Hellebores for Winter Color

One of my favorite plants for this time of the year is the hellebore, which decorates the garden with fascinating blossoms just when the spring bloomers are dormant.

The hellebore thrives and blossoms in partial shade, making it a welcome complement to ferns and other plants that we value only for their foliage.

The genus Helleborus includes about twenty species, the great majority of which are native to the Balkan Peninsula (Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia) or the Mediterranean region. The generic name comes from Greek words for “to injure” and “food,” indicating that ll parts of the plant are poisonous to humans. It also has medicinal uses.

Hellebores typically have dark, shiny evergreen leaves with finely serrated edges. The blossoms have been compared to roses, and some popular names for the plant include “rose,” but the hellebore is not related to the rose.

The most highly regarded and poplar species are Corsican Hellebore (H. argutifolius), Stinking Hellebore (H. foetidus), Christmas Rose (H. niger), Livid Lenten Rose (H. lividus), and the original Lenten Rose (H. orientalis).

A large and growing number of hybrids offer many pleasing blossom colors, color combinations and forms. The hybrid forms in the H. x sternii ‘Blackthorn Group’, which combines H. argutifolius and H. lividus, are particularly valued.

Local nurseries often offer at least a few different hellebores at this time of the year, when they are in bloom. Gardeners looking for particular blossom colors are well advised to buy plants in bloom, as some hybrids will produce unexpected colors.

Hellebores typically have downward-facing blossoms, which encourage some gardeners to plant hellebores in an elevated situation, so the viewer can peer into the blossom. In response to gardeners desire to see the blossom’s interior, hybridizers have developed cultivars with more upward-facing blossoms. Ernie and Marietta O’Bryne, of Northwest Garden Nursery, have developed highly regarded hybrid hellebores, including the Winter Jewels series. Their work was featured in the November/December issue of The American Gardener.

A good retail source of these hybrid hellebores is Plant Delights Nursery, in North Carolina. Browse to www.plantdelights.com and search for “Helleborus.” Other mail order sources for these plants include Gossler Farms Nursery and Joy Creek Nursery, both in Oregon.

Most hellebores grow to about fifteen inches high and wide. A few are in the nine-to-twelve inch high category. My garden includes a large swath of the Corsican Hellebore, the largest species, growing to four feet tall and wide. It is just coming into bloom now, with greenish blossoms.

Corsican Hellebore buds

Corsican Hellebore (click to enlarge)

The Corsican Hellebore is one of just four caulescent species of Helleborus, meaning plants that have leaves on flowering stems. The acaulescent species develop basal leaves, and flower stalks without leaves.

In the late winter or early spring, the Corsican Hellebore’s long-lasting flowers fade and the stems lean to the ground to drop their seeds away from the base of the plant. (I get a lot of seedlings each year!) The gardener’s task at that time is to cut the flowering stems to the ground, to make room for the new growth, which has already begun.

I have been adding additional hellebore cultivars to my garden, and enjoying the smaller varieties and the range of blossom colors they provide.

If you have a partially shaded area in your garden, perhaps under a large tree, and would appreciate seeing interesting blossoms during the late fall and early winter, try a few hellebores.

Growing Edibles in Modules

Spring has arrived! Our days grow longer from the Vernal Equinox (March 20) until the Summer Solstice on June 21. This season inspires gardeners to focus anew on their gardens.

To be sure, avid gardeners have diligently pursued dormant-period priorities and planted before the rainy season, and their landscapes are now in good condition. But many have taken a break during recent months.

This is the time when gardeners aspire to planting vegetables mostly for the pleasure of seeing edibles develop in their gardens. A vegetable patch might or might not save money, depending on how it is planned and implemented, but it reliably satisfies gardeners of any age and is particularly gratifying for kids.

For novice gardeners, however, creating a vegetable garden can be a daunting prospect. It often seems like a lot of work and mysterious requirements, and the impulse evolves quickly to “maybe next year.”

Fortunately, we have great new resource for just this situation: the 2nd edition of Mel Bartholomew’s classic garden book, “All New Square Foot Gardening.” Earlier versions were published in 1981 and 2007, and this new edition expands upon those bestsellers.

The result is an exceptionally clear and complete explanation for an efficient, cost-effective method for growing vegetables in the home garden.

The insight for square-foot gardening is while growing vegetable in rows works well for commercial farmers, home gardeners could use their space better and meet their food needs more accurately and efficiently with modular “square-foot” gardening.

