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Archives for April 9, 2014

New look for Waterfront

Ten million dollars, maybe more, and 10 years, possibly more, will work a transformation of the Friday Harbor waterfront not seen since the harbor’s canneries, lumber mills, warehouses and wharfs eventually succumbed to fire or age.

In late 2013, the Port of Friday Harbor drew together a team of planners, landscape architects and maritime engineers to provide a conceptual design and longterm plan for the waterfront. Makers architecture and urban design, J.A. Brennan landscape architects and Moffatt and Nichol engineers put in several hundred hours of public outreach and private consulting to fashion the Port of Friday Harbor Waterfront Master Plan.

Port Director Marylin O’Connor maintained that the master plan process should meld with the Spring Street Landing building design process.

“The process gave us a chance to analyze the problems and opportunities we see along the waterfront and get some new ideas from the public,” O’Conner said. “It’s an outline that will give general guidance over the next ten years or so.”

The 30-page “draft for public comment” cost about $70,000 and is on the Port website at The result is a three-phase conceptual design with 19 listed projects, including four major structures.

Port Commission Chairman Mike Ahrenius is pleased with the result, but cautions: “… nothing is in concrete. It’s an appropriate plan, it’s our vision for the future, but it’s only a snapshot in time. Realistically, by the time we get there, some of it will be different.”

Construction includes the Spring Street Landing building replacement and the bulkhead replacement in “near-term projects” during the first two or three years; a parking deck on top of the present upper parking lot, a mixed-use building and a performance space and pavilion in “mid-term projects” over the second three years; and a new marina services building to replace the Port offices among “long-term projects” during the final five or six years.

The mixed-use building, west of the present traffic circle, will probably use the plans and land originally intended for use by the Customs and Border Patrol. Other projects include extensive landscaping, pathways and sidewalks, a main pier overlook, a new yacht club entry court, and terraced seating in front of the performance space.

How will all this be paid for?

The recent insurance settlement for the former SSL building will pay about half of the new building cost, but all other master plan costs must be paid for by the Port from operating revenue, grants, bond issues or partnering with others such as a developer, the town or even the Washington State Ferries.

Grant funds are available for a wide variety of public port projects, but O’Connor cautions that grant processes are “highly competitive.” The Public Facilities Financing Assistance Program, the Boating Infrastructure Grant program and four state Recreation and Conservation Office grant programs provide substantial funds, albeit usually on a competitive matching basis. There are also possible legislative appropriations, but that’s a tough sell in the present budget environment.

O’Connor points out that the Port Commission can issue revenue and general obligation bonds without a public vote, but only, she says, “if the revenue stream exists to service the debt.”

Funding will be discussed, and the plan voted on, at the Port Commission meeting on Wednesday, April 9, at 5 p.m., at San Juan Island Yacht Club.


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MASTER GARDENER: Riverside flower show celebrates new season – Press

Q: Last year the children in my daughter’s school class each entered their creations in the Riverside Flower Show. Our family went to the show and we were amazed at all the beautiful entries. Our garden is beginning to burst with flowers and I want to enter some at this year’s show. As a first-time entrant, can you give me any suggestions for preparing our entries?

A: You know spring is truly here when it’s time for the Riverside Flower Show. For 67 years, this show has celebrated the end of winter and the beginning of our best gardening season. This year, the show will be open to the public from 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 12, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 13. It is being held at the Elks Lodge at 6166 Brocton Ave. in Riverside.

All gardeners are welcome to enter the flowers and plants that they have grown. If flower arranging is your talent, you can enter your garden flower arrangements, too. There are categories for virtually any plant or flower that a gardener might grow. If you don’t know the name of the flower, it’s no problem. Experts will be on hand to identify your entry and see to it that it is entered in the correct class, and containers are provided for cut flowers.

