Posted in Amendments, Bean, Beets, Carrot, Chard, Companion Plant, Compost, Cucumber, Disease, Eggplant, Fusarium Wilt, Green Beans, Heat Tolerant, Jicama, Lettuce, Manure, Melon, Mildew, Mulch, Mycorrhizae, Okra, Onion, Pepper, Pests, Pumpkins, Radish, Raised Beds, Snails & Slugs, Soil, Squash, Straw Bale, Strawberries, Summer Plants - Warm Season, Teas- Compost, Manure, Worm, Tomato, Turnip, Veggies!, Verticillium Wilt, Watering, Watermelon, Worm Castings, tagged air, bale, bean, beet, berm, bugs, cage, canopy, capture, carrot, chard, chop and drop, coastal, community, companion, compost, cucumber, debris, degradable, disease, dry, earth, eggplant, erosion, feed store, free, fungi, fusarium, garden, germinating, grass, habitat, heat, hillside, hot, humidity, inoculate, jicama, kitchen, layer, leaves, lettuce, light, living, manure, marine, Mediterranean, melon, mildew, moist, mulch, mycorrhizal, okra, onion, organic, organism, overwintering, pepper, pest, Pilgrim Terrace, pine needle, Plant, pumpkin, purslane, radish, rainwater, raised bed, Red, redwood, root, salad, seed, slug, SoCal, Soil, Southern, sprout, squash, staw, strawberry, sunny, sweet, tea, terrace, tolerant, tomato, transplant, trellis, turnip, verticillium, water, weed, wilt, wind, winter, worm, wriggler, yarrow, zone, zucchini on June 11, 2011 |
2 Comments »
I used to be a total mulcher, covered my whole veggie garden. I’ve adjusted my coastal SoCal mulch* thinking to match the plant! Same goes for composting in place. That’s a good idea for some areas of your garden, other areas not at all!
If you are coastal SoCal, in the marine layer zone, your mulch, or composting in place, may be slowing things down a lot more than you realize. The best melons I’ve ever seen grown at Pilgrim Terrace Community Garden were on bare hot dry soil in a plot that had a lower soil level than most of the other plots. The perimeter boards diverted any wind right over the top of the area, the soil got hot! It was like an oven! So, let it be bare! No mulch under melons, your winter squash, pumpkins. Put up a low wind barrier – straw bales, a perimeter of densely foliated plants, a big downed log, be creative. Let your peppers and jicama get hot! Eggplant is Mediterranean, maybe coastal, because they like a little humidity, but still are heat lovers! Okra is Southern, hot. Tomatoes need dryer soil to avoid the verticillium and fusarium wilt fungi. Let ‘em dry nearby, water a foot or more away from the central stem. Let that tap-root do its job, get the water below the wilt zone, the top 6 to 8 inches. Drier soil is not comfy for slugs. Get cucumbers up on a trellis, then you won’t need mulch to keep the cucs clean and bug free, but rather because they have short roots. Plant heat tolerant lettuces at their feet to act as living mulch. They both like plenty of water to keep them growing fast and sweet, so they are great companions. In that case you will need to use a little Sluggo if you feel comfortable to use it.
Closely planted beets, carrots, garden purslane, radish, turnips act as living mulch to themselves. The dense canopy their leaves make lets little light in, keeps things moist. If you cage or trellis your beans, most of the plant is up getting air circulation, keeping them dryer, more mildew free, if you don’t plant too densely. They, and strawberries, also have short feet that need to stay moist, so do mulch them – your beans with clean chop and drop or purchased mulch, your strawberries with pine needles they love. Chard likes moist and cooler, so mulch. Zucchini, doesn’t care. They are a huge leaved plant, greedy sun lovers, that are self mulching. But, you can do what I do. Feed them up through the largest tomato cages, cut off the lower leaves and plant a family of lettuces, carrots, onions, salad bowl fixin’s on the sunny side underneath! All of them like plenty of water, so everyone is happy.
