For the Gardener

The For the Gardener "tip sheet" series offers information on organic gardening and fruit trees care topics. Tip sheets can be downloaded from this page.

 If you would like to receive printed copies of publications in the For the Gardener series, contact us by email or call 831.459-3240.


    Apple Trees for Every Garden

  • Describes apple rootstocks, training and pruning systems that can be used by backyard gardeners to establish an orchard in a limited space.

    Includes information on planting, fertility and rootstock characteristics. Click here to download (6 pages).


  • Asian Greens Offer Tasty, Easy-to-Grow Source of Nutrition

  • Describes a variety of Asian greens, including their history, cultural requirements, and recommended varieties. Click here to download (3 pages).


  • Garden Beans Offer Year-Round Source of Great Flavor, Nutrition

  • Offers growing information for a wide selection of garden beans, including how to put beans to use year-round in the kitchen. Click here to download (6 pages).


  • Beets, Spinach, and Chard: Growing a Goosefoot Trio

  • Information on how to grow these popular, nutritious crops, along with sources for seeds. Click here to download (6 pages).


  • Selecting and Planting Blueberries

  • Recommendations on how to select and grow blueberries in the backyard garden. Click here to download (1 page).


  • Building Fertile Soil

  • Offers ideas for ways to improve soil fertility and structure using cover crops, compost and organic amendments. Includes a brief primer on making compost. Click here to download (4 pages).


  • Citrus Offers Year-Round Options

  • Describes the world's major citrus species and recommends those that perform well on California's central coast. Includes information on site selection, planting, nutrient needs and pruning. Lists varietal characteristics. Click here to download (6 pages).


  • Cover Crops for the Garden

  • Describes cover crop uses in the home garden, including tips on varieties and seeding rates. Click here to download (2 pages).


  • Choosing and Using Cover Crops in the Home Garden and Orchard

  • Additional information on selecting and using cover crops, including the use of cover crops to build soil fertility for backyard fruit trees. Click here to download (3 pages).


  • Controlling Small Animal Pests

  • Information on how to identify pest presence and methods on how to deal with gophers and other vertebrate pests of the garden. Click here to download (2 pages).


  • French Intensive Gardening: A Retrospective

  • Information on the techniques associated with the French Intensive Gardening system of bed preparation and planting. Click here to download (4 pages).


  • The Gardening Seasons of Santa Cruz

  • Seasonal recommendations for year-round gardening in Santa Cruz. Click here to download (2 pages).


  • A Garlic Primer

  • Describes a wide range of garlic varieties and offers ideas for growing this popular crop using organic techniques. Click here to download (6 pages). 


  • Growing the Easy Annual “Backdoor Bouquet”

  • Information on annual flower species for gardeners on the Central Coast. Click here to download (2 pages).


  • Mini Head Lettuces Offer Gardeners Delicious, Affordable Salad Options

  • Information on different types of Mini Head Lettuces and their characteristics. Click here to download (2 pages).

  • Onions and Leeks

  • Describes techniques for growing onions and leeks, with an emphasis on choosing the varieties appropriate for the day length of your region. Click here to download (4 pages).


  • Peas for the Home Garden

  • Describes organic cultivation tips for growing peas in the backyard garden. Includes varietal descriptions. Click here to download (6 pages).


  • Peppers - From Sweet to Fiery

  • Offers information on climatic requirements, propagation, fertility, and irrigation for sweet and chile peppers. Includes varietal characteristics, recommendations, and seed sources. Click here to download (6 pages).


  • Selecting and Planting Bare Root Fruit Trees

  • Information on how to select and plant bare root fruit trees, including sources for bare root trees. Click here to download (4 pages). 


  • Potatoes in the Home Garden

  • Describes methods for growing potatoes without synthetic chemical inputs. Includes discussions of soil fertility, pest control, seed sources and variety characteristics. Click here to download (6 pages).


  • Reliable Fruit Tree Varieties for Santa Cruz County

  • Information on fruit trees that perform well in the Santa Cruz region. Click here to download (2 pages).


  • Salad Mixes for the Home Garden

  • Describes how to grow your own salad mix, including various categories of salad greens, timing, and cultural requirements. Includes recipe ideas. Click here to download (2 pages).


  • Seed Sources

  • Lists recommended seed companies from throughout the U.S. Click here to download (2 pages).


  • Snail & Slug Control

  • Information on how to control snails and slugs with methods that meet organic standards. Click here to download (2 pages).


  • Soil Cultivation: Fundamental Concepts & Goals

  • The basic concepts associated with soil cultivation and garden bed preparation, including organic matter incorporation, nutrient release, and promoting good tilth and structure. Click here to download (4 pages).


  • The Allure of Species Roses

  • Information on the characteristics of species (Rugosa and Rugosa hybrid) roses, and plant sources. Click here to download (3 pages).


  • Choosing and Growing Stone Fruits

  • Discusses the various types of stone fruits (peaches, apricots, etc.) and some good choices for the home garden, along with growing requirements and cultural advice. Click here to download (6 pages).


  • Water Conservation Tips

  • Offers ideas for water-conserving irrigation techniques in the home garden, including a brief overview of drip irrigation. Click here to download (2 pages).


  • Let Worms Make Your Compost: A Short Guide to Vermicomposting

  • Introduces the technique of worm composting, an effective compost method that can be used to produce a nutrient-rich soil amendment in a limited space. Includes resource list. Click here to download (2 pages).