by the Editor & Assistant Editor

Our fall was enlivened by an entertaining OMVNATalk discussion that some of you may have missed.  Proximity to Halloween may have had some connection to ‘Spidergate’.  We thought we would add our little bit.

First, the authors would note that until they moved here, they had never seen so many spiders.  Do we have the perfect climate and ecosystem here for these sometimes too friendly 8-legged creatures?  Our first week here the editor, visiting a disused shed in the back yard, returned completely entangled in the spider webs that are so difficult to remove because of the amazing strength of spider silk.   Some of us welcome our spiders; others don’t appreciate their bug-controlling efforts.  Black widows (see below) eat cockroaches and flies in large quantities, thus saving your home from these pests, analogous to the Thai practice of having cobras in your garden to control the rat population.  If you don’t appreciate the spider webs around your house and yard, you can try to eliminate them, but you may have little luck, as spiders have evolved to be great producers of spider webs (except for those like wolf spiders and jumping spiders who’ve adapted to other hunting techniques). CLICK HERE to read more.

Composting Group

The Peninsula Composting Club has over 60 members from MV, Palo Alto, and nearby cities.  Lots of downtown residents are members, and it’s a great place for residents to post questions and answers about backyard composting.  It would dovetail in perfectly with Paul’s articles.  People can join by going here: http://groups.google.com/group/peninsula-compost/

Worms? Not In My Backyard!

by Paul Staley

It is likely that for those unfamiliar with the power of worm composting, the title of this article reflects the usual response to the idea of composting with our wiggly friends. Worms are indeed wiggly but they are also valuable friends to any gardener.

Worms produce castings that actually have more [...]

Harvest Those Weeds!

by Paul Staley

Harvest the weeds? Yes indeed, get out there and bring that crop in. Put them in your compost pile and you will reap two benefits at once. You will have them out of your garden, plus you’ll be adding a valuable and free source of nitrogen that will give your compost [...]

Critter Column: Two Bees

by Jack Perkins

In early spring the predominant bee in my garden is the bumble bee queen, newly emerged from her winter sleep. Mostly black with a fuzzy abdomen and two yellow circles, she is pretty to watch.  Starting a new nest (a hole in the ground or under a flat board or stone) [...]

From the Editor: How Does Your Garden Grow?

by Velva Rowell

Mine grows amazingly well despite my complete lack of gardening skills. I have several varieties of lettuce, herbs, broccoli, and strawberries. My upside-down tomato planter is flourishing and I anticipate many salads from tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers that are growing well, but haven’t set fruit yet.

I have to say though, [...]