Good Advice & Growing Makes me Happy

Mar 30, 2020

Editor's note: Master Gardeners are keeping busy in their own gardens during Napa County's “Shelter in Place” directive. It's spring, it's getting warmer, it's a great time to work in the garden! Here's how Master Gardeners are spending their time:

by Jane Berger

I start with "95% benign neglect" 

(to quote a fellow MG) and a little bit of mulching. See mulch link at end of article.

This season I'm growing lettuce mixes on both sides of my frame-got tired of mixed greens with brassica plants that get tough and bolt faster than lettuce. This is what we've been availing ourselves of recently: lettuces, escarole, parsley, thyme, radicchio,  sage, broccoli & celery-no radishes or peas yet; I think I was a bit slow seeding them. See link on growing lettuce at end of article.

Bitter salad greens, Genovese basil and flowers-who could ask for more? When they're ready I'll seed zinnias, my favorite. See links below.

The winter kale and broccoli are surrounded by herbs -lemon savory, two kinds of sage, parsley and garlic in my desperate attempts in September and October to rescue my kale, lettuce and broccoli plants from what I thought were insects with an herb fort, only to discover after borrowing a friend's game camera that it was rats that were eating my newly transplanted seedlings to the quick. Now rat traps are still a regular feature of this raised bed. Caught three mice and two rats just recently and I'm much better at detecting vertebrate pest damage. Informational links below.

The first Sparaxis of spring and my first time planting the bulbs. They're so cool; they look like double flowers because of all their colors. Information on Sparaxis below. 

The stock plants from last spring's pots have seeded themselves in the ground underneath this year's that are growing in the pots, making the ground here in this sitting area more fun and I feel invited to sprinkle some more seeds in this area, which is regularly protected by redwoods. 

Basil  info: 

Bitter Greens info: 

Zinnia info:

Vegetable info: 

Vertebrate pest info:

During Napa County's shelter in place directive that protects everyone's health and safety, Napa Master Gardeners are available to answer garden questions by email: or phone at 707-253-4143.  Volunteers will get back to you after they research answers to your questions.

Visit our website: to find answers to all of your horticultural questions.

Photo credits: All photos by Jane Berger