The basic plan is a raised bed, four-feet square, with sixteen planting beds. Each one-foot square can be planted with one large vegetable, such as broccoli or cabbage, or up to sixteen smaller vegetables, e.g., onions or carrots.

The book includes multiple variations: repeating the basic plan as needed for a large family, adding a trellis for vining plants, planting on a patio or balcony, etc.

Bartholomew describes each step of garden development in detail, with lucid photographs. The process is easily applied by most gardeners, and the author’s website www.squarefootgardening.org/ offers more information and a range of useful products.

If you have postponed your desire to grow vegetables, this book will help you to discover a satisfying and successful adventure with edible gardening. If you are already gardening in rows, square-foot gardening will help you to create a more efficient, more manageable approach.

Enjoy your garden!

Delightful Dahlias

Get ready for the annual tuber and plant sale by The Monterey Bay Dahlia Society, next Saturday, April 6th, at the Deer Park Shopping Center, in Aptos.

The sale will open at 9:00 a.m., when there likely will be a line of eager dahlia growers looking for the latest hybrid introductions, or particular favorites, or specific colors to complete a landscaping design.

Or all of the above!

The dahlia, a native of Mexico, grows quite well in the Monterey Bay area’s moderate climate.

There are many varieties of dahlias, so selection of plants for your garden is the first task. A good and simple rule of thumb is to select varieties that please your eyes. Other approaches include selecting plants that have won prizes or that have blossoms of the color, form or size that you prefer.

Fortunately, there are excellent plant selection resources on the website of the American Dahlia Society < www.dahlia.org>; click on the link for “Dahlia Resources.” To view photos of dahlia blossoms, conduct a Google search for “dahlia plants” and click on “Images”

Tubers are specialized structures designed to store nutrients during a dormant season. Dahlias are stem tubers, which differ from root tubers, like potatoes. A stem tuber has one or more buds on the end that was attached to the old plant. These buds, called “eyes” are the plant’s growing points, so examine actual tubers to spot an “eye.” Even experienced growers can have difficulty recognizing an eye, but a tuber lacking an eye will not produce new growth, so look closely.

The ADS website also provides information on cultivating dahlias. The basic (and easy) method is to select a spot that enjoys at least six hours of direct sunlight every day, and good drainage. The time to plant is between “right now” and about mid-June. The top of the tuber should four-to-six inches below the surface (larger tubers are planted deeper) with the “eye” facing upwards.

Taller dahlias should be staked to avoid flopping. Install a stake near the tuber at planting time; pushing a stake into the soil later risks damaging the tuber.

If you prefer not decorating your new dahlia bed with bare stakes, install a short piece of plastic pipe next to the tuber, with the top just above soil level. Then, when the plant threatens to flop, insert a thin stake into the plastic pipe and tie the dahlia to the stake.

Snails enjoy snacking on dahlias, so as soon as new growth appears, apply non-toxic snail bait, such as Sluggo or Escargo. Gophers also find the tubers tasty, so plan to monitor for evidence of gopher activity, and have traps ready.

Enjoy your garden!


2013 Dahlia Sale

Perennial Wildflowers and the Year’s Big Show

When we think of native California wildflowers, we usually envision wide swaths of gold or blue blossoms draped over the state’s open spaces. The state’s hundreds of annual wildflowers are great treasures of nature, whether in open fields or private gardens, but our delight with the annuals should extend to California’s perennial wildflowers. Many of these are excellent candidates for the residential garden.

Both the annual and perennial wildflowers offer all the benefits of native plants: having evolved to thrive in our dry-summer climate and native soil, they are both easy to grow and eagerly enjoyed by the native fauna for food and shelter.

Many native perennial wildflowers are valuable assets for the home garden. Here are a few of the most popular:

  • Foothill Penstemon (Penstemon heterophyllus) and Bush Monkey-flower (Mimulus spp.) grow well in both full sun and partial shade.
  • Pacific Coast Irises, smaller than the tall bearded irises, include the best-known Douglas Iris (I. douglasiana) and ten other species. These plants hybridize easily in the wild, so they are usually referred to by their group name. Both species plants and natural hybrids are reliable bloomers, as are the many cultivated hybrids. Pacific Coast Irises are difficult to transplant successfully, so are usually propagated in the fall by divisions or seeds.
  • Alumroot (Heuchera spp.), a small, easily grown plant for the shade garden, occurs in sixteen native California species, including H. maxima, H. sanguinea, and H. micrantha. Growers have developed many hybrids with a variety of leaf colors. The flowers are attractive but not the primary attraction.
  • Hummingbird Sage (Salvia spathacea), which prefers moist and shady conditions, produces large triangular leaves and carmine red flowers on stems that rise up to three feet.

