Posted in Community Gardens, tagged basil, Black Friday, book, boots, California Master Gardener Handbook, candle, catalog, chamomile, class, container, Crafts Fair, cream, decoration, Fairview Gardens, farm, fertilizer, flower, gift, gift certificate, gloves, hay ride, herbs, Holiday, homestead, ice cubes, jars, label, lavender, local, magenta, mugs, nasturtium, November, oil, orange, organic, pesto, pillow, Plant, plates, pomander, potting, powder, purple, rain, recipes, Red, rice, rose, sachet, sage, salad bowl, season, seasoning, seeds, shampoo, shovel, soap, sponsor, sustainable, tea, tool, tour, trellis, vinegar, white, wine, wreath on November 11, 2011 |
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BLACK FRIDAY GARDEN GIFTS! Gifts to Give, Gifts to Get!
Pour a little garden love into your loved one’s life this holiday season!
Lovely Fitz and Floyd Vegetable Garden 8" Pitcher seen on eBay at BlueHowMuch! $29.95
Make Organic, Sustainable Holiday Gifts! This is the prime time to start winter gift plantings for holiday giving! Start a salad bowl, make some pesto ice cubes – harvest before your basil freezes, collect basil seeds while you are at it! Gather seeds to put in pretty little jars – label and tie with a bright festive bow. Some of those seeds can be used for seasoning, some for planting! Dry and powder some herbs for teas, pillows, sachets! Make scented candles or creams, soaps or shampoos! Sage darkens your hair, chamomile lightens. Make an herb wreath, or classic orange pomander balls. Herbed vinegars & oils are simple to make, and beautiful! In white wine or rice vinegars:
- Lavender is rose red
- Nasturtium flowers release neon orange
- Sage in flower & purple basil are magenta!
Likewise, be thinking of what you can give your loved one or good friend in the way of gardening items! Buy local! How about that special tool, a new shovel? Some seeds? A container or garden decoration they have been longing for, a beauteous trellis. Oh, some of those fancy flowered rain boots?! YES! Gloves – those old ones are worn out, you know. Supplies like special potting mixes, fertilizers. Books on the topic dearest their heart – Recipes, garden specialities, California Master Gardener Handbook! Sponsor them for the class they would like to take but didn’t have the dough. Garden plates and mugs. That catalog and a gift certificate to go with it! Local services, like an hour of time on something that takes a little more doing than one person would like to do alone, or a consult with your local sustainable landscaper! Hey, it’s a win/win! It’s sustainable and makes you both happy! Trifecta!
Oh, and don’t forget to leave your own garden shopping list lying about the house…if someone tries to discourage you from buying something on the list, let them. Who knows what will show up with a bow on it?!
Next week: A Little About Onions, a LOT About GARLIC!
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Posted in Amendments, Baking Soda, Bean, Community Gardens, Compost, Cucumber, Disease, Eggplant, Epsom Salt, Fertilizer - Sidedressing, Foliar Feeding, Fertilzer, Fish - Kelp, Germinate, Green Beans, Home Remedies, Legumes - Peas, Beans, Fava, Manure, Melon, Mildew, Nonfat Powdered Milk, NPK - Nitrogen Phosphorus Potassium, Peas, Pepper, Potato, Pumpkins, Seeds, Squash, Summer Plants - Warm Season, Teas- Compost, Manure, Worm, Time of Year, Tomato, Veggies!, Watermelon, Worm Castings, tagged 18 Karat Gold, alkaline, Ambassador, amino, ATTRA, baking, bean, bicarbonate, Care, casting, caution, cell, chlorophyll, compost, cucumber, cucurbit, disease, dish, Diva, Dramm, eggplant, emulsion, enzyme, epsom, eyes, fertilizer, fish, foliar, fruit, fungal spore, fungicide, garden, germicide, germination, Gladiator, growth, healthy, humid, immune, inhibit, insecticidal, kelp, leaf, leaf blight, liquid, magnesium, manure, milk, mite, Nitrogen, nonfat, nontoxic, nuts, oil, pepper, pest, pesticide, phosphorus, phytotoxic, Plant, pm, powdered, powdery mildew, prevention, protein, psyllid, pumpkin, rose, rot, rust, salad, salt, seed, skin, soap, soda, sodium, solanaceae, spray, squash, Success, sulfate, sulfur, summer, Sunglo zucchini, Sunray, surfactant, tea, thrips, tomatillo, tomato, uptake, veggie, Vitamin, Wildcat, worm, yellow on June 24, 2011 |
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Foliar plant care is so easy!
Use a Dramm Can, the Perfect Foliar Machine!
Worm Castings, Compost, Manure Tea, Fish Emulsion/Kelp for FEEDING – All in ONE!
You can easily make this tea! A handful of castings, a handful to a cup of compost, handful of manure, stir and let them soak overnight in a bucket. In the morning, swoosh it around in the bucket one more time, let it settle, then pour the top liquid into your watering can, the one with the up turning rose. Add a Tablespoon Fish Emulsion/Kelp, mix, and drench your plants in the morning! Yum!
Epsom Salts, Magnesium Sulfate, Your Solanaceaes, Peppers especially, and Roses!
Magnesium is critical for seed germination and the production of chlorophyll, fruit, and nuts. Magnesium helps strengthen cell walls and improves plants’ uptake of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur. Magnesium deficiency in the soil may be one reason your tomato leaves yellow between the leaf veins late in the season and fruit production slows down.
