Friday, September 26, 2008

It's Garlic Planting Time!

In Southern California, this is the perfect time of year to get your garlic started. And growing it is just as easy as starting it! Here are a few simple steps to wonderful, home grown, organic (hopefully) garlic!
Seeds – where do you get them?
You don’t use seeds. Get a head of garlic at the store, separate the cloves and you are ready to plant!

Planting – Take the cloves that you separated and plant them in the ground about 2 to 3” deep, with the hard side down. This is where the roots will sprout from. The pointed side should be up. Cover the clove back up with soil and water it well. Note – Garlic likes well drained soil and lots of organic material (mulch). The mulch will help keep it warm during the winter months.

Growing – your garlic will begin growing once the soil hits a temperature of around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Water regularly, depending on your weather, but be careful not to drown it. They don’t like too much water during the winter months. I usually let mine dry out in between watering in the winter and they grow just fine.

Watering - Around May, you’ll want to water a little more frequently and a little deeper, especially as it gets hotter in your area. Water to about a 1” depth, maybe a little more depending on the type and size of garlic you are planting.

Harvesting – I usually harvest my garlic around August if I get it planted by November 1. You can usually tell when to harvest it because the lower leaves on the bulb will turn brown. Once that happens, dig one up, slice it in half and if the cloves are filling out the skins, they should be done. Notice I said DIG your garlic up. NEVER pull it out of the ground by it’s leaves. You’ll wind up with garlic still in the ground and a handful of useless leaves. Digging ensures you get your garlic.

Drying – Garlic must be dried some before consumption. That helps them to really taste good! You can put them outside in a bright shady spot or inside in a well ventilated room (unless you REALLY love the smell of garlic!). Let them dry for several days. You can tell they are ready when the top leaves are no longer green and the roots have dried out. This could take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on your weather. While you need warmth to dry them out, garlic really prefers the temperature to be a little on the cooler side for storage.

Once you’ve harvested your garlic, take a couple of your best heads and put them aside for next years’ crop!

Happy Gardening!

Independent Garden Consultant
The Happy Gardener

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Street Fair

I'm pretty excited. This Saturday I will be taking The Happy Gardener to the Mira Mesa Street Fair here in San Diego. The Town Council puts this on every year and this will be my first year as a participant/vendor! While I'm a bit nervous since I've never done something like this before, I'm excited too knowing that I'm finally going to get some visibility and be able to show off my products and company to the town of Mira Mesa. I do hope the weather improves though. Remember when I said September was supposed to be the hottest month of the year? Well, I spoke too soon because it's been pretty warm these last few days. It's expected to cool off by Saturday, which I certainly hope it does because I do not function well when it's really hot. Regardless thought, I will be at the street fair will bells on my toes! Wish me luck!

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Fall seems to be arriving a bit early for my garden this year. My purple plum tree in the front has already lost about half its leaves. That usually doesn’t happen until about October. I know, October is only a couple of weeks away, but believe me…this is early in the season for that tree to lose its leaves.

My other plants, mostly in containers, seem to have given up on flowering with the exception of my Egyptian star cluster and my Bird of paradise. The Star Cluster still has gorgeous red star shaped flowers on it and my Bird of paradise actually had 3 blooms on it! (I’m still excited about that!)

So my garden is winding down a bit, although here in San Diego, you can pretty much garden all year long.

I was watching Paul James’ “Gardening by the Yard” a week or so ago (at 5am mind you!), and I saw this great product that I’ve asked my husband to build for me. It’s a "Knox Garden Box" ( and I’d never seen anything like it before. It essentially is a raised garden container, big enough to grow veggies in and high enough to avoid stooping over to care for it. Since I have perennial back trouble, this was very attractive to me! So we are going to try to build something similar and I already have plans for what I will put in it. Food! Yep, I’m going to try growing food items other than tomatoes. I’ve grown carrots and green onions in the past along with garlic. The garlic and green onion did great, but the carrots not so great. And of course you know I’ll be using my products from The Happy Gardener! With the great quality of Happy Gardener products, I know I’ll have happy veggies that will make me very happy!

Today I am off to the Farmer’s Market to check out their fresh produce. Bye!

Happy Gardening!

Independent Garden Consultant
The Happy Gardener

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fall Bulbs from The Happy Gardener!

Our website has been updated with all of the fall bulbs available. These beauties come straight from a grower in the Netherlands, from a family that has been providing these to The Happy Gardener for a few years now. The bulbs will only be available for a short time, so order them now! Go the and click on "shop with us". Remember, when you place your order, you must specify Lauri Brow as your Garden Consultant. Below is the list of available bulbs this year:

  • Anemone

  • Carlon Double Tulips

  • Double Narcissi

  • Dwarf Iris

  • Paperwhite Narcissi

  • Amaryllis

  • Hamilton Fringed

  • Hyacinthoide

  • Mambo Amaryllis

  • Monsella Tulips

  • Paperwhite Inhal

  • Paperwhite Ziva

  • Peacock Kaufmanniana Tulip

  • Purple and White Tulip Mix

  • Quebec Greigii Tulips

  • Red Riding Hood Greigii Tulips

  • Rembrandt Tulip Mix

  • Silverstream Tulips

  • Swan Wings Fringed Tulips

  • Other Tulip Mixes
We also are offering a bulb planter tool, bulb fertilizer, and a dibber (pictured here). The dibber is used to make your bulb planting easy!

