Fight Climate Change in Your Backyard

Fight Climate Change in Your Backyard

Scientists are telling us unanimously that our use of carbon based fuels is changing the balance of gases in our atmosphere. Of course, we have to stop burning so much fossil fuel. But we also have to start taking carbon out of the air and ‘sequestering’ or storing it somewhere else. Luckily, nature already has a way of doing this. It’s called photosynthesis, and green plants do it all day long. They take carbon dioxide out of the air and store it in their bodies. Their roots also carry it deep into the soil and store it underground.

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Grow Your Own Food

Grow Your Own Food

This year more people than ever seem ready to start growing at least some of their own food in their gardens or on their decks and balconies. The weather is rarely cold enough to stop all plants from growing, so we can harvest food from our gardens all year round, even in December and January. On the other hand, it doesn't ever get warm enough for many crops which other regions can grow in the summer time, especially that hallmark of backyard gardening, the tomato.

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To Prune or Not to Prune, That Is the Question

To Prune or Not to Prune, That Is the Question

During the summer months, this had been a butterfly garden, full of dozens of different pollinators. Now, with late fall turning into winter, it was time to cut back and shape the garden for next year's pleasure. One of the Verbenas needed to be moved out from under the shade thrown by a huge Salvia karwinskii. There was never a better day for a sharp pair of pruners.

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The Nutritious Solitude of Gardening

The Nutritious Solitude of Gardening

Gardening is an odd combination of solitude and company. Many of us do the actual work of gardening alone for hours. This is when gardening books and garden writers become important allies. The best books scold and strategize as well as inspire and encourage. They remind us of what is possible as well as saying “I told you so.” They become good friends, whose humorous critique and encouragement are as useful as any other garden tool.

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100 Words for Drought Tolerant

100 Words for Drought Tolerant

As water policies and practices come under more and more pressure from increased demand and shrinking resources, we need one hundred words for drought tolerance. Part of the task of the Garden for the Environment is to refine what this word can mean, and experiment with real world plants, soil, weather, and exposure to find out which plants can thrive with little or no reliance on summer irrigation. 

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A New Gardening Year

A New Gardening Year

In the final days of January, the buds were swelling on the purple plum trees that grace San Francisco streets. The tiny new moon heralded the Chinese New Year, marking the beginning of another growing season. By the time this newsletter reaches its readers, the plum trees will be in full bloom, as clouds of pink blossoms assert Mother Nature’s confidence, despite a dry winter in the watershed and in the economy.

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Gardens with Good Bones

Gardens with Good Bones

There can be a special beauty in the winter garden. Cleared of last year’s growth, well-pruned, mulched and weeded, the garden in winter can still surprise and delight the eye. When a garden looks wonderful in midwinter, gardeners everywhere nod and say “that garden has good bones.”

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