Category Archives: Garden Habitat

Misplaced Plants and Fire Safety

The Fire Marshall won me over when she patted my manicured creosote bush (Larrea tridentata) like it was a pet dog. Continue reading

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Why is my soil so compacted?

Originally posted on Soils Matter, Get the Scoop!:
Hopefully, the ground in your yard has thawed by now (regrets to those who still have frozen ground!). So why is it that when you try to push your shovel into the…

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Plant Nutrition. Some is Good. More is worse.

Introduction When it comes to nutrients, plants can be like Goldilocks.  For healthy growth and reproduction, nutrient levels have to be just right.  Plants can suffer from both  nutrient deficiencies and nutrient toxicity.  Each species of plants has its own … Continue reading

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Farmers Flood Fields to Store Rainwater. Next is Protecting it from Evaporation

Dan Charles Recently posted a story on NPR, As Rains Soak California, Farmers Test How To Store Water Underground about farmers flooding their fields with rainwater in order to infiltrate the water into store the water in soil and replenish … Continue reading

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California Fuchsia (Epilobium canum) Adds Fall Color to High Desert Gardens

I took a lot of chances on planting California native plants slightly out of their natural range.  Most of them didn’t make it. One of the successes, among my favorites, was California fuchsia (Epilobium canun). I planted mine where the … Continue reading

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October Rain | Time to Sow Seed and Plant Bulbs

Its a perfect day for planting in the High Desert. We just had a nice October rain and there is 20% chance of rain for the rest of the day. It is warm and balmy with a light wind. In … Continue reading

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Rock Outcrops | Observations and Thoughts for a Desert Rain Garden

Rock outcrops show us how lush, green plants such as native cherries can flourish in a desert during a major drought without expensive irrigation water. Continue reading

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Meet VIP Member of Pest Management Team

Well, I wish the praying mantis could focus on less beneficial herbivorous insects than honey bees. Just the same, this insect carnivore,  is welcome in my garden.  This one was rather brazen and had no objection to a photo session while eating it’s … Continue reading

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What “cover crops” could home gardeners consider in the fall?

Originally posted on Soils Matter, Get the Scoop!:
Farmers across the country use “cover crops” over the winter. Cover crops do several things, depending on what is planted: Help prevent erosion and topsoil loss. Their roots, and the plants themselves,…

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Simple Starter Compost Pile | Wire Basket

A simple way to start a compost pile is to create a wire basket.  Take a sheet of mesh fencing such as chicken wire, hardware cloth, or chain link fencing that is readily accessible.  Overlap the sides of the mesh … Continue reading

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How Some Animals Can Help Compost

Good scavengers for the backyard composting include pigeons, rabbits and chickens. Continue reading

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We Have a Vacancy: Building a Bug Hotel for Solitary Bees

This gallery contains 16 photos.

Originally posted on Mind Your Dirt:
Now here’s a project that doesn’t take too much time and is simply perfect for the whole family. The materials used for this are all items you can hunt for in parks or woods…

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Fried Egg Plant aka Matilija Poppy Adds Sizzle to Mojave Gardens

  My mother introduced me to Matilija poppy when I was a teenager.  She planted one in her front garden.  The poppy didn’t exactly like where she put it, so it literally moved.  It spread by underground stems to where … Continue reading

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Surprise Visit From Pest Management Team Member

California Herps Page for Yellow-backed Spiny Lizard – Sceloporus uniformis   I was quite surprised to find a friendly visitor in my dining room this afternoon.  A rather calm lizard was basking on the tile floor.  My cat walked by … Continue reading

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My Answer to The White Crowned Sparrow

My parents came to visit when my home was relatively new.  I showed my little vegetable garden to them with requests for advice.  One problem that I was having was that seeds would germinate, and then disappear within a day … Continue reading

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Burrowing Barrier Effective: Chicken 1 Mouse 0

