Gardening Mistake #12: The Annual That Ate Your Backyard!

...owing annuals, whether they be volunteers or valued vegetables, to overrun the garden and smother your perennial plants. This happens to us more than we’d care to admit. It’s really easy to miss. In the spring, you’re so happy to see lush growth erupting all over your yard, that you’re not looking at it with a critical eye. Also, plants are sneaky. One day they’re nowhere near that little sage seedling you planted, t...

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Reseeding Vegetables for the Warm Season

...on its own. I doubt the stinging nettle or nasturtium will hang on for long (it’s out of season for those plants here).  But I’m willing to bet that the tomatoes, New Zealand spinach, fennel and cardoon will take. Because of the lead, the only thing I would eat of that bunch are the tomatoes (fruit usually does not take up heavy metals). Still, I think bio-activity in the soil in the form of microorganisms and plants will, over a ver...

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Dudley brittonii “Giant Chalk Dudleya”

..., it’s around 18 inches across. Annie’s does mail order and we’ve had a lot of luck with their plants. I visited the nursery on a blogger junket last year and was very impressed with the variety and quality of the seedlings–no root bound plants! Now I’ve got to remind myself that a garden needs to be viewed from an overall design perspective, not as collection of pretty plants. Maybe there’s a place for Dudley...

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Urine as a Fertilizer

...d zinc were 10–500 times higher in urine than in precipitation and surface waters. In a pot experiment with15N labelled human urine, higher gaseous losses and lower crop uptake (barley) of urine N than of labelled ammonium nitrate were found. Phosphorus present in urine was utilized at a higher rate than soluble phosphate, showing that urine P is at least as available to crops as soluble P fertilizers. With some common sense urine applicati...

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Compost and Pharmaceuticals

...of pharmaceuticals in the compost made from sewage sludge may easily lead to the elevated concentrations in food plants, if the compost is used as a fertilizer. A slightly contradictory Estonian study concluded: In the current study, uptake of ciprofloxacin, norfloxacin, ofloxacin, sulfadimethoxine and sulfamethoxazole was demonstrated in lettuce. The uptake of fluoroquinolones and sulfonamides by plants like lettuce does not seem to be a major h...

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Gardening Tip: Senecent Seedlings

...kipedia). I believe I’m experiencing it right now. What we’re here to warn you about today is buying plants which are old before their time. Seedlings which are senescent. What are senescent seedlings? Basically, these are seedlings whose roots have met the bottom of their container.  See, plants have their own intelligence and follow their own internal clocks. If, for instance, a little tomato seedling spends enough time in a tiny po...

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Rats

...iends. Some cats are good at catching mice and rats, but unfortunately those same cats are also good at catching native birds. Now if we weren’t in enough trouble for advocating bad-ass rat traps, we’ll get in even more trouble for suggesting that folks keep their cats indoors. Indoor cats will catch the rodents, they won’t kill the native wildlife and they’ll live longer by not getting hit by cars. We would have a cat our...

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Two Vegetable Gardening Commandments

Two of our vegetable beds looking kinda shabby. I spent the Thanksgiving weekend up on the vegetable gardening equivalent of Mount Sinai receiving a set of revelations. Someday I’ll have Mrs. Homegrown transcribe the complete stone tablets (urbanite rather than stone, technically) I received in their entirety. In the meantime, I’ll share two of the commandments: 1. Thou shalt not have more vegetable beds than thou canst ma...

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Back to the Ranch

Ranch photo from the Huntington’s Ranch blog. I’ve never had so much fun at a symposium as I did at the Huntington’s urban agriculture blow-out this weekend. The two day event launched the Huntington’s new experimental urban agricultural station known as the “Ranch” and featured a diverse bunch of speakers. The Ranch will provide much needed information on edible landscapes and food forestry, particul...

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The Theme of a Great Garden

...found in the garden. Instead, the theme is suggested through dramatic, rough stonework and the use of California native plants. The garden feels as if exists in a time before humans. It got me wondering how thematics would play out in a more modest home landscape. Perhaps, when it comes time to design a garden it would be useful to toss around a few abstract words and ideas to help unify the design vocabulary of the garden. Picking a theme or sev...

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