LearnZeus Library

8 Late June Garden Tasks for Gardeners in Southern California's Warm Inland Valleys

8 Late June Garden Tasks for Gardeners in Southern California's Warm Inland Valleys

By the end of June, gardeners in Southern California’s warmer inland valleys are generally maintaining and harvesting rather than planting. Few if any cool season vegetables are still thriving, and warm summer vegetables are generally ready for harvest. However, to get the most out of existing plantings, gardeners need to to do more than occasionally […]

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Down and Dirty 9: Insect Pests and Diseases Usually Aren’t the Problem

Down and Dirty 9: Insect Pests and Diseases Usually Aren’t the Problem

Down and Dirty Southern California Gardening A weekly GardenZeus article series to help gardeners succeed in Southern California’s unique climates and growing conditions. Post 9: Insect Pests and Diseases Usually Aren’t the Problem When your garden or landscape plants are diseased or infested with insect pests, obviously you need to deal with the diseases or […]

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June 19 - 25 is National Pollinator Week

June 19 - 25 is National Pollinator Week

It’s Pollinator Week! June 19-25, 2017 has been designated National Pollinator Week by the U. S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of the Interior designated June 19 – 25 as National Pollinator Week.  The purpose of Pollinator Week is to create awareness of the important role bees, butterflies and others play in the ecosystem […]

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Why Are Leaves on My Tomato Plants Turning Yellow?: Part 1 of 2

Why Are Leaves on My Tomato Plants Turning Yellow?: Part 1 of 2

Why Are Leaves on My Tomato Plants Turning Yellow?: A GardenZeus Guide Part 1 of 2 See customized advice and information for growing tomatoes in your Southern California zipcode Don’t know your GardenZeus California Climate Zone? Enter your zipcode at GardenZeus.com. In horticultural lingo, yellowing of leaves on vegetable plants such as tomatoes is a “general […]

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Down and Dirty 8: Tips for Testing Soil pH at Home with a Soil pH Meter

Down and Dirty 8: Tips for Testing Soil pH at Home with a Soil pH Meter

Down and Dirty Southern California Gardening A weekly GardenZeus article series to help gardeners succeed in Southern California’s unique climates and growing conditions. Post 8: Tips for Testing Soil pH at Home with a Soil pH Meter Ignore soil pH in your Southern-California garden soil at your (and your plants’) own risk! Most soils in […]

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Tips for Summer Tomato Planting in Southern California Coastal-Influence Areas

Tips for Summer Tomato Planting in Southern California Coastal-Influence Areas

Want to plant tomatoes in June or July but not sure the seasonal timing is right? This article gives tips and advice for succeeding with summer tomato planting in warm-summer, mild-winter California areas, particularly in GardenZeus California Climate Zone 14: Southern Strong Coastal Influence. See customized advice and information for growing tomatoes in your Southern […]

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Summer Tomato Planting in Southern California Coastal Areas

Summer Tomato Planting in Southern California Coastal Areas

Want to plant tomatoes in June or July along the Southern California Coast but not sure the seasonal timing is right? This article gives tips and advice for succeeding with summer tomato planting in GardenZeus California Climate Zone 15: Southern Coastal. See customized advice and information for growing tomatoes in your Southern California zipcode Don’t […]

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Tips for Late Tomato Planting in Hot Summer Areas

Tips for Late Tomato Planting in Hot Summer Areas

Want to plant tomatoes in June or July shortly before the full heat of summer arrives but not sure it’s a good idea? This article gives tips and advice for succeeding with late tomato planting in hot-summer, mild-winter California areas, particularly in these GardenZeus zones: – California Climate Zone 12: Southern Inland, More Extreme – […]

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What's New at GardenZeus: Week of June 5 - 11, 2017

What's New at GardenZeus: Week of June 5 - 11, 2017

  What’s New at GardenZeus: Week of June 5 – 11, 2017: Down and Dirty 7: Mudpies and Fizz: Easy Home Tests for Soil pH How Well Do You Know Pumpkins? Take Our Quiz! Quick Tip: How to Make a Lavender Bathing Infusion Common Problems With Carrot Roots Mildew: A Common Problem With Zucchini Plants […]

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Down and Dirty 7: Mudpies and Fizz: Easy Home Tests for Soil pH

Down and Dirty 7: Mudpies and Fizz: Easy Home Tests for Soil pH

Down and Dirty Southern California Gardening A weekly GardenZeus article series to help gardeners succeed in Southern California’s unique climates and growing conditions. Post 7: Mudpies and Fizz: Easy Home Tests for Soil pH Concerned that your soil pH may be high or low? Use these two easy home tests to find out. It’s important to use distilled […]

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How Well Do You Know Pumpkins? Take Our Quiz!

How Well Do You Know Pumpkins? Take Our Quiz!

  How well do you know pumpkin cultivation and lore? Take our short quiz to find out. The 5 questions are arranged approximately from easiest to hardest. See correct answers at the end of the article.   1) What is the best advice for growing pumpkins among the options listed? a) Plant pumpkin seeds in […]

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Down and Dirty 6: No Tomato Harvest When You Did Everything Right

Down and Dirty 6: No Tomato Harvest When You Did Everything Right

Down and Dirty Southern California Gardening A weekly GardenZeus article series to help gardeners succeed in Southern California’s unique climates and growing conditions. Post 6: No Tomato Harvest When You Did Everything Right A gardener or landscaper can do everything else right, and still have plants that underperform, struggle, or even die from problems related to soil […]

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Getting to Know Garden Pumpkins: A GardenZeus Guide to Types, Species, and Characteristics

Getting to Know Garden Pumpkins: A GardenZeus Guide to Types, Species, and Characteristics

What exactly is a pumpkin? Botanically speaking, that’s not a simple question. There is no such species as Cucurbita pumpkinitis. Is pumpkin a type of squash? Yes. Do all pumpkins belong in the category of winter squash? Consensus suggests yes. Many gardeners, garden writers, and seed vendors agree on this, but technically even this is debatable. Getting to Know Pumpkins by […]

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Grow Cucurbits in a Mature Compost Pile

Grow Cucurbits in a Mature Compost Pile

GardenZeus Quick Tip for Your California Garden: Grow Your Cucurbits (Summer Squash, Zucchini, Winter Squash, Pumpkins, Cucumbers, Melons, and Watermelons) in a Mature Compost Pile If you’ve had trouble with low yields from cucurbits, try planting pre-germinated seeds directly into a mature compost pile. If planning well in advance, construct a compost pile inside a wire […]

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Down and Dirty 5: What is the Mother of All Southern California Landscape and Garden Problems?

Down and Dirty 5: What is the Mother of All Southern California Landscape and Garden Problems?

