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6 Tips To Up Your Gardening Game in 2021

“Spoil’ Your Garden

Start this year by ‘spoiling’ your garden. Once you learn the basics, composting is easy to do and your garden will love you for making the effort. Instead of depending on synesthetic fertilizers that feed our plants but not the earth, use organic compost in your garden to naturally enrich and feed the soil. By adding nutrient dense compost to existing soil, you will improve the health of your soil while increasing plant growth. Enriched soil holds moisture more effectively which is super important in the dry climate of San Pedro. See the last tip for information about taking a compost class. If you are not quite ready to take the composting at home step, Feed and be Fed is always in need of compost materials from the community at our 6th Street Garden. For details on how to donated compost materials, email

Take Your Vitamins

While we hope your personal health is on the agenda this year, we are actually talking about the health of your garden! By using eggshells and coffee grounds in your garden, not only are you upcycling food waste, you are feeding your garden necessary vitamins. Eggshells contain calcium which moderates soil acidity and helps prevent blossom-end rot. Coffee grounds contain nitrogen as well as some potassium and phosphorus, plus other micronutrients. Coffee grounds have another super power, they repel slugs and ants! Make sure that you do a little research before spreading coffee grounds on all your plants. There are a few plants that don't like coffee grounds like tomatoes and seedlings.

Explore Sustainable Garden Designs

Photo credit: Dishfunctional Designs

Take a look around your house and inside your garage for inspiration. Cast a fresh eye on old items to find its new purpose. With a bright cheerful coat of paint and some protective varnish, that old baby crib gathering dust in the back of your garage is the perfect garden lounge. The crib mattress is plastic and resilient to water. Just add a few festive outdoor pillows and you have a fun and unique piece of furniture that is perfect for naps in the afternoon sun or twilight reading curled up under a fuzzy blanket. What else do you have that you can upcycle?

Tap into your community Facebook pages or Next Door app for posts from people who have extra pavers, pallets, wood, stones and rocks. Many people are giving things away with the hope that they don’t have to deal with hauling their unused construction materials to the dumpster. Then have fun creating a unique deck design, table, bench or mural with upcycled mixed materials. There is a wide assortment of Pinterest boards dedicated up upcycling. Check out this blog from self proclaimed artist, author, jewelry designer, creative upcycler, free spirit, rocker, day dreamer and mom ... for some great ideas.

Rainwater Harvesting

Photo Credit: Better Homes and Gardens

Rainwater harvesting is a simple way to conserve water, protect the environment, save a few dollars and make the most of the nature’s gifts. The best part of having a rain barrel is the many benefits it will create for the environment and your pocketbook. Rain barrels protect our creeks, rivers and ocean. By capturing rainwater that falls on the roof, you are helping to reduce the amount of stormwater that flows into our local waterways. You can purchase a rain barrel at most hardware stores. The Metropolitan Water District, in partnership with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, is offering a $100 rebate for barrels 50 gallons or larger, which will make most barrels free! On occasion, Department of Public Works and Keep LA Beautiful offer rain barrel giveaways. Keep an eye on their website for details on the next event. Native Plants and Adopting Trees

Does your gardening need a little boost? Feed and be Fed has a new program this year that will help get you started. Visit the Feed and be Fed booth at the San Pedro Farmers Market for a selection of seedlings and native succulents for sale. There is always one of our gardening experts manning the booth and they love to give gardening tips and answer questions. San Pedro Farmers Market at Little Italy is located at 638 S. Beacon Street by San Pedro City Hall in Pepper Tree Plaza, every Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

City Plants is a phenomenal organization, dedicated to promoting a sustainable Los Angeles by maximizing our tree canopy, which promotes energy efficiency, stormwater capture, energy conservation and climate resiliency. City Plants offer tree planting and delivery services during COVID-19 while following Safer at Home Guidelines. Sign up for a free tree on the City Plants


Grow Your Brain

Photo Credit: FreshPatio Magazine

There are a variety of local workshops and classes available. Los Angeles County Public Works is offering free webinars online. Check out their online calendar to register for a class. Webinars currently on the calendar includes: Intro to Composting, Water-wise Gardening, Organic Gardening and Small-space Gardening.

The Feed and be Fed Facebook page has a recurring series called Listen to Linda. Our Lead Gardner, Dr. Linda O'Brein Rothe posts fun and educational videos with a variety of tips to improve your home garden.

UCLA Extension Horticulture & Gardening Program offers virtual lectures throughout the year. Upcoming is a 10-week course on indoor plants: care and maintenance. This is an introduction to the fundamentals of growing plants indoors. The course will teach you how to: identify unique indoor environments, choose appropriate and healthy plants, and create a maintenance schedule for plant success. Deadline to enroll is January 5th, 2021. For more information about costs and times, visit this link or contact:

If you enjoy gardening and want to teach others how to garden sustainably, apply to the UC Master Gardener Training Program. Adult residents (18+ years old) of Los Angeles County are eligible to apply. The application for the UC Master Gardener Training Program is due on January 11th, 2021. Need more information? Join their next informative zoom session about the training program on January 6th from 12:00pm - 1:00pm. Deadline to apply is January 11, 2021

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