Real Estate

Home front: how to sheet mulch; start a home orchard


A roundup of local home and garden events, including sheet mulching for a sustainable garden, creating a home orchard and ways to use pumpkins for fall decorations.

HOW TO SHEET MULCH ... If you have an area of your garden that is weed-infested or a lawn you want to get rid of, Lyngso Garden Materials is holding a class, "Sheet Mulch Your Way to a Sustainable Garden," on Saturday, Nov. 4 from 10 a.m. to noon. Lyngso's sustainability coordinator Kan Parthiban will talk about everything you need to know about sheet mulching. Learn how to convert a weedy part of your yard or a lawn into a sustainable garden using compost, cardboard, grass clippings and existing soil. The class will be held at 345 Shoreway Road, San Carlos. To register, go to

START A HOME ORCHARD ... If you've thought about planting fruit trees, now is the time. The Palo Alto master gardener program will host a talk on "Starting a Home Orchard with Bareroot Fruit Trees" on Thursday, Nov. 16, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Learn the basics of how to decide what to grow and how to select and plant bare root trees, and get them off to a healthy start. The class will be held at Rinconada Library, 1213 Newell Road, Palo Alto.

PUMPKIN DECOR ... From floral designer Karen Lidbeck-Brent, via Garden Magazine, here is an easy way to incorporate a pumpkin into your autumn decor: To turn a pumpkin or winter squash into a fresh flower container, cut off the top, remove the insides, and slip in a vase, bowl, or plastic container filled with water or wet floral foam. "Pumpkins can hold pretty much anything without leaking," said Lidbeck-Brent. To preserve a pumpkin, roast then freeze pumpkin (rather than freezing it raw). "Roasting is better for pumpkins with higher moisture content," says grower Eddie Gordon of Gordon Skagit Farms in Mount Vernon, Washington.

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Short story writers wanted!

The 33rd Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult (15-17) and Teen (12-14) categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by March 29. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category.

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