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Specializing in colorful, water-conserving gardens

Specializing in colorful, water-conserving gardens

Push Back That Fence!

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It drives me nuts when people install a fence on top of their front-yard property line, or flush with a corner of their house. That is, unless there’s a compelling reason to do so. Instead, I much prefer stepping back the fence a few feet, or sometimes pulling it forward. Doing so creates a sense of depth, provides all sorts of planting possibilities and is far more interesting than simply erecting a flat, hard face against a sidewalk or in line with the exterior of your home. While […]

Conserving Water: Making Every Precious Drop Count

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In a grand sense, conserving water in the garden is imperative. Limited supplies, uncertain rainfall and drought are all very real issues on the Central Coast. It’s easy enough to shift your ornamental plantings to a wide variety of California native and Mediterranean species that require little water or no water. But putting edibles on a water diet can be tricky. Folks converting to edible landscapes often see their water bills rise after they plant their first crops. The natural inclination is to keep the plants well hydrated, […]

Compost: Feed Your Veggies and They’ll Feed You

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One of the best ways to bring edibles to life is to work nearly dead material into the soil. Indeed, decomposing matter, in the form of compost, is truly a wonder product. It adds nutrients, activates beneficial soil microorganisms, improves tilth and drainage, and boosts the vitality of your crops. What’s more, you can make your own. Getting Started A simple setup consists of one or two bins measuring 3 feet wide, 3 feet deep and 3 feet tall. Store-bought kits are typically brown or black recycled plastic. […]

Sow Winter Cover Crops to Reinvigorate Your Soil

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If you’re planning to grow only a few vegetables this winter — or even none at all — don’t leave your garden beds bare. Instead, consider sowing a cover crop to rejuvenate your soil. Sometimes called compost crops or green manure, cover crops have been used for centuries to replenish nutrients, loosen up compacted soil, control erosion, inhibit weeds and provide habitat for beneficial insects. The technique faded away in the 1950s when the use of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides became widespread. But with recent interest in organic […]

Build Your Own Raised Vegetable Beds

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Do your summer vegetables need a lift? Raised beds are an excellent way to amp up your harvests. Few of us have naturally occurring vegetable quality soil. It can be tough to create the rich, loamy stuff in the ground. Instead, start fresh, by building up. An elevated growing space makes it easier to improve your soil’s fertility and tilth, and to water, weed and harvest crops. With a few modifications, raised beds protect against rabbits and rodents. You won’t step on productive soil or waste it between […]

Look for My Garden on Santa Barbara City TV

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A water-wise garden that I designed last year will be featured on Santa Barbara’s City TV in July. A camera crew shot the garden and interviewed my client, Amy Ramos, this week for an episode of “Inside Santa Barbara.” Amy explained how we ripped out the sod lawn in her front yard and replaced it with colorful, water-conserving shrubs, perennials and ground covers. She reduced her water bill and her maintenance, and got a beautiful, fragrant garden in keeping with the cottage style of her home in return. […]

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