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Gardener’s Notebook

Big Trees at Home

  By Joshua Berman Thayer   Here in the East Bay, many of us live within the confines of an urban grid. If we have space to landscape, it’s likely to be a quarter acre at most. How can we make these small urban lots produce abundant organic produce? The answer might be to fill…

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Create a Home Ecosystem of Perennial Edibles

  By Joshua Burman Thayer | Illustrations by Cheryl Angelina Koehler   Have you ever imagined an orchard in your yard? Or perhaps you already have one but sense that your space is underutilized? Try composing your plantings into guilds. These are groups of plants that operate together to enhance each other’s health and productivity.…

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Fall Composting Basics

Gardener’s Notebook By Joshua Burman Thayer     It only takes a few cool evenings and wet mornings to give a sense that fall is coming. Squirrels stash nuts and songbirds fatten on dry seeds, giving us a little help with clearing away the summer plant residues as we make room for cool season crops.…

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Prune Those Tomato Plants!

Gardener’s Notebook By Joshua Burman Thayer   Tomato plants thrive in our Bay Area Mediterranean climate. They grow an amazing amount for an annual, and their vining branches can become very dense and also shoot out great distances with the increased light at the summer solstice. Your job as a tomato plant tender is to…

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Cucumbers in the Creases

Gardener’s Notebook How to fit cucumbers into your summer garden patch Spring is upon us. With nights growing warmer and the wet season soon to be over, now is the time to map out your summer garden. What you do right now to thoughtfully prepare your garden beds will determine your bounty in June, July,…

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Garden Allies

Friends, partners, collaborators, cohabitors . . . Grown together, plants can be more than the sum of their parts   By Joshua Burman Thayer  | Illustrations by Cheryl Angelina Koehler Did you know that plants form alliances? Like humans, plants do better when they associate with other plants for mutual benefit, such as to procreate,…

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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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