Create an Oyster Mushroom Patch

Gardener’s Notebook by Joshua Burman Thayer This easy garden project lets you explore the magic of mycelium while you grow a valuable source of vegan protein for your table. I first got turned on to growing oyster mushrooms years ago while I was running several community gardens in San Francisco. Installing a 3- x 10-foot…

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Feed It Through the Leaves

Photos by Joshua Burman Thayer By Joshua Burman Thayer In spite of challenges like poor soil and drought, the Bay Area is a great place to grow your own food. Organic gardening practitioners like me are constantly working to build our soil by amending with organic matter and green mulch from nitrogen-fixing cover crops. These…

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Sow Some Spring Seeds: a gardening activity for kids

  Gardener’s Notebook By Joshua Burman Thayer Nature is a great teacher, and there is so much that kids can learn out in the garden while helping produce food for the family table. Sowing seeds for spring crops directly in the ground is fun and a perfect place to start. Spring crops add richness to…

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Sprout Your Summer Veggie Seeds Now

Gardener’s Notebook by Joshua Burman Thayer DON’T WAIT! Sow your summer seeds now to ensure they are ready for your garden, come April and May. Coco Coir is Cash:  When sprouting seeds, an inert non-soil medium is best. My favorite is coconut coir. This is the brown fiber at the palm frond’s base, which has been…

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Arugula: an Easy Choice to Plant Now in Your Home Garden

Gardener’s Notebook by Joshua Burman Thayer In this time of the winter solstice, we’re inclined to move slower and spend more time close to home. Thanks to our wonderfully mild Bay Area winters, we can continue to cultivate our soil and plant cool-season crops. December brings optimal planting conditions for arugula. Eruca vesicaria sativa (or…

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Planting Perennials in the Fall

GARDENER’S NOTEBOOK Story and photos by Joshua Burman Thayer Each year in February, I sprout out a bunch of summer crops like corn, squash, cucumber, tomato, and peppers. In about 10 weeks, they are large enough to sell to my home garden clients who are planning their summer gardens. In 2020, instead of selling my…

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November in the Garden

  Sitting in the early dusk, sipping tea, and looking out the window at the now dry tomato and squash vines in our summer garden, we can’t help but recall with longing the daily gifts they gave to our tables. But now is not the time for nostalgia! The seasonal shift is the signal to…

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Plant a Pomegranate Tree

Gardener’s Notebook By Joshua Burman Thayer | Photos by Cheryl Angelina Koehler Photo by Joshua Burman Thayer The myth and the lore of the ancient Silk Road is saturated in the bright red of the lush pomegranate. Originating in the Caucasus mountains, Punica granatum has been in cultivation at least since the 5th millennium BCE.…

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Your Backyard is a Garden of Eden

  By Joshua Burman Thayer, based on interviews with John Valenzuela | Illustrations by Joshua Burman Thayer   As a Bay Area horticulturalist devoted to encouraging home food production, I often find myself thinking about the Eastern Mediterranean. It’s the region where many of the important food crops we grow in Northern California originated.   “Where…

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A Swale Idea!

Strategies for growing food in an episodic drought environment By Joshua Burman Thayer Gardener’s Notebook, April 2020: I recently finished work on a large hillside landscaping project in Danville, California. Designing this orchard and herb garden “food forest” (and others I’ve done recently for East Bay homeowners) gave me a chance to apply some strategies…

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