Visit ongardening.com for sources of information on many more California native perennial wildflowers.


The San Francisco Flower & Garden Show opens on Wednesday, March 20th, and continues through Sunday, March 24th at the San Mateo Event Center. One of the nation’s largest and best events for home gardeners, this year’s Show offers 20 gorgeous international display gardens and the 30 small space gardens, 13 seminars each day by gardening experts, and a Marketplace with several hundred vendors offering plants and garden products.

A highlight will be the world’s largest rotating succulent globe, designed and created by Robin Stockwell, in Monterey County. I saw this unique globe in development and I’m confident it will amaze all who see it.

The SF Flower and Garden Show is a must-see event for learning about many aspects of gardening and landscaping, bringing home desirable new plants and garden accessories, and simply enjoying time in the company of other avid gardeners.

For more info, see the feature article in today’s Herald and visit http://www.sfgardenshow.com/.

Enjoy your garden!

Wildflower Season

We are approaching the early spring period (March and April, particularly) when the annual wildflowers display their blossoms for our viewing pleasure.

To be frank, however, this display is not intended for our eyes, but rather to attract bees and other pollinators so that the plants could set seeds. It’s really about reproduction, right there in the open.

But never mind, we can freely enjoy this extraordinary display and need not feel the least bit voyeuristic.

Viewing our native wildflowers provides a unique experience, an annual celebration of floral beauty, and an opportunity to appreciate nature’s bounty.

Several ways to appreciate wildflowers come to mind, each with strong points:

Gardening with Wildflowers

California native plants are fine candidates for residential gardens, and wildflowers bring all the associated virtues: tolerate drought, play well with other flora and fauna, etc. They also look great, thrive in the Monterey Bay soils and microclimates, and self-seed freely. Their bloom periods are no longer than needed for reproduction, but with planning the gardener could select species for a longer display.

Viewing Wildflowers in Captivity

Monterey Bay area gardeners and nature lovers can enjoy the 52nd annual wildflower show, a gift of the Pacific Grove Museum and the Monterey Bay Chapter of the California Native Plant Society. This extraordinary show, the largest of its kind in the Northern and Western Hemispheres, will present more than 600 species and varieties of wildflowers that are native to California’s central coast. The cut flowers are short-lived, of course, so plan your visit during the period from Friday, April 19th to Sunday, April 21st, from 10:00 to 5:00 each day. The show is free to Museum members and CNPS members; others are asked to donate $5.00. This unique show ranks as a world-class opportunity to enjoy and learn about our native wildflowers.

Visiting Wildflowers at their Homes

Wildflowers are most spectacular in vast multi-colored sweeps in the wild. Fields of wildflowers have delighted and impressed viewers, dating from reports by the earliest explorers, notably including the naturalist John Muir, who wrote in 1916, “Looking eastward from the summit of Pacheco Pass one shining morning, a landscape was displayed that after all my wanderings still appears as the most beautiful I have ever beheld. At my feet lay the Great Central Valley of California, level and flowery, like a lake of pure sunshine, forty or fifty miles wide, five hundred miles long, one rich-furred garden of yellow Compositae.”

There are many possible field trips to the wildflowers in March and April. In the Monterey Bay area, these sites include Garland Park, the Pinnacles National Park, Fort Ord, Point Lobos State Reserve, and many others.


The website of the California State Parks provides comprehensive guidance to Discover Spring Wildflowers in California State Parks.

The indispensable resource for local viewing in Dr. Rod Yeager’s website, Wildflowers of Monterey County. Look also for his book, Wildflowers of Central Coastal California.

For nature lovers ready to travel farther afield, find wildflowers in ten western U.S. states in the AAA’s website on Wildflower Resources.

For John Muir’s writing about California wildflowers, visit the Sierra Club’s website, Quotations About California Central Valley Wildflowers.

Visit the wildflowers this year!

