Beneficial Flowers Build Your Ecosystem

One of the first things I talk about in my lectures about organic gardening is the importance of creating an eco-system around the garden. After all, a garden is much more than just a planter bed. It's everything around it as well.

Beneficial flowers attract beneficial insects, which do a number of jobs for you in the garden. They can pollinate, they can eat other bugs, and they can also be food for birds. Let's explore some of the easy flowers you can grow in your garden to attract beneficial insects: ...

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The Truth about Seed Balls

You've seen the news clips about seed balls being dispensed from gum ball machines and tossed lazily amongst the weeds in vacant lots, but what ever happens to them?  Do they indeed sprout and blossom into beautiful wildflowers?  Do they spruce up a desolate parkway in the midst of bustling city life? 

I needed to find out for myself. So I bought two packages of seed balls for the Test Garden.

One set of seed balls was designed for hummingbirds, with larkspur, ...

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Winter’s Bounty 2011

As the winter growing season is winding down, we've already planted some spring crops, and planned out the summer crops. There's still one important thing to do, however, before we move on to spring: appreciate winter's bounty.

Even though we can see what's growing above ground, there's an element of surprise when harvesting root crops like carrots, parsnips and potatoes (okay - it's a tuber, not a root crop). Students always ask me how they will know when to pick their root vegetables. I tell them to run their index finger around the ...

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U-Pick Lavender

Our adventure in Ojai continue with the opening day of "u-pick" season at a local lavender farm. New Oak Ranch hung balloons out on the road sign, inviting folks to come and pick a handful of fresh lavender for $5 a bunch. The farm features 20 different varieties of lavender (mostly Grosso, Hidcote, Buena Vista, and Provence) but they also have Pixie tangerines, olives and walnuts.

The bees were hovering throughout ...

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Gardens of Telluride

Once you arrive in Telluride, there is little need for a car, which makes for great sight-seeing on foot.  When I was last here in spring, the flowers were just starting to get going and there was still snow on the mountains. Now the gardens are in full bloom and everyone is making the most of their gardening space.  While I haven't seen too many vegetable gardens, I have been charmed by the plenitude of cuteness in every corner.  I thought I'd share some photos from this beautiful mountain town:


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