Jun 112014
 

by Avis Licht

In California June is a busy time in the garden.  Some plants are already in and growing, some need to be planted and some need to be sown.

All the highlighted links will lead you to more information on that topic.  There is lots of information here. So come back often.

My broccoli has been setting beautiful heads for the last month and now the side shoots are ready to be harvested.  Chard, carrots, kale, lettuce, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries are all making their colorful entrance to the table. Freshly harvested food makes even the simplest meal a taste treat.

Herbs are the piece de resistance of the garden.  Easy to grow, beautiful, healthy and tasty, they make every meal more flavorful and healthier.  If you only have time or space for one plant, make it an herb. Rosemary, basil, cilantro, parsley, chives, tarragon, oregano, mint – they are easy to grow and add vibrancy and health to your food and to you and to your garden.

In June we really have beauty and bounty - Raspberries by the bowl and lillies.

In June we really have beauty and bounty – Raspberries by the bowl and lillies.

In June, I go out every morning to harvest berries of all sorts for breakfast.  It’s a great way to start the day.

Red poppies in the morning sun.

Red poppies in the morning sun.

I grow flowers not only for their beauty, but because they provide food for bees, hummingbirds, butterflies and other important pollinators in the garden.  The more diverse your garden, the healthier it will be.

Rhodohypoxis

Rhodohypoxis

Be sure to visit my online store if you want tools, seeds, compost bins, gardening gloves and much more.  Whatever you find in my store, I personally recommend.

 

This hummingbird is going after the nicotiana

This hummingbird is going after the nicotiana

IMG_0079

Chard stalks are beautiful, too.

IMG_0127

I grow many kinds of bee friendly plants.

Red Poppies

Growing herbs in a container near the house is easy and convenient.

Growing herbs in a container near the house is easy and convenient. This planter has basil, oregano, tarragon and marigolds.

 

Mar 222014
 
Douglas Iris

by Avis Licht

Borage in the rain

Borage in the rain

By the date on the calendar it’s Spring – but by weather it might be any of the seasons where you live. In warm weather areas it’s definitely time to start the garden work – from sowing seeds, getting beds ready, fertilizing your flowers and generally getting involved in the excitement of coming out of hibernation.

This is the time to make sure you have good tools that help you in your work. Visit my Store to see what tools I recommend and use myself.

 

In my garden the wisteria is blooming, the pear, cherry and apple trees are bursting with bloom. The strawberries and blueberries are putting out blossoms like crazy.

Crab Apple Blossom with bee

The bees adore this Crab Apple which blooms in early spring

I have a lot of flowers in my garden that the bees love to pollinate.  It is important to create  diversity in the garden to encourage beneficial insects, birds, and butterflies to create health and delight in the garden.

Edible flowers in early Spring bring beauty. Calendula is a powerful plant

Edible flowers in early Spring bring beauty. Calendula is a powerful plant

Native plants are starting to bloom and are a great addition to all gardens. In California where we are experiencing severe drought conditions, California natives are the perfect solution – they are happy in this climate and can flourish in the most difficult of conditions.

Douglas Iris

This Douglas Iris is native to the California Coast. I love it.

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, you can come and learn from me directly Hands ON! in the garden! I love to share my experience. Go to the Events page for all the dates.

You can sign up NOW right here.

Jun 252013
 

by Avis Licht

It’s two days after the Summer Solstice and the garden is coming into fruition. I am feeling so grateful to have a garden, to spend time in it, and to have so much wonderful food come out of it.  We also have  flowers everywhere, to bring color and joy. And to invite our friends the birds, butterflies and bees. It’s a regular gathering place for the multitudes. This unusual June rain is a gift beyond compare. Those of you in other parts may get summer rains. Maybe even too many.  But here in California a summer rain is what we call a gift from heaven. Thank you to the Powers that Be.

Here are some photos I took this morning in the rain.

We will have a bumper crop of apples this year.

We will have a bumper crop of apples this year.