Whether you are a veteran gardener or a newcomer, there are only a few things to keep in mind when preparing entries. First, and most important, make sure there are no insects on your entry trying to hitch a ride to the show. If insects are discovered on an entry, that entry is removed immediately. Second, make sure your entry is clean, no dust or mud on the petals or leaves. Also, remove any damaged or insect-chewed leaves as neatly as possible. Third, get your entry to the show on time. Entries are received from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday, April 11, or from 7 to 9 a.m. Saturday, April 12. Finally, have fun and enjoy the show. Seeing such a wide array of beautiful flowers is a joy, and if you also decide to visit the home gardens on tour, you will likely see clever landscaping ideas to incorporate in your own garden. The Riverside Flower Show is a great resource for all gardeners.

Q: I was browsing a garden book and liked the way they used verbena as a ground cover. I have a bulb bed that has finished blooming and needs a summer ground cover. Will verbena do well here?

A: Verbena would be a very good choice to cover a bulb bed. Although verbena is technically a perennial, it is commonly treated as an annual. These tough plants thrive in the hot weather of our Inland valleys and are drought tolerant once established. Their lower water requirement meshes nicely with the lower water needs of post-flowering bulbs. Verbena grows well under most soil conditions, and is rarely bothered by diseases or insects. A visit to your garden center will reveal garden packs of verbena in a rainbow of colors. When planted about a foot apart, they can make a solid carpet of color in a matter of weeks and will bloom endlessly all summer.

Ottillia “Toots” Bier has been a master gardener since 1980. Send comments and questions to

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Sales Process for Selling Hardscapes

With the housing market getting better but still historically weak, it’s important for landscape contractors to encourage existing homeowners to invest in landscape upgrades. Northwest Indiana contractor Mike Arnold of Creekside Landscaping couldn’t agree more.

“It is so important for contractors to convince homeowners and other property owners that it is vital to their property’s worth that they invest in great landscaping,” Arnold says. “If the property owner’s goal is to ultimately sell the property, a fresh landscape design is a sure ticket to quick selling. An old and outdated exterior gives a negative first impression and leaves a bad taste before prospective buyers even enter the building. Then, if landlordship is the property owner’s forte, curb appeal is a must for retail, and good luck getting a quality renter in your apartments or homes without paying attention to your landscape layout.”

Hardscaping fits the bill

According to Arnold, one of the best ways to bring a property’s landscape from eye sore to eye candy is through hardscape design and installation. “If done right, most of your landscape budget will be targeted toward a sophisticated mix of retaining walls, paver patios, outdoor kitchens, fire pits/fireplaces, and maybe even a paver driveway,” Arnold points out.

The financial value of this option is clearly in the cost of the materials and the extensive labor to install. But the value in the eye of an estimator is its permanence and capacity to be an outdoor living space. “If installed correctly, these structures will last a lifetime,” Arnold says. “At Creekside Landscaping, we firmly believe that our customers should consider hardscapes because we understand the primary concern of every homeowner: growing the value of an investment.”

Taking clients from idea to implementation

Creekside Landscaping has a well-defined process for evolving a client’s vision to reality. “First, we hear out our prospective client,” Arnold shares. “They got a hold of us, so that means they already have ideas stirring for their upcoming project. Our design team takes in their ideas and budget while observing and considering what landscape exists during the site visit.”

That first meeting is critical, Arnold says. “Our dialogue does not stay within the bounds of the customer’s first ideas only. We are there to aid in the dreaming process, to cast a vision for the masterpiece their landscape could be. This includes suggestions for replacing the typical old, cracking concrete patio with an outdoor kitchen, or ripping out neglected shrubbery and making way for a brick grill enclosure.”

Immediately after the first meeting, preliminary drawings begin. “We lay out our notes from our consultation, pull up the measurements we took, pour a cup of coffee, and get to work,” Arnold relates. “A 2-D drawing is composed, followed by a 3-D drawing or an edited picture of the home (depending on the type of project). Once we have our presentation material and detailed quote drawn up, a follow-up meeting is scheduled with the client.”

The second meeting is usually something Arnold and his staff really look forward to. “We know the customer is anticipating something great, and inside our folders we know we have something that we’ve creatively slaved over and is sure to widen their eyes,” Arnold says. “Once we’ve presented the material, we discuss costs and budget, and do absolutely everything we can to accommodate their needs.”

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London spring home show finally under one roof

London Community News

After almost 40 years southwestern Ontario’s largest home and garden show is finally all under one roof.