Wildflowers for the Cultivated Garden

If you see some of California’s wildflowers in the field or at the wildflower show in the Pacific Grove Museum (April 19-21), you just might be inspired to add a few to your own garden. In this column, we offer some thoughts for such a project.

First, the season when wildflowers are in bloom is the time to choose your favorites and begin plans for your garden. The early bloomers are already appearing; wildflower season will continue through about August. Many opportunities exist to spot those that would please your eyes and enhance your home landscape.

When selecting wildflowers for the garden, consider plants that are small, neat and refined, and suitable for the sunny or shady site where you would place them.

Most annual wildflowers grow best in full sun. An early bloomer, Baby Blue-eyes (Nemophila menziesii) is a popular choice for February. Each bowl-shaped blossom has five azure blue petals and a white center with dark blue flecks or streaks from the base. The plant grows about six inches tall.

The blossoms of the related Fivespot (N. maculata) have five white petals, each with a blue-purple spot at the tip. It grows to about twelve inches tall, and blooms in the early spring.

Other good choices for a sunny garden include Baby Lupine (Lupinus nanus), Foothill Poppy (Eschscholzia caespitosa), Canchalagua (Cenaurium venustum), and Wind Poppy (Stylomecon heterophylla). Taller annuals include Desert Bluebells (Phacelia campanularia), Bird’s Eyes (Gilia tricolor), Globe Gilia (Gilia capitata) and Farewell-to-Spring (Clarkia ssp.). You may well find additional wildflowers to enjoy.

California annual wildflowers are best planted from seed. Some garden centers will present some potted seedlings, but mail order nurseries will offer a wider selection and lower prices.

For a bed of about 133 square feet, ¼ to ½ ounce of seeds, depending on size, will be enough. Sources for small inexpensive packets of seeds for specific plants (not mixes) including the following:

  • Larner Seeds, which also offers a $4.00 booklet, “Notes on Growing California Wildflowers”(www.larnerseeds.com)
  • The Theodore Payne Foundation for Wildflowers and Native Plants, which also offers a weekly Wildflower Hotline (www.theodorepayne.org)
  • Seed Hunt, which is located in the Pajaro Valley in the Monterey Bay area (seedhunt.com).

Annual wildflower seeds may be sown at any time before the beginning of the rainy season, i.e., about mid-October. Clear the area of weeds, sow the seeds and rake them in lightly, mostly to make them difficult for birds to find. The seeds will remain dormant during the dry season, and should not be watered at that time. They will germinate naturally when wet with rain.

Several desirable California native wildflowers are perennial plants. We will explore good choices among those plants in this column next week.

Attract Pollinators to Your Garden

Synthetic chemicals have a variety of garden uses: adding nutrients to the soil (or directly to plants), discouraging/killing harmful insects and other small pests, and protecting plants from viruses, fungi and other scourges.

These benefits, however, come with downsides, including destroying microorganisms in the soil and beneficial insects, accumulating salts in the soil, and harming (or worse) pets and gardeners themselves. And there’s more, too much to review in this column.

Our present focus is on the harm that synthetic chemicals bring to insect pollinators: honeybees, native bees (which are different) and butterflies. Concerned scientists and citizen scientists have recorded significant population declines among these pollinators, and have pointed to pesticides as the likely cause of these declines.

Our gardens need these pollinators. They are essential in sexual reproduction of plants, including the development of fruits, vegetables and berries, all of which bear seeds, and both natural and human-directed hybridization of plants.

There are also asexual forms of plant reproduction, to be sure, but we’re concerned here with the pollinators.

The first priority in attracting pollinators to your garden is to adopt organic gardening methods, i.e., no synthetic chemicals. Safe organic products are available to address any gardening need, and integrated pest management (IPM) strategies work better and cheaper in the long run than the quick fixes of synthetic chemicals.

The next important priority is to plant more flowers as food resources for bees and butterflies. An excellent resource this subject is The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, a non-profit organization. The Society offers reliable information on all aspects of attracting pollinators.

The Society’s guidelines for California gardeners get to the point:

  • Use local native plants (bees prefer them);
  • Choose several colors of flowers (blue, purple, violet, shite and yellow are good; pink and red not so much);
  • Plant flowers in clumps (a four-foot wide clump of one flower is much better than a scattering of the same number of plants);
  • Include flowers of different shapes (bees come in different sizes and different preferences);
  • Have a diversity of species flowering all season (both the bees and you will appreciate having flowers for most of the year).

