Gardening Resources in Los Angeles County

...Look up your chill hours here. Check out Dave Wilson Nursery’s handy guide to backyard orcharding, Do not plant any grapes that aren’t Pierce Disease resistant. And personally, I would not plant citrus. Vegetable Gardening When to plant: http://www.scribd.com/doc/154952660/What-to-Plant-When-in-Southern-California Our favorite seeds, Franchi Seeds, are available at http://theheirloomseedstore.com/ and at Sunset Nursery in Silver Lak...

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Our Winter Vegetable Garden

...Stagioni” A butterhead type lettuce. Arugula “Rucola da Orto” from Larosa seeds. You can never plant enough arugula, in my opinion. Greens Rapini “Cima di Rapa Novantina” I grow this every year. It’s basically my favorite vegetable–much more flavorful and easier to grow than broccoli. Spigariello broccoli. A large plant resembling kale. You eat the leaves and flowers. Used in “Minestra Nera” or “...

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This Is Why Mint Is Invasive

Mrs. Homegrown here: That’s me pulling out a mint plant from our garden, as part of The Great Renovation. Check out those amazing roots! This container was filled with a 5 inch thick mat of thick, tangled roots. No wonder mint is unstoppable. I adore mint, but we had two big mint plants, and under the new scheme, I’m trying to be more efficient about the way space is used in the yard. So this guy had to go. I thought I’d be di...

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Failed Experiment: Bermuda Buttercup or Sour Grass (Oxalis pes-caprae) as Dye

...cast–and that was exciting– but the color came out when I hand washed and rinsed the shirts. Perhaps it was a half-assed project all along. I had no burning reason to dye with Oxalis–except that it’s thick on the ground right now. Also, Oxalis is rich in oxalic acid, which is supposed to (cough) serve as a built in mordant, helping the plant dye to bind more easily to both plant and animal fibers. Oxalis theoretically yiel...

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More on our gardening disasters

...the standard edibles, we should plant some unusual things this spring, stuff we’ve never grown before, or plants that attract me for some idiosyncratic reason. Fun plants, in other words. Above, I re-posted that picture of the heart-shaped flax bed I created planted back in 2011. Planting a few square feet of flax was not the most practical act in the world, but it was fun. I’d never seen flax growing before, and I wanted to get to k...

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Anagallis monellii : A New Favorite

Last fall we planted Anagallis monellii “Blue Pimpernel” in a bed of mixed flowers and herbs. This plant is neither edible or medicinal, but we hoped the bees would like its many blue flowers. Anagallis monellii is a Mediterranean native, so it is well suited to the California climate, and it follows that it does not need much water. It is perennial in zones 9 to 11 (that’s us), but can be grown as an annual...

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The End of California Citrus?

...and replacing them with fruit trees unrelated to citrus. This follows our stoic, get tough policy in the garden. Planting a tree entails a considerable investment in time. It can take years to get fruit. Why not plant pomegranate instead and let other people worry about citrus diseases? If a pomegranate disease shows up, rip it up and plant something else. Following this approach will eliminate habitat for the psylid and negate the need for pesti...

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Tips on growing great garlic

...lic he ever grew took root accidentally in a compost pile. Pull the garlic cloves apart (leave the skins on) and plant them in the ground with the pointy end up. Nekola suggests planting them with a tablespoon of soybean meal (found at feed stores as animal feed). Nekola also recommended mulch. Let the garlic sprout first, but then pack down at least an inch of straw. Lay your drip tubing under the straw. When to plant varies by location but it’s...

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Least Farvorite Plant:–Heavenly Bamboo–Neither Heavenly nor Bamboo

...ilver Lake Farms came over to rethink the garden. Eying the heavenly bamboo she scowled and demanded, “rip it out,” noting that it was ugly, diseased and caked with Los Angeles smog dust. A few hour later I ripped it out. Needless to say Mrs. Homegrown is dismayed that it takes two experts to confirm something before I’ll listen to her advice. Marital landscaping disputes aside, it’s not that this plant is inherently evi...

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Adopt an Indigo Plant in Los Angeles

...and joining the other growers for a couple of indigo dyeing fiestas. We realize this is a highly local post, but it’s a great idea, and we hope it might inspire some of you to do group growing/harvesting projects in your hometowns. Here’s the 411 from his website, grahamkeegan.com: Indigo pigment grows naturally in the leaves of a large number of plant species from around the world. This plant, Persecaria Tinctoria, also know as Polyg...

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