According to Art Bacon, producer of the London Spring Home and Garden Show, 2014 marks the first time all the exhibitors will be located in one building rather than spread over five or six, the Agriplex at the Western Fair District.

The change allows the second new feature Bacon is excited about: a fully functional, 1,500 square-foot model home to be on display in the outdoor exhibit area.

“That’s the big news for the exhibitors,” he said. “We have 340 exhibitors and most of them are going to be freshening up their displays to keep up. The people who come through the show want new ideas and advice, information to help them make big decisions.”

The 38th annual event runs from noon Friday (April 11) to 5 p.m. Sunday (April 13). Admission is $12 or $9 for seniors.

Other features for the 2014 show include the Idea Stage, where experts like Canadian Home Trends Magazine editor Marc Atiyolil, host of DIY Hotline on Saturday and Andrew Downward of HGTV’s Divine Design will present on Sunday.

The Gardening Stage will feature will feature gardening landscaping experts including Paul Zammit, director of horticulture at the Toronto Botanical Gardens. There will be daily presentations and great advice on native plants, attracting wildlife to your garden, growing beautiful roses, patio walkway installations, rainwater recycling, landscape planning and design do’s and don’ts.

The London Horticultural Society’s Spring Flower Show will be in full bloom as well, including displays of and competitions between houseplants, fresh cut flowers and design arrangements.

Bring your gardening questions to the London Middlesex Master Gardeners and visit displays from the Garden Club of London, Ontario Horticultural Association, London Fanshawe Horticultural Society, London Middlesex Master Gardeners and the Forest City Pond Club.

Other returning features include the design centre, a showcase of the latest interior and outdoor trends including kitchens, décor, paint, renovations and custom cabinetry and centres for home theatre, dry stone walling, an outdoor entertaining and grilling school with barbeque experts from Weber Broil King.

Also, exhibitors featuring “green” technology and products will be clearly marked with “green foot forward” signage and City of London is sponsoring a series of interactive environmental games.

And don’t forget the draws: visitors will have a chance to win thousands of dollars in prizes for their home – including two $500 garden centre shopping sprees, patio furniture, a barbeque, Gazebo, Utility Trailer, Gas Grill and Paint Décor Clinic and supplies.

For more information, visit the show’s website.

Party for the Planet in Ukiah

Click photo to enlargeParducci to host expanded Earth Day celebration

for Ukiah Daily Journal

 The third annual “Party for the Planet,” an all-day Earth Day celebration for the whole family is scheduled for Saturday, April 19, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Parducci Winery’s organic garden and tasting room. 

 “The event has been so successful that we’ve expanded it once again,” notes Spencer Brewer, Parducci’s Direct to Consumer business manager.

 This year, there is a real focus on families and children, with numerous family-oriented events and many free activities on site including food and wine tasting, tours of the winery’s organic garden located on Tollini Lane, a farm animal “meet and greet” and many hands-on demonstrations by local vendors.

 Jess Arnsteen, manager of Parducci’s “edible ecosystem” will be on hand to host garden tours and introduce working worm bins to prospective gardeners. There will be take-home seed plantings and opportunities to interact with the winery’s lambs, sheep, chicks and piglets. “There’s a lot going on at this year’s festival and something for everyone,” says Arnsteen.

 To bring home the focus of Earth Day, a special raffle will benefit North Coast Opportunities and the Ukiah Unified School and Community Gardens.

 Terry D’Selkie, Ukiah Unified School District Garden and Nutrition Education Coordinator has spearheaded the presence of a garden in every school within the Ukiah Unified district. The first gardens were established in 1999 and 2000. “A few gardens were around before then, but the program became an official part of each school at about that time,” D’Selkie explains.

 D’Selkie and Arnsteen developed a working relationship last year, bringing hundreds of students to the 3-acre Parducci garden for visits. “Our school field trips have been excellent here,” says D’Selkie. Student groups came in the fall and spring, with over 100 students at a time visiting the garden during multiple field trips. Arnsteen led the students through a visual and tasting tour of the garden and introduced them to the farm animals across the street. “Kids are natural in the garden,” Arnsteen notes, adding that Parducci has been providing several volunteers to the Calpella Elementary School garden.

