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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Video: Urban Beekeeping: Ins and Outs - Dos and Don'ts - Webinar

I "atttended" this excellent webinar on urban beekeeping hosted by Shane of Brushy Mountain Bee Farm on Sunday and wanted to share it with all of you. It has some excellent advice for those who might want to start keeping bees in an urban environment, including how to deal with fearful neighbors, finding a good place for your hives and why it is important to raise bees in places both urban and rural.

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Do It Right! LA City Christmas Tree Pickup and Recycling

My friend, Keri Dearborn, over at Animalbytes has pointed out this great information for City of LA residents about Christmas tree pickup, dropoff and recycling.

In the past, many Christmas trees were simply dumped curbside, on lawns or in empty lots. They would often site there for a month or more until someone decided to clean them up.

The best action to take, of course, is to cut up, or chip/shred your tree for use as mulch in your garden or compost pile. While I have the ability to do that here, I realize some other city dwellers might not be equipped for such things.

If you can't mulch or compost your tree, the City of LA has 3 different ways to dispose of your Christmas Tree.

  1. Cut it up and place it in your standard green garden bin

  2. Leave it curbside, if it is too big to fit in the bin (or you are unable to dismantle it)

  3. Take your tree to a long list of drop-off sites around the city incuding various Parks and Recreation and Fire Station locations. This is a limited time option, though. You will only be able to do this on Saturday, January 2, 2010 and Sunday, January 3, 2010.


Here is complete information on City of Los Angeles Christmas Tree Recycling Program. Dispose of your Christmas tree properly!

Photo Credit: Flickr picture by Shira Golding

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wind damage in my area

These pictures are a good reminder that if you don't prune the dead wood out of your trees, a good wind is liable to do it for you.

Wind Effects in LA - 4 Wind Effects in LA - 3 Wind Effects in LA - 2 Wind Effects in LA - 1

We had a strong, cold Santa Ana Wind this week and any tree that had a bit of deadwood, or weak limbs, quickly shed them into streets, yards and even on top of a couple of houses. Sometimes you can't really tell if you have dead limbs higher up in the tree, but if you see them, it is best to remove them on your terms, and not the weather's.

Here in Los Angeles, we have the additional issues of dead palm fronds. These can look light, but they can come down with surprising force on unsuspecting cars and pedestrians. I wasn't able to grab a picture, but one street I passed was almost entirely buried in palm fronds, making it difficult for cars to even get down the street.


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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Patio Bed Cleanup and Division Complete

Patio Bed CleanupAfter almost a week of being down with a bad cold, I HAD to get out into the garden today. Since it was garbage day, it was also a good idea to fill our green bin while we had the chance.

About 2 weeks ago I cleaned out half of this bed, dividing a large clump of agapanthus and replanted the divisions. I ran out of time, energy and green bin space, so I left the remainder until today. Having done part of this bed already, I knew what I had to do. The large amount of leaves were raked off, pulling out most of the agapanthus with it. They were so crowded that they had pushed themselves almost completely out of the underlying soil, so they came up easily. It only took a few moments to pull out the strongest rhizomes and set them aside for transplanting.

My little Troy-Bilt Electric Cultivator did its usual great job of fitting up the bed. I then dug a small trench and re-inserted the rhizomes. After a good watering-in and then a run on the soaker hose, I was done.

I am thinking of picking up some nasturium seeds to plant in this newly turned area, They have done well in this area in the past and should brighten up this bed which is so close to the house and we see every day.

It is great to have this particular project out of the way and it shows me how to approach the clean up of my other beds.

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

The 10-minute gardener - Sept. 19, 2009

Bad Ass BBQ 3Image by dewelch via Flickr

Our temperatures are supposed to rise into the triple digit again this week, so I took some time this morning to do a little cleanup in the front garden. There is a lot of work to do there, including pruning the large azalea beds, but today was more cleanup than anything else. The line trimmer brought all the grass in the paths down to a manageable level. I have given up trying to exclude the grass from these paths and now just "mow" it down to a level where it looks planned instead of just wild.

