About the Author

I’m Steve, the author of Puttering in the Garden.  When I was about 10 years old, my parents turned an old sandbox in the backyard into a vegetable garden.  For years after that, taking care of that garden was my favorite summertime activity.  I also looked forward to harvesting apricots, peaches, plums, apples, pears, and cherries from our small backyard fruit orchard every year.  Gardening has been my favorite hobby ever since.

After years of living in apartments and being limited to growing plants in pots, I moved into my own house in 2002.  Since then, I have been enjoying spending my weekends transforming the yard into my idea of a perfect garden.  I’m a lawyer, and I find that gardening is a great way to relax and relieve stress.

I consider myself a gardening enthusiast, although I do not have any formal education in horticulture. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area in USDA zone 9, Sunset zone 15.

July 08 2008 01:10 pm

26 Responses to “About the Author”

  1. mary on 01 Feb 2009 at 3:10 pm #

    I also live in the bay area in zone 14. It was very interesting for me to read some of your blog. we have been pruning fruit trees and roses today and trying to get rid of the oxalis (sp). We have lived in our house for over 30 years. It was bare dirt and now we have the problem of too many trees that have grown taller that we wish. Our lot is 1/3 of a acre with a hillside and one of the big problems is that the oak trees proliferate. Anyway thanks for the help.

  2. Jane on 10 Apr 2009 at 2:30 am #


    We love your blog and featured it on our website! Please check it out:




  3. admin on 10 Apr 2009 at 9:16 am #

    Thanks Jane!


  4. campbellca on 28 Dec 2009 at 11:09 pm #


    Enjoy your blog greatly. Very curious about how big your yard is 🙂

  5. admin on 29 Dec 2009 at 12:25 am #

    My lot size is just over 8000 square feet. Thanks for reading.

  6. Tuyen on 29 Apr 2010 at 6:49 pm #

    Hi Steve,

    You have such a pretty touch to your garden. I just bought a bing cherry and will plant. Thanks to your sight, i have a bit more insight how to do it. I’m looking forward to see how it will grow in Ohio.

    I will come back to your blog often to read on other notes as well.



  7. plantfreek on 11 Sep 2010 at 8:24 am #

    How could I send you an email? Have questions etc that are too long for comment section. I’m a midwest Master Gardener, canner(800+jars a season), love to grow stuff. Have entire orchard, veg and herb garden, multiple types of berries, grapes etc all on a 1/4 acre-) Would like to ask you some questions about your pears, pesticide management etc.Thanks
    Chris in Indiana

  8. Lisa Marie on 17 Feb 2011 at 10:19 pm #

    Hi Steve, I landed on your blog while searching for successful lilacs in SF. I am a professional arborist and design consultant and have seen lilacs that produce flowers in sunny parts of SF, low-chill varieties of course. Just wondering what neighborhood you are in. Yours are lovely! Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm for gardening- I feel the same way you do about it:o)

  9. Kathy on 17 Apr 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    Hi Steve, I’m impressed with your beautiful, colorful carrots. Where did you get the seeds? Locally? or online? Thanks, Kathy

  10. Steve on 29 Apr 2011 at 11:03 pm #

    This is where I bought mine. http://www.seedrack.com/carrots.html

  11. Pushpa Naresh on 02 Jun 2011 at 2:50 pm #

    Steve, you have the greenest of the greenest thumbs. We have a 8000 sq ft of backyard and its getting full of all kinds of plants. I really admire your enthusiasm. Thank you.

  12. Kathy on 15 Jun 2011 at 7:32 pm #

    I love your blog. Beautiful!! Thank you for the pictures and posts. I was researching a few questions on eggplants and stumbled across it. What terrific reading….I live on the East coast and only have a small city (backyard) garden, but we enjoy it. It has become one of my favorites sites and I will return to read more! Thank you !!

  13. leandra on 30 Jun 2011 at 9:33 am #

    Steve, Wow! I stumbled upon your site when looking a veggie blogs. Your pictures are just beautiful…I started my first raised beds this year in sunny New Mexico (Albuquerque). In years past, I’ve only managed to grow a couple of potted cherry tomatoes, which I eventually killed! I have also managed to destroy rosemary and basil every year…I’ll be visiting your website for inspiration!

  14. Phyllis on 07 Jul 2011 at 3:07 pm #

    I live in Ashland OR, Sunset zone 7. I have not given up entirely, but will try once more to grow Blenheim apricot. I’m jealous! Yours looks wonderful. I grew up in an apricot orchard in Hayward a long time ago.

  15. Mangala on 04 Aug 2011 at 3:35 pm #

    HI Steve,

    I am a real novice to gardening. I have around 400 ft empty space in my back yard and I really want to grow some vegetables and fruits..Your garden is very impressible and I may post a question or two if I need any advice

  16. Rosa on 03 Dec 2011 at 11:22 pm #

    Hello Steve,

    I love your site, very inspiring reading about your garden you have lots of good ideas. Can hardly wait to try the pizza sauce recipe with the last of the tomatoes we we harvest this year. I am from the bayarea too My father has a big garden and i have inherited his green thumb too.
    Have you ever considered have beehives in your garden?
    Honey would be one more thing that you would be able to harvest. But i guess that would totally be another hobby.

    Thanks again for sharing your site.

