Is the unseasonably warm weather wilting your wisteria? Sapping your strawberries? Taxing your tomatoes? Whether you’re a seasoned grower with a huge backyard, or you’re taking a first crack at a window box of herbs, our panel of gardening and landscaping experts will advise, share stories and cheer you on.

The Beautiful Edible Garden – Excerpt by Crown Publishing Group

Ahmed Hassan, host of "Yard Crashers" on HGTV and the DIY Network, and "Turf War" on the DIY Network
Kathleen Brenzel, garden editor for Sunset Magazine
Leslie Bennett, co-owner of Star Apple Edible Gardens and co-author of "The Beautiful Edible Garden"

  • Beth Grant DeRoos

    We grow much of the food we eat year round and use the Back To Eden mode mixed with French intensive planting which works well produced more food and requires very little watering even in our 100* Sierra summers. Also believe in planting food vs masses of green lawns.

    Would love your guests views.

  • alexis

    I’m very interested in water conservation in my Oakland vegetable garden. I’ve seen a number of gardens with hay as a ground cover. Can your guests speak to the effectiveness of hay vs. other water conservation techniques? Is there a better straw or hay to use? etc.

    • Beth Grant DeRoos

      You probably saw straw not hay, since hay will have seeds which you do not want taking root in a garden.

  • alekskela

    I think artichokes make a beautiful edible addition to a garden. I have a cluster of four or five and they look gorgeous. One thing I could not figure out is why some years the branches of a cluster just fall on the ground…

  • guest

    How do you keep the lawn that grows horizontally and thick from coming back after you replace it with ground cover and plants?

  • I am new to gardening and have found Pam Peirce’s “Golden Gate Gardening” and “Wildly Successful Plants, Northern California” to be invaluable resources, particularly since I live in Pacifica which has such a peculiar climate.

  • Any suggestions for a low-light (northern light) indoor apartment garden? Can anything be grown??

  • Rose Barreto

    We live Walnut Creek and have young children. I like lawns for their pleasant feel when walking barefoot, having backyard picnics, and just as a play space for the kids. What are some grass alternatives that are hardy and comfortable for rambunctious kids? Thanks!

  • dov osheroff

    this weekend may 4 and 5 the merritt college horticulture dept. holds it’s spring plant sale. amazing assortment of annuals and perennials well suited to bay area gardens. lots of local experts and all funds support the horticulture dept at a local hotbed of gardening and landscaping. check it out


  • What do you think of the following composts I’m planning to use in raised bed planters
    1. Spent mushroom compost
    2. Compost from Chicken manure, bat guano, worm
    castings, kelp meal, alfalfa meal, oyster shells, dolomite lime and mychorizzae and ph adjusters

  • Matt

    Having some trouble with a potted, young, green, Japanese maple in south city. Some leaves are turning orange and yellow and curling up. Is it too much water? Too little? Too much sun? Too much wind?

  • Donna

    I live in San Francisco, near the ocean and would like to grow peonies and lilacs. Will they do well?

  • Michelle

    Question is when and where to put my potted Stuart avacado tree in the ground. It’s about 6 feet tall and it has been in a pot far too long (2 years – I think it’s 2 gallons). It’s kinda suffering (dead tips of most leaves), but also thriving (blooming for the first time on every tip). I was planning to put it in the ground this weekend. I live in west San Jose and have two thriving citrus trees in the back yard, about 10 feet south of the redwood trees. There’s a huge black walnut nearby. I have a south side of the house with not much going on that gets less wind and is very hot. Some reading told me to put it in a raised bed. So many options …your thoughts? Plant it now? Wait until the fall?

  • nicole

    I have veggies & herbs from last season (basil, peppers, cilantro, etc) that I cut back once the weather turned cold. Is there a reason they haven’t returned yet? I don’t want to start over again because they were great last year!

  • kathleen

    I had a mature drought tolerant garden—a seven year project—then we remodeled. We happen to be three houses within the “urban-wildland interface” and had to pull out 3/4 of our plants to be in compliance. No one at any nursery or at the water district or in any magazine/text mentioned that California has this 30-100′ law (eliminating pyrogenic plants completely within 30′ of structures and certain other plants within 100″). I had been advised by “Master Gardeners.” I wish the experts would have been aware of this.

    Kathleen, San Anselmo

  • Any suggestions for a lawn alternative? I have a slate patio in full sun, but would like to have space for my daughter to play comfortably on the ground. (while I tend the veggies). Thanks for this great program.

  • Chemist150

    LIGHT: “PAR” photosynthetically active radiation

    For cacti, a brightly lit room is just below PAR. Thus they’ll live a while but you’re slowly killing it. They’ll minimally need some direct light through a window to continuing living. Don’t be fooled by growth that could be intended to find light.

  • Jahanzeb Baqai

    Tropical fruit collection (mango, sugar apple etc) is really hard to find in Bay Area, the one which available are not the type which worth the effort. Do you have any online nursery that is good and ship in California

    And pls share some tips for the protect of tropical fruits in Winter

    • CrystalNova

      Berkeley horticulture (they know everything) –

      There also a great veg. based grocery store across the street for inspiration.

  • Stacy

    Can I cut wisteria and replant or do I need to buy from a nursery?

  • KE

    I have seen gorgeous gardens in Sunset and other magazines that use aluminum horse troughs as containers, or containers made out of corten steel. I love that look! How can I be sure that the metals I use to make a container garden of edibles is safe for growing edibles? Thank you.

  • Karen

    Can your guests recommend some good websites for gardening advices and tips?

  • Ross

    just wanted to point out that feral cats are absolutely not natural backyard predators! They are highly invasive.

  • Tom

    Hi, I’ve been looking for Thai Hot Basil seeds but haven’t found it. I thought it was the same as Holy Basil, but the taste is different. Thai hot basil, also called white basil is spicy hot to the tongue, but not like chilies, it’s a basilly flavor, but hot. Any help would be appreciated. I have tried growing it from cuttings, but the roots don’t take well in soil.

  • rrjim

    I listened with interest to this program, when several people asked about plants under redwoods (or other shade situations) and all the panelists were dismissive…sword ferns, or don’t try.
    I live in the redwoods at the Russian River, and my shade garden is lush. First, think about foliage, not “gaudy” flowers, and plant higher than sinking them into the redwood roots. Depending on how much sun comes filtered through, you can grow
    rhododenrums, azaleas, and hydrangeas (especially the aspera types)
    Pieris japonica, especially the variegated ones, offer colorful new growth, as well as year round foliage.
    cestrum ( I have a huge one in full bloom, with drooping red blooms) right next to a stand of 5 large redwoods.
    hellebores that bloom in the winter
    iris japonica (not Japanese Iris, but the crested type that spread like a ground cover and bloom early spring)
    virburnum, several different species
    philadephus, the mock orange, with fragrant blooms
    carex evergold, a variegated drought tolerant striking clump like grass, that is easy to propagate
    asarum, the heart shaped ginger that loves shade
    lamium, multiple varieties, variegated ground covers
    and a multitude of ferns, besides sword ferns, giant chain ferns, adiantum ( the western native five finger fern that looks so delicate, but is very hardy) even large tree ferns (Tasmanian here where there can be freezes in winters)
    All of these plants, and many others are listed in the Sunset Western Garden book, yet NONE of your guests seemed to suggest any of them.
    Next time you have a gardening show, I would suggest you add a panelist who is more knowledgable about shade gardens.

  • I disagree

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