Rob & MJ's Garden

Our little plot of garden in So Cal – grow and buy local!

Update Nov 9, 2012: Earlier this summer we moved from Simi Valley to Canyon Country, Ca.  We will miss the great growing area we had in Simi, but are looking forward to being able to put in new and larger gardens on our 6.5 acre ranch.  Stay tuned for future updates and a new page about Rolling Rock Ranch.  This page will stay up in it’s current form as a reminder of the great times and memories we had there.


In Southern California, we have the luxury of being able to garden year round.  On the back of our yard we have an 80 foot long raised bed that is 2.5 feet wide that we use mostly for growing vegetables.  Combining sustainable growing practices with the square foot gardening approach, you can produce a very large volume of produce in a small growing area like ours.   We frequently have enough individual crops stored to last us through that specific crop’s off season.  This greatly limits the amount of vegetables we need to purchase from sources that have heavy carbon footprint.

One of the most important aspects of keeping a successful garden is making it as maintenance and trouble free as possible.  While this sounds like a no brainer, the biggest mistake most people make with a garden is not taking steps at the beginning to make their garden easy to maintain.  There are three factors that drastically impact how much time you will need to spend in your garden…  watering, weeding, and cultivating.  Steps can and should be taken from the very beginning to make sure you spend less time on these less than fun activities so you can spend more time on planting, harvesting and just plain enjoying your garden.


Keeping your garden effectively watered is both a practical and environmental issue.  Many gardeners just sprinkle the top of the soil with water and often frequently to try to keep their precious plantings alive.  The problem is, when top watering by hand or with sprinklers often the water does not soak deep into the ground.  So the plants develop shallow root systems and water at the top of the soil evaporates quickly.  So least heat and your prized planting is wilted and dying.  Your also wasting a huge amount of water due to evaporation.

Drip irrigation systems provide the most effective method for getting water deep into the ground in an efficient manner that requires very little work on the part of the gardener. The first thing I did when I set up our garden was to install a yard sprinkler controller running three lines of drip hoses.   The garden is water automatically early in the morning every week with exactly the right amount of water.

Weed Prevention & Simplifying Cultivation