The Part-time Gardener #6: Quick pest identification (earwigs)

Bugs! They gross most people out. And I think most of us have an inclination to want to stamp them out immediately when we see them in our gardens. Maybe we rush out to buy an insecticide. Maybe we smush them. So how do we know what to do when see a bug in our … Continue reading The Part-time Gardener #6: Quick pest identification (earwigs)

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Raised Vegetable Bed

The Part-time Gardener #5: A real life tale of building raised vegetable beds

This is a detailed account of our first attempt at building a raised vegetable bed.  Though we actually built two beds, this guide refers to only the larger bed measuring L 8.5' W  2.16'  H 1.38'. Materials and Costs - $123.65 We had all materials already on hand, unless indicated by a price. Excludes taxes: 8 … Continue reading The Part-time Gardener #5: A real life tale of building raised vegetable beds

The Part-time Gardener #4: How to interpret your soil test results

I got my soil test results! As I covered in The Part-time Gardener #3, a few weeks ago I submitted two soil samples from my backyard to the UMass Extension Soil and Plant Nutrient Testing Laboratory. The first sample primarily analyzed nutrients in the soil, while the second sample analyzed heavy metals. I recently learned … Continue reading The Part-time Gardener #4: How to interpret your soil test results

The Part-time Gardener #3: How to take a soil test for your home garden

Materials Needed:  Spade Clean bucket Clean paper Ziploc bags Package for shipping Cost: $92.15 ($85 soil tests+ $7.15 shipping) Time: 30 mins collecting soil + time for soil to dry + visit to USPS for shipping! Notes:  UMass Extension's Soil and Plant Nutriet Testing Laboratory is often recommended for home garden soil tests due to its … Continue reading The Part-time Gardener #3: How to take a soil test for your home garden

The Part-time Gardener #2: What’s a soil test, and do I need one for my home garden?

When I first started home gardening, at no point did it ever cross my mind that I should get a soil test done before planting. I thought people just plunked their seeds or transplants into whatever soil they had in their yard. This might work in some parts of the country, but apparently it's not the best idea here in Southern California. As I learned more about urban agriculture, I realized that a soil test should be one of the first steps in planning ANY garden.