Gardener’s Notebook

Summer Starts

Gardener’s Notebook   Now is the time to sprout your summer crops from seed. In April and May when you purchase a $4 tomato or $3 pepper start, that plant was started from seed way back in February. The nursery worker who started it was thinking ahead to the vegetable-growing season, and you can too! …

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Protect your Topsoil Through the Winter

Gardener’s Notebook   Pelting rains, driving winds, and what looks like a creek flowing through your backyard. These winter storms make it hard to remember that just a few months ago, Northern California was up in flames and blackened by smoke. The challenge now is to protect your soil and give it a bit of…

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Sow a Cover Crop

Gardener’s Notebook   Too many holiday visitors hanging around the house? Get the team outside to tend the earth in a family affirmation of healthy food! December is prime time for planting an edible ground cover to nourish and protect your soil and also create some good food for the table. By planting these easy-to-sow cover…

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Tend Your Soil

Gardener’s Notebook  As you clear out your fall tomato beds, take a little time to give some love to your garden’s soil. Then seed in some fava and garlic to grow through the winter months.   Safety First If you’re preparing a new growing space at your East Bay home, you might want to bring…

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Gardener’s Notebook

An Edible Hedgerow in the City By Joshua Burman Thayer “Thrush in a Fig Tree” illustration by Rigel Stuhmiller In our densely packed urban areas, space is at a premium. Courtyards, corridors, driveways, and narrow strips along property lines can seem lost for gardening use, but there are strategies for filling those zones with plants…

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Fall Planting Guide

As the days shorten and the stress of the sun lessens, we’re in a prime window for planting perennial evergreen species that can provide your household with edible abundance. That window stays open from early October until the third or fourth day of our first big storm, when the soil will start to be too…

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Gardener’s Notebook

Meet a Local Wild Cherry: Prunus ilicifolia On a recent stroll along the north bank of the Carquinez Strait in Benicia, I came upon a California native plant loaded up with edible cherry-like fruits. Prunus ilicifolia, aka hollyleaf cherry, evergreen cherry, or simply California wild cherry, was called islay by California’s Salinan tribespeople. The Salinans…

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Plant for the Future with Edible Hedges

Gardener’s Notebook Do you have a property line with nothing growing on the border or an annoying view of a road or apartment building? Plant for the future by installing an edible hedge. Pineapple Guava Originally from Brazil, pineapple guava (Feijoa sellowiana) brings together two valuable qualities: It’s tropical and also quite drought tolerant. This…

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Gardener’s Notebook

Gardening at the Solstice We have arrived at the summer solstice, the time of year when daylight lasts the longest and the sun is as far north as she gets. Here are some ways to transition your plants from spring to summer growth. In North America, the month following summer solstice (which in 2018 was…

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Gardener’s Notebook

Moringa Can Be a Boon to Your Garden Have you heard of Moringa oleifera? An amazingly fast-growing perennial, moringa is edible from root to shoot. High in iron, it offers a nutritional boost to people as well as animals, and can be a real boon to your garden or orchard as a soil builder. In the…

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