What GMO’s are Good and what GMO’s are Bad?

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Originally posted on Dont Panic Its Organic©:

What GMO’s are Good and what GMO’s are Bad?

Genetically Engineered Organisms and Genetically Modified Organisms are not the same thing. As new GMO bills come into Law, we will find ourselves not being able to buy any Genetically Modified Crops at all!  Why? Because they are  all grouped together right along with the dangerous types of GMO’s. What? There are good types of GMO’s?  GMO’s fall under several classifications: Natural mutations show up in nature on their own, Open-Pollinated are either self pollinated or thru specific cross pollination with certain traits in mind thru controlled cross-breeding within proper species, some open pollinated varieties are  (being my favorite vegetable) for example the Bloomsdale spinach or Sugar Snaps or Super sweet Corn, to name a few. Traditional hybrids arise from controlled cross-breeding to achieve a certain trait of the parent for example Sweet 100 Tomato is actually…

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Tips on How to Build a Raised Bed Part 2

Tips on How  to Build a Raised Bed   Part 2

Tip:  Location
Select a site that gets at least 6 to  8 hours of sun per day. A flat, level area and access to water would be nice. Should be protected from the heavy winds or if not then plan on making a cover for it.

Tip : How Big?

   The size and shape of your garden is a matter of what you want to grow and how much space you have available and your reach!   You can rotate the soil every few years to insure the best growing environment for your vegetables.  I prefer to add compost to the beds every season and to rotate the soil as well as let a bed alone with a green cover crop then turn everything over and top off with a composted animal manure like horse or even llama. Always add rock dust as needed (every time really). Keep the raised bed garden to around four feet wide so you can access the middle of the raised bed from either side without getting inside. Make this less if you are short or have a short reach.

How High?

12 inches up to 18 inches ( I like 24 inches up and 24 inches below ground level) depending on cost requirements (more soil costs more initially but provides deeper root systems space for your plants!) and while many vegetables grow well in a bed that is six inches of soil, they will do much better if they have at least 18 inches to 36 inches of soil to work with as well as an additional 18 inches below ground.

Tip : Preparing Your Soil. dig down as far as you can and then replace the bottom layer with wire mesh to protect from gophers. Use 1/4 inch mesh. You can have a layer of rocks right on the mesh.  Run the mesh as the way to the wood and nail together. Blend with the local soil equal parts compost, organic potting soil. Add about 10 lbs of rock dust to the mix. The last layer should be the azalea/gardenia mix. (yes, I used this particular type a lot—wonder why?).

Tip : This is a good time to place a soaker/drip line about 1/2 way up from the bottom. This will allow roots to come down to get water while keeping water below ground (controls pests and diseases and saves water).

Tip: Building the Bed.

Using rot-resistant lumber such as aged cedar, redwood or even oak or one of many natural materials such as rocks, tree trunks, etc. I would treat all wood used with OrangeTKO. Paint it on and let it dry. Never ever use Creosote treated wood. It is very bad stuff to have around. Ask your doctor. There are untreated railroad ties available.

Cut your pieces to the desired size, then attach them together to make a  frame. You can attach them in a variety of ways. You can make a joint at each corner, screwing the corners together with screws.


Tip:  Filling Your Garden Bed.  Take this time  to fill your bed with the best organic mixture of quality topsoil, compost, and any aged manure. I also use the best organic potting soil I can find as well as add rock dust to increase mineral content. Top the garden off with a top layer of an acid mulch like, oh like, um. oh say, azalea/gardenia mix?

Next series I will call  “The Toxic Garden”. I will start with Creosote in the Garden.

Andy Lopez

Invisible Gardener

Any questions? Email me andy@invisiblegardener.com

If you like my shows they are available free either thru SoundCloud or thru FaceBook or from my website. You can help by showing your support by joining my club. Members get free weekly radio shows (members can get their questions answered on the show), plus get all 20 + ebooks free.

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Don’t Panic It’s Organic! – How to Build a Raised Bed part 1

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Don’t Panic It’s Organic! – Live & Recorded Episodes:. above is the  Radio show that goes with this article How to Build a Raised Bed   Part 1 Your Raised Bed To have your own raised bed(s) is a wonderful … Continue reading

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Growing Roses in a Drought

Growing Roses in Malibu/Drought


Many people think that roses would be hard to grow here in Malibu where it is foggy a lot . But actually it is very easy and roses also do well with a lot less water then you think.