  17. Merry on 11 Mar 2012 at 5:37 pm #

    thanks a bunch Steve!! I am so pleased to stumble upon all this incredible information as I was researching a Snow Beauty peach tree for my diminutive orchard heading into my 2nd summer.
    While I am a ruthesss pruner I did so enjoy seeing how you do it & really apreciated your spraying notes since I tend to be a tad anxious over what organic chemicals to combat garden foes with.
    I could have read several more years worth!
    soooo your ever so lovely Snow Beauty…..
    does that peach taste as good as it rates in Dave Wilson’s taste trials????

  18. Steve on 11 Mar 2012 at 10:00 pm #

    I like the flavor of Snow Beauty. The fruit I’ve grown is sweet-tart. I think it needs more summer heat than we’ve been getting in recent years to be really sweet.

  19. Nancy on 06 Sep 2012 at 8:30 pm #

    Hi Steve,
    Your gardening is amazing! I stumbled on your website while searching for “high density planting”. I am redoing my backyard because of the way it was set up, I could not add any fruit tree to it. I have a small backyard of around 2000 square foot and 1/3 of it is paved per my husband’s request. I am planning to add a row of dwarf fruit trees against the back fence that measured about 46 feet, excluded the fountain in the middle. If I read it right in some website that we can plant dwarf fruit trees that are 30 inches apart as long as we prune them to control their size. 30 inches seems very short and I have kind of cold feet. Though, I want to grow as many fruit trees as I could on that fence and am thinking about spreading them 4 feet apart, this means that I could have 10 dwarf trees or more against that fence. The rest of the yard will be for grass, flowers, vegetable beds and grass. I forgot to mention that we will have a small coop for 2 to 4 hens.
    I live in Orange County, California, and would like to know your thought about the amount of fruit trees that I planning to plant.
    Thank you so much for your lovely blog. Your pictures and the way you present things are so refined that I thought that you are a lady all along until I check …I am looking forward to see more of your pictures and your wonderful gardening experiences. They are so inspiring to a novice like me!

  20. Steve on 06 Sep 2012 at 10:57 pm #

    My fruit trees are spaced apart by about 8-9 feet. They grow so fast that I have to prune them 2-3 times a year to keep the branches on some adjacent trees from growing together even at that distance. I wish I would have had more room to plant them at a greater distance (like 20 feet apart), but like you I have limited space. But I did not plant dwarf trees. I planted semi-draw trees, which still grow large (20 feet tall or more unpruned). It’s really nice to have a lot of room around each tree so that you can easily prune them, harvest the fruit, net and spray them if needed. 3 or 4 feet is really close even for dwarf trees, especially ones next to a fence, because as they grow toward the fence you can’t easily get behind them. I think you could make it work if you prune them aggressively to keep them really small, but you won’t get a lot of fruit from each tree. Although, a large fruit tree can produce hundreds of fruits each season, which is a whole lot of fruit for most people. Another alternative is to plant 4 or 5 multi-grafted fruit trees at 8 feet apart. Each tree could have 4 different varieties. Some multi-grafted trees have a peach, nectarine, an apricot, and a plum all grafted onto one tree. I have 3 multi-grafted fruit trees and I like them. Just make sure one graft doesn’t outgrow the others.

  21. Nancy on 08 Sep 2012 at 7:51 am #

    You have analyzed and spoken my concerns and thoughts such as pruning heavily, spacing…that are only in the back of my mind. Thank you for bringing them forward, discussing them, and suggesting the use of muti-grafted fuit trees. I never have one and wonder if one may outgrow the others. I assume that if we don’t want them to outgrow each others, we have to control them thru pruning.
    May I ask where do you get your multi-grafted trees? Do you get them bare root? How big were they and how long does it take them to bear fruits?
    Thanks again for you advices.

  22. Pamela on 11 Mar 2013 at 10:31 pm #

    Hi Steve ~ I happened upon your site from a post on Pintrest. I live in Sacramento and majored in Horticulture in college and gardening has always been a passion. I can’t wait to see what you post this year. Keep it coming!

  23. Steve on 12 Mar 2013 at 11:33 am #

    OK thanks!

  24. karen on 12 Jul 2013 at 8:08 am #

    Hi Steve,
    I love your flowers they are beautiful,, Im a beginner I start to plants roses but mine only have like 1 or 2 blooms each bush,, what did you do with your roses that they blooms alot? And I love your black magic rose I been looking for this rose online to buy but with no luck,, J&P sold out,, where do you get yours? Is it ok if I buy black magic cuttings from you? thanks alot..


  25. Sandy on 20 Jan 2014 at 8:01 pm #

    I need help with a multi grafted Pluot …it’s got Dapple Dandy, Flavor King and Flavor Queen. I got it from a neighbor and while she had all the tags…she didn’t know which graft belonged to which one! I noticed today that 1 branch has fully budded out and yet the other 2 look dormant. I’m wondering what your Pluots are doing…and of course, I’m guessing the branch blooming would be the earliest producer but I’ve read online it could be either Flavor Queen or Dapple Dandy…thoughts? (p.s. I’m in Sacramento)

  26. Tracey on 08 Mar 2015 at 9:56 pm #

    I live in Tiburon. What kind of pluot would you recommend for this area? I am worried we will not have enough chill hours. I was thinking Dapple Dandy or Flavor Grenade but the guy I talked to at the Sloat wasn’t sure it would work. Also, do they require another pluot to pollinate? I would prefer a self-pollinator as I am not sure I have room for another. I am wary of planting a multi-bud grafted pluot as my apple tree that is like that is so crazy looking! I am not a good enough gardener/pruner to manage it, I am afraid. Thanks for your advice

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