How Does Your Green Garden Grow?


Gardening.Tomatoes.eVo.PhotoYou know who you are.

You’re the obsessively organic vegetable gardener who is crazy for compost and tenaciously turns your pile to create soil that looks more like chocolate cake than dirt. You’re the homeowner who’s rockin’ the rain barrels you recently added to your residence and telling anyone who will listen how low impact development elements like rain barrels will create a more sustainable LA. You’re the master mower, faithfully allowing your grass clippings, which provide vital nutrients, to remain on your front lawn and cringing every time you see a gardener raking up and disposing of precious yard clippings. . .

Oh, yes! You know who you are, and we want to hear how your green garden grows!

With spring (and your garden!) in full bloom, tell us about the “green” practices you use to create an ocean-friendly garden and/or yard. It’s simple. Feel free to boast about your ocean-friendly gardening practices in the comments section below by Friday, May 17, 2013 and you’ll be entered into a contest for a chance to win a $50 gift card to Armstrong Garden Center. Proudly tell us about how you use an integrated pest management system instead of pesticides . . . or how you leveled your lawn and planted a drought resistant landscape . . . or how you recently installed a rain garden in your front yard . . . you get the idea!

We’ll announce the winner on LA Stormwater’s Facebook page on Wednesday, May 22, 2013. We look forward to hearing from all you garden gurus and happy H2O harvesters! Good luck!

Thank you to Armstrong Garden Center for this promotion.

Photos courtesy of  mskaycjay and eVo photo.


Comments (16)

  1. Avatar for LA Stormwater
    Gabriela Sosa
    May 2nd, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    Recently I discovered a fast way to make veggies thive.
    It’s called Topsy Turvy or any hanging pot that allows plant roots to grow upwards. Great for balconies or patios.
    No more worrying about slugs & snails chomping at the leaves.
    The roots grow faster & use water more efficently.
    Good luck & let me know how it goes.
    Please LIKE my Facebook page if you get a chance.
    My EcoVillage for more tips.

  2. Avatar for LA Stormwater
    Teri English
    May 2nd, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    For over 10 years I have not watered my back or front yard or parkway which formerly had grass. I removed the grass in stages, planting 13 California native species (planted more, but some didn’t survive my family thinking they were dead during the dry season) plus two australian drought tolerant shrubs & a tree. There is usually always something in bloom and spring is especially wonderful. I have a 32 sq foot vegetable garden planted in the front foundation area that overflows once the tomatoes start to vine out. I grow a few herbs including hard to find Mexican herbs such as epazote and hoja santa. I have placed cardboard over recently reclaimed soil as a natural way of preventing weeds. I will either place raised beds on top of the cardboard or wait through a 12 month weed cycle before planting directly in the soil. I will be constructing rain benches in the back yard for rain harvesting from a newly constructed addition and plan to purchase dwarf fruit trees that will be watered with both saved rainwater and leftover water from my dog’s water bowl (when it’s time to change it). I currently have a native willow and ceanothus in my back yard along with a regional-native pine that is drought tolerant. For pest management I have sprayed with diluted dish detergent or hand-pruned the leaves onto which eggs have been planted. For snails I have placed tin-foil rings around plant stems and have placed beer in jar lids. No pest problems so far this year.

  3. Stefanie DuBois
    May 2nd, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    we planted mostly CA natives with some New Zealand drought tolerant plants in a re-landscape of both our front and back yards. Contrary to popular opinion, there are not many, if any cacti. As I like flowers, we incorporated Salvia Hot Lips, penstemen, Cape Mallow, Palo Verde and other such plants into a mass of color in our yards. We no longer have a lawn, but rather a meadow of caryx, a native clumping grass that is in the maturing process. We also reconfigured our sprinkler systems to allow for underground drip irrigation with some low usage emitters. The gardens are thriving, and a side benefit is that I now have lizards, hummingbirds and other insect eating wildlife in my gardens. I can provide pictures upon request. I believe that everyone is California should lose the lawns and use Ca natives!

  4. Avatar for LA Stormwater
    Shari Rosemblat
    May 2nd, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Bananas…I throw them in to my front yard rose garden. I have the prettiest roses trees bulbs flowers on the block. I have a thing about squish organic tomatoes into patch with good soil and have free tomatoes plants in the spring. I do supplement them with a few tomatoe plants from whole foods organic of course. I trade seeds and cuttings and bulbs with friends. Yes I like to be economical and never pay more than a dollar for a plant at the 99cents store. I give them as gifts. I know they are native plants. They are grown locally which is good for the environment.

  5. Avatar for LA Stormwater
    Shari Rosemblat
    May 2nd, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    mortan;s salt instead of snailrol. I put it to kill snails…along the tasty leaves and flowers that snails love. They come up dead in the morning.:(

  6. Avatar for LA Stormwater
    May 2nd, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    The “Lasagne” style of composting. So easy and no need to turn, shovel etc.

  7. Avatar for LA Stormwater
    sarah phillips
    May 2nd, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    No gardening background, just knew I didn’t want a lawn. When I pulled it out, it grew back so I covered the yard with drop cloths for about a month of direct sun and intense heat. cooking the soil killed the weeds. We Put in several rain buckets, some cuttings that grew…and continue to grow, added worms and plan to add ladybugs. have bees that visit and hummingbirds that moved in. The only high water items I grow are my edibles. And I try to water them from my rain buckets and dirty water. I heard that lemon peels keep cats out, but my local strays apparently never heard this. My neighbors have been so encouraging – stopping by and asking what things are and how I get them to grow. I don’t know anything about Gardening my only advice is experiment, and be patient. I’m enjoying the process. Gardens help build community!

