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Red Hesperaloe attract hummingbirds and pollinators at Sunnylands garden in Palm Springs. Photo: Kristi Garrett

Garden with the ‘All-Stars’ during dry times

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As the growing season ramps up, visions of a luscious garden don’t evaporate simply because water is in short supply. Cultivating a landscape that’s considerate of our record drought doesn’t have to mean a yard covered in rocks. There are a number of beautiful flowering plants that thrive with minimal water. The UC Davis Arboretum offers a list of 100 “All-Stars” that are recommended for a drought-stricken California garden. It’s the…

'Square foot gardening' CC BY-NC 2.0 Chiot's Run

How to build a raised bed vegetable garden

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Raised beds are a great solution for many gardeners, and for many reasons. In areas where the soil is poor, a raised bed allows you to skip all the double-digging, weeding and amending in the effort to get a healthy environment for your garden. Simply add the ideal mixture of garden soil and compost to the bed, and it’s pretty much ready to plant. Raised beds are also easier to…

'Strawberries and onions newly planted' CC BY-SA 2.0 Korye Logan

Easy square foot gardens offer abundance, variety in small spaces

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If you’re new to gardening, you’d likely prefer to start small. Which is why many people begin their gardening experience in containers that they can easily inspect and maintain. Once you’re confident that you won’t kill off every single plant immediately — especially if you’ve had the pleasure of eating your own fresh-picked produce — you’ll probably want more. It just happens that way. You’ve been bitten by the gardening bug. So…

Compare the color of the water with the chart on the test kit to determine pH.

How to test your soil for a healthy garden

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It’s spring — and we urban gardeners are itching to throw some seedlings into the ground. But wait! Before we proceed, let’s review how we did last year. Did any of your veggies poop out early in the season? Or never thrive in the first place? It’s likely because of the condition of the soil. This season, rather than planting first and dousing with a fast-acting fertilizer (as some of us have…

‘Drip Tubing at TPC’ CC BY USDAgov

4 water-saving tips to help your garden thrive during a drought

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Here in California we’re entering a fourth year of drought, so the thought of conserving water as our vegetable gardens spring to life is a bit unsettling. Fortunately, there’s no need to forgo a bountiful vegetable garden. A few simple reminders can help you keep your garden in tip-top shape while conserving precious resources. Here are four ways to optimize your water use: 1. Avoid overwatering. This tip is probably the…