Filled with rich, fast-draining planting mix, raised beds are an ideal growing environment for vegetables -- important if your native soil is heavy clay.
Local Sonoma fieldstones, set loosely, create an attractive edging; easily dismantled at season's end, they can be reused differently.
To maximize a small space, train beans on fence-mounted trellises. For each one, cut a 5- x 10-foot piece of rigid 1/4-inch wire mesh from a building supplier. Attach four wood blocks to the fence (one for each corner of mesh), screw a lag hook into each block, and fit the mesh over the hooks.
The perfect centerpiece for our circular plot, it attracts birds that in turn feed on insect pests. The muted gold hue complements 'Moonbeam' coreopsis.
Our easy homemade cages have an organic look. Set four 6-foot-long 2 x 2 redwood stakes 1 foot into the ground to form a 20- x 2-inch square; plant seedling in the center. As the plant grows, tie sisal twine around stakes every 6 inches.
Cheerful blooms attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators; they also bring birds and beneficial insects that dine on insect pests. 'Jerusalem Sunrise Lemon' (at left), like other sunflowers, is easy to grow.
Jot down when to fertilize (heavy feeders such as tomatoes can use diluted liquid fish emulsion several times during the growing season). Also write down when your crops should start producing (check labels). Pick peppers when they reach their mature size and color.