Down and Dirty Southern California Gardening A weekly GardenZeus article series to help gardeners succeed in Southern California’s unique climates and growing conditions. Post 5: What is the Mother of All Southern California Landscape and Garden Problems? What is the mother of all problems for purposes of gardening and landscaping in Southern California? Of course it’s […]

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Timing for Growing Halloween Pumpkins in Hot-Summer California Areas

Timing for Growing Halloween Pumpkins in Hot-Summer California Areas

Pumpkins grow and produce best at daytime temperatures of about 65° to 75°F, and while many varieties tolerate heat, growth and fruiting may be diminished at temperatures above 85°F. This creates a conundrum for California gardeners in hot-summer areas who want to grow pumpkins for Halloween. With many California areas having highs above 100°F and some […]

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Down and Dirty 4: Oops! Southern California Gardening Mistake #1

Down and Dirty 4: Oops! Southern California Gardening Mistake #1

Down and Dirty Southern California Gardening A weekly GardenZeus article series to help gardeners succeed in Southern California’s unique climates and growing conditions. Post 4: Oops! Common Gardening Mistakes in Southern California #1: Testing Soil AFTER You Buy or Lease Want answers to your gardening questions for Southern California? That just takes a quick internet […]

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Six Common Problems and Non-Problems With Pole Bean

Six Common Problems and Non-Problems With Pole Bean

Problems With Pole Beans Blossom drop: Bean plants will drop blossoms due to low humidity, excessive smog or air pollution, dry soil or uneven water, wind, excessive soil nitrogen, daily or consistent high temperatures above 85°F, heat waves above 90°F, and cold and/or wet weather. Flowering without setting pods: This may be caused by poor […]

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Growing Cucumbers in the California Home Garden

Growing Cucumbers in the California Home Garden

What would life be like without cucumbers? The more popular and perhaps more charismatic garden vegetables such as tomatoes and zucchini may generate more excitement and dedication from gardeners and cooks, but nothing could replace cucumbers for their texture, crunchiness, and their many uses both fresh and pickled in the kitchen. At the same time, cucumbers can […]

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Links to All Articles for Down and Dirty Southern California Gardening

Links to All Articles for Down and Dirty Southern California Gardening

Down and Dirty Southern California Gardening A weekly GardenZeus article series in which expert Darren Butler shares more than 20 years of experience about what works and what doesn’t with gardening in Southern California: Post 1: What did you say about gardening in Southern California? Post 2: Grow Your Gardening Brain Here in Sunny Southern California […]

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3 Tips for Growing Cucumbers in Coastal Southern California

3 Tips for Growing Cucumbers in Coastal Southern California

Time your planting carefully. Cucumbers can be fussy. They grow and fruit best in full sun at temperatures from 55° to 85°F, with optimal growing temperature between 65° and 75°F. They tend to be sensitive and stressed at temperatures above about 85°F and below about 50°F. In Southern California Coastal areas, plant pre-germinated cucumber seeds or seed […]

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Down and Dirty 3: My Garden Crash-Landing in the San Fernando Valley

Down and Dirty 3: My Garden Crash-Landing in the San Fernando Valley

Down and Dirty Southern California Gardening A weekly GardenZeus article series to help gardeners succeed in Southern California’s unique climates and growing conditions. Post 3: My Garden Crash-Landing in the San Fernando Valley Well, that didn’t turn out as I expected. I don’t know how many times I said that, along with many enthusiastic and colorful […]

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The Alphabet Soup of Tomato Disease Resistance

The Alphabet Soup of Tomato Disease Resistance

Tomato seeds and plants may be sold with a string of letters after their variety names. These are codes for disease resistance. Common letter codes include: A Alternaria stem canker F Fusarium wilt FF Fusarium, races 1 and 2 FFF Fusarium, races 1,2 and 3 N Nematodes T Tobacco mosaic virus St Stemphylium gray leaf spot […]

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GardenZeus Tips for Fertilizing Tomatoes During the Growing Season

GardenZeus Tips for Fertilizing Tomatoes During the Growing Season

Tomatoes are heavy feeders, and perform best in rich, living soil with sufficient organic matter and calcium. GardenZeus recommends providing additional nitrogen and nutrients to tomatoes after transplanting and again once tomatoes begin to produce fruit. Add nitrogen in the form of diluted urea or a cup of chicken manure diluted in 4 gallons of water […]

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What's New at GardenZeus? (Latest Update!)

What's New at GardenZeus? (Latest Update!)

  For the week of June 5 – 11, 2017: Down and Dirty 7: Mudpies and Fizz: Easy Home Tests for Soil pH How Well Do You Know Pumpkins? Take Our Quiz! Quick Tip: How to Make a Lavender Bathing Infusion Common Problems With Carrot Roots Mildew: A Common Problem With Zucchini Plants Quick Tips for […]

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What's New at GardenZeus? 2017 Archive

What's New at GardenZeus? 2017 Archive

  What’s New at GardenZeus? 2017 Archive: Coming Soon: What’s New at GardenZeus: Week of June 12 – 18, 2017 What’s New at GardenZeus: Week of June 5 – 11, 2017 What’s New at GardenZeus: Week of May 29 – June 4, 2017 What’s New at GardenZeus: Week of May 22 – 28, 2017 What’s New at […]

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Advanced Gardening Tip: How to Save Seeds from Summer Squash, Including Zucchini

Advanced Gardening Tip: How to Save Seeds from Summer Squash, Including Zucchini

Summer squash will cross readily with most other varieties of summer squash (Cucurbita pepo). Long distances between different summer-squash varieties or isolation is required to save seeds that remain true-to-variety across multiple plant generations. Home gardeners typically use isolation to save seeds. For those who want to save seeds from their home gardens by isolation, […]

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A Quick Overview of Rose Pruning Between Blooms

A Quick Overview of Rose Pruning Between Blooms

While rose pruning varies by type and species, many roses need two primary kinds of pruning. The first is clean-up and light pruning after blooming. The second type of pruning is a more comprehensive annual pruning. This article focuses on clean-up and light pruning after blooming that should be done regularly throughout the growing season. Note that […]

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Getting to Know Cucumbers Part 3 of 3: A Guide to Cucumber Types

Getting to Know Cucumbers Part 3 of 3: A Guide to Cucumber Types

Getting to Know Cucumbers for Garden and Kitchen Part 3 of 3: A Guide to Cucumber Types The 1st article in this series described 2 general categories of cucumbers (slicers versus picklers, and vining versus bush); the 2nd article in this series shared definitions of terms used to describe cucumbers. Building on this prior information, […]

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Down and Dirty 2: Grow Your Gardening Brain Here in Sunny Southern California

Down and Dirty 2: Grow Your Gardening Brain Here in Sunny Southern California

Down and Dirty Southern California Gardening A weekly GardenZeus article series to help gardeners succeed in Southern California’s unique climates and growing conditions. Post 2: Grow Your Gardening Brain Here in Sunny Southern California Let’s be honest: California is a different world in many ways from the rest of the United States. From the comparatively mild climate […]

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Down and Dirty 1: What did you say about gardening in Southern California?

Down and Dirty 1: What did you say about gardening in Southern California?