Another helpful resource is The Melissa Garden: A Honeybee Sanctuary, which is located in Sonoma County. The owners offer an extensive list of plants that attract bees, and offer tours and classes in beekeeping, attracting pollinators, and related topics. “Melissa” is from the Greek word for honeybee.

Visit ongardening.com for links to The Xerces Society, the Melissa Garden and other resources for attracting pollinators to your garden, as well as for information on organic gardening and integrated pest management.

As you add flowering plants to your garden, choose some for the bees and butterflies.


The Xerces Society

Melissa Garden

Attracting Pollinators to Your Garden Using Native Plants

Organic Gardening: There are many books and magazines on this subject. A classic in the field is Maria Rodale’s Organic Gardening: Your Seasonal Companion to Creating a Beautiful and Delicious Organic Garden (Rodale Press, 1998)

Integrated Pest Management The University of California’s Integrated Pest Management program is a valuable resource for California  gardeners. Another useful resource is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s webpage on IPM Principles.



A Seasonal Pest

For the past several days, I have been pulling oxalis seedlings from my garden. There are 800 species of oxalis, some of which are desirable ornamental plants, but the species in my garden is no prize.

The pest in my garden is Oxalis pes-caprae (Bermuda Buttercup or Sour Grass), a South African plant that has naturalized in the Monterey Bay area’s similar climate. The plant has clover-like leaves and a bright yellow flower. It’s not unattractive, but it reproduces rapidly and could take over the entire garden in time.

Leaves, root, bulblets


It reproduces by multiplying its small bulbs, which are around one-quarter inch in diameter. One bulb can produce ten in a single season.

It’s theoretically possible to excavate 100% of the bulbs, but this is time-consuming and unlikely to be successful.

The most effective approach is “old bulb exhaustion,” which involves removing the top growth before it can flower. In this area, flowering occurs in February, with sunnier spots blossoming earlier than shadier spots. The idea is to deprive the old bulb of nutrients that would be provided by the leafy growth above ground, so that the new bulbs will die off.

It is best also to disrupt the new bulbs by cultivation, but this might be difficult if the pest has started close to desirable plants.

In any event, this process requires tilling to remove any new growth that appears in about two weeks. A Dutch hoe, which is good for shallow cultivation, would make short work of the new growth.

Several products are marketed as controls for this pest and other broadleaf plants: Weed-B-Gon Chickweed, Clover & Oxalis Weed Killer, Roundup, Finale, Oxalis X, etc. I do not use synthetic chemicals in my garden, because of concerns that they will harm plants, beneficial insects, microorganisms and perhaps myself and other mammals, in addition to the plants or pests they are intended to control.

There are less toxic concoctions for controlling this plant. For example, one foliar spray recipe calls for two cups of white vinegar, one teaspoon of baking soda, and one teaspoon of liquid detergent. Reportedly, this spray will kill the oxalis plant’s top growth but not the bulbs. It should not be sprayed on desirable plants.

Another control strategy is let chickens snack on this weed. Reportedly, they like it a lot.

The gardener engaged in weed control adventures can find confidence in the knowledge that no plant will survive the persistent removal of its top growth.

Finally, a frustrating encounter with Oxalis pes-caprae should not bias the gardener against less invasive species from the wood sorrel family. One of my favorite nurseries, Annie’s Annuals and Perennials, lists seven Oxalis species as desirable garden plants.

Enjoy your weed-free garden.


More information on this weed from the California Invasive Plant Council.


Farm Policies Affect Everyone

Last week’s 33rd Annual Eco-Farm Conference, primarily an information-feast for organic farmers, included sessions of relevance for home gardeners and others who buy groceries, i.e., everybody.

The conference included eight-to-twelve workshop sessions at a time, so one can’t attend all sessions of interest. I sat in on sessions on public policies relating to farming. These sessions included updates about the federal farm bill and the GM labeling initiative that Californians voted on in November of 2012 (and did not pass).

Every five years, Congress reviews, revises and updates the farm bill, which is the federal government’s primary tool for agricultural and food policy. This omnibus bill addresses a wide range of matters under the purview of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including for example, food stamps, food safety, direct payments (subsidies) to farmers, crop insurance, and many other programs. The most recent farm bill, called the Food, Conversation and Energy Act of 2008, authorized $288 billion in federal expenditures. By any measure, the farm bill is major legislation.