 “Last year we lost funding for our Garden Specialists, so this school year we have been procuring volunteers to care for the gardens, holding fundraisers to raise money to return the specialists to the gardens and lobbying the school board and administration, to show them how vital the program has been to the community,” D’Selkie explains.

 Gardens can be cursorily maintained by volunteers, but there’s more to a school garden project than garden maintenance, D’Selkie explains. “The first part of the work is maintaining the garden, and the other part is educating the students who come to the garden. The specialists help students plant vegetables, fruits and flowers, teach watering, weeding and how to harvest and prepare the produce. The specialists are available for teachers who bring students into the garden for botany and science experiments, and who use the gardens to illustrate common core lessons focused around math, reading and writing,” D’Selkie continues.

 It looks like D’Selkie’s outreach program has succeeded. She anticipates the return of the specialists to the gardens in the coming weeks. “The board has hired back four specialists for eight gardens, and they should be starting any day now,” smiles D’Selkie.

 But the garden program still has no budget for plants and other necessities for the students, and some of the gardens are in need of upgrading. “We are really encouraging everyone who comes to this event to purchase raffle tickets,” says Brewer, noting that the proceeds will be split between NCO and the school gardens.

 Raffle tickets will be available at the event and prizes include signature weekend stays at the Scale House, John Parducci’s family home- a prize worth over $1,000. “Wine barrel furniture made specifically for this event will be donated to the raffle, including lazy susans, cutting boards and chair and table sets,” Brewer continues. Tickets sell for $5 each. “People who purchase 5 tickets for $20 get a 3.75 milliliter bottle of Parducci barrel-aged wine vinegar, made just for this event,” Brewer explains. Other prizes include private garden consultations, young redwood trees, bags of ranch-blended organic compost and other gardening supplies and materials.

 The funds from the Earth Day event will help D’Selkie’s staff procure garden supplies- plants, benches, seeds, benches, irrigation and all the necessities for a school garden program.

 Party for the Planet will take place at the Parducci organic gardens as well as the winery. Non-duplicated vendors and activities will take place at both locations, and maps of the event will be available.

 “It’s very important for us to have students here in the garden,” says Arnsteen. “The point of this garden is to benefit the community. We love to feed our employees from this garden and we love having student groups come and visit us,” says Arnsteen, who notes that people regularly exit the freeway to inquire about the garden. On Earth Day, garden coordinators will be offering a fresh pea tasting. “We’re going to be testing two kinds of peas from the garden, and we’re going to ask the students if they can locate the pea plants,” D’Selkie explains.

 “We’ve been working on this for months,” says Brewer, who, based on past years, anticipates many hundreds of visitors, or even more. Over 250 redwood trees and 200 oak tree starts will be given away, while supplies last. The Redwood Forest Foundation will be giving away 125 additional trees.

 Over 25 local artisan food and farm providers will be in attendance with samples and demonstrations. The Parducci tasting room will offer complimentary wine tasting, and Brewer smiles, “there will be some great sales going on in the tasting room.” The S’wine Country BBQ food truck will be onsite with food for purchase. Kids can work out their energy in Jumpy Tents at the organic garden and tasting room patio locations and there will be strolling musicians and chalk painting on the vineyard patio.

 “This is a time of year when everyone’s getting their gardens planted, getting their peppers and tomatoes into the ground,” said Arnsteen. “I always learn a lot from the people who come through. Leon Springer, CEO of Drip Works, will be on hand to demonstrate their array of high-quality irrigation and landscaping products. “We’ll be giving away catalogs, hooking irrigation equipment up to faucets and showing people how things work,” he explains.

 “This event is a chance for a great exchange of ideas and a great opportunity to support our children through supporting school gardens,” Arnsteen concludes.

 “Our focus is to use the raffle to raise money for these essential community projects. Earth Day is about organic gardening, education, giving back to the community and supporting our kids,” Brewer concludes.

 Visitors can exit US 101 at Lake Mendocino Drive and park along the quarter mile stretch along Tollini Lane, which parallels Highway 101. Additional parking will be available at the Parducci parking lot.

