Dan Vierria

Gardening Columnist

About This Author

As a senior writer for The Sacramento Bee, Dan Vierria covered media, food, restaurants, pop culture/trends and home & garden. Currently, he is a freelance writer, social media page administrator and certified University of California Master Gardener for Sacramento County.

Articles by this author

Picking Winners

After scouring nursery shelves for plants and seeds, and spending a few months anticipating the perfect sweet pepper or magnificent melon, guessing when it is ripe can backfire. Harvesting homegrown edibles too soon or late means biting into something inedible.

Sacramento’s summer flavor jackpot begins with timely harvesting and is extended with proper storage. There are clues to help avoid a disappointing mouthful.

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Cutting Edge

Simple bouquets and elaborate floral arrangements are a snip away with a cutting garden, a designated area specifically planted with striking flowers and foliage. The payoff is a color blast for the dining table, kitchen island, even the home office.

Monet, van Gogh and Renoir put brush to canvas and created still-life paintings of flowers in a vase—a universal symbol of love, happiness and good vibes. A Harvard study found flowers in the home instill a sense of happiness and compassion toward others. The gift of a single flower lifts the darkest mood.

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Curb Your Enthusiasm

Spring is more than the Easter Bunny and cherry blossoms. As Earth rotates around the sun to fetch spring, there is a strange gravitational impulse to launch landscaping projects. Excavators, backhoe loaders and trenchers descend upon Sacramento neighborhoods to deliver the desired result: curb appeal.

Whether you are selling or staying, curb appeal adds value to homes and pride in home ownership. Consider how many people pass your home by walking, running, cycling or driving, compared to those invited inside. First impression is a lasting one.

In Sacramento’s sizzling real estate market, a stunning front yard will sell any home faster than one down the street with weeds, overgrown shrubs and worn paint. According to a study conducted by the National Association of Realtors and another by Michigan State University, a beautiful front yard will add 5 percent to 11 percent to home value.

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You Say Tomato

Admit it, you’re longing for big, bodacious tomatoes.

We’re not talking about commercially grown processing tomatoes—those thick-skinned orbs that escape trucks and bounce down Interstate 5. Great tomatoes are home grown. And Sacramento’s long, warm growing season is ripe for the tastiest tomatoes on the planet.

Tomatoes are the most popular home garden vegetable in the country. The bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich, featuring thick slabs of fresh-plucked tomato, is reason enough for the popularity. But BLTs aren’t the only perk.

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Pets Or Pests

Sharing gardens with our precious pets means coming to terms with diggers, chewers and poopers. Pets can be weapons of mass destruction. A dog chasing a squirrel has no regard for tulips. Cats don’t ask permission to use the vegetable garden as a restroom.

Ideally, you can mitigate destruction and keep furballs healthy and safe while the garden stays gorgeous and productive. Acceptance and forgiveness make a righteous path. But where you draw the line is a personal choice.

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