Your Urban Garden

This column originally appeared in The Daily Bite from Bakespace.com, a daily newsletter of food, kitchen and gardening information.


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Your Urban Garden
by Douglas E. Welch

Listen to Your Urban Garden

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Many of us dream of starting a garden, but if you live in a big city you may be discouraged to try. Planting your own food or simply showing your children how food grows can be both therapeutic and self-sustaining. Today’s Daily Bite will hopefully inspire you to turn that urban backyard into your own private garden oasis.

While I may have grown up in a small Ohio farm town, I spent the last 23 years living in one of the biggest cities in the world — Los Angeles.

When people think of LA, they usually conjure up images of movie stars, traffic jams, smog and surfing, not gardens. I think this is a bit sad because despite its urban heart, LA has a wealth of gardens, both decorative and productive. I see more evidence every day that the city is finding new and innovative ways to garden among the skyscrapers and freeways.

It seems like there’s is a new movement afoot here to convert lawns into gardens, grass into vegetables and thirsty gardens into sippers more appropriate to our natural climate. Front yard vegetable gardens were unheard of when I first moved to LA in 1986. In many places, they were banned by homeowner associations and restrictive convenants. That’s why it was such a pleasure to see that streetside garden last year. Over time I watched as their plants burst forth with broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, herbs, tomatoes and more — all in a garden more beautiful and productive than any expanse of manicured lawn.

If you live in an urban area, take a second look at how you might garden among the houses and skyscrapers. Can you make a small, raised bed in your lawn? How about some pots of herbs and tomatoes on your balcony? Maybe you can get your own plot at a local community garden — something that’s very popular here in LA.

You can have your own garden just about anywhere if you give it a try!


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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.

Watch Urban Beekeeping Webinar – iPod Ready Video

A buzzing in the garden

Ash tree "flowering"Taking a few moments in the garden this morning, I heard a gentle and general buzzing throughout. It seems the large ash tree in the back garden is flowering and the bees are taking great advantage of this bright sunny day after all our rain. More rain is expect tomorrow, so it is good they are so industrious. They may be stuck in their hives for a few more days.

I have been following a lot of beekeeping info these days and seriously thinking of getting a hive of my own. I think it would be simpler than trying to keep chickens, the other big backyard farm animal, and fit better in my smallish garden.

What do you think? Are you interested in keeping bees? Let me know in the comments!

Video: Rain in Los Angeles

Rain this solid is rare enough to be interesting here in Los Angeles, so here is a quick environmental video showing the rain in my garden.

Watch “Rain” – iPod Ready Video

Vermiculture with Urban-Worms.com

We saw Urban Worms at this week’s Encino Farmers Market and I immediately knew that it would be some great information for A Gardener’s Notebook. Check them out at http://urban-worms.com for great info and supplies for vermiculture.

Top 10 Posts from A Gardener’s Notebook for 2009

Here is a list of the top 10 Gardener’s Notebook posts for 2009.

  1. Product Review: The Troy-Bilt TB154 Electric Cultivator
  2. Guest Post: Beneficial Wild Creatures In Your Garden by Keri Dearborn
  3. Casting concrete leaves from/for the garden
  4. Video: Repairing a damaged drip irrigation line
  5. Project: Trommel Compost Sifter from Instructables.com
  6. Review: TB57 Lithium Ion Battery Cordless String Trimmer / Weed Trimmer
  7. Time to find some shade vegetables
  8. Pergola Construction Photo Gallery
  9. Above-ground gardening
  10. What’s happening in my garden?

Moving AGN to WordPress

If you have reached this page, you can see that I am in the process of moving A Gardener’s Notebook from Blogger to WordPress.

You can still find all the old content on the old A Gardener’s Notebook home page.