 

Daylily

Daylily buds are edible and highly prized in Chinese cooking

 

Grapes

Thin the grapes early to make room for them to grow full size


Cherry Belle Radish

Radishes – Harvest early and often

Harvesting raspberries

In an unusual June rain, we adore picking raspberries.

Basil

Growing basil in pots is easy. In the ground sometimes basil gets eaten by earwigs and slugs. In the pots not so much.

Delicata squash

My seedlings of the squash have germinated beautifully and will start growing rapidly after this rain. The white flower is nicotiana, a fragrant night blooming flower.

Miniature rose

These roses have been blooming for months. After cutting them back a few weeks ago, they are starting all over again. I put these small roses all over the garden for beauty and delight. Rose petals are used in many culinary ways.

IMGP0058Variegated thyme

Variegated thyme provides a wonderful leaf contrast and I use it in cooking. I grow it near the strawberries as a companion plant.

Kale

Even though my kale has a few munching holes in it, it’s still great to eat. I don’t worry about a few pecks here and there.

Raspberries

Raspberries are easy to grow and I feel rich when we eat them. They’re expensive to buy, and cheap to grow! Watch out though, they like to spread themselves around the garden. Read about them in this post:

Squash blossom

Your plants will have many blossoms, and we often get way too many zuchinnis. So why not eat the blossoms? They’re delicious. Here are some ways to cook them: Squash blossom with ricotta.

Cucumber blossom

Once they start blossoming you can expect to get cucumbers soon and often. I plant 4 or 5 varieties, including lemon, Persian, Armenian,Thai and pickling. We love our cucumbers.

Blueberries starting to ripen

Given plenty of water, the blueberries are growing large and plump and we will harvest them over a long period of time. One of the best shrubs for the edible landscape. Read more on blueberries in this post.




Jan 232012
 
Strawberries


by Avis Licht

Strawberries

You can have great fruit growing in a small garden.  Here are some of my favorite and easy to grow fruits. Each of them has their own particular needs, so be sure to look up which varieties are best for your climate.

Strawberries are at the top of my list. They can be grown in small areas, they can be planted in pots and they can be spread around the garden.  Commercially strawberries are one of the most heavily sprayed plants both with herbicides and pesticides.  It’s much better to grow your own.

How can a bamboo stick keep a large dog out of the strawberries

Can you have too many strawberry plants?

If you want a fruit tree for a small space, consider a genetic dwarf fruit tree.  They are bred to be smaller without pruning. You can have a full sized apple, cherry, nectarine and more that is only 6 ft tall.A small space is fine for an espalier fruit tree

An espaliered tree can be trained to grow against a wall or fence and take up very little room.  This requires some real attention and work to keep the tree properly pruned and still produce fruit. But once you learn how, it can be incredibly productive in a small space.

Citrus trees can be grown in large pots in a sunny spot near the house or on a deck. Choose naturally dwarf varieties so that they won’t outgrow their containers.

Mandarin orange in a container

It's easy to grow citrus in a pot

 

 

Citrus are wonderful for the edible landscape because they are evergreen, fragrant, produce fruit and look beautiful.  Another winner.

Whenever plants are put in pots, be sure they get enough fertilizer to keep them healthy, and regular water.  Pots can dry out quickly because  they are exposed to the sun and wind.

 

Surprisingly, fig trees can be happily grown in pots.  Normally a fig will grow quite big, but it can be tamed to fit your small garden in a pot and still be healthy and produce plenty of fruit.

Fig in a container

Figs thrive in planting containers

Dwarf blueberries  stay small in the ground and are good for container plantings.

These are a few of my favorite fruits for the small edible landscape.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

Dec 142011
 
blueberris grow in many climates and are beautiful, delicious and healthy
blueberris grow in many climates and are beautiful, delicious and healthy

Blueberries are one of the most prized plants for the edible landscape

Blueberries are one of the best plants you can choose for your edible landscape. They are easy to grow, beautiful in all seasons, and give absolutely delicious and nutritious fruit. By growing your own organic blueberries you can be sure they are the best and the safest.