Down and Dirty Southern California Gardening A weekly GardenZeus article series to help gardeners succeed in Southern California’s unique climates and growing conditions. Post 1: What did you say about gardening in Southern California? You mean I can grow a variety of vegetables outdoors all winter long almost everywhere in Southern California? What was that? […]

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Getting to Know Cucumbers Part 2 of 3: Cucumber Characteristics

Getting to Know Cucumbers Part 2 of 3: Cucumber Characteristics

Getting to Know Cucumbers for Garden and Kitchen Part 2 of 3: Cucumber Characteristics and Terminology It’s easy to confuse terminology describing characteristics of cucumbers with actual type or cultivar of cucumber. “Seedless” and “burpless” are not distinct cultivars of cucumber, but describe characteristics that may be found in many different varieties. For example, you […]

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Getting to Know Cucumbers Part 1 of 3: Two Basic Cucumber Decisions

Getting to Know Cucumbers Part 1 of 3: Two Basic Cucumber Decisions

Getting to Know Cucumbers for Garden and Kitchen Part 1 of 3: Two Basic Cucumber Decisions: Slicers Versus Picklers, and Vining Versus Bush Types How do you want to eat your cucumbers? The most basic decision about cucumbers for gardeners and cooks is culinary purpose. Slicing cucumbers or “slicers” are primarily eaten fresh; versus pickling cucumbers […]

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Should Organic Gardeners Fertilize Their Roses?

Should Organic Gardeners Fertilize Their Roses?

Established roses of any variety in fertile soil with a thriving soil ecosystem may need little or no supplemental fertilization to provide abundant blooms. Species and heritage roses also may need little fertilization. Most modern roses will produce the largest, most frequent, and most numerous blooms if they receive supplemental fertilizer. Roses are often fertilized […]

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Getting Started With Pole Beans in California's Warmer Inland Areas

Getting Started With Pole Beans in California's Warmer Inland Areas

Pole snap beans can be tricky seasonally because they are intolerant of frost and cold temperatures, which may be common overnight during winter in many of California’s inland areas; and also of hot temperatures above about 85°F. For precise suggestions regarding the best times of year to grow pole snap beans in your area, go […]

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Cucumber Varieties for Southern California's Inland Areas

Cucumber Varieties for Southern California's Inland Areas

GardenZeus recommends heat-tolerant cucumber varieties for Southern California’s inland areas for both late-winter/spring-to-summer and fall planting windows. Slicing cucumbers: Poinsett 76 is a favorite open-pollinated, heat-tolerant, flavorful variety that is also disease-resistant (including mildews). Marketmore and Marketmore 76 are classic favorites for their long harvest period and reliable fruit production under moderate environmental stress. Straight […]

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Getting Started With Cucumbers in Southern California's Inland Areas

Getting Started With Cucumbers in Southern California's Inland Areas

Cucumbers have a reputation for being easy to grow, but GardenZeus expert Darren Butler has found that this is not necessarily so in the warm Southern California inland areas. Cucumbers prefer a narrow temperature range of about 55° to 85°F for growing and fruiting, and there is no 60-day growing season in your zone that […]

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Why Don't You Refrigerate Tomatoes?

Why Don't You Refrigerate Tomatoes?

Most gardeners and cooks know that tomatoes should not be refrigerated but many may not know why. The ideal storage temperature for fruits and vegetables varies among the many different varieties. Those fruits native to warmer regions are typically injured by temperatures as low as the common house refrigerator. Their cells begin to malfunction and […]

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Spring Gardening Task: Add Mulch to Rose Beds

Spring Gardening Task: Add Mulch to Rose Beds

Spring is an ideal time to add mulch to your garden beds. Roses, like most woody perennials, will reap a series of benefits. Roses generally benefit from a year-round layer of mulch to retain moisture, inhibit weeds, feed the soil, and moderate soil temperature. When possible, mulch with spent rose blooms and pruned leaves to […]

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Growing Roses in Containers: Common Problems

Growing Roses in Containers: Common Problems

Beautiful, healthy roses grown in attractive containers can be a beautiful addition to a landscape. However, a number of challenges arise when growing woody perennials, such as roses, in pots or anywhere root space is limited: 1) Root binding: It is inevitable with most potted roses that roots will outgrow the available soil and space. […]

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Five DIY Remedies for Pests in the Home Garden

Five DIY Remedies for Pests in the Home Garden

Are garden pests, such as squirrels, rats and rabbits, eating your vegetables and fruits? Do you have aphids on your roses? Before going to your local garden center, consider the following DIY pest remedies, which you can probably make from ingredients you may already have in your cupboard. Remedy: Hot pepper spray. Deters: mammals, such […]

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How are Growing Carrots Like Riding a Bike?

How are Growing Carrots Like Riding a Bike?

How are growing carrots like riding a bike? Both are easy once you learn how. Darren Butler recommends this 8-part list for practicing the knack of growing large, tasty, single-rooted carrots. May you have many a happy ride on the carrot-growing bicycle: 1) Grow in loose, uncompacted, uniform soil without rocks or obstructions. 2) Grow […]

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Using Kitchen Ingredients as Soil Amendments

Using Kitchen Ingredients as Soil Amendments

Before you head to your local garden center to purchase soil amendments for spring planting beds, wait! You may have ingredients in your kitchen cupboard that work as helpful soil amendments.   Heavy feeders, such as tomatoes, require calcium for optimal production. Eggshells are an excellent source of calcium; instead of throwing away your eggshells, […]

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Tomatomania's Spring Tomato Seedling Sale Locations 2017

Tomatomania's Spring Tomato Seedling Sale Locations 2017

Inexperienced tomato growers may find it easier to purchase tomato seedlings from reputable sources, such as Tomatomania. Each spring, Tomatomania brings its tomato seedling selection to various locations in Southern California. This year Tomatomania’s offerings include over 250 varieties of heirloom and hybrid tomato seedlings, including some new varieties for 2017 and many varieties recommended […]

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Growing Winter Squash and Pumpkins in the California Home Garden

Growing Winter Squash and Pumpkins in the California Home Garden

Because of their long growing season, winter squash and many pumpkins tend to be more difficult to grow to maturity than summer squash. However, provided that a few important cultural needs are met, long-season squash can be champions of the garden and pantry, with many varieties producing 5 to 40 pounds of food per fruit […]

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Exciting New Rose Varieties for Southern California

Exciting New Rose Varieties for Southern California

What do Peach Swirl™, Violet’s Pride, and Cupid’s Kisses have in common? They are all brand-new rose varieties for 2017 that are also excellent choices for Southern California. Bare-root roses began arriving in retail nurseries in January, followed quickly by potted roses. All the varieties below are disease resistant unless noted and all have been […]

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What are the Differences Between Summer Squash and Winter Squash?: A GardenZeus Guide

What are the Differences Between Summer Squash and Winter Squash?: A GardenZeus Guide

The terms “summer squash” and “winter squash” have confused many a gardener; they refer to the time of year that the different squash varieties are traditionally eaten. These terms for squash don’t have a clear or precise botanical or taxonomic meaning. The terms “summer squash” and “winter squash” do NOT refer to: the season when […]

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California Gardening After the Storm: What to do When the Sun Comes Out

California Gardening After the Storm: What to do When the Sun Comes Out

Part 4 in the GardenZeus series “Gardening Tips for Rain and Rainstorms” It’s easy to damage your soil structure by walking in cultivated areas after rains. If you have not implemented a plan in your garden or landscape to prevent soil compaction, it’s best to stay off the soil when it’s wet. See Part 2 […]

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Benefits of Rain For California Gardens

