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Comments made by Nan Sterman

Expert Offers Winter Gardening Tips

Squirrels, rabbits and moles... you probably have gophers rather than moles. Macabee traps are a good non-toxic solution to gophers and I recently saw an on-line video for something called a cinch trap, I just checked on line and it looks like they have traps for moles too. From their video, they look pretty easy to use, probably easier then Macabee traps.

When I had a cat, I had NO rabbit problems. Now that kitty has gone to heaven, the rabbits are overwhelming in my garden. I keep them out of my vegetable garden by fencing them out - using a small mesh hardware cloth or rabbit fence, maybe 3' tall. Bury one foot below ground (rabbits dig) and leave the other two feet above ground. Inspect the fence regularly to be sure that there are no breeches.

Squirrels - sigh - lemme answer another question and I'll get back to the squirrel issue

December 5, 2011 at 1:11 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Expert Offers Winter Gardening Tips

Re camellias - tell me what you mean by "lost their luster?" Have they lost their leaves? Or are the leaves dull? or? As far as fertilizer, I'd fertilize them in spring using an all purpose organic fertilizer. Always always follow the lable directions when you fertilize

December 5, 2011 at 1:07 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Expert Offers Winter Gardening Tips

Hi everyone! I'm really excited to be doing this live chat. I'll start at the top and make my way down to help you...

December 5, 2011 at 1:04 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Creating An Edible Garden

Playground sand is made of crystalline silica which the state of California considers to be a carcinogen and cause other health issues in humans (take a look at the material safety data sheet - the MSDS - used by Quickcrete, one of the companies that wholesales playsand,

When I was first learning to germinate my own seeds, I was told that silica sand is toxic to seedlings. I can't put my finger on that resource at the moment, but I do know that in horticulture, construction sand or builder's sand is the preferred material, as it is typically made from crushed rock, often granite which is not thought to pose nearly the health risk that silica sand poses.

Hope that helps!

March 14, 2011 at 5:49 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Summer Garden

In case you were confused about what to do with diseased plants, here it is again:

The goal is to keep the disease from spreading to other plants. So, pull it out of the ground and:

If you live in a community that collects green waste, put the plant directly into the greenwaste bin NOT THE COMPOST BIN. Cover the greenwaste bin tightly. Keep the lid on until collection.

If your community doesn't collect green waste - first, ask the folks at city hall why not!

While you wait for them to finally do the right thing, seal that diseased plant in a black plastic bag. Leave it in the sun for a few days to heat up, then place it in the trash. Cover with a lid.

More questions? email me at

I also posted a blog about possible tomato diseases,

July 20, 2010 at 2:55 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Summer Garden

Hi Bajaya

You are ingenious to have added "ts" and quarter inch line to your bubblers. The thing to watch out for is loss of pressure along the lines.

Each of those ports is pressure regulated and the pressure decreases with the distance from the port. So, if you run too much line, or run the line too far, your water pressure may be fine closest to the head, but as you move further out, you could end up with just a dribble where you expect a whole drip.

Rather than the drip soaker line, I'd suggest trying the 1/4" line with embedded emitters. My favorite brand is called Dripperline Jr. It comes with emitters ever 6 or 12" and the flow rate is consistent for runs up to something like 30'.

Since you've done well with what you've tried so far, you might take it to the next level by adapting risers to the 1/2" diameter plastic tubing into which you can poke the 1/4" emitter tubing or use push-in connectors to add 1/2" emitter tubing. You'll probably like the results very much.

Please do be aware that the manufacturers all caution against mixing drip irrigation and microsprayers (your "mini sprinklers") on the same zone. They operate at different pressures and require different run times so they should be on separate zones.

Several websites help you design these kinds of systems - the sites are fairly straightforward. Take a look at or I bet either one would "speak' to you!

Have fun!


July 12, 2010 at 9:45 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Planting Time In The Spring Garden

Wow! Lots of questions to respond to.

Recycling soapy water is fine in the flower garden, not in the vegetable garden. It is best if you use a biodegradable soap (are we talking hand soap or dish soap or ??).

info on the Chinese psillid infecting citrus trees is at

Boiling water on weeds does work pretty well most of the time!

My favorite compost bin, especially for your kind of situation, is a worm bin. Several cities in the area have discounts on worm bins, so call your city. Worms eat all the vegetable scraps and egg shells from your kitchen. they can also eat the finer yard waste but nothing woody. They produce worm castings to put back into your garden, and they don't smell!

That dog urine issue is really a pesky thing! the best foot traffic resistant ground cover in my estimation is Dymondia margaretae. It is a drought resistant creeping perennial from South Africa that is amazing, and amazingly easy to maintain.

Glad you all enjoyed the show! If you have questions, please feel free to call me on the WaterSmart Pipeline, Tuesday mornings and Thursday afternoons, 866 962 7021.


April 22, 2010 at 12:26 p.m. ( | suggest removal )