L.A. musician Jeff Martin wanted to grow his own vegetables, but his steep 2-acre property high up Laurel Canyon Boulevard has a seasonal stream that draws raccoons, opossums, deer, squirrels, rabbits and rats. “The battle with the critters is almost impossible,” he said.
So Martin called Lauri Kranz, above, a longtime singer-songwriter friend who built a second career as a go-to edible gardening consultant in the Hollywood Hills, helping clients cope with foraging wildlife, limited sun and not-so-flat land. Anne Litt, the KCRW DJ, called Kranz her “fairy godmother of gardening.”
At Martin's home, Kranz installed twin 3-by-10-foot raised beds inside a 225-square-foot redwood-framed cage screened with half-inch wire that let in light, bees and butterflies while blocking other wildlife, right.
“Now if I have rice and beans, I can totally survive on what's growing here,” Martin said, adding, “You don't get bored by tomatoes every day if they're this good.”
At Litt's home, perched on a steep slope a few canyons away from the Hollywood Bowl, Kranz put in terraced beds with onions, peas, corn and tomatoes. Her planting approach was old school: three seeds per hole, plus regular doses of fish emulsion and worm casings.
Even when things didn't go perfectly — if, say, Litt went for salad greens and found plants gnawed down to a nub — her fairy godmother was ready with advice. “I learned from Lauri that if the rabbits attacked your lettuce, you just have to come to peace with it,” Litt said.