A Tramp in the (Organic) Garden

Seeds, Smack Talk and Assorted Gardening Madness in South Pasadena, Los Angeles

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Morning Cucumber Update

So I walked out this surprisingly cloudy and cool morning, my hands half covering my face, prepared to see the cucumber havoc I'd wreaked....and everything was all good. No leaves were burned. It lookes like I've killed most of the aphid colonies, but the ants have moved whatever survivors there are onto different parts of the leaves, and are still crawling all over, despite my spicy pepper, soap, and garlic brew! Perhaps I made it too weak...

So I sprayed the marinated overnight leftover onto the leaves, and am now preparing a NEEM tea brew to add to the mix. Usually the NEEM seeds are used in such preparations, but I have some leftove NEEM tea from India Sweets and Spices, so I'm going to give it a shot.


Here are some recent cucumber pics- horny bee:

And cucumber baby pic:

Friday, July 28, 2006

Lemon Cucumbers...and Aphids-Moi?

Look at mama's sweet juicy cucumbers- I just plucked them from the vine a few days ago! Very exciting. Last year I grew lemon cucumbers, but as per usual, I always overcrowd things out of enthusiasm to have a crazy jumble jungle of veggies, and the the plants end up suffering because some really want their space. (I always do that and am starting to mend my ways) So my 2005 lemon cucumber crop was limited to 2 cukes, and then the plant eventually succumbed to powdery mildew becaue the light and air circulation was drowned out by it's sunflower neighbors. But on this years cucumber plants I did notice some aphid colonies (this can't be happening to me, why me God, why me, I've always been a so-so, kinda, almost halfway good girl) being tended to by the ants running up and down the plant. Overall, the plant looks green and healthy, but I foresaw doom, doom in it's future! Plus I've only harvested 2 stinkin' cucumbers and my gardening ego demands more. I cut off some of the unhealthy, sucked dry leaves, and rinsed the plants well.

Check out the APHIDS on the undersides of the leaf:

I checked them again this morning and rinsing the plants off didn't really do that much- still plenty of aphids and plenty of ants herding and tending to them. So this breezy afternoon...I decided to concoct a HOMEMADE INSECTICIDAL SOAPY SPRAY POTION to off some of the aphids. A little DR. BRONNER'S PEPPERMINT SOAP, a little HABANERO PEPPER SAUCE, a little powdered CAYENNE PEPPER, a couple CLOVES OF GARLIC, and a dash of LIQUID KELP for good measure. I blended all of these ingredients with water, strained the mixture and added more water and sprayed it on both the tops and the undersides of the leaves. Spicy peppers and garlic make great pest repellants, and the soap actually kills the ants and aphids. Garlic is also supposed to be anti-fungal and discourage powdery mildew and so on. There are a few natural insecticidal soaps on the market, but they are plenty easy to make on your own, and you can always find recipes online. I usually never spray my plants with soapy sprays because it also kills most BENEFICIAL INSECTS, like ladybugs, too. Most of the time, if you let pests chill in your garden, the situation often takes care of itself. PREDATOR BUGS arrive on the scene to make a feast of the pest, a flock of birds might land and devour the bad guys. Usually most pests have some sort of parasite, disease or predator that could wipe them out. And sometimes this fragile, beautiful little ecosystem is balancing itself out in a world to small for us to take notice and we end up destroying it all before this process has even had a chance to begin. So I don't always encourage a finger on the insecticidal trigger.

But this time I got all IRRITATED BY ALL THESE APHIDS which multiply so rapidly- and there was nary a ladybug in sight. And where were those lazy birds to come and dine in my backyard? So I made my concoction...and I didn't use a recipe, I just felt it out...and I'm going to be crapping my pants until morning because "What if I made it too strong and I burn the leaves with the soap?" Oh well, we shall see...

PS- Often an out of control pest problem will signal an imbalance- the plant could be stressed out by soil nutrient inbalances, incorrect light needs, lack of or excessive water. Pests are usually attracted to plants that are stressed. In my case I think the plants got a little burst of nitrogen from the liquid organic fertilizer I gave them. Sucking pests (they suck, alright) like aphids are attracted to that new, juicy high nitrogen growth.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Tomato Love to Increase Pollination

Here's a little tip you may or may not have heard of: To increase fruiting on your tomato plants, make sure the flowers are getting pollinated. You can do this by simply shaking the tomato stem, thusly shaking the the pollen onto the stigma (part of the complete female part, or pistil) of the flower. You can also accomplish this by flicking each individual tomato blossom å la Yvonne Savio. When you do this, you can actually see a little cloud of pollen waft into the air. Very exciting. Above is a pic to demonstrate this procedure with my raggedy-ass manicure.