Then, I went through the entire front garden and removed every volunteer I found in the beds. We get saplings from the large elm popping up everywhere, along with the occasional camphor, ash and Mexican Fan Palm (Washingtonia robusta). These palms are the only native palm to California and pop up everywhere due to the birds. If let be, they can grow to enormous size quite quickly. You often see large "plantations" on empty lots and along unkempt property lines. The area below the utility pole in my back garden is a constant battle as new palms sprout with each new rain shower.

Rosanne did some cleanup work on the leaves in the garden, her typical and welcome job in the garden. She always makes sure the garden bin is filled to the brim before each trash pickup day, so we can keep a regular flow of materials out of the garden. As it is, even with this and the 2 composters, we have much more leave mold thatn we know what to do with. That will happen when you have so many trees.

Speaking of trees, the drought is hitting us pretty hard in that regard. We have at east 4 small trees that have died, probably because they had not set their root deep enough when first getting established in the garden. Most of these are conifers of some sort. We need to bring in a arborist to take them out before the winds and rain bring them down of their own accord. They are not too large, but just big enough that I can't take them out by myself. A misplaced cut could bring them down on the house or other garden structure, so I figure it is best to call in the pros.

There is always so much to do in the garden, especially when life gets in the way, so I am trying to get back into my 10-minutes a day habit, attacking one small area or task everyday. I already have quite a list, including...

  • Repair drip irrigation line that has broken down under UV
  • Agapanthus divisions and replanting
  • Dead tree removal
  • Dead vine removal on North wall (probably another casualty of the drought)
  • Get quotes for fence replacement on south property line
  • Clean leaves from house roof before first rain
That should keep me buy for a while. (SMILE)


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Monday, September 14, 2009

Elsewhere Online: Tilling is one chore you might be able to skip

Cultivating after early rain.Image via Wikipedia

I thought I was just being lazy by not doing a lot of tilling in my garden. (SMILE) This article from Fine Gardening magazine gives several other reasons, though.
Tilling is one chore you might be able to skip

Turning the soil over each year is a millennium-old tradition that has been challenged only in the last half century. The major benefits attributed to the annual rite of tilling are that it aerates the soil; chops and kills weeds; and mixes in organic materials, fertilizers, and lime. Not to be downplayed are the psychological benefits of tillage. It induces a righteous-feeling sweat that makes a clean slate of last yearís mistakes. So is it any wonder that plants survive and thrive in the wild in the untilled soil of fields and forests? Not really.

Read this entire article "Tilling is one chore you might be able to skip"


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Thursday, September 03, 2009

Noted: Who Knew? 75 Things You Can Compost

Who Knew? 75 Things You Can Compost

"2009_09_04-compost.jpgWe have been composting kitchen scraps and garden clippings for awhile now, but Planet Green's recent list of '75 Things You Can Compost, But Thought You Couldn't,' opened our eyes to a whole new world of compost possibilities ..."

Read Full Post

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Monday, August 31, 2009

What I'm eReading...Down on the Allotment

Down on the Allotment

Another UK-based garden blog that is regularly updated with great information and wonderful pictures.
"I was born 20 yards from our allotment. My parents used to 'dig for victory' and never got out of the habit. I grew up on an allotment, so growing veggies is a way of life. I am currently studying to become a dog behaviourist and eventually set up my own business."
Recent posts include:
  • Tomato Glut
  • Giant Courgettes
  • Sweet Sweet Corn







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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What I'm eReading...My Tiny Plot

My Tiny Plot is one of the many gardening blogs I have in my Google Reader subscriptions. I have now idea how I first discovered it, but I love the garden diary and excellent pictures. This is also one of the many UK blogs I follow. I am a bit of an Anglophile and the Brits just seem to be so passionate about their gardening it is hard not to like them.
"My Tiny Plot is the diary of a small vegetable patch in Bath, England. Iím all about growing vegetables and eating fresh produce. And more recently turning that produce into yummy and exciting baby meals!"





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