One of the funny things about Malibu, is that we really are in a mediterranean  climate see for yourself


so roses grow early well there too and if you really want to see roses take off, try growing some of these rose varieties:

Tea roses, tea roses, tea roses, and perhaps did I mention tea roses?  They will bloom all of the time in Malibu starting in the early spring and keep right on thru summer and onto  fall with little care and regular but deep watering. There are many varieties of tea roses, google it and you will see.

The Robin Hood Rose

Also known as Mediterranean Musk Rose, this is a Rose hedge that produces delicate flowers that last early spring, all summer and if your lucky into early fall. Grows in clusters, much like a typical rose bush.  Very fragrant (I mean really fragrant!), very resistant to diseases and pests especially if grown organically. It also is resistant to the diseases that the fog brings and to top it off, it will do with little water as long as the water is kept below ground and deep and well amended, well mulched.

Watering Basics

Place a drip line around the rose about 2 feet out from base yet within the well. Try a 2 gallon per hour drip head. One rose should get three drip heads placed at 12-4-8 on the clock. Watering should be done once a week for an hour but you might have to do that twice a week during extremely hot months and especially if you have bad soil. You can help reduce watering while keeping happy roses by applying rock dust (for minerals) compost and mulch with a good acid mulch like Azalea-Gardenia mix which we have available here in Malibu. I would make sure the compost is alive.

Avoid having a rose next to a lawn as over head watering is not good.

Organic Fertilizations

Apply a good organic fertilizer once a month. Spray with a good organic liquid fertilizer made for foliar feeding such as liquid seaweed. There are many organic liquid rose fertilizers available that you can spray. Learn to use Coffee, Cream and Molasses once a month to keep Brix levels up. Use 1 gallon liquid coffee, 1 cup milk, and 1 oz granny smith molasses. Spray roses in afternoon or  early in am.

Roses love compost tea so spray them that once a month too.

Use coffee grinds around base of plants, mixed into soil, will increase earthworms.

Remember to prune them back in February, yes February not January. This will be much better for them as it will help them avoid the aphids come spring time.

Use a refractometer to determine the roses Brix level if you wish to see if they are healthy or not and if you are doing the right thing or not. Roses should have around a 20 Brix level reading, higher would be excellent. A refractometer does not have to cost much. They range from $35 (EBAy) to Thousands of dollars for labs. I have one that cost me $35, one that cost me $300 both give the same reading.

Happy organic rose growing!

Andy Lopez

Invisible Gardener

Any questions? Email me andy@invisiblegardener.com

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Coral tree question

Coral tree question

I live in Malibu and we have a beautiful huge Coral tree.  My husband is worried about it in the drought but I understand it is drought resistant – should we worry and water it once a week or just sit tight?

Also I planted mature trees about four months ago.  The fig trees are doing great – the avocados not as good, but three look like they are in a death spiral – apple, persimmons and peach.  How can I tell they are dead or should be removed – none have leaves but branches do not break off.

Thanks Andy!  Susan

Thanks for the email.
Heres my best answer.

To answer your question re the Coral Tree

Yes they are drought resistant under normal conditions. That would be that usually during a drought the trees and those with especially deep roots tap into the underground water that lies deep below the surface. This is under normal conditions but todays conditions are any thing but normal since us humans are pumping out ground water with very little coming in to replace it. The result is that any ground water left is very very deep and very very hard to get at by anything.


If you have not been deep watering this tree and have so far relied on what watering at top soil level it has been getting say from your nearby lawn or other plants that you are watering, then you are setting yourself up for a condition known as hard pan.

I have discussed this before and what you should do about it.
I am sure if you went online to the SurfsideNews.com website that you should be able to pull up the article. However if you cannot then here is where my article is located at http://invisiblegardener.me/2014/02/03/406/

Basically what happens is that here in Malibu and most of Southern California, we have clay soil and what happens when you water clay then bake it? You get the picture. If the soil gets hot enough then it will become hard and will not let water down from above into the roots nor will it let air nor any nutrients and the tree will die.

