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Recycling & Reuse

Fallen Trees
Click here for a link to the P.A.L. Foundation. Their Tree Recycling Yard is committed to recycling salvaged and reclaimed trees ("urban logs") into their highest uses for commercial, artistic, and educational purposes. They do have guidelines for the minimum size of material they can work with. When I spoke to one of their staff, he said that 12 feet was the minimum length, and that the diameter of the small end of the log had to be at least 16 inches. This pretty much restricts their interest to the main trunks of fallen trees. They accept a variety of softwoods and hardwoods. The P.A.L. Foundation does not cut down trees, but they do work closely with local arborists who may remove trees in the course of their work.

Waste Reduction for Landscapers
Each year in Alameda County, professional lanscapers send 140,000 tons of yard waste to landfills.You can do something to reduce this figure. Click here for links to information on composting, chip green waste, planting to reduce the need for pruning and watering, "grasscycling," and more.

Added February 2003

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There have been whole books written on the arcana of growing tomatoes. Below are several links to websites with useful information. My favorite is the link the first one, the Taunton Press* website. This is where you will learn about the "Missouri" pruning technique.

First, a few tips from my own experience:

1) Be sure that you know whether your tomato varieties are of the "determinate" or "indeterminate" type: their pruning requirements are completely different. A determinate variety grows to a certain size only, and then stops - like a bush. Little or no pruning is needed. Indeterminate varieties are more like vines in that they just keep getting taller throughout the growing season. There are myriad ideas as to pruning indeterminate varieties.

2) Where garden space is limited, growing indeterminate varieties against a fence saves room. Space plants at about 18 inches apart. This involves pruning each plant to one or two growing stalks and keeping the stalk(s) tied up. The "Missouri" pruning technique is one of the ways to do this. Expect the tomatoes to grow to six feet or more.

3) Don't plant tomatoes in the same spot year after year. I grow tomatoes and Romano Beans**against a fence and switch their locations back and forth each year.

4) Don't have the tomatoes on a drip irrigation system. Too much water diminishes their flavor. Instead, water them deeply but infrequently. It's ok if, between waterings, the leaves just begin to show that the plants want water.

5) Don't keep tomatoes in the refrigerator. This ruins their flavor.

Here is the link to the article, "Pruning Tomatoes" from the Taunton Press's magazine, Kitchen Gardener.

Here is a link to the GardenWeb forum, "Growing Tomatoes." If you are not familiar with internet-based forums, they are places online, organized around specific topics, where you can post questions or exchange ideas with other readers of the forum. GardenWeb maintains an amazing array forums, covering every imaginable garden topic.

You can't have links to garden matters without including a link to Sunset Magazine. Here is their take on growing tomatoes.

Last, here is a link to another article from Kitchen Gardener, "Growing Tasty Beefsteak Tomatoes."

* The Taunton Press publishes absolutely first-rate magazines, including Fine Woodworking, Fine Homebuilding, Fine Gardening, Fine Cooking, and Threads (on sewing). The tomato-pruning article is from a magazine they used to publish called Kitchen Gardener. Unfortunately this magazine has been discontinued you can still get back issues of most of the 33 issues they printed.

** This is the only variety of green bean I grow. If you try them you will see why. They come in two plant types. The "bush bean" type is analogous to determinate varieties of tomatoes in that they get to a certain size and stop. The "pole bean" type are climbers, like indeterminate tomatoes. Here are three links: #1, #2, #3. An odd thing when you grow beans is that you can check the plants for beans again and again and not find any. Then, one day you go out and the plant is loaded with beans. To keep the plant producing more beans, keep the ripe beans picked. If too many beans reach the dried-out phase, the plant will stop producing.

Added June 2002


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Roses in the Shade

Definitely possible! Below are some links that discuss this. Also below is a photo from my garden showing a "Frances E. Lester," one of the Hybrid Musk group. This group does particularly well in the shade. The rose shown is espaliered against a north-facing fence. It's also under some Birch trees so it is doubly shaded. I sent some of the canes up into the Birch - the effect is magical - with blooms 10 to 12 feet up in the tree. It blooms once each year for a period of several weeks. I also have another Hybrid Musk that does equally well, a “Kathleen.” It's closely related to Frances E. Lester. (I can't really tell them apart.)

The Hybrid Musk, "Francis E Lester", blooming in the shade

Here is "A Woodland Rose Garden" website table showing many dozens of roses. Lots of information here.

Here is a discussion, "Shade Tolerant Roses," by Lori Levine.

Added June 2002

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