 For a full list of attractions, please visit For more information visit or phone (707) 463-5357.

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WeGo’s Ball Horticultural Co. wins sustainable landscape awards

The project included building a state-of-the-art, environmentally sensitive laboratory and warehouse and making various landscape improvements to accompany the additions, according to a company news release. The company’s goal with the expansion was to create the most ecologically friendly setting possible, the release stated.

The Ball Premier Laboratory has been certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, and the project’s corporate campus landscape improvements have received the following awards:

• Conservation Native Landscaping Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Chicago Wilderness
• Environmental Stewardship Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects’ Illinois Chapter
• Excellence in Landscape Award from the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association.

The streetscape and main entrance of Ball Horticultural Company, a world leader in plant development and distribution, previously consisted mostly of turf with a few trees and planting beds, according to the release. Now, most of the turf has been replaced with a walkway and colorful flower beds that create a prairie and savanna.

“The result is a naturalistic, landscaped corridor,” the release stated.

At the back of the company complex, a central courtyard created by the addition of the Ball Premier Laboratory features turf and native prairie and savanna landscapes. Edible gardens and ornamental landscapes border the main terrace, and employees are allowed to harvest fruits and flowers, according to the release. Woodland and wetland gardens also are part of the new landscaping.

Native plants make up about 75 percent of the project area, with more than 150 species of native grasses and forbs within the prairie, savanna, woodland and wetland landscapes, the release stated.

The property also includes five large rain gardens that help slow rainwater. Planted swales take overflow from adjacent sidewalks to the site’s detention basin.

The clean water that does enter the detention area helps to sustain wetland plants in the bottom of the basin, adding another ecosystem and additional biodiversity to the landscape, according to the release.

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Tips: Kids can grow through gardening

Have you heard of aquaponic gardening? It’s a gardening style that incorporates the symbiotic relationship between fish and plants. Sylvia Bernstein, author of the book “Aquaponic Gardening: A Step-By-Step Guide to Raising Vegetables and Fish Together,” provides parents with five reasons on why kids should grow a garden, whether it’s aquaponic or not.

“The skills they learn gardening will remain with them well into adulthood. They will also make a connection to and appreciation for the process of how food gets …

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GARDEN: April Gardening Tips

Herbs – If you’ve limited space, even if you just have a balcony or window boxes then grow herbs. The best way to pep up your cooking is with incredibly fresh and flavoursome herbs – rosemary with lamb, basil on your pasta dishes, parsley with fresh fish – I could go on forever but it really is true. At this time of year almost all herbs can be planted outside now. Make sure the soil’s warm enough and get your kitchen garden in the ground. Your meals will never be the same again!

Prepare you seed beds – Everyone loves a freshly made bed and your plants are just the same. If you’ve done this before you should have added your homemade compost to the bed last autumn to give it time to thoroughly rot down, but fear not some decent compost or manure that’s well rotted can be added now to get your planting off to a great start. Soil varies from place to place but any hard material like stones and sticks should be removed where possible – get the rake out and aim for the finest soil you can get – you can even sieve it if you want to go the extra mile (and are slightly crazy).

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Gardener: Do this, plant that: Productivity tips in the garden

Every day that I’m not on the road, I look out my office window toward the garden, and walk the property at least once or twice. My mind never stops turning with all the projects and to-dos I see for my landscape. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

My dream is to someday experience the term coined a few years back – “staycation.” The concept applies to the notion of staying home in an environment that is so pleasant, you feel like you’re on vacation. In theory, I love the idea. But in reality, it’s another story. Fortunately, for the lawn and garden, there are some pretty helpful ideas along with a number of undemanding plants that can get us a few steps closer to a truly relaxing staycation in our own little corner of the world.


These are a few of my favorite tricks for getting a little bit closer to nirvana.

– Soaker hoses: Keeping up with watering can rob many hours of precious free time. An easy way to cut down on this time consuming event is to make sure your plants are getting water right where they need it by using soaker hoses. These porous hoses allow water to seep out slowly and deeply. Roots have time to absorb the moisture and there is less risk of over-watering.