Benefits of Rain For California Gardens

Part 3 in the GardenZeus series “Gardening Tips for Rain and Rainstorms” How does rain compare with water from your hose? Rain is much better for plants. Rainwater carries traces of airborn pollutants, but is free of the minerals, chlorine, and chloramines that many cities add to municipal water. Chlorine is put into city water […]

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California Gardening During Rainstorms: Flush Salts and Avoid Soil Compaction

California Gardening During Rainstorms: Flush Salts and Avoid Soil Compaction

Part 2 in the GardenZeus series “Gardening Tips for Rain and Rainstorms” Have you ever seen brown or burned leaf tips or edges on your landscape plants or houseplants? This is usually caused by excessive salts in your pots or soil. Salts are minerals that are soluble in water, many of which plants need in […]

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Preparing for Rain in California Gardens

Preparing for Rain in California Gardens

Part 1 in the GardenZeus series “Gardening Tips for Rain and Rainstorms” Have you ever stopped to realize that because of dry summers in most of California, garden vegetables, agricultural crops, and annual flowers may live out their entire lifespans, from germination through harvest, without ever receiving a drop of natural rain? California is climatically […]

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Gifts for Gardeners: California Master Gardener Handbook

Gifts for Gardeners: California Master Gardener Handbook

California Master Gardener Handbook, 2nd Edition Edited by Dennis R. Pittenger, 2015 The California Master Gardener Handbook is a comprehensive, science-based reference book on horticulture and other related topics written for participants in the California Master Gardener program during and after completing their local training program, but it is also a valuable reference for the […]

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Poinsettias: Tips, Care, and Fun Facts for the Holidays

Poinsettias: Tips, Care, and Fun Facts for the Holidays

What is the most popular holiday plant in the United States? The easy answer is Christmas trees for their traditional role as the holiday centerpiece, but by total annual sales of individual plants, the correct answer would be poinsettias. With sales in excess of 30 million plants annually, poinsettias are easily the most popular houseplant […]

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Gifts for Gardeners: Treasured Lands

Gifts for Gardeners: Treasured Lands

Many of us get lost in the constant process of remaking and redefining our small urban spaces, forgetting that nature has always been the best and most spectacular garden designer. Released concurrently with the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, Treasured Lands is a standout picture book with glorious pictures of each of our […]

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Why is my Lettuce Turning Brown? It's Probably Ethylene Gas

Why is my Lettuce Turning Brown? It's Probably Ethylene Gas

You locate the romaine lettuce for your dinner salad in the back right corner of your refrigerator, just behind the apples, but alas, you notice brown spots on the lettuce ribs. What is the culprit? Most likely, it is ethylene gas. Ethylene is a natural plant hormone that is released as gas. It regulates many […]

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Winter squash: why is it grown in the summer?

Winter squash: why is it grown in the summer?

The terms “summer squash” and “winter squash” have confused many a gardener; they refer to the time of year that the different squash varieties are traditionally eaten. These terms for squash don’t have a clear or precise botanical or taxonomic meaning. The terms “summer squash” and “winter squash” do NOT refer to: the season when […]

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Making Friends with Winter Squash: A GardenZeus Guide to Types, Species, and Characteristics

Making Friends with Winter Squash: A GardenZeus Guide to Types, Species, and Characteristics

A tomato is a tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) and corn is corn (Zea mays), but what about a winter squash? It could be any of 5 or more different species. The term “winter squash” doesn’t have a precise botanical or taxonomic meaning. Getting to Know Winter Squash by Species: There are 5 main species in the Cucurbit […]

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Caring for Chinese Lantern plants (Physalis alkekengi)

Caring for Chinese Lantern plants (Physalis alkekengi)

Those attractive Chinese Lantern Plants found in grocery stores and garden centers about this time in October are nightshades, part of the Solanaceae family of over 2500 species that includes important garden vegetables, such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, potatoes, and tomatillos; major agricultural crops such as tobacco; as well as poisonous plants, weeds, medicinal plants, […]

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Saving Pumpkin Seeds: It's Complicated

Saving Pumpkin Seeds: It's Complicated

Now that you have carved your jack-o’-lantern, should you save the seeds to grow next year’s pumpkins? If there were a vegetable comedy about garden pumpkins making seeds, it would have to be titled It’s Complicated. Saving pumpkin seeds that will produce quality and true-to-variety pumpkins for next year’s garden is not as simple as […]

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Growing Summer Squash (Including Zucchini) in the California Home Garden

Growing Summer Squash (Including Zucchini) in the California Home Garden

Provided that a few important cultural needs are met, summer squash and zucchini can be among the most rewarding of garden vegetables. When harvested religiously while fruits are small, zucchini can be so productive over such a long period of time that when faced with yet another round of new fruits for harvest, some gardeners […]

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GardenZeus Recommendations for Shrub Rose Varieties in California Zone 15

GardenZeus Recommendations for Shrub Rose Varieties in California Zone 15

Shrub roses are among the easiest roses to grow; they are generally disease-resistant and most are prolific repeat bloomers, making them an excellent choice for beginners or gardeners new to roses.  They tolerate difficult locations where other rose types might underperform, and have even been used successfully for landscaping public parkways and road mediums in […]

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GardenZeus Recommendations for Shrub Rose Varieties in California Zone 14

GardenZeus Recommendations for Shrub Rose Varieties in California Zone 14

Shrub roses are among the easiest roses to grow; they are generally disease-resistant and most are prolific repeat bloomers, making them an excellent choice for beginners or gardeners new to roses.  They tolerate difficult locations where other rose types might underperform, and have even been used successfully for landscaping public parkways and road mediums in […]

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GardenZeus Recommendations for Shrub Rose Varieties in California Zone 13

GardenZeus Recommendations for Shrub Rose Varieties in California Zone 13

Shrub roses are among the easiest roses to grow; they are generally disease-resistant and most are prolific repeat bloomers, making them an excellent choice for beginners or gardeners new to roses.  They tolerate difficult locations where other rose types might underperform, and have even been used successfully for landscaping public parkways and road mediums in […]

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GardenZeus Recommendations for Shrub Rose Varieties in California Zone 12

GardenZeus Recommendations for Shrub Rose Varieties in California Zone 12

Shrub roses are among the easiest roses to grow; they are generally disease-resistant and most are prolific repeat bloomers, making them an excellent choice for beginners or gardeners new to roses.  They tolerate difficult locations where other rose types might underperform, and have even been used successfully for landscaping public parkways and road mediums in […]

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GardenZeus Alert: Beware of Heavy Feeders!

GardenZeus Alert: Beware of Heavy Feeders!