So order soon before time runs out!

Happy Gardening!

Independent Garden Consultant
The Happy Gardener

Marvelous Mums

Ahhh fall. What a wonderful time of year. The weather cools off, the leaves on the trees turn gorgeous colors before their timely demise, fall plantings are being done around the country and the marvelous Mum is one of the main focuses of the garden.

For those that don’t know, “mum” is short for Chrysanthemum. They come in many wonderful colors including a couple of my favorites, orange mums and purple mums. Yellow mums are fine and are beautiful in the garden, but the orange and purple shout out “it’s fall!” and have that comfy, homey feel.

Every year, I spend my hard earned dollars buying mums for my container garden. I’ve never planted them in the ground. That could explain why my mum’s always bite the dust before their time. This year however is going to be a little different. I’ll still have a few in containers, but I think I am going to plant a few in the ground and see how they do. And after some reading up on the subject, I’ve got a clue as to what I was doing wrong before. Here’s how to grow mums, unlike what I had done previously!

Mums prefer full sun and a well drained soil. So plant them somewhere that you get the most sun in the months of waning sunlight. They love good compost. If you don’t make your own, get some from the local nursery or home improvement store. You’ll definitely be rewarded for it! Spread the compost around the mums after you’ve planted them in the ground. But be careful…mum’s aren’t crazy about crowds so limit somewhat how many you plant together. The less crowded they are, the better circulation they get for disease prevention.

Did you know that mums bloom according to the length of sunlight they get? So as the days get shorter, mums adjust and bloom accordingly. So be sure not to plant them under a street light or your porch light. Seriously! It’ll just mess ‘em up and confuse them!

Don’t let them dry out between watering, but don’t overwater them either. They like to stay moist, not soaked.

If you want lots of blooms, be sure to pinch them back. This means you want to literally pinch off the head of the flower once it’s been spent. This encourages growth and you’ll be rewarded with more blooms each time!

Feeding is important to mums, especially considering what they go through. Let’s face it…it’s tough to go through months of cold weather without any food! Of course, I recommend Foliar Feed and SeaResults from the Happy Gardener. Foliar Feed will feed the plants, giving them the nutrients they need to get through the cooler months ahead and you only need use it monthly. The same with SeaResults. SeaResults give it a fertilizer “boost” to help overall plant growth and bloom . It will also increase your mum’s resistance to frost damage in the winter. Again, once a month is all that is needed. And SeaResults will get you 50 gallons of scrumptious (for your plants anyway) fertilizer!

So there you have it. I will heed my own advice this year and take better care of my mums. Maybe I can get them to bloom in spring this time.

Happy Gardening!

Independent Garden Consultant
The Happy Gardener

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Newspaper in my Garden

A few years ago I decided to do a planting on a side of the house that was a bit neglected. The planter was full of weeds and I had done nothing with it since we purchased the house a few years before that. (This was about the time my gardening bug really hit) So I got down on hands and knees and worked my butt off to clear out the weeds and all the unwanted “stuff” I found in the weed bed. It was hard work and when I was done, my first thought was “I don’t want to have to do this again and again. Maybe I shouldn’t plant anything nice.” I didn’t want to have to weed every week in this area because I knew I wouldn’t do it and it would all grow over all the nice plants I was planning on planting. So I did a little research. Internet, here I come!

After searching and searching and reading and reading thanks to our friends at Google, I found what I was looking for and made a plan. But I had to hurry before the darn weeds started showing again! So one morning before it got too hot, I went out there with a bunch of newspaper in hand. I tilled the soil a bit by hand to level the ground some so it would look better. Then I planted some Star Jasmine and Azalea. I already had a blue potato tree out there that had such pretty purplish, bluish blossoms on it, I decided to keep it.

Once I had planted everything, I again smoothed the dirt out to level it out. Then I took the newspaper, a few pages at a time, and spread it out all over the dirt areas, keeping a small space open at the base of my plants and tree for watering purposes. After I had covered the area with newspaper, I gave it a mist of water just to weight it down a bit while I continued to work. I had purchased several bags of mulch and spread it all out over the top of the newspapers, a couple of inches thick, leveled it out, made it look pretty, watered my new plants and voila! A beautiful garden in under 2 hours! Believe it or not, it was 3 years before I ever had to worry about weeds in that area! So now, whenever I plant a large area, I first cover it with newspaper to help keep the weeds down. I no longer need to spend a bunch of money on weed control material from the local Home Depot. Newspaper accomplishes the same thing for much less money!

Sadly, while I wanted to post a picture of the area, I cannot. We had a big freeze last winter and I lost everything but the tree. The Star Jasmine is still struggling to come back and I think in the spring I will probably just replant.