– Automatic timers: Simplify watering duties even more by using automatic timers. Use these in conjunction with soaker hoses and drip irrigation systems and put your watering woes on autopilot. The timers can be set to come on automatically from several times a day to once a week. Then, whether you leave home for weeks or want more carefree time in the hammock, you won’t have to worry about your plants or lawn not getting watered.

– Mulch: Usually the most dreaded task in any garden is the weeding. One simple solution to cutting down on the amount of weeds your garden will have is to use mulch. A three-inch layer will block the sunlight most weed seeds need to germinate. The added benefit of mulch is that it keeps your soil cooler, cuts down on moisture loss and helps suppress disease. It even looks great and really shows off the plants.

– A garden mailbox: Even the most organized gardeners find themselves running back to the shed or garage for that must-have tool for the job at hand. Placing a mailbox or similar storage box in the garden can eliminate those unnecessary trips back to the tool shed. Fill the mailbox with your most important small tools and you’ll always have them close at hand. Consider adding a trowel, plant labels, waterproof pen, twine, scissors, pruners, insect spray and bottled water. Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference.


When it comes to high-impact, low-maintenance plants, here are three of my favorites. Just keep in mind, even the least demanding plants deserve our attention every now and then.

– Knock Out roses: This is the un-fussy rose. If you’ve been intimidated by growing roses in the past or are tired of the work necessary to keep them disease and pest-free, this is the rose for you. Knockout roses are prolific bloomers and are very resistant to black spot and mildew problems typical of so many other roses. Provide full sun and well-drained soil and this rose will reward you with months of carefree beauty.

– Daylilies: They’re so easy, you can practically lay a daylily on the ground and watch it grow. Daylilies are beautiful and deer resistant with thousands of varieties in a rainbow of colors. They bloom all summer and return the next year thicker and fuller than before. The only work you’ll have to do is to divide them every 3 to 5 years.

– Hostas: If you’re looking for a showstopper for the shade garden, hostas are it. From miniature to massive, these plants known for their bold foliage are available in thousands of varieties. Hostas offer many shades of green, from lemon-lime to blue-green and every shade in between. The bonus with this easy care plant is that some are highly fragrant and all do well in containers. Unfortunately deer resistance is not one of its strengths.

Joe Lamp’l is the host and executive producer of Growing a Greener World on national public television, and the founder of The joe gardener� Company, devoted to environmentally responsible gardening and sustainable outdoor living.

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Organic Gardening’s five favorite veggies for your garden – The Express

Doug Hall, managing editor of Rodale’s Organic Gardening
, shares some of his favorite vegetables to come out of the Rodale Institute test garden last year.

Try some of these in your garden this year:

‘Brandywine’ tomato. “The hearty flavor of this old
heirloom variety is everything you could ask for in a tomato — in fact, it won our
office taste test last summer. But it’s slow to ripen and can be balky if the
growing conditions aren’t just right,” Hall says. Seed source: Johnny’s Selected
Seeds, 877-564-6697,

‘Beananza’ snap bean. “This is a space-saving bush bean
with the summer-long stamina of vining beans; our harvest lasted about 10 weeks.
It’s a stringless variety with a great beany taste,” Hall says. Seed source:
Burpee, 800-888-1447,

‘Yaya’ carrot. “Carrot connoisseurs love the sweetness
and reliable crunch of this stubby hybrid, which sizes up well even in clay
soils,” Hall says. Seed source: John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds, 860-567-6086,

‘Shishito’ pepper. “Saute them whole for a tasty appetizer
or toss them on the grill — this thin-walled sweet pepper offers plenty of
culinary options. The plants are amazingly prolific,” Hall says. Seed
source: High Mowing Organic Seeds, 802-472-6174,

‘White Russian’ kale. “With leaves that are tender and
mild, this is the kale for people who think they don’t like kale. It’s also a
season-extender, producing from early spring until well after fall frosts,” Hall says. Seed
source: The Natural Gardening Co., 707-766-9303,

Find more gardening tips from Hall and other local experts at

Have a tasty tip to share? Email me at

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