If you are going to mulch, do it justice. Besides wanting to cool your soil, keep moisture in, prevent erosion, keep your crop off the soil and away from bugs, and in the long-term, feed your soil, mulching is also to prevent light germinating seeds from sprouting. Put on 4 to 6 inches minimum. Less than that may be pretty, but simply make great habitat for those little grass and weed seeds! Mulch makes moist soil, where a rich multitude of soil organisms can thrive, including great fat vigorous earth worms! You see them, you know your soil is well aerated, doing great!
Mulching is double good on hillsides. Make your rock lined water-slowing ’S’ terrace walk ways snaking along down the hillside, cover your berms well and deeply to prevent erosion and to hold moisture when there are drying winds. Plant fruit trees, your veggies under them, on the uphill side of your berms.
If you mulch, make it count! Mulch with an organic degradable mulch. Chop and drop disease free plants to compost in place, spread dry leaves. Spread very well aged manures. When you water, it’s like compost or manure tea to the ground underneath. Lay out some seed free straw – some feed stores will let you sweep it up for free! If you don’t like the look of that, cover it with some pretty purchased mulch you like, maybe redwood fiber.
Build soil right where you need it. Tuck green kitchen waste out of sight under your mulch. Sprinkle with a little soil if you have some to spare, that inoculates your pile with soil organisms; compost tea will add some more! Throw on some red wriggler surface feeder worms. Grow yarrow nearby so you can conveniently add a few sprigs to your pile to speed decomposition. It will compost quickly, no smells, feeding your soil excellently! If you keep doing it one place, a nice raised bed will be built there with little effort! Do it where you could use a berm for rainwater capture.
You don’t have to wait to plant! Pull back a planting space, add compost you have on hand or purchased, maybe mix in a little aged manure, worm castings, plant specific amendments. Sprinkle some mycorrhizal fungi on your transplant’s roots, and plant! Yes!
A caution: The debris pile of composting in place may be habitat for overwintering insect pests, so put it safely away from plants that have had or might suffer infestations. To break a pest’s growing cycle, put no piles at all where there have been pests before.
*Mulch is when you can see distinct pieces of the original materials. Finished compost is when there are no distinct pieces left, the material is black and fluffy and smells good.
Mulch is magic when done right!
Happy Summer Solstice!
Next week, Keeping Your Summer Garden Happy, Foliar Plant Care!
Read Full Post »
Posted in Arugula, Basil, Bean, Beets, Biodiversity, Carrot, Chard, Cilantro, Corn, Cucumber, Design - Layout, Eggplant, Green Beans, Herbs - Culinary, Medicinal Food Magic!, Jicama, Lettuce, Melon, Okra, Pepper, Pumpkins, Radish, Squash, Succession, Summer Plants - Warm Season, Time of Year, Tomato, Turnip, Watermelon, tagged April, August, basil, beans, beets, camping, carrots, chard, cilantro, cook, cool, corn, cucs, cucumber, decrease, dehydrate, fall, family, flower, frost, gardener, growth, harvest, heat, hibiscus, hollyhock, hot, jambalaya, jicama, June, may, melons, mid-June, month, New Zealand, night, October, okra, peppers, planting, pod, production, pumpkins, radish, raw, salad, seeds, snack, spinach, squashes, star, steam, stew, store, succession, summer, tomatoes, traditional, transplants, turnips, weather, winter, year round on May 31, 2011 |
Leave a Comment »
June is another grand month for planting, more heat, fast growth. Plant in spots that have already finished; plant for succession, a continued harvest of your favorites! If you couldn’t take advantage of April or May, step up to it now! Seeds are good, transplants are faster if your summer palate is salivating! Hotties like corn, cucs, beans, jicama, melons, okra, peppers, pumpkins, New Zealand spinach, all squashes! I’ve planted corn in August and got great October corn! Plant tasty year-rounds – beets, carrots, chard, cilantro, radish, turnips. Tomatoes with basils now and next month. More tomatoes if you will be dehydrating for camping, winter stews, snacks. Try something new –maybe something you can’t get at the store!
