Urban orchards

Organic-gardening-plum-tree

Nothing delights the seasoned or new gardener than the chance to pick tree ripened fruit in their yard. We have many choices including all the old traditional favorites as well as many sub tropicals than can grow here with a little extra care and attention.  For the smaller urban garden it is advisable to choose semi-dwarf trees that can easily be kept to a manageable 10-12 ft in height.  Each Dec/Jan the local nurseries will stock a comprehensive array of trees in bare root form.  They are affordable and the only drawback is that you will need to wait about 3 years for fruit. Another option is to buy a more established tree in a 5 or 15 gallon size and have a crop the same year as you install. Urban orchards are a specialty of mine. Call (323) 793 3139 and talk to John for more details.

The (cool season) tomatoes are here

Organic-gardening-heirloom-tomatoes

What a truly strange Southern Californian winter we just had.  Dry, hot and no rains worth talking about.  I decided to take a chance and grew a cool season tomato very early (Feb 11th) and the experiment worked.  I had a fine crop of  ‘Stupice’ tomatoes by May 11th and the plant continues to produce delicious mid sized fruit.  Water your plants deeply and infrequently.  This encourages good root development.  Remove any foliage displaying signs of wilt.  This slows down but does not prevent the inevitable onset of fungal disease. If a plant is really badly infested it is best to remove and put in the trash.  Do NOT compost! Some years we are more prone to fungal diseases than others.  Always plant at least one if not two rotational crops in the space after tomatoes to diminish chances of disease lingering in the soil next season.  Do not forget to leave a space for a few late season tomato plants that will stretch the season into the Fall and beyond.  These can be planted as late as mid July.  Happy tomatoing.

Lawns and their removal

Front-yard-turf-removal

The various cities within the greater Los Angeles area are offering generous turf removal rebates to homeowners who remove lawns and replace them with drought tolerant gardens that use on average 70% less water annually.  The dollar per square foot offered varies slightly from city to city but it more than covers the cost of a whole new native plant palette.  The process is very straightforward and one can add some edibles to the mix as long as 70% plus is at least California natives. The best time to install a native garden is between Oct and March when the weather is relatively cooler.  Contact your local city or go online and check out this wonderful offer today.