Wind Damage

I’ve been getting e-mails from  gardeners in my neighborhood all week. Everyone’s freaked out about the blazing heat followed by the rain and the fog followed by the maddening wind. “What’s up with this weather?” people keep asking me. Like I would know. As I write this, it’s the wind that’s making everyone nuts.It’s a forceful, antagonistic wind, the sort that flares up on sunny days just when you thought...

Read More

Straw Bale Gardens, Part Two

Recently, I wrote about my new experiment in vegetable gardening. The idea was to build raised beds out of rice straw bales, creating a no-dig bed that would basically turn into one giant compost pile at the end of the season. I heard from several people who were interested in trying the same thing themselves, so I told them I would report back and let you know how the setup went. I ended up buying four rice straw bales and arranging them in a...

Read More

Straw Bale Gardens, Part One

In the last few years, I have almost given up on vegetable gardening. When I moved to Eureka, I laid out my backyard with the intention of growing almost exclusively fruits and vegetables. Sure, there would be a border of perennial herbs and flowers, but I wanted the main attraction to be neat rows of vegetable beds planted with salad greens, beets, potatoes, onions, and tomatoes. But through some combination of laziness and battle fatigue, I...

Read More

Garden Coach, Part Two

Several posts ago, I wrote about my meeting with Genevieve Schmidt, an Arcata garden coach. I’m the ultimate low-budget do-it-yourself gardener, and apart from hiring a guy with a truck to haul off uncompostable green waste from time to time, I didn’t really know much about working with horticultural professionals.  Apparently I’m not the only one: garden designers and consultants all over the country have expanded their...

Read More

The Garden Coach, Part One

I blog with a group of opinionated gardeners at gardenrant.com; one of my partners in crime on that site makes her living as a garden coach.  At first I wasn’t sure why the world needed one more kind of horticultural professional.  We already have designers, landscape architects, arborists, engineers, lawn care services, and landscape crews to choose from. But Susan’s stories about her fledgling garden coach career fascinated...

Read More

Some Thoughts on the Weather

At last, the winter solstice will be over and the days will be getting gradually and imperceptibly longer. That’s fine with me: having a few minutes of daylight and a few degrees of warmth snatched away from me day by day has left me feeling irritated and impoverished. I should be in tune with the season, but I’m not. I have not surrendered to the darkness, I have not found stark beauty in bare branches and frost on the windows, and I...

Read More