What I see happening here and with almost everyone everywhere is that folks are watering almost daily and for only a short period of time like 10 minutes. While it is great for those surface roots at top near the soil surface, it does nothing to get water down deep enough to at least stop the soil from baking and prevent hard pan while providing enough moisture to keep the trees deeper roots system alive during this period.

Coral trees have very deep roots and usually they tap into “underground rivers”. Malibu has many of these underground rivers and it fortunate enough to have lots of underground water however with the ocean’s raising sea levels, along with the underground water levels falling thru our use, the sea water is intruding more and more into this water supply making it eventually unusable by any tree. So it depends on how far in you live and if your water level is still high enough as for how long it will be before salt water gets to it.

I would start deep watering it with a drip system. Provide 1 hour at least at 2 gallon per hour drip, once a week. Place at least 5 to 10 drip heads per tree.

Your Fruit trees need help I would say.

Andy Lopez
Invisible Gardener
Any questions? Email me andy@invisiblegardener.com

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Much Ado About Whiteflies -How to Control Whiteflies Organically

Much Ado About Whiteflies

Seems quite a few of my readers want more information on how to control the whiteflies in Malibu. Many  of you have written to me and have told me how they agree with me on the water issue but how do you deal with the fog? All that water in the air is whiteflies best weather followed by glorious sun and not too hot.

For starters if you really have everything on a drip and have reduced or eliminated any  over head watering then your whiteflies will not be a problem in keeping under control. Then you can farther reduce their population by using any type of natural oil that when mixed with water and a dash of natural soap , can be sprayed and the oil would kill the eggs which usually over winter but lately with warmer winters, the whiteflies have been growing in population all year long.

So what you do is this, in December you give a pruning to the plants in question that have the whiteflies and then spray it both sides of the leaves with a oil/soap mixture. Use 1 oz sesamin oil or coconut oil into 1 gallon water, add a tablespoon of any natural soap (I use Dr Bronners soap), shake and spray the leaves both sides. Best to spray as late as possible or even at night.

You will want to spray once a month so spray in December, Spray again in January  and then again in February, March if its a cold winter.

Also during fog.

Make sure that you are feeding your plants with a rock dust mixture 4 times per year to start then once a year afterwards.

A good Rock Dust Mixture is as follows:

1 Part Azomite

1 Part Soft Rock Phosphate

1 Part Agriwin Rock Dust

1 Part Glacial Rock Dust

I would buy Microbes from wherever you can find a good one, I use the internet to order things I have found to be good.  I use Superseaweed, Nitron, Agri-Gro, Arbico, Agri-win, Peaceful Valley Farm Supplies, Down to Earth,  to name a few sources of microbes and minerals.

You want to blend as many sources of rock dust from around the world and then use a small amount of it around the plants mixed into the soil. The use of tree vents provides a place for the microbes to make it their center and branch out from there into the tree and plant roots providing them with the needed minerals. You can see for yourself what Brix level a plant has when it is being attacked by the whiteflies and then after treating it, try the Brix reading again and you will see the difference. Chemical fertilizers alone do not have all the neccessary trace minerals and therefore the application of rock dust along with the microbes provide for a stronger healthier pest resistant plant.

Chemical fertilizers are usually of the high nitrogen type and cause rapid growth looking very green but they are very week and will be attacked by any pest that loves low carbohydrates (wait thats all of them) and yes rapid growth from high nitrogen will always produce plants will lower Brix levels and high pest problems because they will also have low level of carbohydrates.

Here is the formula again

High Brix = High Sugar = High Mineral = High Carbohydrates

The wider the range of minerals the better. So having High Brix you may still be deficient in a certain mineral.


Here is the link to the radio show of this article

Andy Lopez

Invisible Gardener

Any questions? Email me andy@invisiblegardener.com

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Attention all Health and Organic Gardening Enthusiasts

invisible gardeners dont panic its organic
Attention all Health and Organic Gardening Enthusiasts

The Invisible Gardener has put together a great package deal for his Organic Gardening Ebooks, Radio show and  Membership!
Each ebook normally cost $2.99 with some ebooks even more, Radio show and membership is from $20 to $55.

Now you can get it all for $20!

You Heard it Right…


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