PS- Tomatoes, unlike say cucumbers or squash, have both the male and female sex parts contained in one flower. These types of flowers are called perfect, bisexual, or hermaphoditic.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Is my Tomato Doing Yayo?

It all started so innocently with my SUNGOLD yellow cherry tomato. The subtle insistence that we move the tomato patch to Miami. The way it ended all it's sentences with "mang". Quoting dialogue from Scarface : “All I have in this world is my balls and my life....” and "fuck the Diaz brothers". Talking about moving keys of fertilizer. I thought it was kind of cute at first...but then...a moment of clarity...was my tomato doing yayo?

I don't how it began. It could have been the time we watched Scarface on the laptop outside to beat the heat. Maybe it was the guilt of replacing the fallen ISIS CHERRY and GREEN GRAPE tomatoes that perished due to ground termites. I'm not sure. Maybe I wasn't there after work to water it like I should have.

Or is than...can that be....DIATOMACEOUS EARTH?!! Of course it is, oh, thank God! I'm just kidding about the yayo. Sheesh! I'm just being escandaloso en el jardin. Actually I was the one who tried to deter and eradicate the ground termites, which apparently can be a bit of a crop pest, and accidentally spilled the bag of diatomaceous earth all over the place. Diatomaceous earth is a completely legal white non-toxic powder that is the fossilized remains of ancient sea organisms called diatoms. It's often used in livestock feed and to control crop pests. It it completely harmless to mammals, though it may cause some irritation to the skin if handled inproperly. The fine powder works mechanically, not chemically, on hard and soft shelled insects and bugs by (this is gory, not very Buddhist) such as beetles, fleas, ants, earwigs, silverfish, cockroaches, slugs, and others by scratching their outer surfaces and causing them to basically dehydrate to death. And now that I've just written that, I feel really sad and will probably never use it again.

Anyway, I sprinkled it around the soil to try and get rid of the ground termites that ate my tomatoes and dropped a bunch and that's why there is a big pile of powder near my tomato. Don't get all crazy. The drug wars are not on in Highland Park.

And as a wise woman has said "Everything just wants to live..."

PS- This was part of my Sunday project carried out in the humid heat wave we are having in LA- I need to replace those fallen tomato plants. My Sunday excursion took me to Sunset Nursery (I can't believe I ventured into the world in the heat!), where I picked up a couple of SWEET BASIL, CINNAMON BASIL, and some SPICY GLOBE BASIL, then Trader Joe's where I picked up another huge, but rootbound SWEET BASIL. Last weekend I also went to Burkhard's and picked up a couple of new cherry tomatoes- SUNGOLD yellow cherry and SWEET 100 both admittedly hybrids, but there was nothing else that looked good. I wanted to plant cherries in that area because it doesn't get tons and tons of sun, and I needed something that would ripen easily. Larger tomatoes obviously take more time and sun to ripen. When you are at Trader Joe's buying tomatoes, take a look at some of the containers- some of them are the SWEET 100 variety.

Monday, July 24, 2006

60 Figs

60 Figs! My potted Brown Turkey fig has 60 figs! The tree has grown substantially and vigorously, as all trees in the Ficus genus are wont to do- the roots are tremendous, and actually the tree could stand to be repotted into a larger pot, though the one it's in now is almost 15 gallons. At the base of the tree, to dress it up and give it some shoes, I planted a few Echeverias and mulched with some seashells and stones I collected from a beach in Italy, which remind me of the trip every time I water.

The tree is on our front porch along with a Meyer lemon tree, a potted pink jasmine that trails up a trellis that creates the porch enclosure and smells amazing in the spring, a Brugmansia that looks like crap when it's not in bloom (and needs to be watered almost every day when it's hot, and I don't, which is probably why it looks like crap- oops!) and some huge Echeverias. Oh- and an little baby Agave americana 'Mediopicta' that was a sweet gift and is really adorable.

Another gratuitous shot of the fig tree and my neighborhood in the background- it's laden with figs, suckah!

PS- The fig is major history. The first written records of figs were in approximately 2500 BC. The Egyptians wrote about them, as did the Greeks, who ate them whether rich or poor. The asp that killed Cleopatra was brought to her in a basket of sweet ripe figs. It made it's way to China, to Rome, to Mexico via Cortes, and then to North America by 1790. It is mentioned in the Bible and the Garden of Eden. It is also one of the sacred trees of Islam.

If your favorite tree is a fig tree- Ficus carica- this is what it supposedly says about you: Sensible ~~ Very strong, a bit self-willed, independent, does not allow contradiction or arguments, loves life, family, children and animals, a bit of a butterfly, good sense of humor, likes idleness and laziness, practical talent, intelligent.

It just seems like a good tree to greet visitors at the front door.....

Sunday, July 23, 2006

In Love With: Silver Crocs

These are the best ever for bumming around the garden or house, watering plants, running to the market, or wearing to work to be sensational, yet comfy. I received mine as a birthday gift a little while ago, and I must say, I adore them. You can only get the silver ones at Nordstoms, for some reason, not even on the Crocs website. Love 'em!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Bhangra Friday Night Vs. Tomato Lecture Saturday Morning


It’s a hard decision. There is a Tomatomania lecture (Saturday, July 22 at 9:30am TOMATOMANIA FOR THE WESTSIDER A tribute to the tomato! Scott Daigre, Mr. Tomato, will share his wealth of tomato knowledge. This workshop will include growing tomatoes in the garden, tasting them in the kitchen and portraying them in art! At Barn Studio, 1660 Stanford Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404) sponsored by Nancy Goslee Powers Saturday morning at 9:30, but there is bhangra Dance Downtown event in the courtyard of the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion tonight! This is a toughie...If I decide to go to the lecture tomorrow morning, that means I have to go to bed at a reasonable hour, which definitely won’t happen. And the lecture is for the Westsiders, and I’m Eastsider....on the other hand it would be cool to hear Scott Daigre speak. That means I’ll have to wake up early on Saturday morning and can’t dawdle and putter as I’m prone to. Hmmm, both are pleasurable and will feed the soul...but BHANGRA it is!!

Well, perhaps I could fit in both- oh, who am I kidding!!??

PS- Just a quick side note: The tomato in the pic is called RED LIGHTNING , and it's a full on hybrid created by Burpee. It's lineage includes the reknowned RED ZEBRA heirloom, and this is supposed to be an "improved" version. It looks like the striping is a little more intense than RED ZEBRA, and I'm not sure if it's open- pollinated (doubt it) or resistant to any fusarium wilts, etc. I almost feel like growing it next year.....stop me stop me...slap my hand!! I did say I was a tramp! Lord protect me from what I want!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Fertilize Your Potted Plants!

Perhaps you are wondering why your plants in pots are not thriving? They haven't grown an inch in months perhaps years and the leaves might be a pale green colour? Don't feel bad- you are not a bad gardener. You just need to fertilize, my friend. Plants in pots can't send out roots in search of nutrients like those in the ground. They are confined to a somwhat artificial environment you've created for them. So you need to get on a regular schedule of adding a good organic fert to the pot, and possibly even adding some liquid kelp solution while watering. But you have to maintain a schedule- like once a month or once every 2 weeks to keep plants looking tip top. But steer clear of liquid chemical ferts...like the blue stuff...and focus on a nice organic fertilzer instead. As the Brits might say- these are shite for your plant. More on that later.

My recs are Dr. Earth organic fertilzers. Most are powdered and granular- very slow release, so they won't burn your plants. Add the recommended amount and try to lightly scratch it into the surface. Add a small amount of compost as long as you are at it, and make sure no roots are exposed on the upper surface. Dr. Earth also makes a liquid fert that is easy enough to mix with water and pour into your pots. These are completely organic ferts, and they do smell as such- your cats might be attracted to them as well. They are made primarily out of fish products, kelp and alfalfa meal and also contain microorganisms that are beneficial to your soil. They are as vegetarian as you can get- even most organic ferts out there contain chicken manure, blood and bone meal, which grosses some people out. Dr. Earth products are my faves and they are available at Sunset Nursery in East Hollywood and Burkards in Pasadena.

If you shop at OSH, you can pick up a whole range of Whitney Farms natural ferts. Armstrongs also carries a line of natural ferts.

So get off your butt and go give those plants in containers some love!

PS- This is a rose-scented geranium (pelargonium) that I rooted from a cutting taken from the curbside area at Fatty's in Eagle Rock for a friend.

Think About Drought Tolerant Plants

It’s been freaking hot people. Have you been watering a lot and seeing your plants buckle and wilt with the heat? If you haven’t already, start thinking of incorporating drought tolerant plants into your Cali and So Cali landscape. It doesn’t have to be all lawn and water guzzling plants to look lush and luscious! Succulents, cacti, Mediterranean plants like lavender, rosemary, and other herbs are wonderful garden staples that provide color, fragrance and usefulness with little care once established. Australian and South African plants like Proteas are wonderfully bizarre and add texture and funky focal points. Many native plants require zero care and water once established and provide a natural habitat and food for our local wildlife and insects while being absolutely adapted to the local climate. I’m not saying you have to hug a tree and eat granola, but just stop for a second and think a little about how you can use less water- and work less to boot. Which would leave you more time for drinking mojitos with your friends in the backyard and discussing the finer merits of, well.... anything!

PS- Supposedly in Los Angeles County alone, we lose 50 MILLION gallons of water a day due to RUNOFF- crazy, huh?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A Bat In The Garden!

I just saw a bat in the garden!! I was outside picking some basil for my pasta and I saw what I think was bat or either a very very very very large, very very active moth near my tomato plants!

Eat those mosquitos, cucumber beetles, cutworms, moths and other pests and leave your guano behind, friend- don't be a stranger! Bring your party crew!

Lawns Part 1: It's a Lawn Story

Lawns- ptooey! Who needs them? People that want to play badminton and have garden parties, that’s who! 2 years ago, when we first moved into our apt, the backyard was a jumble of weeds growing in clay soil. For the first 6 months we would mow them down in an effort to make order of this glorious chaos- or well at least the gardeners my landlady hired would. The gardeners would also give me the “crazy eye” when I said I wanted to keep the pine needles on the hard, compacted clay soil floor as a natural mulch. And they’d look askance when I wanted to show them all the ladybug larvae that looked like little crocodiles that were growing on the knee high weeds. Well, whatevs...we still ended up tracking mud and dirt into our house on a regular basis. We kicked up clouds of dirt when we played badminton. Very annoying- we needed something under our feet, and quick.

So we decided to plant a small lawn, and I have to say I f-ed it up royally, my friend. Well, it didn’t start so bad.....we dug out as many Bermuda grass stolons and patches as we could....we hauled composted horse manure from the Burbank stables, and lugged it (and by “we”, I mean my hubster did, while I offered emotional support) up a flight of 14 steps, round the side of the house and onto the roughly 25 x 50 foot backyard. It was a lot of compost, like a grip or a shitload. We rented a rototiller from the orange home improvement store, rotoltilled it all in, smoothed it out with a huge roller filled with water and planted what I thought were good seeds- for sun and shade. I didn’t research, I didn’t discriminate, we just bought the seeds and spread them. Oh, if I could turn back time like Cher! If I could find a way, my friend!

Listen to me. Look at me. Heed my warning- and do as I say, not as I do. I will dissolve my ego and tell the tale.

The seeds ended up a cool season blend of Kentucky bluegrass and perennial rye, which means in the spring and winter, they are a glorious green (minus a little rust, don’t get me started), but they can’t stand up to our hot sort of inland-y summers. (They would be fine and not stressed near the beach or in the Pacific Northwest, probably, where cooler, more temperate weather predominates) In the summer we practically live outside, and the surface looks terrible...and, more importantly, it guzzles tons of water if we want it to look good. Oy, vey is mire. I f-ed it up, yo. Last summer I tried tough love. Long, deep waterings every 1-2 weeks. Let those roots work for their rent! It looked terrible all summer, probably because we gave it a little bit too much tough love.

This summer, we are very guiltily watering our lawn as needed, and it looks much better, though we have tentative plans to redo the lawn with a sturdier, rhizome forming grass like bermuda (which has no taken over portions of the lawn, but now I really appreciate it’s toughness and drought tolerance) or St. Augustine, or slowly transform it into a naturally biodiverse groundcover incorporating clovers, creeping thymes, bellis daisies and other things, or my dream, rehab the lawn with all native and drought tolerant low growing sedges. Right now it has bits and pieces of white clover, supplying nitrogen naturally to the soil, a few Bellis daisies I stole from Griffith Park with my mom as a lookout and Bermuda grass creeping all over and into my 2 raised beds along the sides. Oh, and some dandelions, which I love in the lawn. It makes it look really authentic- authentic what exactly, I don’t know.

We shall see..in the meantime- above are some pics of a hard workin’ man aerating the lawn with monster spiky shoes and mowing the lawn- taking care of the lawn, the lawn, the lawn. What’s the deal with boys and lawns? They love the lawns. The lawn is manhood. The lawn is virility. The lawn, the lawn, the lawn!

Monday, July 17, 2006

In Love With: Mrs. Meyers Geranium Dishwashing Liquid

I love this dishwashing liquid- it has revolutionized my life. For those of us unfortunate enough to not have dishwashers, we must resort to good old aromatherapy to get us into the kitchen sink. It smells freaking fantastic- and you can find other things in this scent- hand soap, laundry liquid, dryer sheets, glass cleaner, counter cleaner, lotion and candles. I highly recommend it. Even though it doesn't make me feel like doing housework any more than usual....

Get it at Mrs. Meyers online.

Ciao bellos!

PS- It seems sort of silly to be talking about something as trivial and small as dishwashing liquid given all the intensity and shit that is happening in Lebanon right now...we are so spoiled, we Americans...how silly...pretty smelling dishwashing liquid when there is no clean water and the country has been bombed to shit...

Tomato Update!

My ANANAS NOIRE or BLACK PINEAPPLE have baby tomatoes that are growing larger day by day! Can you see how sweet and pleated they look? I've been pinching off the blossoms until the plants were larger, and now finally are just letting them go. These grew in like 4 days. Look at the babies, then look at what they'll end up being- a sort of crazy tie- dyed tomato that doesn't look quite ripe.

Also, the BIG BEEF tomato plant that my mom picked up from a large orange home improvement store because she was tired of my heirlooms last year. I did my best to not help it along, and I planted it months ago and it looked like crap...but...it's now super healthy and disease resistant. Not really a hybrid lovin' gal, but....

The NYAGOUS black tomato is coming along, but the KENTUCKY BEEFSTEAK has been dropping it's blossoms due to some extreme 87 degrees plus heat. The leaves were looking a pale green, and I made an infusion of Dr. Earth veggies fertilizer with water and fertilized it with that....I see some new growth, but I'm not sure it's liking the heat.

I'm also sorry to say I lost some recently planted cherry tomatoes- ISIS CANDY and GREEN GRAPE...due to subterranean ternites I think! They wilted for no reason, then fell over, and when I pulled them out of the ground, what looked like termite workers crawled through the stems and out. I've seen this with a couple of Aeoniums before, but never with tomatoes. Very dubious, indeed. ISIS CANDY and GREEN GRAPE rest in peace- am I never to taste your sweet succulence? Here, a pic of the grave markers:

And remember previously, my lately planted IVORY PEAR cherry tomato plants had perished due to crappy, too-much-moisture-retaining potting soil- well I replanted them in good GARDENER'S GOLD potting soil and two are doing well! Here, a pic:

Saturday, July 15, 2006

An Ode To Eggplant and Quick Aubergine Update

The eggplant that I planted, even though I'm allergic to eggplant and it makes my tongue itch-- is growing like crazy! I swear, the fruits are growing by the day. I don't know what to do with these suckers. I just like watching them grow...I love the relationship you develop with them. You reach out to touch the flowers and they prick you with their spiny little thorns. It's so S&M. The flowers are so sexy and purple, the whole plant is so mysterious. I grew it this year because I wanted to see the flowers unfold, like deadly nightshade...

PS- Eggplants are in the Solanaceae plant family, which also contains tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, Brugmansia, datura, tobacco and those petunias, too.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Mama Ain't Funkin Around...

...with no cheap a** potting soil never again. The four little IVORY PEAR tomatoes that I had repotted, I had their new homes all planned- and 2 of them, they completely croaked on me. I swear it's that cheap potting soil. It couldn't possibly be me, could it? Clearly not. I've never had this problem before. I think the potting soil retains too much water. I've sprouted so many seeds in good old Gardener's Gold potting soil, and I never had any problems.

Bummer, man...I was really looking forward to giving away more of those tomatoes..here's a pic of my deceased IVORY PEAR tomato. Sniff, sniff.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Tomato Hornworm, I Curse Ye

Um, in the past week I've caught TWO tomato hornworms visciously clinging to my tomatoes. TWO! The first on my little ISIS CANDY and the other on my BLACK KRIM tomato I've just planted this monday in the front of our yard. When I get my hands on the moth that started this!

But I guess caterpillars have to eat something too...and tomato plants can continue to produce despite being partially defoliated...but let one of those critters start muching on my tomatoes and there will be heck to pay....I will not hesitate to whip out the Bacillus thuringiensis on ye green a**!

And with that- goodnight, sir!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Viva Italia!

In honor of Italy winning the World Cup finals futbol match, my plant list for the next couple of seasons shall include CHICORY, COSTOLUTO GENEVOSE TOMATO, ITALIAN PARSLEY, and more BASIL grown from Italian seeds. What a crazy match!

(But did Marco Materazzi really call Zidane "the son of a terrorist whore" and tell him to "just f**k off"? )

Only the basil shall know for sure.....

Mulch Like You Mean It

It's freakin hot out here. At least for us wussy Angelenos (I can say this, I'm actually a true Angelena) where, 85 degrees is hot and 60 degrees is cold. Everybody get's hot, even your little plantitas. You must protect them- from the fluctuating soil temps, the rapid evaporation of moisture from the soil, the elements in general. And so during this type of weather my friend, you must mulch like the wind!

Below are reasons why I implore you to mulch with something organic like wood chips, compost or shredded garden matter. You can even use grass clippings or newspaper, though the look is not as tidy as wood chips.

1- WEED CONTROL- It's difficult for weed seeds to germinate under a 2-4 inch layer of mulch. Reduce time spent a weedin' the garden.

2-REDUCE EVAPORATION OF MOISTURE FROM THE SOIL- Applying a thick layer of mulch to the soil will help you reduce watering tremendously during the hot summer months, and reduces the need for frequent watering.

3-ADD ORGANIC MATTER TO THE SOIL- Organic mulches like wood chips, compost, shredded bark, grass clippings, and newspaper will eventually decompose and add organic matter to your soil, enriching your soil, attracting earthworms, encouraging beneficial soil microbes, etc. Inorganic mulches such as pebbles, stones, gravel, polished glass or river rocks will not decompose and enrich the soil, but are still beneficial for the garden.

4-REDUCE POSSIBLE PLANT DISEASES BY REDUCING WATER SPLASHING SOIL AND LEAVES- Many plant desease are spread by water splashing the soil where fungal spores reside , then the leaves. When you mulch, you reduce the possibility of this happening. You also KEEP FRUITS AND VEGETABLES CLEAN.

5-KEEPING THE SOIL TEMPERATURE MORE CONSISTENT- Mulching will prevent soil tempurature from fluctuating. Soil that is too hot can stress a plant. A nice layer of mulch creates a better environment for a plant to thrive in.

But please, please don't mulch right up to the plant stem- give the plant's crown a little bit of breathing room...

...and get thee to a mulchery!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

I Miss Chiquita The Cat

Oh the pain of heartbreak. My neighbors moved out about 2 months ago, taking with them their 2 critters, Chiquita and Mama Cat. Oh, how I miss being distracted in the garden, pleasurably neglecting all my garden duties and just plopping down on the grass to have an impromptu game of "chase the pine needle". My heart hurts. Though it pains me to look at photos...I will show these. Oh how I miss their sweet feline vibes roaming the garden, their in vain attempts at lunging after squirrels and birds, the meowing coming from the tomato plants. They gave the place some soul, some furry life. I will pour out a little compost for my homegirls who now reside in Atwater Village, not so far away from here.

Say No To Cheap A** Potting Soil

Mama's pissed. I didn't have the time to swing by my usual nursery, Sunset Nursery, where the vibes are good and there's always plenty of willing staff and great selection--and was in the neighborhood of a local home improvement store. I need to repot those little IVORY PEAR, REISENTRAUBE, and YELLOW PEAR tomatoes, as well as all my PURPLE JALAPENOS into larger containers real bad. So I bought a bag of the cheap stuff, which apparently turned out to be the shwag of potting soils. I repotted all my plants and they totally damped off on me and craoked! Damping off is a term for a fungal infection that affects new seedlings, and basically they just die. It exists in the soil, which is one of the reasons you should use a high quality sterilized potting soil.

I highly recommend GARDENER'S GOLD organic potting soil (visual provided so you can easily spot it)- it's my favorite and available at Sunset Nursery. Rich and dark, smells terrific and has the perfect weight and organic matter particle size- you can even use it to start seeds. I highly recommend it. Also Master Nursery potting soil is a good quality organic potting soil- you can get that at Burkhard Nursery in Pasadena.

Learn from my mistakes. Amen.