The Hazards of Gardening In The ‘Hood…Be Careful Out There

Gardening in the ‘Hood is like gardening elsewhere…except for one additional chore.

If you live in the ‘Hood, you need to perform a daily check of your gardens for trash left by what I will call the “party people.”

They arrive during the afternoon or late evening…engines & mufflers announcing their arrival…


They park, have a quick meal, and throw their trash on the sidewalk or in your garden…

Fast Food Trash

Fast Food Trash

Afterwards, they may quench their thirst with a libation or two…or three…


Some may engage in additional activities…

Syringes & Needle Trash

Syringes & Needle Trash

Each morning you should carefully check on the detritus left by your visitors! The debris field can be quite extensive at times.  It is recommended that you use a trash pickup stick for this purpose. Latex gloves are also a good idea!

Fortunately, most of the trash is disposed of in quick order:

  • The empty beer and liquor bottles obviously go in the Recycle Can
  • Paper and food wrappers likewise go into the Recycle Can

However, the disposal of used condoms and syringes is another matter altogether.  Technically they are bio waste and should be disposed of accordingly. Blue Can or Gray Can?? I can’t decide.  Perhaps, the garbage company will provide Sharps containers and biowaste cans that we can strap to our trees…with signs>>”Used Condoms” and “Used Needles” Emoji


  • To reduce the risk of fire from the many discarded cigarettes keep dead vegetation and leaves under control.
  • To reduce your risk of getting a needle stick from the discarded syringes, use a pickup stick.

In addition, it is advisable to wear heavy gloves while pruning in case you encounter a discarded syringe in a hedge or bush. You don’t want to get a needle stick forcing you to get tested for all kinds of nasty diseases.

Happy Petaluma Gardening!!

P.S. Perhaps the Petaluma Garden Club has additional suggestions!!

See you at the Petaluma Arts & Garden Show!


What the…$&#&$$!…in our garden

OK…so I am out in the garden this morning doing a quick check.  I noticed  a “weed” and gave it a quick pull.

Instead of it coming out of the ground with roots dangling, something else was firmly attached to the plant…

A Walnut?

A Walnut?

To my eye, it was a walnut and it was sprouting…


My only explanation is that there are a lot of crows in the area and they regularly drop their food items on the street to crack them open. Perhaps this was the result of a bad shot on the crows part.  In any event, as it managed to make it this far, I decided to give it a chance in a small container…

A future tree?

A future tree?

If it turns into a walnut tree, perhaps I will donate it to Petaluma’s Walnut Park…EmojiEmojiEmoji 

Spring Has Sprung…

…and fortunately, my back has not!

A sure sign of the season is the inordinate amount of time I have been spending in our gardens and the garden shops.
Somehow, I managed to keep a camera handy during all of this activity and created a macro photo essay of a “mysterious” growth in our back garden…

For a complete slideshow and explanation of this “mysterious” (Did it really come from Mars?) object: See  Fotos…Humongus Fungus

Note that I resisted (although the temptation was strong) to call it “FujiFilm Fotos…Fungus Humongus.”

Petaluma Mushroom Power!

The growth of mushrooms of varying types is not an unusual phenomenon in Northern California this time of year.  They present themselves in many sizes, shapes and colors. 

Late this afternoon, I noticed that they also have a certain amount of…shall we say…force…a power to be reckoned with?

In the backyard there is a large heavy metal ornamental that has been standing there for years…through wind, rain, hail, and even snow one year… 

But now it was on its side!  The place where it had been standing was raised up and…

Well, see for yourself…

Don’t Mess With These Mushrooms!

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Summertime in Petaluma…

…”and the living is easy…”*

“The corn is as high as an elephant’s eye”…*

And the Bermuda marches on…
More and more people are converting their residential yards to create gardens and low water landscapes.  Most likely, this is partially due to the efforts of IGrow Sonoma plus the willingness of homeowners to have a little fun with their land.
Unfortunately, local Bermuda Grass firmly resists sheet mulching efforts to kill it.  At times, I think Bermuda Grass is probably the one plant that will survive The Apocalypse. However, if a serious effort is made to dig it out before sheet mulching, then the sheet mulching effort stands a higher chance of succeeding. On this point, I have followed three different locations that used sheet mulching last winter to “transform” residential lawns into low water landscapes. 
If you do not attempt to have it removed, this is what you will get within a few months after the rainy season…
To reduce the risks of this happening, pay the extra money to have the Bermuda removed before sheet mulching. The one location that did so is still Bermuda free.
*Apologies to the Gershwins and Rogers & Hammerstein

Busting Up the Patio–Post Mortem…

…or should I say post modern?

We are still pinching ourselves as we wander through and around our newly precycled concrete patio.  In doing a little research on the Web, I discovered that reusing concrete for patios, walkways, and even driveways is not all that uncommon.  To be sure, the material requirements for a driveway are substantially different from a patio or a path. Better to leave that to the experts.

One web site rated a recycled patio project as “moderately easy” in terms of execution. Of course that assumes one knows something about design, layout, and heavy materials handling, not to mention installation. And…there is the small matter of having the right tools, experience, and physical strength.

A frequent question is what to put in the spaces between the new precycled concrete pavers. In our case we opted for wide spaces between each paver so as to permit the use of cobbles in certain places.  The top fill was mulch (to color coordinate with the rest of the area) although we could have opted for decorative pebbles.

My wife sought the advice of the Internationale Instituto De Vino Wino (Petaluma’s famous but fictional Wine Institute) as to whether or not a little color was needed in one of the few straight lines in the new patio. The Instituto agreed that a little splashy color was in order and suggested marbles.

Unfortunately, the staff and officers of the Instituto had lost their marbles long ago, so we came up with a few of our own…