Video: Tomatomania 2011: Scenes and Interview

Douglas E. Welch from A Gardener’s Notebook visits Tomatomania 2011 in Encino, California. He interviews Scott Daigre, organizer of Tomoatomania at a dozen locations across the country and chats with a few of the tomato buyers, many who come back year after year. Tomatomania hosts over 250 varieties for sale at each location from beefsteak, to plum, to cherry tomotoes and everything in-between.

Despite grey skies in usually sunny Encino, seedings were flying off the lot by the cartload. All ages were represented from long-time growers to kids eager to help Mom and Dad select just the right plants.

See http://Tomatomania. com for more information on future events in California and on the East Coast of America.

Download “Tomatomania 2011: Scenes and Interview” – iPod Ready format

Photos: Tomatomania 2011

I spent the day wandering around Tomatomania 2011 here in Encino, California today. Here are some quick photos I shot. I was more concentrated on taking extensive video of the event, including an interview with Tomatomania organizer, Scott Daigre. I will be posting that video in the next few days.


View an album of photos from Tomatomania 2011.

Elsewhere Online: The Dry Garden: ‘Reimagining the California Lawn’

I will try and catch up with the authors as they make their tour nearby.

I could use a lot of advice like this in sprucing up my own garden.

Seen in The Dry Garden: ‘Reimagining the California Lawn’ from L.A. at Home by Craig Nakano

Maybe you want to remove your lawn. Maybe you want to shrink it to make way for flowers, food plants or a shade tree. Maybe you don’t know what you want. A new book written by three of California’s most knowledgeable horticulturists lays out options.

It would be disingenuous to treat “Reimagining the California Lawn: Water-Conserving Plants, Practices, and Designs” like any other garden book. It’s not. The authors have close to rock-star status in California horticulture, something they possessed even before the publication of their first book in 2005, “California Native Plants for the Garden.”

Read the entire article

Reimagining the California Lawn at

I Like This – March 25, 2011

Giveaway: Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce by Cathy Thomas

“Like” the Gardener’s Notebook Facebook page before March 31, 2011 for a chance to win my review copy of Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce by Cathy Thomas.

I will randomly pick a Facebook “fan” to receive the book.

Review: Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce by Cathy Thomas

Whenever I am talking with people about New Media, the largest reason I give them for producing podcasts or YouTube videos is that they help introduce and educate their potential customers about products and services. Little did I know that when I received this book from the publisher, it would prove to be pursuing the same idea, just in book form.

Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce gives Melissa’s/World Variety Produce, Inc. a platform to spread the word about organic produce while also providing some excellent information and recipes where this produce can be used.

This book goes far beyond a traditional marketing piece, though, and that is also to its benefit and the company’s. Filled with excellent photographs and great information “Cooking with Organic Produce” starts with an overview of what it means to be “organic.” There are large discussions happening in the US Government about this topic, so it is nice to have a good definition as it stands now. Next comes a lovely chart showing the “seasons” of each organic produce from apples to turnips. This then sets up the remainder of the book.

Arranged alphabetically, each different produce is detailed including season, recommended varieties, availability, buying and storing information and then, one of the best features of the book, 4 excellent recipes using this particular item.

The alphabetical arrangement of the book also allows for easy use as a reference and a cookbook. You can turn immediately to whatever section interests you most. That said, I found myself flipping through a random, taking in this fact and this recipe as the mood struck me.

Be aware that this is not a strictly vegetarian cookbook. Recipes include bacon guacamole, nuthouse chicken with roasted bananas and pork chops with apples. In those cases, though, they also include vegetarian-only alternatives.

Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce is a book that is both pretty and useful. If you are looking for ways to include more produce in your cooking, hopefully organic produce, then this is an excellent place to start.

Amazon Link: Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce by Cathy Thomas


Event: Free Online garden classes – Healthy Garden Training Series

A Year in the Yarden twittered info on this series of classes earlier this evening. There are some interesting classes listed, great for any garden that might want to learn a bit more about a wide variety of garden topics.

Online classes start March 29, 2011

Register today!


Healthy Garden Training Series

The USDA People’s Garden Initiative and Cooperative Extension Service bring you this series of training sessions on a wide variety of horticultural and garden related topics. There is no charge for registration and all sessions are open to the public.

The Cooperative Extension System is the nation’s largest and oldest network of universities. Visit for a sample the type of extension education going on across the country. Our presenters also provide longer format training for Extension Master Gardener Programs and develop print and electronic educational material and books on a wide range of consumer horticultural topics.

The USDA People’s Garden Initiative promotes growing healthy food, people and communities. It encourages USDA employees and communities to plant gardens because we believe the simple act of planting a garden can make real and lasting change to improve food access and healthy lifestyles.

Event: Fullerton Arboretum’s Plant and Garden Show

Fullerton Arboretum’s Plant and Garden Show

Saturday, April 16 & Sunday April 17, 10:00 am-4:00pm
*Members only preview Saturday- 9:00-10:00 am

Come bring your wagon to the Fullerton Arboretum for a spectacular, weekend long outdoor garden event. Green Scene is the spring event to find bulbs, succulents, organic vegetables, varietal plants, garden accessories and garden products. It is also the place to celebrate California Native Plant Week with a wide variety of native plants and special information and classes on “going native”.

Shop over 100 vendors for beautiful and unique plants, vegetables, garden art and accessories.

  • Master Gardeners, Horticulturists and staff members are available to answer your gardening questions.
  • “Gardening Talks”- Experts will speak on a variety of topics including enhancing landscaping with native plants, improving Southern California lawn look and health, composting how-to’s and creating inviting garden spaces in a Southern California climate.
  • 2nd Annual “We CAN Garden”, a showcase of “can” gardens created by local organizations. These creative gardens will also be available by Silent Auction.
  • Visit our NEW Interactive Children’s Garden. Enjoy a self guided exploration based on the 5 senses and Bug Safari’s led by our Arboretum Nature Guides.
  • Fresh produce available from the Arboretum Farm Stand.
  • Victorian “Porch & Attic Sale” at Heritage House.

Ticket Price: $6.00 for all ages
Free entry for Arboretum Members*

*Memberships available at the gate, online and by calling 657.278.4798

Too much rain at one time!

I usually like rain for the garden but 12 hours+ of heavy, heavy rain is enough. There is still more on the way, too, including what looks like a nasty band of the heaviest rain yet today.

I I had rain barrels I can guarantee that they would all be full now. Wow!


I Like This – March 18, 2011

    A collection of career items I found interesting this week.

  • Come for the cherry blossoms, stay for the bento box – This weekend at Descanso Gardens – March 16, 2011 – I highlighted this earlier on the blog, but wanted to share their direct posting from today. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to make it as family commitments fill the weekend, but I would highly recommend that you attend, if possible.
  • Building a sub-irrigated planter – March 12, 2011 – I am starting to investigate sub-irrigated planters in an attempt to grow some veg, even here in our rather shady garden. I figure I can place these in a sunny area the yard to take advantage of the like we do get.

    One common problem with containers here in Los Angeles is that they dry out much to fast — often going bone dry in only one 90 degree day. The wicking action of SIPs can help to moderate the moisture in the pots and give us a bit more leeway in our watering without killing our plants.

Photo: “Bewitched” Rose

These are the roses that line our driveway. They were planted many years ago by the previous owners of the house. The “Bewitched” name comes from the 1960’s television show, which just happens to be one of my wife’s favorites from her childhood.

Bewitched Rose