Not a Shred of Evidence

NERD ALERT!  This one is for you. You know who you are.

Question: How do you solve domestic disputes between husbands and wives who have differing opinions about how composting should be done? 

Answer: You get a chipper/shredder and then everyone is happy.

The Problem: You see, I sit squarely on the side of the fence that prefers to chop up all the green and brown bits into small pieces before it goes into the compost bin - because it breaks down faster, and ...

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When 1+1=10: Harvesting Potatoes

Garden math breaks the rules. It's one of the only places where things multiply without the need for a calculator, or the stress of bubble tests or sweaty palms. Possibly the best example of garden math is the potato. Plant one, get many.

Spring is a great time to plant potatoes, and lucky for us, spring is coming soon. In warmer climates, you can also plant potatoes in the fall. That's what we did last October with a couple of scary potatoes left in the pantry too long. Yesterday we ...

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Gingerly We Grow

A great question came in to Ask Gardenerd this week:

"Hi Christy, I want to try growing ginger in my zone 24 garden. I'm planning to start with a store bought (or farmer's market if possible) piece. Do you have any experience or tips for growing ginger? Thanks!"

I've grown ginger once before, when a neighbor at my community garden handed me a rhizome they had just pulled from their own garden. It had plenty of growth on it already, so I just ...

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Chinese New Year at Bellagio Gardens

The place mat before me says, "Luckiest of all signs, you are also talented and articulate. Affectionate, yet shy, you seek peace throughout your life."  This is the fortune for someone born in the Year of the Rabbit.

2011 celebrates the Rabbit once again; something that happens every 12 years according to the Chinese Zodiac. Technically, Chinese New Year starts on February 3, but Bellagio Gardens got a head start. I took a stroll through the garden to witness the bigger-than-life display honoring the Rabbit and the New Year.

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Seed Catalog Highlights

I love the sound of seed catalogs dropping into the mailbox. There's a particular "clunk" of distinctive heft that only a thick garden catalog can make. I keep a pen close at hand as I dog-ear the pages and circle interesting new varieties, dreaming of their vibrance in the garden.

This year heirloom varieties are popping up all over. The hunt for biodiversity is on, and we're part of the plan for preservation. If you are into seed-saving, here are ...

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New Year’s Resolutions for the Gardenerd

I'm generally not a big fan of New Year's Resolutions, but rather like to make "gentle intentions" instead. It just feels kinder and gentler, and less likely to fail. This year, however, I'm feeling a little more assertive, at least where the garden is concerned. So without further adieu, here are a few New Year's Resolutions for the garden in 2011:

Heal the Sick - I will diligently ...

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A Gardenerd’s Wish List, 2010

Each year it is a family tradition to form a wish list in October for holiday gift-giving ease. Inevitably, my wish list gravitates toward garden gear. I'm sure my family is sick of it by now, but when you're a gardener, what else do you need?

It has become a Gardenerd tradition to share the wish list on the blog, not to solicit gifts, but to revert back to childhood and dream big together. Here's what I hope Santa brings this year:

Patriot Electric ...

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Back to the Ranch – Huntington Style

I'd been dying to see the secret Huntington Ranch  for over a year. Back then, I read an article in the Huntington Library and Garden's monthly newsletter about the development of a new vegetable garden on the property. I searched and searched each time I went to try and find its secret location to no avail.

Then an invitation to an all-day symposium for professional garden nerds hit my inbox, and when I saw that the events of the day ...

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Growing Peas – The Garden Snack Food

Most people grow peas in the spring. I like to grow them in the fall. I think I started growing them in fall primarily because, A) we can, and I need my trellises for other things in the spring. Over the years peas have become a prominent part of my fall garden, lending height and tastiness to fall garden chores.

They never make it into the house. A ...

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Bad Haircuts – the Cutworm Way

People aren't the only ones to suffer from a bad haircut every once in a while. Plants get them too. The only difference is that the garden stylist servicing your plants is much less forgiving - in fact, the cutworm's handiwork is usually fatal.

I've done a podcast about this already, but now I have pictures to go with it. So for those of you who haven't seen a cutworm in action, this is for you.

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