Gardening

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, CA, Purchase tickets March 24,…

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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 with little water? That’s my…

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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. Many Jewish traditions incorporate planting and respect for nature,…

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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 so beautiful for plants.  This…

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Nan's Garden Tip #101: Mulching Vegetable Gardens

Want to make your vegetable garden more waterwise?  Here are two suggestions: Switch to drip irrigation Most vegetables dislike having wet leaves. In fact, wet leaves often become mildewed leaves.  Drip irrigation is far more efficient than overhead spray and it keeps leaves dry and mildew free. Mulch with a three-inch thick layer of home-made…

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Tom Sawyer and My New Wall

Is it okay for my blog to quote another blog?  Oh, what the heck! The wonderful Sharon Cohoon, Southern California editor for Sunset Magazine (and the woman I’d like to be when I grow up) wrote about my new garden wall in her blog, Fresh Dirt.   I love what she wrote! When you walk out…

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On the radio this morning

Had a great time doing my quarterly gardening radio gig on KPBS FM 89.5, Public Radio in San Diego. Host Maureen Cavanaugh is a blast to talk with, and the callers had great questions about tomatoes, how to water, the cool weather, and lots more. Click here to listen!

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Living in beauty and privacy

When Maury and Heather Callaghan moved to their newly built Olivenhain home in 2001, they carpeted the two-thirds-acre lot in sod. The New Zealand natives had lived all over the world, most recently in Kentucky where they had a large, woodland garden. Both had gardened with their parents as children. As adults, however, Maury’s business…

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Save water in your garden with my "Canary Test"

People constantly ask me how much and how often to water their plants.  There is no definitive answer.  It depends on your microclimate, the type of soil in your garden, the type of irrigation you use (drip, overhead, etc.) and more. That said, figuring out how to water your plants isn’t all that difficult if…

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Pass When it Comes to Pampas Grass

Ever drive along the roadways of California and notice a huge, fountainy grass with big, feathery, buff-colored plumes?  To the untrained eye, pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana)  looks like a statuesque, beautiful grass, but oh!  Beware! In her wonderful horticultural history, Southern California Gardens, Victoria Padilla tells how in the mid 1800s, Joseph Sexton “the father…

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