Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
Orchid Growing Basics
Brian Petraska is the resident orchid expert on Henry's Garden. His own garden in the East Bay is abundant with beautiful exotic orchids from all over the world. His excellent DVD, Orchid Growing Basics, (Petraska Productions, 2006; $24.95) contains everything you need to know to grow orchids, either indoors or outside.
The DVD contains information on getting your orchids to bloom, repotting, insect control, and fertilization. It also covers the various orchid species and the specific care each requires. If you want to understand orchids, this is an excellent first step to their cultivation.
Clever Gardening Technique
Pulling weeds is the best way to remove them permanently. Pull them when the soil is wet so you can remove the entire root system. Grasp the weed by the base, near the ground. Use a lifting tool, such as a weed knife, to loosen the soil around the base of the plant. Gently pull upward while giving the weed a slight twist. This is an excellent way to pull long-rooted weeds, such as dandelion and cheese weed. Unless the weed has gone to seed, shake as much soil off the rootball and back into the garden as possible. If the soil has already dried out, turn on the sprinklers for a while prior to pulling weeds.