Waterwise Blog

Waterwise Blog

Gardening in Southern California

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...

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Za’atar – The All Purpose Middle Eastern Spice Mix

I’m preparing a talk for this weekend on Jewish Gardening at Spavuot, a Jewish health and wellness retreat at the Shalom Institute in Malibu. Few people realize that Judaism is firmly rooted in agriculture.  Many Jewish holidays have agricultural roots:  Passover at  planting, Sukkot at harvest, Tu b’shvat marks bud...

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Free-Range Chicken Gardens by Jessi Bloom

Quick! Click to Win a Cluck

Quick, click this link and you might win a chicken! I’m not kidding.  Timber Press has a contest going that ends February 17th.  If your entry is selected, you win:  A $50 gift card for chicken feed or supplies from McMurray Hatchery (they sell baby chicks)  One chicken coop plan...

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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...

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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...

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The Last Harvest of Summer

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

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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...

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Don’t Plant This: Palm Edition

My husband and I had brunch this morning with Celia and Nate Levy at the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art.  Celia is the travel agent who has done such a fabulous job putting together the garden tour I am leading to Holland and Belgium next May. Brunch was delightful...

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Blades of Glory: Whether catching morning dew or in your morning brew, lemon grass has it covered

It’s summertime and the living is easy, as long as I have a tall glass of lemon grass and mint iced tea to cut the heat. Fortunately, I grow both mint and lemon grass, so I can make ice tea whenever I want — and you can, too. Lemon grass...

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Making Olives, Attempt #2

Last year at this time, I bought olives with the idea that I would salt cure them, much like I saw in France a few years ago.  My French friends salted black olives, put them in perforated plastic bags, then hung them from tree branches.  As the salt drew the...

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That one perfect moment

A clouldess giant sulphur butterfly (Phoebis sennae) stops to sip nectar from Salvia madrensis, forsythia sage

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Several tiny LED lights go into a single fixture like this one from Kichler

LEAD the Way With Outdoor LED Lighting

Move over halogen bulbs, the new bulbs on the block are revolutionizing the world of outdoor lighting.   LEDs, the light emitting diodes that illuminate our car break lights, alarm clocks, and our household electrical appliance, are exploding into our gardens. LEDs are so energy efficient that the State of California...

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