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...

read more

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...

read more

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. It is a particularly fine tasting fruit. In fact, the woman who grew my tiny tree considers this variety the best tasting of all avocados -- and her opinion...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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 ....

read more

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...

read more


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.

Be notified of new posts

* indicates required

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: