Posts Tagged plants

Caterpillars in the Vegetable Garden: Part I

Have you ever served broccoli at the dinner table only to find green worms cooked in your food? Yuk! A client of ours says she’ll never grow broccoli again. Too many worms. And she refuses to dump poison on her food to kill the worms. We’re showing her how to grow organic food that does not have caterpillars.  The cabbage worm eats holes in the more »

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Slugs and Snails in the Vegetable Garden

It’s August and everybody’s vegetable gardens crank out delicious organic food. Yum-oh! But sometimes gardeners find holes in the middle of the leaves of their vegetable crops. Large holes. Many of them. Who’s the culprit? Caterpillars? Grasshoppers? Beetles?  Or maybe snails! Snails and slugs both glide through your garden on a ribbon of slime, the shiny, sparkly stuff the snail in the photo above is more »

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More Bugs That Suck!

True bugs. Forewings cover half of the abdomen (aka backs) of true bugs. They are in the order Hemiptera, which means half wing. Many other insects are often called bugs, the lady bug for example, which is actually a beetle (a lady beetle). But the only actual bugs are insects in the order Hemiptera.  All of the true bugs have piercing-sucking mouthparts like hypodermic needles. more »

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Insects that Suck!

Most of these “bugs” have mouthparts like a hypodermic needle. They stick their needle-like mouth parts into the veins of plants and suck out the nutrient rich sap. As their populations build they can seriously impact the energy budget of your vegetable plants and limit your crops. Also, just like a mosquito sucking the blood from your arm to give you malaria, these insects can more »

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Vegetable Gardens and Beetles

It’s officially summertime. The solstice came and went. We’re tending our gardens, nurturing our vegetables and flowers. We all look forward to an abundant harvest of fantastic, home-grown, organic vegetables.  Along the way we might run into beetles. Some beetles, like ladybugs (aka lady beetles), are good partners. Beneficial insects such as these help you achieve your goals by eating insects that damage to your more »

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Secret Gardens of Santa Fe

On a tour of secret gardens in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Kathryn and I peek behind adobe walls for tantalizing glimpses of hidden treasures. Organized by the Santa Fe Botanical Gardens, the tour provides access to several small urban gardens not normally visible to passersby. A beautifully sophisticated yet rustic fence made of reddish twigs defines the boundary between the garden and the natural environment more »

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Tomato Memories

Today we pay tribute to David’s father, Lawrence Edwin Deardorff, who passed away on May 11 at the age of 97. Larry first took David into the garden when he was 6 years old, and he learned about the world of plants at his father’s side. Larry was an avid gardener his entire life, and became our partner when David and I owned Island Biotropix, more »

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From Acorn to Zucchini

Every spring I’m frequently asked two questions by gardeners in northern states. The first is, “Why doesn’t my zucchini grow? It just sits there. What’s wrong with it?”  The second common question I get is, “What’s wrong with my zucchini (or cucumber, or melon)? It has lots and lots of flowers but no fruit. What’s up with that?” Home gardeners love to grow members of more »

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The Desert Smells Like Rain

In Arizona the desert wildflowers are particularly abundant this year because of the generous rainfall last winter. We’re driving through this enchanting landscape on our way to bookstore appearances at Changing Hands in Tempe and at the University of Arizona in Tucson, but we stop to watch a storm sweep across the desert along the way. When it rains in the dessert, aromas blossom, as more »

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Peacocks and Permaculture

We’re at the Los Angeles Arboretum in Arcadia, California, giving a presentation to the “Compulsive Gardeners”, a wonderful group of knowledgeable and dedicated gardeners whose enthusiasm is boundless.  It’s interesting to be back. I (David) used to work here, in the Research Division, just after finishing my PhD. It was my first professional position and I loved all the exotic plants from Mediterranean climates around the more »

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