Where do the elemental building blocks for all those delicious tomatoes, ears of corn, and melons come from? All parts of plants, from stems to flowers and fruits, are made mostly of air absorbed in the form of carbon dioxide during photosynthesis; and water absorbed through plant roots. A smaller but critically important portion of […]

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The GardenZeus Guide to Watering Cucumbers, Melons, and Squash (Cucurbits)

The GardenZeus Guide to Watering Cucumbers, Melons, and Squash (Cucurbits)

Popular garden cucurbits include cucumbers, many melons (including watermelon), summer squash (including zucchini), winter squash (including pumpkin), and some gourds. Cucurbits prefer loose, loamy, fertile soil with good drainage. Some gourds, mostly inedible varieties, and some other garden-cucurbit varieties can be drought-tolerant, but the vast majority of edible cucurbits need consistent soil moisture to maximize […]

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GardenZeus Recommendations for Hybrid Tea and Grandiflora Rose Varieties in California Zone 15

GardenZeus Recommendations for Hybrid Tea and Grandiflora Rose Varieties in California Zone 15

For gardeners who want to grow cut roses for floral arrangements, hybrid tea roses are significantly more valuable than any other class of rose and offer an unmatched array of colors and blooms grown on sturdy stems. While superior for cut flowers, hybrid tea roses also have drawbacks as landscape plants, including disease susceptibility, less-attractive […]

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GardenZeus Recommendations for Hybrid Tea and Grandiflora Rose Varieties in California Zone 14

GardenZeus Recommendations for Hybrid Tea and Grandiflora Rose Varieties in California Zone 14

For gardeners who want to grow cut roses for floral arrangements, hybrid tea roses are significantly more valuable than any other class of rose and offer an unmatched array of colors and blooms grown on sturdy stems. While superior for cut flowers, hybrid tea roses also have drawbacks as landscape plants, including disease susceptibility, less-attractive […]

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GardenZeus Recommendations for Hybrid Tea and Grandiflora Rose Varieties in California Zone 13

GardenZeus Recommendations for Hybrid Tea and Grandiflora Rose Varieties in California Zone 13

For gardeners who want to grow cut roses for floral arrangements, hybrid tea roses are significantly more valuable than any other class of rose and offer an unmatched array of colors and blooms grown on sturdy stems. While superior for cut flowers, hybrid tea roses also have drawbacks as landscape plants, including disease susceptibility, less-attractive […]

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GardenZeus Recommendations for Hybrid Tea and Grandiflora Rose Varieties in California Zone 12

GardenZeus Recommendations for Hybrid Tea and Grandiflora Rose Varieties in California Zone 12

For gardeners who want to grow cut roses for floral arrangements, hybrid tea roses are significantly more valuable than any other class of rose and offer an unmatched array of colors and blooms grown on sturdy stems. While superior for cut flowers, hybrid tea roses also have drawbacks as landscape plants, including disease susceptibility, less-attractive […]

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GardenZeus Recommendations for Miniature Rose Varieties in California Zone 15

GardenZeus Recommendations for Miniature Rose Varieties in California Zone 15

Miniatures and minifloras are ideal for containers and many are suitable as accent plants in landscapes. The delicate-but-formal, hybrid-tea-like flower form of many miniature roses makes for lovely floral arrangements. Most miniature-rose plants grow no larger than 2 feet in height, but keep in mind that the “miniature” designation for roses refers to the size […]

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GardenZeus Recommendations for Miniature Rose Varieties In California Zone 14

GardenZeus Recommendations for Miniature Rose Varieties In California Zone 14

Miniatures and minifloras are ideal for containers and many are suitable as accent plants in landscapes. The delicate-but-formal, hybrid-tea-like flower form of many miniature roses makes for lovely floral arrangements. Most miniature-rose plants grow no larger than 2 feet in height, but keep in mind that the “miniature” designation for roses refers to the size […]

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GardenZeus Recommendations for Miniature Rose Varieties in California Zone 13

GardenZeus Recommendations for Miniature Rose Varieties in California Zone 13

Miniatures and minifloras are ideal for containers and many are suitable as accent plants in landscapes. The delicate-but-formal, hybrid-tea-like flower form of many miniature roses makes for lovely floral arrangements. Most miniature-rose plants grow no larger than 2 feet in height, but keep in mind that the “miniature” designation for roses refers to the size […]

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GardenZeus Recommendations for Miniature Rose Varieties in California Zone 12

GardenZeus Recommendations for Miniature Rose Varieties in California Zone 12

Miniatures and minifloras are ideal for containers and many are suitable as accent plants in landscapes. The delicate-but-formal, hybrid-tea-like flower form of many miniature roses makes for lovely floral arrangements. Most miniature-rose plants grow no larger than 2 feet in height, but keep in mind that the “miniature” designation for roses refers to the size […]

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GardenZeus Recommendations for Climbing Rose Varieties in California Zone 15

GardenZeus Recommendations for Climbing Rose Varieties in California Zone 15

Climbers are characterized by their growth habit, producing long arching canes that can be attached to fences, walls trellises and other structures. They come in a wide range of flower colors, sizes and other characteristics. All of the below are repeat blooming but differ in many other important respects. Gardeners should be aware that unlike […]

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GardenZeus Recommendations for Climbing Rose Varieties in California Zone 14

GardenZeus Recommendations for Climbing Rose Varieties in California Zone 14

Climbers are characterized by their growth habit, producing long arching canes that can be attached to fences, walls trellises and other structures. They come in a wide range of flower colors, sizes and other characteristics. All of the below are repeat blooming but differ in many other important respects. Gardeners should be aware that unlike […]

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GardenZeus Recommendations for Climbing Rose Varieties in California Zone 13

GardenZeus Recommendations for Climbing Rose Varieties in California Zone 13

Climbers are characterized by their growth habit, producing long arching canes that can be attached to fences, walls trellises and other structures. They come in a wide range of flower colors, sizes and other characteristics. All of the below are repeat blooming but differ in many other important respects. Gardeners should be aware that unlike […]

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GardenZeus  Recommendations for Climbing Rose Varieties in California Zone 12

GardenZeus Recommendations for Climbing Rose Varieties in California Zone 12

Climbers are characterized by their growth habit, producing long arching canes that can be attached to fences, walls trellises and other structures. They come in a wide range of flower colors, sizes and other characteristics. All of the below are repeat blooming but differ in many other important respects. Gardeners should be aware that unlike […]

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GardenZeus Recommendations for Groundcover Rose Varieties in California Zone 15

GardenZeus Recommendations for Groundcover Rose Varieties in California Zone 15

  Groundcover roses are used in landscapes to cover large areas with masses of flowers; they can grow on slopes, over walls or in empty spaces under larger plants.  Their spreading habit is idea for small gardens as well as for combination planters and large containers.  The American Rose Society does not recognize “groundcover” as […]

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GardenZeus Recommendations for Groundcover Rose Varieties in California Zone 14

GardenZeus Recommendations for Groundcover Rose Varieties in California Zone 14

Groundcover roses are used in landscapes to cover large areas with masses of flowers; they can grow on slopes, over walls or in empty spaces under larger plants.  Their spreading habit is idea for small gardens as well as for combination planters and large containers.  The American Rose Society does not recognize “groundcover” as a […]

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GardenZeus Recommendations for Groundcover Rose Varieties in California Zone 13

GardenZeus Recommendations for Groundcover Rose Varieties in California Zone 13

  Groundcover roses are used in landscapes to cover large areas with masses of flowers; they can grow on slopes, over walls or in empty spaces under larger plants.  Their spreading habit is idea for small gardens as well as for combination planters and large containers.  The American Rose Society does not recognize “groundcover” as […]

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GardenZeus Recommendations for Groundcover Rose Varieties in California Zone 12