Why are we discussing okra in June? Because it is time to plant okra seed for fall gardens. Depending on the variety, first pods are ready for harvest about 2 months after planting. If you plant in mid-June, you will not harvest until mid-August. If you wait until later, cool nights will decrease production. Of course, many gardeners have okra already growing that will continue to produce until frost. If these plants are too tall, they should now be cut back to a height of 4 feet so that re-branching and production will occur before cool weather arrives. If you are an okra lover, it’s double your pleasure because it is in the hibiscus/hollyhock family and makes breathtakingly lovely flowers! Okra is like little stars in a salad; you cut it in thin slices across the raw pod. Or cook it traditionally, steamed, in stew, jambalaya over rice, or deep fried. If you are driving through Mojave, there’s a restaurant on the main drag that fries it to perfection! Perhaps the most important thing to know is okra has to be harvested while small to medium, while tender. Otherwise, you end up with an unchewable tough monster. Big is not better, trust me.
Biodiversity really works! Mix it up, spread out your plantings. Solid blocks (except for corn for pollination) of one plant or overplanting same kind plants in leaf touching rows are particularly susceptible to pest and disease spread, gopher loss. Lose one, lose ‘em all. To further confuse pests, pop in some herbs, basil with tomatoes, marigolds, as an understory in the between spaces! Grow arugula and lettuces in the shade of your mighty corn!
Two on one trellis! Check out the good size dark cucumbers hanging, and the ‘hammock’ supported melons!
Enjoy your luscious harvests!
Read Full Post »
Posted in Amendments, Arugula, Basil, Bat - Seabird Guano, Bean, Beets, Bone Meal, Carrot, Chard, Cilantro, Corn, Cucumber, Design - Layout, Determinate, Disease, Early Blight, Eggplant, Epsom Salt, Fertilizer - Sidedressing, Foliar Feeding, Fish - Kelp, Fungus, Fusarium Wilt, Green Beans, Heat Tolerant, Herbs - Culinary, Medicinal Food Magic!, Jicama, Late Blight, Legumes - Peas, Beans, Fava, Lettuce, Manure, Melon, Mycorrhizae, Nonfat Powdered Milk, Okra, Onion, Parsley, Peas, Pepper, Potato, PreSoak, PreSprout, Pumpkins, Radish, Seeds, Squash, Strawberries, Succession, Sunflower, Tomato, Turnip, Varieties, Veggies!, Verticillium Wilt, Watering, Watermelon, Worm Castings, tagged 105, 55, 75, AAS, airborne, All America Selections, April, arugula, baby, basil, bat, beans, beets, Black Seeded Simpson, blight, bloom, bolt, bone meal, bud, canner, cantaloupe, carrots, casting, chard, cilantro, coast, coat, community, compost, cool, corn, cucumber, daytime, deactivate, degree, dense, disease, drop, early, eggplant, eHow, endive, Epsom Salt, F1, feed, fish, foliar, French Breakfast, fungi, fusarium, garden, gound, grain, Green Bean Connection, green beans, greens, guano, harvest, heat, heirloom, herb, humidity, hybridize, Jericho, Jetsetter, kelp, kernal, leaves, Legend, lettuce, lover, maintenance, manure, mature, may, mesclun, milk, mow, mulch, mycorrhizal, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Zealand, night, nonfat, Nufar, Nursery, onion, Orange Blaze, oregano, overplant, parsley, Peas, pepper, Pilgrim Terrace, Plant, pollen, pollination, presoak, presprout, protein, radish, resistance, Romaine, root, rosemary, sage, Santa Barbara, seabird, seed, shade, sidedress, Sierra, silk, slicer, slo, soak, Soil, Solanacea, spinach, squash, stunt, succession, successive, sucker, summer, sunflower, Surecrop, tassel, thyme, tipburn, tolerant, tomato, transplant, turnips, variety, verticillium, VF, VFFNTA, VFN, virus, water, watermelon, wilt, winter, worm, wound on April 1, 2011 |
2 Comments »
Why not start with an AAS (All America Selections) 2011 Winner?!
Pepper ‘Orange Blaze’ F1 Early ripening orange variety, very sweet flavor, multiple disease resistances!
