Fertilizing avocado trees

Fertilizing avocado trees

Last week, I visited the largest organic avocado farm in California. It’s those hills in the photo above — they’re covered with 1,000 acres of avocado trees. And I felt vindicated when I saw that they care for the soil under their trees in essentially the...
Using wood chips as mulch for fruit trees

Using wood chips as mulch for fruit trees

Almost any mulch under a fruit tree is better than no mulch, but there are many ways in which wood chips are the best of mulches. Wood chips are what comes out of a chipper machine when a tree trimmer puts branches through it. Wood chips are bits of leaves, twigs,...
Where to get wood chips for mulch

Where to get wood chips for mulch

It had been about a year since I’d replenished the wood chips throughout my yard and the mulch was wearing thin. I was having trouble finding a convenient source. I started to get anxious. Then a couple weeks ago my neighbor offered a pile that had been sitting...
Teaming with Microbes: a book review

Teaming with Microbes: a book review

A good book changes you. If you looked at my vegetable garden today and compared it to my vegetable garden a couple years ago, one difference you’d notice is the fullness of its beds. Nowadays, I aim to keep plants growing over every square inch of each bed at all...
Keep mulch away from tree trunks?

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...
Don’t dig in your garden

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...
Simple composting

Simple composting

My first experience composting was when I dug a hole in the ground and filled it with food scraps, garden waste, pig manure, and peach tree trimmings. Each night when I went outside to relieve myself before going to bed, I found a wild dog harvesting from the compost...
Fertile soil can be child’s play

Fertile soil can be child’s play

You want your vegetables and fruit trees to grow well and provide you with good food, so you seek advice about how to create the best soil conditions for your plants. You encounter this recommendation in Sunset’s The Edible Garden book about how to grow...
Mulch

Mulch

A truckload of mulch is overwhelmingly pleasing: the sweet foresty smell, the rich brown color, the thought of tree roots flourishing beneath it and even reaching up into it to eat and drink. There are few things you can do to please your trees more than spread a...