When to pick oranges and tangerines

A friend asked me how to know when to pick the tangerines from his tree. My first thought was, it's obvious, you pick them when they taste good. But then I remembered that for some people gardening is full of rights and wrongs; he was afraid there was a correct or...

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Keep mulch away from tree trunks?

When some people visit my yard or see photos of my trees, they spot a violation of the rules: Aren’t you supposed to keep mulch away from the trunks of your trees? (That's my rule-breaking lime tree in the photo above.) It's true, there’s no real benefit to keeping...

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Drip irrigation troubleshooting guide

Some say drip irrigation is the best. I half agree. I'd modify it to say that drip, including its cousin the micro-sprinkler, is better than other methods of irrigation for many situations, but that it does come with its own set of downsides and challenges. Yet I use...

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How to plant and stake an avocado tree

Even though I’ve planted many avocado trees, I was nervous putting in this little Jan Boyce, or JB for short (pictured on left). It is a particularly fine-tasting variety that I'd been trying to get my hands on for years. But I needn’t be too nervous. I’ve already...

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Hand pollinating avocados

It was 95 years ago that J. Eliot Coit, who would later be called the father of the avocado industry, wrote the article “How to make the avocado tree bear.” In other words, we've always wished avocado trees gave us more fruit. One way to encourage production is to be...

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How to outsmart garden weeds

Weeding the garden is not mindless work. This struck me the other day when my wife was helping in the garden and I saw her do what we all instinctively do to a weed: rip it out of the ground. That's generally a fine thing to do with a small weed, but this was a big...

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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 "Yard Post" every Friday morning.

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My book

My first garden was in Lesotho, Africa. I invite you to have a look at the book I wrote about the years I lived there: