Picture Sundays: The Backyard in Spring

Thank you Mrs. Homegrown for the amazing planting in our reworked backyard. Version 4.0 of the garden in 16 years? This afternoon I sat down in one of those red chairs and admired the view. We really need to get around to profiling a few of the plants Mrs. H selected. In the meantime here’s a closeup: Now I need to get around to building the garden shed . . ....

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Nitrogen Deposition

...forests, shrublands, deserts and grasslands. The invasion of weeds is a huge problem for maintenance of our fragile biodiversity, which is already impacted by development.” The photo above shows the leaves of some of the bean plants at the SurviveLA compound. We believe that the dark droplets are diesel particulate and other crap that comes out of the tailpipes of all those trucks that lumber through our neighborhood carrying cheap crap from Chin...

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As Above, So Below

Inspired by the response to my post on the need to keep our gardens dark, I decided to reclaim my childhood telescope from my mom’s garage and get it working again. It occurred to me that I haven’t looked up at the night sky in a long time. What a shame. This past week I’ve been thinking about how important it is to look up at the stars–just as important, I think, as staying in touch with the plants, insects and animals...

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Why Your Garden Should Be Dark at Night

...floodlight. Switch lights off when not in use. Reduce wattage–you don’t need as much as you think. Here’s another idea: garden with moonlight. Rather than light up your garden with artificial light, include plants with silvery-grey leaves or white flowers. Our white sage glows spectacularly during a full moon. I’m also happy we put in a climbing white rose over our entrance arbor. By embracing the darkness we can open our...

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How to Search for Science-Based Gardening Advice

...oaden searches through the use of “and,” “or” and “not.” And when looking up chemicals you may need to enter, for example, both “hydrogen peroxide” and “H2O2.”  With plants you may need to use both the popular and scientific names. Unfortunately, as Chalker-Scott noted, there’s a lack of practical small-scale gardening advice in peer reviewed literature. But a search of the researc...

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Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder

...d they are only about a year old, but they are already rich with bird and insect life. (A poorwill even visited, which apparently caused quite a bit of excitement in the birding community.) This is because the designers chose plants to serve wildlife, and the wildlife responded. Build it and they will come. Off in one shady corner of the garden, I watched two bird feeders being merrily ransacked by more types of birds than I’ve ever seen i...

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Cat Litter Compost, Installment #3

...veats, cat litter composting works pretty much like regular composting. Keep the pile moist. Keep an eye on it, fix it as necessary. Let it sit for two years at least before you spread it. And then spread it around non-edible plants, or under fruit trees. The fruit trees won’t uptake anything nasty. It’s totally do-able and I’d do it again. But I’d rather do it again in a larger yard, where I could have a big, accessible c...

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How to Deal With Thrips on Stone Fruit

...ern flower thrips overwinter as adults in weeds, grasses, alfalfa, and other hosts, either in the orchard floor or nearby. In early spring, if overwintering sites are disturbed or dry up, thrips migrate to flowering trees and plants and deposit eggs in the tender portions of the host plant, e.g. shoots, buds, and flower parts. Thrips are often attracted to weeds blooming on the orchard floor. To prevent driving thrips into the trees, do not disc...

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Hornworm meets alien!

...parasitic wasps devour their host but in order to overcome the caterpillar’s defenses, mama wasp injects a virus before laying her eggs. How do you create habitat for Cotesia congregata? Adults feed on nectar producing plants and, of course, you need to make sure you keep a few hornworms on hand! Thanks to Jeff Spurrier for posting this video in Facebook....

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Saturday Linkages: Hiding Spots, Bedbugs and Rodents of Unusual Size

...opped Bedbugs in Their Tracks http://nyti.ms/12H9HDI Gardening All About Gabions : Cheap Retaining and Other Garden Features http://shar.es/JHCQS  New killer compost problem–Imprelis: http://ow.ly/1UWcBj How to protect plants from frost: http://ow.ly/1UMWLG Farmers tackle pests with colas: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/3977351.stm … Rodents of Unusual Size – a documentary about 20-lb rats in Louisiana – Boing Boing http...

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