GardenZeus Recommendations for Groundcover Rose Varieties in California Zone 12

Groundcover roses are used in landscapes to cover large areas with masses of flowers; they can grow on slopes, over walls or in empty spaces under larger plants.  Their spreading habit is idea for small gardens as well as for combination planters and large containers.  The American Rose Society does not recognize “groundcover” as a […]

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GardenZeus Recommendations for Old Garden Rose Varieties in California Zone 15

GardenZeus Recommendations for Old Garden Rose Varieties in California Zone 15

Old garden roses, also known as “heritage roses” or “antique roses,” are a relatively unfamiliar but excellent choice for landscape plantings in your zone. By definition, old garden roses predate 1867 (the year that La France, the first Hybrid Tea rose, was introduced). They produce unequaled mass displays of beautiful and often fragrant blooms, and […]

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GardenZeus Recommendations for Old Garden Rose Varieties in California Zone 14

GardenZeus Recommendations for Old Garden Rose Varieties in California Zone 14

Old garden roses, also known as “heritage roses” or “antique roses,” are a relatively unfamiliar but excellent choice for landscape plantings in your zone. By definition, old garden roses predate 1867 (the year that La France, the first Hybrid Tea rose, was introduced). They produce unequaled mass displays of beautiful and often fragrant blooms, and […]

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GardenZeus recommendations for Old Garden Rose Varieties in California Zone 13

GardenZeus recommendations for Old Garden Rose Varieties in California Zone 13

    Old garden roses, also known as “heritage roses” or “antique roses,” are a relatively unfamiliar but excellent choice for landscape plantings in your zone. By definition, old garden roses predate 1867 (the year that La France, the first Hybrid Tea rose, was introduced). They produce unequaled mass displays of beautiful and often fragrant […]

Read More
GardenZeus Recommendations for Old Garden Rose Varieties in California Zone 12

GardenZeus Recommendations for Old Garden Rose Varieties in California Zone 12

  Old garden roses, also known as “heritage roses” or “antique roses,” are a relatively unfamiliar but excellent choice for landscape plantings in your zone. By definition, old garden roses predate 1867 (the year that La France, the first Hybrid Tea rose, was introduced). They produce unequaled mass displays of beautiful and often fragrant blooms, […]

Read More
GardenZeus Recommendations for Floribunda Varieties in California Zone 15

GardenZeus Recommendations for Floribunda Varieties in California Zone 15

Floribundas characteristically bear flowers in large clusters with multiple blooms in full flower at any given time, and often provide massive, colorful, long-lasting displays. They typically grow from about 2.5 to 4 feet, with an average height of about 3 feet, and tend to bloom constantly with informally grouped flowers, whereas hybrid teas tend to […]

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GardenZeus Recommendations for Floribunda Varieties in California Zone 14

GardenZeus Recommendations for Floribunda Varieties in California Zone 14

Floribundas characteristically bear flowers in large clusters with multiple blooms in full flower at any given time, and often provide massive, colorful, long-lasting displays. They typically grow from about 2.5 to 4 feet, with an average height of about 3 feet, and tend to bloom constantly with informally grouped flowers, whereas hybrid teas tend to […]

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GardenZeus Recommendations for Floribunda Varieties in California Zone 13

GardenZeus Recommendations for Floribunda Varieties in California Zone 13

Floribundas characteristically bear flowers in large clusters with multiple blooms in full flower at any given time, and often provide massive, colorful, long-lasting displays. They typically grow from about 2.5 to 4 feet, with an average height of about 3 feet, and tend to bloom constantly with informally grouped flowers, whereas hybrid teas tend to […]

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GardenZeus Recommendations for Floribunda Varieties in California Zone 12

GardenZeus Recommendations for Floribunda Varieties in California Zone 12

Floribundas characteristically bear flowers in large clusters with multiple blooms in full flower at any given time, and often provide massive, colorful, long-lasting displays. They typically grow from about 2.5 to 4 feet, with an average height of about 3 feet, and tend to bloom constantly with informally grouped flowers, whereas hybrid teas tend to […]

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GardenZeus Soil and Fertilization Tips for Growing Corn in California

GardenZeus Soil and Fertilization Tips for Growing Corn in California

Healthy soil and regular fertilization with nitrogen are critical to growing corn successfully in California home gardens. The information and tips below are intended to supplement the core information about soil and fertilization provided in “Soil Needs/Tips” in the GardenZeus section “Getting Started,” and “Nutrient/Amendment/Fertilization Needs/Tips” in the GardenZeus section “Planting and Maintaining” for your […]

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'The Three Sisters' Companion Planting Combination for California

'The Three Sisters' Companion Planting Combination for California

The Three Sisters is a traditional Native American agricultural grouping that includes corn, beans, and squash, with corn providing a natural trellis for beans and vining squash, beans fixing soil nitrogen theoretically to the benefit of all three crops, and squash providing a living mulch with large leaves that cool the soil and discourage weeds. The Three Sisters […]

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GardenZeus Zone 15: 'The Three Sisters' Companion Planting in Southern California's Coastal Areas

GardenZeus Zone 15: 'The Three Sisters' Companion Planting in Southern California's Coastal Areas

The Three Sisters is a traditional Native American agricultural grouping that includes corn, beans, and squash, with corn providing a natural trellis for beans and vining squash, beans fixing soil nitrogen theoretically to the benefit of all three crops, and squash providing a living mulch with large leaves that protect the soil and discourage weeds. The Three Sisters […]

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GardenZeus Zone 14: 'The Three Sisters' Companion Planting in Southern California's Coastal-Influence Areas

GardenZeus Zone 14: 'The Three Sisters' Companion Planting in Southern California's Coastal-Influence Areas

The Three Sisters is a traditional Native American agricultural grouping that includes corn, beans, and squash, with corn providing a natural trellis for beans and vining squash, beans fixing soil nitrogen theoretically to the benefit of all three crops, and squash providing a living mulch with large leaves that cool the soil and discourage weeds. While a […]

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GardenZeus Zone 13: 'The Three Sisters' Companion Planting in Southern California's Milder Inland Areas

GardenZeus Zone 13: 'The Three Sisters' Companion Planting in Southern California's Milder Inland Areas

The Three Sisters is a traditional Native American agricultural grouping that includes corn, beans, and squash, with corn providing a natural trellis for beans and vining squash, beans fixing soil nitrogen theoretically to the benefit of all three crops, and squash providing a living mulch with large leaves that cool the soil and discourage weeds. The Three […]

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GardenZeus Zone 12: 'The Three Sisters' Companion Planting in Southern California's Warm Inland Valleys

GardenZeus Zone 12: 'The Three Sisters' Companion Planting in Southern California's Warm Inland Valleys

The Three Sisters is a traditional Native American agricultural grouping that includes corn, beans, and squash, with corn providing a natural trellis for beans and vining squash, beans fixing soil nitrogen theoretically to the benefit of all three crops, and squash providing a living mulch with large leaves that cool the soil and discourage weeds. The Three […]

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GardenZeus Secrets of Success for Growing Corn in the California Home Garden

GardenZeus Secrets of Success for Growing Corn in the California Home Garden

Have you spent months carefully attending to corn in your garden for little or no yield, or watched corn ears grow over weeks to be disappointed by scattered kernels per ear at harvest? If so, you’re not alone. Corn is a demanding vegetable, with a long list of needs for successful harvest of kernel-filled ears. […]

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GardenZeus Quick Tips: How Many Corn Plants Should I Grow in My Garden?

