It comes from Africa, they said, and it’s supposed to be a highly productive method for growing vegetables, yet uses very little water. High productivity...


Za’atar – The All Purpose Middle Eastern Spice Mix

Did you know that Judaism is rooted in agriculture?  Many Jewish holidays have agricultural roots: Passover at  planting, Sukkot at harvest, Tu b’shvat marks bud break in spring, and so on.  Plants and trees, fruits and nuts are woven throughout the Torah, both literally and figuratively. Oreganum syraca, Za’atar Oregano,...


The Year’s First Seed Starting Workshop is a Big Success

it was cold and rainy, but that didn’t’ stop anyone from showing up for the year’s first seed starting workshop one evening last week at the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Restaurant in Old Town San Diego. We all knew that spring is just around the corner and with it, spring and...


Turn the Water ON

This is the time of year when I’m usually telling people (in the strongest terms) to turn their irrigation systems off.  Problem is, we’ve had almost no rain this winter.  Our rainfall total is far below normal. While the weather is warm, sunny, and beautiful for us humans, it isn’t...


The Last Harvest of Summer

Pumpkins, just in time for Thanksgiving Sorta sweet, sorta sad… the last harvest of summer.


Expressive beauties: Peruvian lilies are low-maintenance flowers with a lot of personality

I remember clearly when I saw my first Peruvian lily. It was the early 1980s, and I was in graduate school in Santa Barbara studying the tiny plankton that swim in our oceans. At the end of another weeks-long research cruise, my then boyfriend (now husband) met me at the...