  8. Avatar for LA Stormwater
    Janis Hatlestad
    May 2nd, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    A sustainable garden designer (Better Earth Garden Design), I try to set a good example of how enduring beauty can be found in climate-appropriate and low-impact landscaping. And, I use my own garden as test plot. Removed both my front and rear lawns 6 to 7 years ago. In front, surrounding a permeable patio of flagstone set in decomposed granite, are lower water-using bunch grasses, shrubs, and trees. Initially, used spray irrigation, but now converted to low flow, subsurface drip irrigation with zero run-off. Currently changing some of my planting in favor of those, especially natives, that use even less water in my hot, dry climate zone. My rear garden, also irrigated using in-line drip, is a mixture of edible planting (citrus trees at top of slope, raised beds for vegetables, and culinary herbs) and native plants. Along the west wall there is a long raised bed in which I am creating a “tide pool” garden with succulent plants. Just within the drip line of mature citrus trees, I gradually and carefully dug out a swale to passively retain rainwater. It is planted with Yerba Mansa (Anemopsis californica.) Connected to it is another depression for further infiltration of rainwater, which features salvaged volcanic rock and “flames” of California Grey Rush (Juncus patens.) Soil from this depression and from the swale was used in the raised beds. No power tools are used in maintaining my garden. Garden beds are mulched, and leaf litter from citrus trees remains to keep soil moist and roots cool. Only in the rear garden, organic fertilizers are used sparingly, primarily with vegetable planting. Using integrative pest management practices, encouraging beneficial insects and lizards to share my home garden. From time to time, I blog about my garden experiences and practices. My blog is linked to my website at Thank you for this opportunity to share and to learn from other gardeners as well.

  9. Avatar for LA Stormwater
    Sandra DeSimone
    May 2nd, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    At the school I work at, our class installed a California Native Rain Garden to replace the weed filled uncared area of our eating area. We noticed that it needed to be tended to and no one wanted to look at it. We also noticed that since it was on a corner of the school, water would just run off, so we decided to tear out the weeds, replace it with mulch, and plant California Native plants. We also made a path of rocks around the trees that were already there. Now everyone wants to sit under the trees and enjoy the beautiful garden. Wow! What an improvement.

  10. Avatar for LA Stormwater
    LA Stormwater
    May 2nd, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    Thanks for all the great ideas so far, everyone! Keep them coming! We love to hear how you’ve made your gardens and yards more ocean friendly!

  11. Avatar for LA Stormwater
    Marr Nealon
    May 3rd, 2013 at 11:08 am

    Have been gradually digging out the weedy, ratty front “lawn” if it ever really was that…and putting in succulents & natives. I plant cherry tomato plants in pots so the water stays put & mostly to prevent moles from coming up underground. I also put copper tape along the edges of the pots to keep out snails/slugs. I chop orange peels into tiny pieces & lay them generously on the top of the soil, & also plant one garlic plant in each pot to keep away pests. I have also taken to chopping up actual onions & garlic & distributing around the yard, to ward off cats & wild animals. Am constantly bringing home succulent cuttings. When a mix of complimentary colors are put together in a pots, they are so pretty.
    Am utilizing cardboard to prevent weeds & tons of rescued cement pieces, broken stepping stones & slate, old bricks. Haver gotten many of these pieces as well as plant pots from the freecycle list. Have also gotten plant pots at 2nd hand stores. Re-use!!! :-)

  12. Avatar for LA Stormwater
    Sandra DeSimone
    May 5th, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    We mulch all the trees around the campus at the school I work at so that it keeps the trees cool in the summer and insulated in the winter, They really love it and thrive.

  13. Avatar for LA Stormwater
    Sandra DeSimone
    May 5th, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    In our garden, we make sure to always have something in bloom, so that we never need to use pesticides because all the good bugs keep the bad bugs away. No pesticides means no run-off of chemicals into the storm drain and down to the ocean.

  14. Avatar for LA Stormwater
    Chris Anthony
    May 11th, 2013 at 10:21 am

    After experiencing the destruction of grasshoppers in my vegetable garden I taught my cats to hunt and catch them. They have a good time, get a protein meal and my plants are protected. One of my cats is named Grasshopper but for a different reason, as a kitten she hopped.

  15. Christy Martens
    May 14th, 2013 at 9:47 am

    After fighting with squirrels and crows that would dig up my seedlings in my veggie garden, I found that reused window screens from freecycle protected the seedlings from distruction. Bonus is that it helps keep in moisture, too, with the small mesh and moisture droplets in addition to the city and county mulch i put on it! I raise the level as they get larger until they can survive on their own. Snails don’t like it, either, so it protects fragie seedlings.

  16. Avatar for LA Stormwater
    LA Stormwater
    May 20th, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    A big thank you to everyone who participated in our spring gardening tips contest. We loved all the great ideas and learning how folks are enjoying their gardens and using creative sustainable ideas. We’ll announce our winner May 22 on Facebook!

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