GardenZeus Quick Tips: How Many Corn Plants Should I Grow in My Garden?

Corn is a space-hog in proportion to the amount of food it produces. Planting space is more often a limiting factor than a gardener’s appetite when growing corn in the home garden. Each sweet-corn plant will produce only one or two ears (often one ear for early varieties and two ears for late varieties). For […]

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GardenZeus Quick Tips: Should I Grow Supersweet Corn in my Garden?

GardenZeus Quick Tips: Should I Grow Supersweet Corn in my Garden?

GardenZeus expert Darren Butler generally recommends that home gardeners NOT grow supersweet corn varieties, which may produce plants that are less vigorous than heirlooms and hybrids. Supersweet corn may be more sensitive to cold soils and variable soil conditions. Cross-pollination between supersweet corn and other corn varieties increases starchiness in the kernels for both varieties, […]

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The GardenZeus Quick and Easy Guide to the Main Types of Garden and Agricultural Corn

The GardenZeus Quick and Easy Guide to the Main Types of Garden and Agricultural Corn

The main types of garden and agricultural corn include: – Sweet corn (Zea mays var. saccharata or Zea mays var. rugosa) is grown for canning, freezing, and don’t forget eating fresh on the cob! It comes in yellow, white, and bicolor varieties. – Dent or field corn (Zea mays var. indentata) is grown for animal […]

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How Much Spinach Should I Grow?: The Popeye-Bluto Garden Spinach Planner

How Much Spinach Should I Grow?: The Popeye-Bluto Garden Spinach Planner

If Popeye, the spinach-loving cartoon hero, somehow contacted GardenZeus for garden advice, we would not hesitate to suggest that he plant a large portion of his garden in spinach to ensure the supply he needs to prevail against Bluto, his spinach-deficient archenemy. Where do you fall on the Popeye-Bluto spinach scale? For occasional eaters of […]

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The GardenZeus Guide to Three Main Types of Garden Spinach

The GardenZeus Guide to Three Main Types of Garden Spinach

Garden spinach comes in three basic types: savoy, flat-leafed or smooth-leafed, and semi-savoy. Savoy types have darker green, crinkled leaves. They are cold tolerant and productive for home gardens. Flat-leafed or smooth-leafed types have flat, lighter-green leaves and are preferred for canning, commercial food processing, and sometimes for home cooking because leaves are easy to […]

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GardenZeus Serious Gardening: Are You Eating Toxic Lead with Your Spinach and Leafy Greens?

GardenZeus Serious Gardening: Are You Eating Toxic Lead with Your Spinach and Leafy Greens?

Spinach, among all the popular garden vegetables, is especially effective at absorbing essential metals, those needed for both plant and human health, such as iron and manganese, from the soil. Unfortunately, spinach is also of special concern to GardenZeus expert Darren Butler because it is effective at absorbing toxic metals from soil, including lead and […]

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The GardenZeus Guide to Staking, Supporting, and Trellising Tomato Plants

The GardenZeus Guide to Staking, Supporting, and Trellising Tomato Plants

Most tomato varieties will need staking or trellising to keep plants manageable, prevent vigorous tomato varieties from overwhelming other nearby vegetables, maximize growing space and maintain garden tidiness by requiring tomatoes to grow up rather than outward, allow for easier harvesting, and to reduce or prevent disease and pest problems caused by tomato fruits and […]

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The GardenZeus Guide to Starting Tomato Seeds

The GardenZeus Guide to Starting Tomato Seeds

Tomato seeds are easy to germinate. GardenZeus recommends germinating tomato seeds directly in small pots for later transplanting; or on a paper towel kept moist in a covered glass dish, with sprouted seeds then moved into small pots or transplanted directly outdoors as soon as a root emerges. Tomato seeds can also be started directly […]

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The GardenZeus Guide to Saving Tomato Seeds

The GardenZeus Guide to Saving Tomato Seeds

Saving seeds from a delicious heirloom or favorite open-pollinated tomato is simple, and can provide you with more than enough seeds to plant next year, as well as plenty to share with your friends. Although tomatoes are generally self-pollinating, they do occasionally cross-pollinate, and genetic traits may vary from seed to seed and fruit to […]

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GardenZeus Solutions to Common Abiotic Problems with Garden Tomatoes

GardenZeus Solutions to Common Abiotic Problems with Garden Tomatoes

Blossom Drop: Blossoms falling without setting fruit is one of the most common and frustrating problems with tomato plants. It may be caused by temperatures that are too warm or too cold, high or low humidity, lack of pollination, too much or too little water, or too much or too little nitrogen in soil, among […]

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GardenZeus Winter Gardening: Growing Winter Tomatoes in Mild California Areas

GardenZeus Winter Gardening: Growing Winter Tomatoes in Mild California Areas

Have you never grown tomatoes over winter? It is possible to enjoy tomato harvests from fall through spring many mild-winter California areas. Start by choosing cold-tolerant and/or short-season tomato varieties. Most varieties need temperatures between about 55° to 93°F for pollination and to set fruit; however, cold-tolerant varieties such as Siberian, Siletz, and Stupice set […]

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The GardenZeus Guide to Watering Tomatoes

The GardenZeus Guide to Watering Tomatoes

Tomato plants benefit from consistent soil moisture with a partial or slight dry-down of soil between waterings to ensure that soil is not consistently wet. The amount of dry-down between waterings should be kept consistent, as irregular moisture swings and dry soil can lead to problems such as blossom end rot and fruit splitting. See […]

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The GardenZeus Quick and Easy History of Tomato Cultivation

The GardenZeus Quick and Easy History of Tomato Cultivation

The original species tomato is believed native to South America and Central America, and may have been cultivated by the Aztecs and earlier cultures for hundreds of years by the time the Aztec Empire fell to Hernán Cortés in 1521 CE. Spanish explorers and colonizers likely brought the first tomatoes to Spain in the late […]

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The GardenZeus Guide to Choosing the Best Tomato Varieties For Your Garden

The GardenZeus Guide to Choosing the Best Tomato Varieties For Your Garden

With the hundreds of wonderful and reliable tomato varieties that are known to do well in your zone, in an astonishing diversity of colors, sizes, shapes and uses, it may take time and research to select varieties that best meet your needs. Do you prefer a simple roadmap to good tomato varieties for your climate […]

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The GardenZeus Guide to Buying Vegetable Seedlings

The GardenZeus Guide to Buying Vegetable Seedlings

Oh, the horror! the horror! that GardenZeus expert Darren Butler has seen with vegetable seedlings offered for retail sale. The health, vigor, and future yield of most vegetables are highly dependent on what happens to the plants during their first weeks of life, from germination to transplant and early establishment. Nursery display racks, big-box-store tables, […]

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The GardenZeus Guide to Tomato Varieties for California Zone 12

