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Posted by on Jul 19, 2016 | 1 comment

Scenes from the 2016 Del Ray Urban Farm Tour

Scenes from the 2016 Del Ray Urban Farm Tour

This past Saturday, we held our second Del Ray Urban Farm Tour, traveling by bike to seven backyard gardens and one community garden in the Del Ray neighborhood. We met some pretty amazing gardeners, all who grow a sizable amount of food in their own yards. Here’s how the day went: The tour started at 9 a.m. at the top of Mt Ida where neighbors Catherine and Lauren (whom we featured last year) showed us what’s growing in their shared garden space — it gets bigger and better each year. They had a pepper tasting, gave away extra canned goods and answered questions about the enormous amount of vegetables they grow. Next, the crew road down Russell Road to Alex’s terraced front yard garden, proving yes, even if you live on a sloped yard, you can have a successful vegetable garden. Alex’s garden spreads around the side and back of her yard as well, with perennial flowers, fruit trees and an intricate watering system. Our third stop was Kay’s...

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Posted by on Jun 28, 2016 | 2 comments

Progress Report: Raised Bed Gardening

Progress Report: Raised Bed Gardening

Back in April I purchased some cedar raised beds for my backyard garden. I’m pretty pleased with the beds and I wanted to share a quick update on how my garden is doing. Here were the two 3×8 beds when I assembled them in April: And here’s the same shot today: Unfortunately, from my original seed planting (arugula, kale, lettuce and broccoli rabe), only the arugula survived. The rest of the seedlings were washed away during the May monsoon season. I got about a month’s worth of enjoyment from the arugula before it bolted last week and had to be pulled up. However, after originally going MIA, the red leaf lettuce recently came back to life and is holding steady even after being picked for dinner a few times. (This is about a bite’s worth of lettuce, but it’s something!) Despite my seedling fails, I’ve had success with other vegetables. In this bed, zucchini, basil, tomatoes and cucumber are thriving. My second bed has herbs and jalapeno peppers (not...

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Posted by on Oct 26, 2015 | 0 comments

JC’s All-Year Urban Farm

JC’s All-Year Urban Farm

We met JC last year when her garden was one of the standouts on our 2014 Urban Farm Tour. JC was gracious enough to invite us back for a fall gardening workshop for DIY Del Ray readers. Not only did we learn what vegetables we can grow in the fall, we also walked away with tips for how to keep our gardens going all year long — yes, even right here in Del Ray. Our tour started with the front of JC’s property where she grows enough fruit to satisfy her family of four. Strawberry plants create a lush groundcover in the fall, with delicious strawberries making an appearance in the spring. If you want to limit your amount lawn mowing, grow strawberries. Did you know birds have no interest in sour cherries? Apparently so, we learned. But they do love strawberries and figs, so plan to net those if you want more for yourself. JC admits she didn’t get to enjoy as many figs as she wanted this...

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Posted by on Aug 18, 2015 | 4 comments

Jill and Jeff’s Backyard Honey Harvest

Jill and Jeff’s Backyard Honey Harvest

New to beekeeping, Jill and Jeff installed hives and 20,000 bees in their backyard in the spring of 2014. You can imagine their thrill when they were able to harvest a combs-worth after only a couple of months. Jill wrote a guest post for us about their first bonus harvest, describing each step. At the end, she said that they were told to leave the bees “at peace” for the rest of the year until this summer. So, during the winter, they studied their beekeeping reference books, and watched the bees come and go from afar. When Jeff could see that the frames were more than 80% full of honey (he would lift the lid to check on them from time to time), he donned his trusty bee hood and pulled out two honey-comb laden frames from the hives. What’s most fascinating about this year’s harvest is seeing both the virgin honey (at left) and the brood honey (at right). The brood honey comes from the comb that housed baby...

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Posted by on Jul 29, 2015 | 3 comments

A Backyard Garden’s Beautiful Bounty

A Backyard Garden’s Beautiful Bounty

In March, we shared a post about a new community garden of sorts, organized by neighbors Catherine and Lauren. Back then, Catherine, Lauren and their team were hard at work constructing the raised beds, prepping the soil and organizing their planting and harvesting schedule in a detailed spreadsheet. We’re back today to show you the amazing transformation. To recap, here was the garden back in March: And here it is today. In past years, the garden extended only along the back fence, land that happens to be owned by the church next door. Catherine and Lauren had big plans to expand the garden — but wanted to do so legally — so they met with the leaders of the church and sought permission to use their land, which they whole-heartedly granted. Where there once was a grassy area between their back fences and the church parking lot is now home to more than 20 raised beds with all sorts of vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers. Maintaining a garden of...

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