Why buy broccoli when you can grow your own?

Listening to people talking on the radio when you are driving rather than blasting music and singing along is sign of getting old, I reckon. But I was listening to a talk show the other day about the health care vote thinggy-majiggy here in the US. As far as I can make out the question is about making everyone buy health insurance, and an analogy has been drawn along the lines of forcing people to buy broccoli.  However, this is not a political blog, and I don’t really want to air any comment on the health insurance issue as I feel ill equipped to make a call on it either way (Can I get health insurance for being ill equipped?) But I thought it was a great title for a blog post.

I’ve been agonizing about what to write in my blog these days. The very nature of gardening is cyclical, so I could end up covering the same topics year in and year out which gets too repetitive for my liking. I could post lots more “How to”s but there is very little out there that hasn’t been done, that can’t be googled and it feels too much like my work as a gardening coach.

So this week I decided  to give you a “Spring Garden Tour” sponsored by all the lovely rain we finally and gratefully received. And there is actually no pictures of the broccoli which I’ve largely allowed to go to seed for next years crop! But I do buy health insurance – can’t rely on good health setting seed year after year unfortunately.

The order of the photos is fairly random – Enjoy!

First stop the bulb garden.

Having bought a few dozen tulip bulbs before I knew just how high maintenance they were purported to be in California, I decided that I couldn’t go through the rigmarole of keeping them in my fridge for eight weeks and then have them probably only ever blossom that one time. Unwilling to throw out what looked like perfectly good bulbs after they had bloomed and died back, I buried them in the bulb garden only to be wonderfully surprised by blooms this year.

Not the most spectacular tulips ever but hey, better than a kick in the nuts. (I’ll show you my nuts later in the tour.)

This shot captures the gogi-berry bush in the foreground. It still hasn’t produced berries. And a fence lizard – tip-toeing through the tulips!
My containers are spewing forth blossom left, right and center.

Regular deadheading and fertilizing is the key to beautiful pots.

I love lettuce – its so easy, so forgiving, and oh so colorful…

Some are still in the six packs where I planted their tiny wee seeds and never got round to transplanting them. I’m harvesting them straight from here.

I have about a dozen varieties of lettuce – the ultimate ornamental edible – say that quickly five times!


These are from seeds saved last year.

Even better are the plants that save you the bother of saving their seeds and just reseed themselves. The winter arugula crop decided to go for it again.

And in the native garden the Hooker’s Evening Primrose had put out one brave little seedling. A disappointing amount of reseeding but lets see if the rain brings forth any more. I’m maintaining the “prime directive”  as far as I can in the native garden, until they get warp speed of course!

It works for the poppies.

For the checkerbloom too.

And for the blue eyed grass – which has yellow ‘eyes’ and is not a grass but a petite iris.

And the succulent garden delivered a sweet surprise. My stone plant blossomed practically before my eyes.

And an hour later I walked past and it was doing this…

Blooming gorgeous is the name of the game for this drift of candy tuft – amazing for a plant that gets absolutely no attention (including irrigation) from me.

My spoon petaled daisy (given to me by a Master Gardener buddy last year) blossomed in abundance.

The artichoke given to me by my friend Lisa is coming along nicely too. I just have to figure out to to cook these things!

Propagation is ongoing in the garden, sometimes on purpose – I need to fill these new raised beds.


Here are some of the warm season seeding results.

Other propagation is accidental – nature finding a way to keep going.

My neighbor Laurie gave me a Christmas Cactus and one of the “leaves” (actually it’s a segment of stem) came off. It seems to be growing.

I lost one of the Dracaena marginata in this pot but it seems to have left behind a baby!

Outside, I’m protecting the new seedlings from the nasty birds.

Having run out of bird netting I had to get creative.
As promised – a picture of my nuts. Almonds to be precise.

I just hope I get to harvest them before the squirrels get there. Nothing worse than the squirrels sinking their teeth into your …. harvest!

Byddi Lee

Eco Gardening Coach

3 replies to Why buy broccoli when you can grow your own?

  1. Your arugula looks like our Mizuna! I may never have to plant it again 😉 Your garden looks great. Love the poppies, mine just started blooming today when the sun finally came out. Just 3 blooms, but it's a start. I hadn't thought of seed tray holders for protecting seedlings. I love those things. We use them as garlic drying racks, but they seem to be endlessly useful in the garden!

  2. The seed trays serve to hold the bird netting off the ground, otherwise the birds just push down through it. I love when the nursery says take as many seed trays as you want – I take them at their word and could still use more!

  3. What beautiful specimens! Love the poppies and the rock plant!

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