The GardenZeus Guide to Tomato Varieties for California Zone 12

When selecting tomato varieties for your garden, consider your own needs and preferences, and the many aspects of the tomato variety and the tomatoes it produces, from plants’ growth and fruiting habits to cultural needs to fruit size and flavor. GardenZeus generally recommends organic, open-pollinated, and heirloom seed varieties, and we note specifically on our […]

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The GardenZeus Guide to Four Basic Tomato Categories

The GardenZeus Guide to Four Basic Tomato Categories

GardenZeus prefers the following four basic categories that cover the majority of tomatoes: 1) Cherry: Small tomatoes from plants that are generally more vigorous, productive, and easier to grow than larger varieties. Cherry tomatoes include grape or mini varieties, which are generally smaller plants that produce small-to-tiny fruits that are often sweet and borne in […]

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The GardenZeus Guide to Common Garden Pests in California Zone 15

The GardenZeus Guide to Common Garden Pests in California Zone 15

Insect and Gastropod Pests: Aphids may occur year-round due to the mild climate in your zone, but infestiations are generally more severe from spring through fall or during warm weather than from fall through winter in your zone. Aphids can sometimes be removed with a strong stream of water, or washed off leaves with a […]

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The GardenZeus Guide to Common Vegetable Diseases in California Zone 15

The GardenZeus Guide to Common Vegetable Diseases in California Zone 15

Damping Off: If seedlings fail to emerge or starts die quickly, damping off is a likely cause. It’s caused by a variety soilborne fungi and fungus-like pathogens, most commonly Pythium, and occurs most often in cool, compacted, wet soils. Typical symptoms of infection include seeds that rot before they germinate, young sprouts that are mushy […]

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The GardenZeus Guide to Common Garden Pests in California Zone 14

The GardenZeus Guide to Common Garden Pests in California Zone 14

Insect and Gastropod Pests: Aphids may occur year-round due to the mild climate in your zone, but infestiations are generally more severe from spring through fall or during warm weather than from fall through winter in your zone. Aphids can sometimes be removed with a strong stream of water, or washed off leaves with a […]

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The GardenZeus Guide to Common Vegetable Diseases in California Zone 14

The GardenZeus Guide to Common Vegetable Diseases in California Zone 14

Damping Off: If seedlings fail to emerge or starts die quickly, damping off is a likely cause. It’s caused by a variety soilborne fungi and fungus-like pathogens, most commonly Pythium, and occurs most often in cool, compacted, wet soils. Typical symptoms of infection include seeds that rot before they germinate, young sprouts that are mushy […]

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Garden Oatmeal: an Overabundance of Kale and Chard

Garden Oatmeal: an Overabundance of Kale and Chard

GardenZeus expert Darren Butler has nicknamed productive, healthy garden greens, such as chard and kale, as “Garden Oatmeal” because while hearty and nutritious, after months and years of eating such plants regularly, they can come to seem plain and unappealing, or even be avoided entirely for weeks at a time, unless prepared as part of […]

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GardenZeus Tips for Shading Vegetables During Hot Weather

GardenZeus Tips for Shading Vegetables During Hot Weather

To extend your harvest and avoid bolting, stressed plants, and/or reduced yields from vegetables during hot weather, you may wish to install shadecloth over your plants to protect them during afternoon heat, or be creative in finding mobile and temporary ways to provide shade, such as with trellises, taller nearby plants in mobile pots, clotheslines, […]

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The GardenZeus Guide to Common Garden Pests in California Zone 13

The GardenZeus Guide to Common Garden Pests in California Zone 13

Insect and Gastropod Pests: Aphids occur more often in spring to summer or during warm weather than from fall through winter in your zone. They can sometimes be removed with a strong stream of water, or washed off leaves with a cloth or rag, before plants become fully infested. Aphids are often associated with Argentinian […]

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The GardenZeus Guide to Common Vegetable Diseases in California Zone 13

The GardenZeus Guide to Common Vegetable Diseases in California Zone 13

Damping Off: If seedlings fail to emerge or starts die quickly, damping off is a likely cause. It’s caused by a variety soilborne fungi and fungus-like pathogens, most commonly Pythium, and occurs most often in cool, compacted, wet soils. Typical symptoms of infection include seeds that rot before they germinate, young sprouts that are mushy […]

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The GardenZeus Quick and Easy Guide to Blanching and Freezing Vegetables and Herbs

The GardenZeus Quick and Easy Guide to Blanching and Freezing Vegetables and Herbs

  Prior to freezing, GardenZeus recommends blanching vegetables and herbs in boiling water for about 30 seconds to 2 minutes until color brightens, then immersing in ice water to cool quickly and prevent overcooking. Blanching softens leaves and stems, which makes them easier to work with when freezing, and helps to preserve nutrition and flavor. […]

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The GardenZeus Guide to Common Garden Pests in California Zone 12

The GardenZeus Guide to Common Garden Pests in California Zone 12

Insect and Gastropod Pests: Aphids occur more often in spring to summer or during warm weather than from fall through winter in your zone. They can sometimes be removed with a strong stream of water, or washed off leaves with a cloth or rag, before plants become fully infested. Aphids are often associated with Argentinian […]

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The GardenZeus Guide to Common Vegetable Diseases in California Zone 12

The GardenZeus Guide to Common Vegetable Diseases in California Zone 12

Damping Off: If seedlings fail to emerge or starts die quickly, damping off is a likely cause. It’s caused by a variety soilborne fungi and fungus-like pathogens, most commonly Pythium, and occurs most often in cool, compacted, wet soils. Typical symptoms of infection include seeds that rot before they germinate, young sprouts that are mushy […]

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How Squeamish Are You About Bugbitten Greens?

How Squeamish Are You About Bugbitten Greens?

Our vegetable gardens cultivate us as we cultivate them; it is for this reason that GardenZeus expert Darren Butler believes that so many longtime gardeners have special wisdom – they have been grown long and well by their gardens. Garden greens inevitably bring up questions of self-knowledge in the area of insect and gastropod squeamishness: […]

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The GardenZeus Guide to What Commonly Goes Wrong With Vegetable Plants in California Gardens

The GardenZeus Guide to What Commonly Goes Wrong With Vegetable Plants in California Gardens

Bolting: Greens and other plants from which we eat leaves, stems, or roots may begin to go to seed as a result of water stress, repeated wilting, hot or cold weather, disease or insect infestation, other stresses, or naturally as the result of their annual or biennial reproductive cycles. Leaves, roots, and other edible plant […]

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GardenZeus Tips for Container Vegetable Gardening

GardenZeus Tips for Container Vegetable Gardening

– Container plants are more sensitive to drying soil, especially at warm-and-hot temperatures, which can reduce harvest quality and quantity, shorten the harvest period, and lead to premature bolting. Soils may dry rapidly in containers, so monitoring and regular watering of vegetables and herbs in containers is important. Pay close attention to soil moisture and […]

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Gifts for Gardeners: Teaming With Microbes

Gifts for Gardeners: Teaming With Microbes

Looking for a helpful but inexpensive gift for the dedicated gardener? Look no farther than Teaming with Microbes. This small but intense book is one of the “must reads” for California—or any other –gardeners. This gardening book instructs gardeners how to create sustainable, healthy gardens without pesticides or fertilizers and offers a good balance of […]

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