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Zucchini, cucumbers, chard, spinach, radishes and tomatoes all grow in Los Angeles gardens with amazing results. But that is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, as so many eatables can be nurtured in Southland soil. Seek out your local nursery to pick up a variety of seeds that will sprout your favorite yummy bites in the very near future. Meanwhile, consider the following tips for making your City of Angels garden grow.
1. Starting Seedlings – Try an alternative to the traditional pot. If you decide to go less glam and more moderately priced, consider the green metal ammunition boxes procured from surplus stores. With these inflation-proof containers on hand, you are good to grow really healthy vegetables. In fact, these generic military vessels make for great balcony gardens, terrific alternatives to the traditional space if you don’t have room at your place for a proper in-ground venue.
2. Herbs - Speaking of herbs, when you plan out traditional Southland gardens, consider enhancing the vegetables you are already growing by putting aside a patch reserved for herbs. Seasonings like mint and parsley do a lot to literally spice up your veggies. Just sprinkle a bit on the top of your veggies and voila, you have a gourmet side dish that’s too inviting to dismiss.
3. Raised Beds - Some veggies do better in Los Angeles if you grow them in raised beds. One way for an instant aid in this process is to grab an old tire and place that rubber planter in the back yard to fill with potting soil. Then plant to your heart’s content.
4. Soil - When dealing with the abundance of clay soil Los Angeles has to offer, amend the soil, a common practice in these parts. Gypsum is one antidote while others can be learned by talking to a garden shop staffer or an educated Southland gardener.
5. Trimming – Remember to trim your trees on a regular basis to let the sunshine through when you are tending to a growing garden of juicy vegetables. These eatables need all the light each can get. If you can’t keep up, consider finding a gardner in the area who will do that part of the work for you. Cost is usually quite reasonable if you book that person or persons on a regular basis.
6. Pest control - To keep the bugs away from certain plants that attract these pesky insects (like garlic), consider an environmentally friendly product or service to do the trick. That way, you’ll not only be growing your own food to eat, but you’ll also be preserving the space in which you are growing your vegetables in a natural and very safe sort of way.
Here are a couple of local stores to help you get started:
The Surplus Store
10341 Venice Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90034
Hours: Mon to Fri -9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sat -9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sun -10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This all-in-one surplus store is located in Venice, serving all of the Southland with its vast inventory. Here you will find every type of ammunition box you can imagine, just waiting for your vegetable and/or herb garden to gain strength and sprout wonderful eatables to be served for a glorious feast in the very near future.
550 Balboa Blvd.
Van Nuys, CA 91406
Hours: Mon to Fri -8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sat. – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.,Sun. – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Astro Tire in the Valley is a great place from which to pick up some tubes to make into rubbery raised beds for your vegetable garden. Don’t worry about picking anything pricey; the cheaper the tire, the more your can add to your lot when you get back home. And, yes, in doing so, that will mean more great veggies to eat after these tired car necessities do their part in the natural growing process.
For more great tricks, tips and advice about your home, visit CBSLosAngeles/YourHome.
Los Angeles freelance travel writer Jane Lasky, contributes to publications such as Travel + Leisure, Vogue and Esquire. Her weekly sojourning column ran in 40 newspapers for 20 years. Jane is anything but an accidental tourist. Check out her articles on Examiner.com.