• do houseplants clean air

    Air-Purifying Houseplants and Other Myths

    It’s an enticing idea, creating little biomes in our homes filled with crisp plant-purified air. Nurseries market it and plant blogs post articles titled, 20 Best Plants for Cleaning the Air. It’s not true. This myth originated in the 1980s when NASA scientist, Bill Wolverton, studied cleaning volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air in small […]

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  • Southern California Planting Guide

    Knowing what to plant when is confusing. Does parsley like hot or cold weather? what can I plant on a 100°F September day (not much)? Why does this lettuce seed pack tell me I can grow this in summer but you say I can’t? I work with kids who want to plant watermelons despite what […]

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  • Sheet Mulch: Creating Rich Soil Without Tilling

    Have you ever dug a hole on a summer day in clay soil? The sun bakes your back as you strike your shovel to the ground. It seems like instead of the shovel digging the soil and soil is breaking your shovel.  Where I garden in the San Fernando Valley, we have lots of clay […]

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  • Growing Nasturtiums: Champion of the Edible Flowers

    I first met nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) growing wildly in an abandoned park. They had no water and no love but their lily-pad leaves blanketed the ground and their vibrant flowers popped in reds and yellows. There is a saying that goes, “be nasty to nasturtiums.” Now, nasturtiums are my favorite edible flower. They are easy […]

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  • What to Grow in Your Winter Garden

    Winter can be more than dormancy and mid-term elections. There are plenty of crops that can be grown throughout the winter and they include some of the most nutrient dense ones; kale, bok choi and spinach. If you live in a climate with mild winters your winter garden can be overflowing with: Brassicas Greens Roots […]

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  • Kale, it’s Still Cool: How to Grow Kale

    Kale was not always cool. It used to be a garnish used to dress up the food in mediocre restaurants. My friend would take it home to feed to his bearded dragon. Then, suddenly, people started wearing shirts with the word, KALE emblazoned across them as if it were the Ivy League University they were […]

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  • Squash Sex: How to Pollinate Squash

    Recently, I started an urban garden that bees seem to be avoiding like it’s a honey bear. This could be for several reasons but, I am guessing it is because the land has been mostly barren for several years. Because they have not had a food source, bees have not established themselves in the area.   […]

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  • how to pollinate corn

    Corn Sex: How to Pollinate Corn

    When it comes to corn sex, the backyard gardener needs to lend a hand. Unlike many plants that are pollinated by insects, corn is pollinated by the wind. First, the male part of the plant, “tassels,” emerge from the top of the corn stalk.   The female parts, or silks, emerge lower on the corn […]

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  • Grow Your Own Medicine: Growing Aloe Vera

    Sunburns and sticky stinky aloe vera always meant summer to me. For this post, I am going to send you to a guest article I wrote for the Big Blog of Gardening. Aloe Vera: Growing, Propagation, Medical Uses Aloe Vera is one of my favorite medicinal plants and extremely easy to grow. Enjoy.

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