There are 2 morals to this story: 1. Use newspaper under your mulch to help control weeds for quite some time. 2. If you want to keep your plants, cover them during a frost! (We Californians don’t know any better!)
Happy Gardening!
Independent Garden Consultant
The Happy Gardener

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Awesome Plant Food!

Today I’d like to talk about SeaResults Micronutrient Solution from The Happy Gardener. The ingredients in this amazing liquid come straight from the sea and is made from sea vegetables. What are “sea vegetables” you ask? Kelp, seaweed, algae, and a variety of other plants from the sea.

The benefits of sea vegetables include:
· Increased crop yields
· Provides higher chlorophyll levels
· Improved and faster seed germination
· Significant reduction in fungal, insect and nematode damage
· Resistance to frost damage
· Reduced plant stress due to drought and transplanting

SeaResults contains over 70 trace elements, 17 key amino acids and root growth hormones for healthy root development and lush plant growth. Your plants will love this stuff! I use it on my indoor and outdoor container plants. They are very healthy and quite resistant to drought (yes, my poor watering habits!).

Use SeaResults monthly as a fertilizer supplement on your houseplants, roses, vegetables, herbs, seedlings, flowers, shrubs and trees. And remember, its completely organic and won’t harm your kids, your pets or the environment!

One 8 oz bottle of concentrated solution makes 50 gallons of nutritious plant food! Used once a month and this bottle packs a powerhouse of plant nutrition and savings to you!

As an Independent Garden Consultant for The Happy Gardener, I will be happy to place your order for SeaResults Micronutrient Solution right away. Send me an email with your return email address and I will be happy to assist you!

Happy Gardening!


Independent Garden Consultant

The Happy Gardener

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Happy Gardener at the Mira Mesa Street Fair!

The Mira Mesa Street Fair (in the Mira Mesa neighborhood of San Diego) will be held on Saturday, September 27 from 10am to 4:30 pm. I will be there representing the Happy Gardener with lots of information to read and products to view!

The fair runs along Camino Ruiz at Mira Mesa Bl. There will be many vendors and booths along with music, lots of food and tons of fun. Please stop by my booth and let me know you saw us on Blogspot!

See you there!

Independent Garden Consultant
The Happy Gardener

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Many Uses of Vinegar in Your Garden

Believe it or not, vinegar is great to use in the garden and has many uses. Did you know what if you put vinegar on unwanted weeds or grasses; the vinegar will essentially burn up the root structure and kill the plant? That’s great for things such as grass growing in cracks in your driveway, hard to get at weeds coming up at the border of your garden and those big old dandelions that get in the way. But be careful! Whatever you spray will burn up and die. Be careful not to overspray on plants that you want to keep! Put the vinegar in a spray bottle and set the spray to “stream). That will give a steady stream to just the plant that you don’t want.

Vinegar is also great for azaleas believe it or not. If you put a cup of vinegar to a gallon of water and use it to water your azaleas occasionally, the azaleas will LOVE the acidic soil and will have gorgeous and prolific flowers. This also works with any acid loving plant; gardenias, rhododendrons, etc.

How many times have you gone into your garden, cut your beautiful blooms from the plant, taken them inside and put them in a vase, only to have them wilt away and die within days? Vinegar to the rescue! When you put them in the vase, make sure the water contains 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons white vinegar and your flowers will last much longer! Be sure to change the water every so often and add the sugar and vinegar each time. This will ensure you can enjoy your blooms for some time. The length of time will depend on the type of flower.

These are just a few things you can do with plain old white vinegar. Next time you’re at the grocery store, pick up a gallon or two and use it to help kill weeds, keep your azaleas blooming and growing and keep your cut flowers fresher longer.

Happy Gardening!

Independent Garden Consultant
The Happy Gardener

Monday, September 1, 2008

What To Do In Your Garden In September

In Southern California, September can be just as busy as any other month in the garden (ok, except for spring!). It’s time to start getting orders in for spring bulbs; time to figure out where you’re going to grow your garlic; time to start removing blooms from some of your perennials and many other jobs. Heres just a few things to do so you can still get your hands dirty. Be careful though! September is known in Southern California as the hottest month of the year. When you garden, garden early before it gets too hot!

1. Order your spring bulbs. You’ll want to start putting them in the ground towards the end of September and into October, so you have between now and October to get them in the ground.
2. Water!
3. Also by the end of September, you can start planting your garlic and onion. Nothing like garlic from your own garden to add wonderful flavoring to your cooking!
4. Water!
5. Get some coleus and plant it in containers. It makes for wonderful fall colors!
6. Now’s the time to divide your perennials. Replant the divisions right away, or give away to a friend as an exchange for something they have that you really want.
7. Feed your roses one last time before fall hits.
8. Water!
9. Replenish your mulch to help protect from the heat as well as the cold once winter settles in.
10. Did I say water? Your plants can’t get enough of it in hot, hot September.
11. Enjoy your garden!

Happy Gardening!

Independent Garden Consultant
The Happy Gardener