Five secrets to the perfect summer garden

Jennifer E. Beaver Columnist Ah, summer. We all enjoy eating outdoors with friends and hoisting a few while the sun goes down. But surely I can’t be the only one looking over the rim of my margarita glass toward the garden…and wondering what’s causing the holes in the tomatoes or the spots on the squash…

Coping with a growing addiction

Jennifer E. Beaver Columnist It all started innocently enough. A packet of wildflowers here, some specialty lettuce there. No problem. But next thing you know, I craved more– the strange, exotic oddball stuff. Like wasabi arugala and borage. The seeds are taking over. My laundry room is crammed with tools of the addict: empty egg…

Gardening with intent

Jennifer E. Beaver Columnist Okay, I admit it; I’m feeling lazy. I should take advantage of one of our few non-rainy days and get out there in the garden and trim back the pineapple sage, or dig up the rampant grass and weeds and smother the new growth with mulch. Instead, I’m sitting at the…

Beating the heat in your garden

Jennifer Beaver Columnist Fortunately, that merciless heat wave has passed. What will you do when the next one arrives? Here are five ways to keep you and your plants from wilting. 1. Mulch. A three-inch topping of mulch keeps plant roots cool, conserves water and inhibits weeds. Of course, lugging bags of bark chips or…

The books of summer

Jennifer E. Beaver Columnist Visit any retail store, and the displays will try and convince you that summer is nearly over with bikinis on sale, school clothes front and center. But according to my calendar, summer still has two months to run. Still time to squeeze in some relaxed reading with feet up and iced…

Summer gardening tips and tricks

Jennifer E. Beaver Columnist Summer is here…and the livin’ is easy. And that’s how it should be in your garden too. Personally, I’ve got too many barbecues and concerts to attend to waste time with a bunch of recalcitrant, sulky plants. So here are a few ideas to help you relax and enjoy the season…

Be a detective to keep your plants healthy

Jennifer E. Beaver Columnist Sunday morning my husband discovered me splayed next to the vegetable bed, my head at an unnatural angle. Fortunately, I was neither the victim of foul play nor too much partying at the Hollywood Bowl (Beach Boys rock!). No, I was merely inspecting the tomatoes.

It’s time for tomatoes!

Jennifer E. Beaver Columnist Around the beginning of April, people greet me not with “Hey, Jenny!” but with “What kind of tomato should I plant?” We’ll get to that in just a minute. First, though, let’s address the issue of plant selection. All of us gravitate to the plant brimming with little yellow blossoms. After…

Curl up with a good gardening catalog

Jennifer E. Beaver Columnist For those who live where winter means cold, snow and unworkable ground, garden catalogs are the tangible hope of the spring to come. While the earth slumbers under a blanket of snow, armchair gardeners are hard at work plotting their next crop. But what value do these catalogs have for us,…

Grounds for coffee

Jennifer E. Beaver Columnist It all boils down to coffee. I love talking to other gardeners because I learn so much. In the past month, I’ve had the honor of discussing edible gardening with members of the Long Beach Gardening Club and the Lakewood Community Garden. Both are outstanding organizations with lively, interesting, knowledgeable members.…

Garden Variety: Go for the greens

Jennifer E. Beaver Master Gardener I swear my plants know what I’m thinking. On Wednesday afternoon, I began contemplating pulling up my lackluster tomatoes. They’ve been sulking all spring and summer, and it’s time to replace them with vegetables and flowers that appreciate cooler weather.