Gardening Tip

Fragrant Plants

Question from Rachel: I spent the evening at a friend’s house last week–specifically on her patio.  All of her plants are natives, and in the night air the fragrance was gorgeous.  I asked her what she’d planted and she named one or two sages (I don’t remember what they were). What would you recommend for […]


Question from Mike: I was eating dried apples, and afterward it looked like there was spider web in the bag, but then I found worms in the bag of apples. I had been eating dried apples with worms. Is there anything to be medically concerned about regarding having ingested worms and their larvae? Other than […]

Tarragon and Thyme

Question from Dee: This is my first garden this year so I really don’t know what I Am doing.I buy tarragon and Thyme every year and put it in pots.I live in zone 9 and I planted some french tarragon and varigated thyme in my garden and it gets full sun about 12 hours and […]


Question from Christina: I have cilantro in a container outside…the problem is, it’s leaves have turned purple. I don’t know what I am doing wrong and can’t find my answer anywhere online. I would appreciate any tips you might have! I am in san diego, so it gets tons of sun, a bit too much […]

Choosing a Drum Composter That Really Works

Question from Jan: I heard you speak @ Temecula Valley Garden Club (both times) and enjoyed it immensely. I recently moved and can’t find my notes (oh no!) Would you mind refreshing my memory about the composter your daughter researched? I’m going to need to get one very soon! Answer from Pat: Almost any drum […]

Generic Fertilizers & Soil Amendments

This Generic Fertilizers Chart show you what products can be used for a “source of”, how quickly it works, approximate formula, and characteristics. Generic Fertilizers & Soil Amendments Chart. Be sure to reference “Southern California Organic Gardening: Month by Month” for in depth use instructions.

Plant Zinnias Seeds

Plant seeds of zinnias now. “Benary’s Giants” (sold as “Parks Picks” by the Park Seeds) is immune to mildew. Choose a spot in full sun, till the ground to spade depth, work in organic soil amendment and balanced fertilizer into the top six inches. Soak the soil, let settle overnight. Plant seeds one by one, […]

How to Do a Stawberry Test

Question from Bonnie: I heard you say in a speaking engagement that the “Chandler” strawberry is your favorite. Is this correct? I really like Chandler strawberries, too. I decided to plant four types, and compare them. Chandler is hard to find sometimes, but I got some plants this spring. Answer from Pat: Yes Chandler is […]

Romancing the Garden: A philosophy of gardening Pt 3

The next step is: How do you carry it out? Mine in a nutshell is: “Create a romantic garden and then live in it.” A Paradise Garden The Garden of Eden Dictionary definition of romance: “Imagination, love, idealization, wafting one to another time or place excitement, love, and adventure of the kind found in romantic literature. […]


Question from Trinidad: Where can I purchase this product? Nobody seems to know about it. I live and work in Encinitas, CA. Places I have checked are Grangettos, Home Depot, Hydroscape… Please help. Answer from Pat: Terr-O-Vite is no longer available. It has not been made for at least fifteen years. I mentioned this product […]