Most people love garlic for its pungent and sometimes spicy flavor, and the fullness it adds to dishes when it is used. Many claims are made as to garlic’s healing properties and immune booster qualities. I am a believer and a big fan of the Alliums in general (plants in the onion family). There are some rogues out there, those odd people who you can’t quite trust who for whatever reason hate garlic.  In my house, those people will be disappointed (though still welcomed), since I add garlic to most dishes at a rate far higher than is generally recommended in recipes!

I am always happy to put my garden to bed for the winter after a long season of planting, tending and harvesting. Planting my garlic each fall is symbolic of that seasonal change…it is essentially the last thing I do before stepping aside for shorter days and colder nights.


Gardening in a Time of Climate Change, Wild Fires, and Smoke: This Season’s Most Common Questions Answered!

Edy Cassell, Community Progarams Manager at Sierra Harvest

How is wildfire smoke affecting the plants in my garden?

This is a valid question and one I hear (and ask) a lot.

Falling ash and particulate matter coating the surface of your plants has the potential to inhibit photosynthesis in plants by clogging the stomata, thus slowing growth and production somewhat. An easy solution is to spray off your plants if you see a dusting of ash. Ash, dust and particulates can also infiltrate your house, so your house plants will appreciate a good dusting as well. Heavy smoke cover may have a similar effect, but a surprising amount of light does get through, so even a day that feels hazy and smoky may not be impacting the plants too badly. Have you ever gotten a sunburn on a foggy day? It’s kinda like that. If the sky is not actually dark it is likely that natural processes of photosynthesis are not being terribly inhibited. It has actually been found that the increased Carbon Monoxide in the atmosphere can be good for plants and encourage growth, as long as there is sufficient light.

Continue reading “Gardening in a Time of Climate Change, Wild Fires, and Smoke: This Season’s Most Common Questions Answered!”

Pests in Your Garden: What can you do?

Lenkland Photography

Here we are about a week away from the summer solstice and the longest day of the year. Your gardens are growing gangbusters, practically right before your very eyes. All looks good…the squash plants seem to double in size overnight, the peppers are setting blossoms, and your melons are starting to creep, and maybe you’ve even harvested your first zucchini. By all accounts, things are off to a great start. Continue reading “Pests in Your Garden: What can you do?”

Spring Plant Varieties: What’s in a Name?

Growing a garden isn’t rocket science, but it is a body of knowledge that comes partly from studying up, but also from trial and error, observation and participation. Part of what our Sierra Gardens program does is help take some of the guesswork out of growing fresh, organic vegetables at home.  One of the ways we do this is by providing the right starts and seeds for each season. Continue reading “Spring Plant Varieties: What’s in a Name?”

Winter Watering

To water or not to water, that is often a question we face in the winter time. It is a question that cannot be answered without asking more questions:  Have the rains started in earnest? Are we having a wet winter? Will there be long dry spells?

These are all questions that we don’t really know the answers to at this point, so you just have to wait and see.  But there are a few things to think about! Continue reading “Winter Watering”

June Garden Tips: Aphid Control and When to Harvest Greens

KaleIt’s June, which means gardens are in full swing!  Between weeding, beginning to harvest, maintaining irrigation, and getting those last seeds and starts in for summer- this is a busy time of year.

Here are some quick tips for making the most of your June garden, in terms of harvesting greens and dealing with aphids. Continue reading “June Garden Tips: Aphid Control and When to Harvest Greens”