Soils

Alkaline Vegetable Garden Soil

Gardening Question From Adriana: I added lime to my vegetable garden soil and I killed everything i planted last year. I tested the soil this year and it still shows too alkaline. What would be an easy repair? Buy compost bags and add to soil? or Nitrogen only? thanks Answer From Pat: Never add lime […]

Composted Topsoil

Gardening Question From Crystal: I am going to be doing some container gardening this summer for the first time. I am trying to do it as organically as possible. I have bough an organic potting soil but would like to add some compost. I have limited space, hence the container gardening, so I have reached […]

Eucalypus Mulch

Gardening Question From Frank: Dear Pat, I am happy to hear your comments about eucalyptus wood, leaves and  detritus as mulch.  Over a period of forty years I have found eucalyptus mulch to be very beneficial to my garden in all ways.  We hands on, non abstract gardeners are the ones who know! Watering it […]

Using California Pepper Tree Leaves

Gardening Question From Kathleen: I’m testing my young orange tree with a ph tester, and noticed the soil is too far on the acidic side. I was wondering if the leaves fallen from my California pepper tree would help to balance the levels out?     Answer From Pat: Never dig anything into the soil […]

Compacting Clay

Gardening Question From Grant: A bit of a different question for you… We have an outdoor radio control car track where the surface is clay, which is ideal for running the cars on as its smooth, grippy, and not abrasive on tyres. The clay is regularly compacted with a 100kg plate compactor at OMC, however […]

Acid Soil

Gardening Question From Joan: A friend told me berries need acid, recommended coffee grounds for our listless raspberries. Another friend told my daughter that citrus is too acidic for compost. Are either of these statements true? And if so, would burying our citrus rinds in the raspberry bed be beneficial? Answer from Pat: Raspberries prefer […]

Profile Professional Clay Soil Conditioner

Gardening Question from Sylvia: In your book So. CA Gardening-Month-by-Month, you mention using the above product to help with compacted clay soil, turning the soil into “a loose growing medium containing adequate water and oxygen”. I want to use it in my clay soil in North Park/San Diego but haven’t found a supplier. Would you […]

Difference Between Compost and Top Soil

Question from Karen: What is the difference between compost and top soil and do you need both when amending the soil in your yard? Answer from Pat: When you purchase something called “top soil” this should be the mainly composed of the stuff that is the top layer of earth that is made up of […]

Vegetables, Eucalyptus, Clay Soil, and Fruit Trees

Question from Christian: I live in Del Mar near Fairbanks Ranch, and I’d like to get some of your thoughts on gardening and adding some new organic fruits, herbs, and vegetables to my house to feed us!  My goal is to turn a portion of my property into a full blown garden.  The challenges are […]

Feeding and soil supplements

Question from Jill: I recently saw you speak in Laguna Beach and I enjoyed every second of it! I grew up on a dairy farm in the central valley and we had our own garden. I left the valley when I went to college and after a few degrees and a few years of work, […]