The sucker frost

Both my plants and I got suckered by this week’s frost. I had gone up to Oregon and Washington, not thinking any plants in my yard would need protection while I was gone. It was snowing up north, and I thought of returning to Southern California as returning to...

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Don’t judge a tree by its first fruit

My Pixie mandarin tree is carrying its first fruit, which look pitiful. They’re small, warped. If I didn’t know better, I’d say Pixie mandarins are no good, and I’d replace it with a different mandarin. Luckily, I've had fruit off of mature Pixie trees. They're...

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Master Gardener Spring Seminar, San Diego

You are invited! Each spring, the Master Gardener program of San Diego County holds a day of classes and workshops, plus a marketplace. This year's Spring Seminar is called "Garden Spaces: Growing Outside the Box." It will be held on March 17, 2018 at the San Diego...

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Pruning avocado trees

I call this tree the Japanese Fuerte. I’d seen many pruned avocado trees, I’d pruned many avocado trees, and I’d read much about others’ pruning of avocado trees, but I’d never encountered an old tree that had been so consistently and artfully molded to a shape and...

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Should you prune a bare-root fruit tree?

Whether or not you should prune a bare-root fruit tree depends on two things: One, what the tree looks like when you buy it. And two, what you want the tree to look like when it's all grown up. This being mid-January, heart of bare-root season in Southern California,...

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Where should you buy a fruit tree?

"Sorry," I said as I leaned in front of a guy to snap the above photo of the label on the bag of a bare-root Carpathian walnut tree at Home Depot. “Do you know what is different these?” asked the man, pointing also at the tree beside the Carpathian walnut, labelled...

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Don’t dig in your garden

A light frost kissed my sweet potato foliage to death at the end of December, so I dug the tubers up. I don't do much digging in my garden anymore, it occurred to me. In fact, I realized, besides harvesting sweet potatoes and Irish potatoes, I don't dig at all. Do...

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Planting Reeve’s placenta tree

Our third child was born last week, a baby girl named Reeve. The nurses put the placenta in a plastic container for us without discussion or funny looks; my wife is a labor and delivery nurse at the hospital, so these nurses are her friends. But also, this had become...

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I'm Greg. My goal is to help others grow some food at home, with a focus on vegetables and fruits -- especially avocados -- in Southern California. I write a new post every Friday morning.

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