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Showing posts from October, 2020

Turn your lawn into a garden!

With the pandemic keeping us socially distanced and largely at home, you may be thinking about transforming your outdoor space into a garden.  Having gone through this in 2014, I thought I'd share some practical advice to hopefully save you some time and effort. Sheet mulch complete (July 2014) Six years later (August 2020) Tip #1: Don't dig...mulch! Your first instinct may be to start digging, but there's a better way - it's called "sheet mulching".  You basically use cardboard, compost and wood chips and make a lasagna of organic material on top of your old lawn.  In essence, you compost the old lawn under layers of organic material.  Here's a photo of our sheet mulch in progress: Sheet mulch in progress.  Notice the new material is simply placed on top of the old (brown) grass The white powder is a combination of gypsum & azomite, which puts minerals back into the soil that have been gradually leached away over time.  The dark brown is compost.  The

Let plants do the work

The transition from lawn to garden can take many forms.  Some "stick a toe in the water" with a few raised beds.  Others, like our neighbors a few doors up on Ventura Ave, dive in head first.  Here's a quick look at how Tim & Jen used plants to do some of the hard work for them:

A garden...saved from wildfire...helps feed the community

All that remains of a tree...just 100 feet from the barn that was saved from extensive fire damage. It's impossible to truly get a sense for the power of a raging wildfire just from viewing video footage.  The CZU Lightning Complex fire - caused by an extremely unusual thunderstorm that spit thousands of bolts of lightning into unusually dry forests - spanned a huge swath of coastal area from just south of the town of Pescadero nearly reaching the outskirts of the city of Santa Cruz.  Almost 1,500 structures were destroyed by the fire. Walking uphill onto the grounds of the Rancho Seimpre Verde tree farm that boarders the the Pacific Coast Highway, to the left and right are huge eucalyptus trees, blackened well up their trunks by the flames.  The ground is grey & black ash.  As far as you can see looking up onto the ridge, nothing but charred remains.  You can't imagine how hot the temperatures must've been.   Handle grips melted off of a wheelbarrow. Incredible that th

project idea: Herb Bundles

Ever walked through a garden and grabbed a branch of rosemary?  Or lavender?  Bringing hand to nose you are instantly captivated by the aroma.  For that second, at is good.   Unfortunately, life isn't that great for many folks right now.  Many jobs have disappeared and the need for food assistance is higher than ever.  Thanks to organizations like 2nd Harvest Food Bank and the Samaritan House of San Mateo, neighbors in need can visit drive thru food distribution sites to get a supply of food that will help get their families through another week. Here's a quick way to make a difference.  Give the gift of fresh picked herbs... a moment of respite in every grocery bag.  That's the goal of this project idea.   Herbs can be grown year round in our climate and do well grown in containers.  Buying established plants at local nurseries can simplify getting started. To reduce the use of plastic, wrap and tie the cut ends of herbs in a strip of paper towel using a lengt