There are a few things you need to know about blueberries and your climate in order to choose the best variety for your garden. I’ll make it simple here, but if you’d like to know more be sure to watch this video on planting and choosing your blueberries.

First of all you need to determine your growing zone. You can do that by typing your zip code into this USDA chart or  the Sunset Garden book also offers growing zones by zip code here for the United States.

USDA Hardiness Zones:

The zones vary based on type.

  • Northern highbush : Zones 4-7
  • Southern highbush : Zones 7-10
  • Lowbush : Zones 3-6
  • Half-high : Zones 3-7
  • Rabbiteye : Zones 7-9

All blueberries like acidic soil, similar to conditions that suit azaleas and rhododendrons. You can add peat moss to your soil to lower the pH (4.5 – 5.5). You should also use
Shrubs Alive!TM acid food and fertilizer.>  Blueberries have fine surface roots, which should not be disturbed by cultivation. I like to heavily mulch my blueberries with sawdust. This protects the roots, keeps the soil moist and the weeds to a minimum.

Blueberry turning scarlet in winter
Blueberries provide interest in the landscape in all seasons

There are several kinds of blueberries.  Highbush blueberries grow upright  between 5 and 6 feet tall. They require winter cold and their fruit ripens from late spring to late summer. Most high bush varieties grow in colder climates. Northern highbush grow in zones 4-7. Southern varieties grow in zones 7-10.

Lowbush blueberries grow in Zones 3-6. As the zones suggest, these are very good for cold places. These grow only 6-18″ high. They have underground runners. Find the right varieties in your local nursery or order from catalogs for your zone
icon.

There is another variety called half -high. Half-High mixes the benefits of highbush – large fruit – with the benefits of lowbush – cold tolerance.

Finally there are rabbiteye blueberries. Rabbiteye grows in Zones 7 to 9. These can grow over ten feet tall.

In addition to acidic soil, blueberries need full sun, well drained soil and continuous moisture for best fruit production. Although some varieties are self pollinating, it is better to have at least two different varieties for best fruit production.

It is simple to prune blueberries. On older plants cut back the ends of twigs to strong buds. Remove some of the oldest branches each year and any dead or weak shoots.  This gives the plants more air and light.

Pick the fruit when it is a dark blue. Like these:

Blueberries are delicious and really nutritious

It doesn't get much better than this. Blueberries - ahhhhh!

The health attributes of the blueberry are many, but really we eat them because they are sooooo goood. I urge you to find a place in your garden for this most wonderful of plants.

 

 

Nov 292011
 
Lettuce seedlings can be planted in winter
Lettuce seedlings can be planted in winter

Lettuce seedlings can be planted in winter

Lettuce seedlings can be planted in winter. Plant your seedlings in a sunny well drained site

 

Although we’re almost to the shortest day of the year, it’s still possible to work and plant in your winter garden, at least in some parts of the United States. You can look out your window and see if you have snow on the ground or you can look up your planting zones in this nifty site.  Type in your zip code and they will tell you what you can plant and when to plant it.

This is the time of year to choose your sites for deciduous fruit trees and shrubs.  Depending on your available space and sunlight, you can consider dwarf or semi dwarf fruit trees, blueberry shrubs, raspberries, and other cane berries, currants, kiwis and grapes.

Kiwi on fence

This kiwi grows on a strong fence.

 

There are some hardy vegetables like lettuce, chard, kale and all the cabbage family, including broccoli, brussel sprouts and cabbage that can take the cold weather.  A little extra protection provided by row covers can really help your plants grow during the cold weather.

For the very committed gardener  you can use cold frames and green houses to extend your seasons.

There’s no end to the fun one can have in the garden in the winter season.

Ask Avis

CLOSE

Your question has been sent!

Ask Avis any questions about your garden.

Name *
Email *
URL (include http://)
Subject *
Question *
* Required Field

© 2011-2017 Edible Landscaping Made Easy With Avis Licht All Rights Reserved