The farm bill was to be renewed for 2013, but it became caught up in Washington’s current debate over the fiscal cliff. Congress couldn’t completely ignore these important policies, so it approved a nine-month extension.

Congress extended—but did not fund—several relatively small programs that support progressive agriculture: one that defrays some costs for farmers who convert to organic, one that helps communities launch farmer’s markets, one that funds research on organic farming, and one that helps minority farmers. Still, Congress approved $5 billion for farm subsidies, even though the agricultural lobby had agreed to their elimination. Go figure.

The organic farming community hopes for approval of funding for progressive agricultural programs, and even a modest increase of support. Both optimists and pessimists were at the conference.

The GM labeling initiative would have required food producers to label products that contain genetically modified foods. Consumers supported the initiative strongly, but major food producers and agricultural chemical companies spent lavishly in opposition and the initiative failed by small margin. The supporters of GM labeling are already planning another initiative and confident in its eventual success. Many other states are pursuing legislation or initiatives to require GM labeling.

A potential issue in this campaign is the casual use of both “genetic modification” and “genetic engineering” to mean the same. Meanwhile, some commentators insist that GM includes natural and human-controlled hybridization, a constructive practice that has been followed for centuries. Voters respond badly to ambiguity!

The unique Eco-Farm Conference attracts farmers and other advocates of organic farming and gardening from throughout the United States. It provides great distinction for the Monterey Bay area.


Interesting article: The Threats from Genetically Modified Foods

Grocery shopping advice: How to Avoid Genetically Modified Food – Real Food

Lots of information on GMOs and the labeling initiative is on the website of labelgmos.org.

The farm bill is controversial in several respects. Click here for Wikipedia’s relatively neutral article on the farm bill. To follow the debate, read the newspapers!

Exploring Edible Gardening’s Larger Issues

Gardening is usually an individual, contemplative activity. Sometimes, we engage in planting, pruning, weeding and other tasks with a friend or a group of friends.

Countless gardeners have pursued this satisfying work for millennia, unconcerned by the larger context of advances in agricultural technology, political and economic struggles and growing concerns over sustainability.

Such issues abound in the world of ornamental horticulture, but are more intense and consequential in commercial farming.

These issues are the focus of the 33rd Annual Eco-Farm Conference, which happens next week at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove. This event, organized by the non-profit Ecological Farming Association, is about educating, networking and celebrating. It combines joyful commitment to farming organically, sharing ideas and successes in the field, and exploring concerns over policies and practices that favor so-called “conventional” farming.

In fact, “conventional” farming depends on synthetic chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and employs practices that have been introduced since World War II. Many advances have made large-scale agriculture more efficient and productive, but too often those advances also generate social impacts: fewer natural food choices, declines of taste and nutrition and long-term damage to the environment.

Such alleged problems of course are debatable. We cannot treat them fully in this brief essay, but the Eco-Farm Conference supports valuable in-depth discussions.

Many of the Conference’s sixty workshops are designed for professional farmers, but here are some sessions that relate most directly to consumers.

  • GMO Labeling: Capitalizing on the Momentum of Proposition 37: That recent initiative lost narrowly by 2%, but it catalyzed a national conversation about the deceptive, untested, and novel proteins added to the American diet.
  • Teaching Farming and Gardening in Waldorf Schools: Topics include garden-based woodworking, herbal studies, growing and processing grains, and integration of classroom math and science lessons.
  • The New and Old of Organic Insecticides: Improved methods for managing insect pests using organically approved natural materials.
  • Fresh Rx: A Prescription for Improving Healthy Food Access in Low-Income Communities: Strategies to improve community access to fresh produce, including farmers’ markets in low-income areas, CSA programs, community gardens, nutrition education, cooking demonstrations, and produce distribution by food banks.
  • Preparing for Climate Change: Thinking about and preparing for climate change, water scarcity, and extreme weather.
  • Farm Bill Update– What’s In It and What Does It Mean to You?: Update on the status of the Farm Bill and the standing of key organic and sustainable agricultural programs, including conservation, organic certification cost share, and others.

The Eco-Farm Conference runs from Wednesday, January 23rd to Saturday, January 26th. For more information, visit the conference website: http://ecofarm2013.org/.

This conference presents a positive vision of the future for all consumers and home gardeners. It is gratifying that it happens in the Monterey Bay area.