AAS 2011 Winner - Orange Blaze F1 Pepper
Get out last year’s garden notes if you made any, and review for varieties you liked, where you got ‘em, how much to plant!
Plant in blocks, not rows, for pollination. When tassels bloom, break off pieces and whap them on the silks! Each silk is one kernel, each needs one grain of pollen!
Corn hybridizes – plant only one variety, or varieties that don’t have pollen at the same time. This is pretty much not doable at a community garden since everyone is planting all kinds at any time, so if you harvest seeds, don’t expect true results!
Heat tolerant, tipburn resistant lettuces – Nevada, Sierra, Black Seeded Simpson, Jericho Romaine
Slo bolt cilantro, arugula in semi shade (among your corn?!)
Eggplant love humidity and heat. Tuck ‘em in between, right up against, other plants. Near the cooler coast plant the longer length varieties that mature earlier.
Jicama, limas, melons, okra, peppers, seed potatoes, pumpkins
From Seed: basil (Nufar is wilt resistant), chard, green beans (while peas finishing), beets, carrots, corn, endive, New Zealand spinach, parsley, radish, squash – summer & WINTER, sunflowers, turnips. Coastal gardeners, get your winter squash in NOW so it will have ample time to mature.
The radish variety French Breakfast holds up and grows better than most early types in summer heat if water is supplied regularly.
PreSoak and/or PreSprout for 100% success! Click here for details! Per eHow: How to Soak Watermelon Seeds in Milk Before Growing. Sometimes the seed coat carries a virus, and the proteins in milk will also help deactivate the virus. Read more
Transplants: cucumbers (hand pollinate?), tomatoes, watermelon
WAIT FOR MAY to plant cantaloupe
Herbs from transplants – oregano, rosemary, sage, savory, thyme
Plant successively! If you put in transplants now, also put in seeds for an automatic 6 week succession! Plant different varieties (except of corn if you want true seed - see above)!
If you overplant, thin for greens, or transplant when they are about 2 to 3 inches high. Lettuce, carrots, onions. Too many stunt each other. OR, this from Santa Barbara Westsiders Lili & Gabor: Overplant mesclun on purpose, then mow the little guys! If you are at home, plant densely in a planter bowl, cut off, leaving 1 ½” of stem still in your soil. They will regrow, you will have several months’ supply of tasty baby greens. Plant two or three bowls for more people or more frequent harvest! Give a bowl as a gift!
Plant for excellence - Throw a handful of bone meal in your planting hole along with a handful of nonfat powdered milk, worm castings, compost/manures, mix it all up with your soil. Sprinkle the roots of your transplant with mycorrhizal fungi! That’ll do it! Stand back for bounty!
REMOVE LOWER LEAVES OF TOMATOES Wilt prevention. Water sparingly or not at all after about a foot tall. Wilt comes from the ground up the leaves and is airborne. Remove any leaves that touch the ground or could get water splashed. Don’t remove suckers – airborne fungi can enter open wounds.
Sorry, NO HEIRLOOMS if you know the soil has the wilts. Heirlooms don’t have resistance. Get varieties with VF on the tag or that you know have resistance/tolerance.
Mid day, rap tomato cages or the main stem, to help pollination. 55 degrees or lower, higher than 75 at night, or 105 in daytime = bud drop. Not your fault. Grow early varieties first that tolerate cooler temps.
Pilgrim Terrace Community Garden Kevin and Mary Smith have had successes with 2 blight resistant/tolerant determinate varieties, New Hampshire Surecrop, a 78 day, great tasting slicer/canner, and Legend, a very early 68 day! Ask for them, and more Jetsetters, with unbelievable VFFNTA resistance/tolerance, at your nursery. See Tomatoes and Wilts here at the Green Bean Connection Blog for a list of additional resistant/tolerant varieties and tips!
Maintenance! Sidedress when blooms start. Fish/kelp, foliar feed Epsom salt for Solanaceaes, seabird guano (not bat) for more blooms, manures for lettuces and leaf crops like chard, collards.
