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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What’s the best kind of avocado to grow?

This question is unanswerable in an absolute sense. For who has tasted, let alone grown, every kind of avocado? Certainly not me.  But I'm game to attack it with a more fun and more practical twist. I'm imagining that I just moved into a new house with a blank yard ....

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Rain is coming! How do I garden?

I get frantic when rain is forecast. Southern California doesn’t get rain often, so I really feel the need to take advantage of each event. Rain provides ideal conditions for certain garden tasks. Some are best done just before the rain starts, some during the...

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The Quetzal and the Wild Avocado

Our guide through the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve in the highlands of Costa Rica had just picked up a fallen orchid to show us when we heard a whistle. He put the orchid down and started walking briskly toward the whistle. We followed. He turned back to...

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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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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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My book

I got my start gardening in Lesotho, Africa, where I lived for four years. If you enjoy my writing here at The Yard Posts, you ought to have a look at the book I wrote about that complex and formative experience. "The Mountain School" is my best writing and proudest accomplishment. (Click below)