Shortly after applying the last batch of cement, observations of mice droppings went from common to briefly incidental. My best hunter, Apricot, suddenly put on weight. Her egg production went from intermittent to slightly over one egg per day. Continue reading

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Value of Ancient Ways – Dialog with Pat Spray Regarding His Native American Ancestor’s Use of Key Hole Gardens

For all our stunning scientific advancements, listening to grandparents talk about traditional ways is well worth while. Sure, some traditions worked out better in the long run than others. As we push the limits on technical advancements, we are learning which traditions are keepers. Native American agricultural practices that endured through thousands of years without environmental collapse are worth in-depth study. Continue reading

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Free Water in the Desert

So, I’m not the only crazy person out there who sees free irrigation water in “flooding problems” I found a great series of links to videos on stormwater and rainwater harvesting. If you want to grow more than rocks in … Continue reading

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Houzz Article Features Good Overview of Earth Friendly Gardens

Benjamin Vogt of Monarch Gardens contributed a well written article that presented features to consider and benefits of earth friendly gardens.  My favorite, was his use of swales.   5 Ideas for a More Earth-Friendly Garden https://www.houzz.com/jsGalleryWidget/gallery/65260850//title_on=yes/width=620

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Mojave Roadside Swale Blooms After Desert Rains

I maintained the grade of the roadside swale and added landscaping to solve problems: flooding of the intersection, unauthorized “off-roading” across my front yard, and unauthorized cement laying in my corner. An additional benefit has been free irrigation water in an area where water is very expensive. Continue reading

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Mojave Aster

Mojave Aster,  is easily one of my favorite plants.  It features large blue flowers with a yellow center.  When it opened it’s flowers in my garden this morning, I had to share it with you. My Experience Growing Mojave Aster … Continue reading

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Hen House with Adobe?  How I intend to make life better for my chickens.The Art of Superabode

Superadobe or earth bag building was developed by Nader Khalili, an Iranian American architect, writer, and humanitarian. He developed the superadobe system in 1984, in response to a NASA call for … Source: The Art of Superabode   Cal-Earth has … Continue reading

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Gardening Applications for “Lighting & Reflections”

This gallery contains 5 photos.

these sculptures have potential for high end green houses, keyhole tops and chicken coops. ……… Continue reading

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Article in a nut shell, locally native milkweeds are good for monarchs. Tropical and non-native milkweeds may bloom at times that disrupt monarch migratory schedule.  Additionally, non-natives may invade natural habitat and destroy native plants needed by many species.Milkweed Can Be Bad For Monarchs?

Source: Milkweed Can Be Bad For Monarchs?

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Source for Milkweed.  I am not familiar with this nursery. I am bookmarking it for future references and thought that  I should share it with you.Asclepias Tuberosa (Butterfly Weed) Hello Yellow | Milkweed Plant | Plant For Monarch Butterflies

Asclepias Tuberosa – Carefree, long-lived N. American native both deer and drought resistant, and the only plant the monarch butterfly will lay her eggs on. Source: Asclepias Tuberosa (Butterfly Weed) Hello Yellow | Milkweed Plant | Plant For Monarch Butterflies

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This article supports use of infiltrating roof run off and road runoff in rain gardens.  More could be gained than free irrigation for native and drought tolerant gardens. Storing Extra Surface Water Boosts Groundwater Supply During Droughts | UT News | The University of Texas at Austin

Although years of drought and over-pumping have depleted groundwater in Arizona and California, a new study shows the situation has created underground reservoirs where extra surface water can be stored. Source: Storing Extra Surface Water Boosts Groundwater Supply During Droughts … Continue reading

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Banana Yucca Blooms for Easter

Happy Easter! Continue reading

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Holly Leaf Cherry Provides Dark Green Foliage With Little to No Irrigation

Native to California, the holly leaf cherry is a tough shrub to small tree that provides dense evergreen foliage, food for birds, shade, and depending on the location, privacy. Continue reading

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