Read Full Post »
Posted in Community Gardens, Compost, Container Gardening, Fava, Germinate, Jicama, Legumes - Peas, Beans, Fava, Rain, Seed Balls, Seeds, Seeds - Planting, tagged 2011, 3rd, adobe, annual, Apr, ball, banana, barley, beans, brewery, business, CA, canning, Catfish, CEC, chicken, class, clay, Cliff, community, compost, container, downtown, earth, eatthestreet.org, ecosystem, Environmental Council, events, expo, Fairview, farmers, Farms, fava, February, Festival, flower, Foods, fruit, garden, germinate, guerilla, habitat, Harmony, Holy Cross, home, homesteading, jicama, Jim Bones, La Sumida, marble, market, Masanobu Fukuoka, Meigs, Mesa, mulch, Nursery, nut, Oscar Carmona, pitchfork, plantation, planting, Plaza de Vera Cruze, preserves, project, rain, Santa Barbara, Saturday, seed swap, series, Shepherd, shovel, Sol, Story, Tom, trees, urban, vegetables, veggies, water, wheelbarrow on February 1, 2011 |
Leave a Comment »
The 3rd Annual Seed Swap was a great success! I found some great fava beans donated by Tom Shepherd, Shepherd Farms. I’m still looking for some jicama seeds. There were wonderful talks, was lively music, new friendships made, and, of course, seeds gathered for mighty planting! If you didn’t make it this year, be sure to come next year!
Feb 5 Banana Plantation & Mulching Party at Mesa Harmony Garden! 8 AM to 1 PM, Holy Cross Church, Meigs/Cliff Dr. Wheelbarrows, picks, pitchforks, shovels needed – bring if you can! Over 100 fruit and nut trees have been planted already, now it’s BANANA planting time! Come see the 34 plot community garden and the project! Get inspired!
Feg 14 Happy Valentine’s Day!
Feb 19 The Seed Ball Making Party! 11 AM to 4 PM at Plaza de Vera Cruz – across the street from the Saturday Farmer’s Market, where Sol Foods Festival was. If there is rain the new location will be posted on eatthestreet.org. If you have seeds to share, please do bring them. And bring some snacks or dishes to share if you wish!
What is a seed ball? Think of them like this: Little Adobe Gardens Imagine then, a clay ball the size of a large marble. Imagine also that it contains seeds for a complete habitat. The seed ball could contain plant potential for an entire ecosystem. It can be made by anyone, anywhere in the world where there is clay, compost, seed and water. The ball is tossed wherever you want to plant, rain moistens it, the clay ‘melts’ its nutrients into the surrounding soil and blankets the seeds with minerals & vitamins. Covered & moist, they germinate, voila! Flowers! Or veggies!
In honor of Masanobu Fukuoka, the Father of Seed Balls, The Story of Seed Balls by Jim ‘Catfish’ Bones:
Feb 27 Santa Barbara Guerilla Planting Day! The Seed Ball Party is purposely planned to precede a day of Guerilla Planting, planting anything and anywhere, respectfully! Particularly it is emphasizing planting unused land – flowers or vegetables! Some people will be planting trees! Several downtown Santa Barbara businesses are already planning creative events! One brewery is going to plant Barley!
Feb 26 10 AM Vegetable Gardening with Oscar Carmona La Sumida Nursery – Rain or shine. Class is free!
Feb 26-27 Santa Barbara Spring Home & Garden Expo! HOME should be an experience, not just an address.
Earl Warren Showgrounds Saturday 10 – 5, Sunday 10 – 4
Admission: Adults $6.00, Kids 12 & under are free Parking: Free
*A portion of the proceeds benefit the Community Environmental Council (CEC)
Fairview Gardens Urban Homesteading is an exciting new series of classes scheduled throughout the year. Some of the classes filled the first day the announcement was made, so sign up right away for any you are considering, and ask to be on a list for a 2nd group to be formed! It is a wonderful way to reconnect with the earth. The series, designed by the staff at Fairview, covers everything from container gardening, composting and raising chickens, to canning, preserving, and more, taught by the best people in our community on site at the farm. (805)967-7369 email@example.com
Give your Valentine a basket of veggies and some seeds to plant! Have a great month!
Read Full Post »