Sulfur, a key element in plant growth, is critical to production of vitamins, amino acids (therefore protein), and enzymes. Sulfur is probably the oldest known pesticide in current use. It can be used for disease control (e.g., powdery mildews, rusts, leaf blights, and fruit rots), and pests like mites, psyllids and thrips. Sulfur is nontoxic to mammals, but may irritate skin or especially eyes. Sulfur has the potential to damage plants in hot (90°F and above), dry weather. It is also incompatible with other pesticides. Do not use sulfur within 20 to 30 days on plants where spray oils have been applied; it reacts with the oils to make a more phytotoxic combination.
Epsom Salts are easy to do! Buy some Epsom Salts, what you soak your feet in, at the grocery store, mix a tablespoon per gallon, foliar feed! Foliar feeding is simply sprinkling leaves with your solutions, and works better than applying to the soil! Get a Dramm 5 liter long snouted watering can that has a turnable sprinkler head. That long spout comes in handy, reaching well into your plant! Turn the head so the water shoots up under the leaves then falls back on the tops! The long arc of the handle gives lots of maneuvering ability! Feed your plants once when they bloom, and again ten days later. The results, attributed to magnesium in the salts, are larger plants, more flowers, more fruit, thicker walled peppers! I use this mix on all my Solanaceaes: eggplant, pepper, tomato, tomatillo. Roses love it too!
Baking Soda & Nonfat Powdered Milk for PREVENTION!
The bicarbonate of soda makes the leaf surface alkaline and this inhibits the germination of fungal spores. Baking soda prevents and reduces Powdery Mildew, and many other diseases on veggies, roses, and other plants! It kills PM within minutes. It can be used on roses every 3 to 4 days, but do your veggie plants every 5 to 10 days, or after significant rains, as the plant grows, because these new plant tissues are not yet protected yet by your fungicide. Irrigate well 2 days before use; on a sunny day spray off as much of the PM as you can from plants in sunny locations. A heaping Tablespoon baking soda to a gallon of water, with a 1/2 Teaspoon of a surfactant - insecticidal or dish soap or salad oil, does the job. It is not effective without the surfactant to spread it and make it stick. You can add a liquid fertilizer with it if you want. Cautions: 1) I have had no trouble using it on my veggies, but it may burn the leaves of some other plants, so try it on a few leaves first. 2) Don’t apply during hot midday sun that can burn the leaves. 3) Avoid over use – it is a sodium, salt. For a definitive discussion of Baking Soda usage and research, see https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/bakingsoda.html. The article is an easy read, nicely summarized, has references, includes cautions and info on commercial preparations. Best of all is to plant powdery mildew resistant varieties:
- Cucumber: Diva
- Yellow Summer Squash: Success, Sunray, Sunglo
- Zucchini: Ambassador, Wildcat
- Pumpkin: 18 Karat Gold, Gladiator
Add nonfat powdered milk to your Baking Soda fungicide! Powdered milk is a natural germicide, boosts your plant’s immune system! Apply right away on young bean plants, all your cucurbits – cucs, zuchs, any mildew prone plant. A 1/4 c milk in your gallon of water. Get under those leaves, early morning so the leaves dry and the habitat is less humid.
Healthy plants and abundant production are so rewarding! Just take a few minutes to give your plants a boost with these simple treatments! Whether Dramm, or another can, get yourself a good one! Make it easy to get up under those leaves! Otherwise, you are treating only 1/2 your plant!
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Posted in Baking Soda, Community Gardens, Fungus, Mildew, Nonfat Powdered Milk, Raised Beds, Watering, tagged baking soda, cover, Davis, drainage, drench, dry, erosion, fungi, garden, ground, Integrated Pest Management, IPM, landscape, mildew, milk, molds, muddy, native, nonfat, oil, oxygen, path, pine needle, powdered, powdery, prevention, raised bed, slope, soap, soggy, spout, straw, UC, veggie, warm, water, wet, winter on November 19, 2010 |
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A wet winter? Dry winter?
If you think that might happen, excellent time to establish native plants and ground covers in your landscape, make raised beds in your veggie garden! They don’t have to have a frame, in fact, you can ‘make more space’ by planting on the sloped sides, preventing erosion! The plants that don’t like soggy feet, or would simply drown from too much water, will have excellent drainage. You can make your ‘bed’ as small as a furrowed area, or make it two feet wide. Either way, same result, drainage, less water molds and fungi, keeps oxygen your plants need in the soil. Put a thick layer of pine needles, leaves, straw, something that will feed the soil, in the pathways. That’s sustainable and your shoes won’t get muddy. Re-layer as needed.
Powdery Mildew is creeping right along….
Powdery Mildew on Peas
Hmph. Powdery Mildew is windborne, and UC Davis IPM (Integrated Pest Management) says ‘Powdery mildews generally do not require moist conditions to establish and grow, and normally do well under warm conditions. Good thing it’s getting cooler. Ok. So prevention, prevention, prevention. A general home recipe is baking soda (sodium bicarbonate, 1 Tablespoon to a gallon, ¼ cup nonfat powdered milk, 1 teaspoon cooking oil (canola, soya, whatever), a drop or two of dishwash or soft soap (to disperse the oil and make it stick). Spray or use a watering can whose spout can be turned so the water goes UP under the leaves. Drench your plant, top to bottom so those inner bottom leaves get plenty of chances to get soaked. The drips go into your soil, helping from there as well. Do it on a sunny morning so your plants can dry well during the day.
Please! Be a good neighbor. Prevent this common fungus, don’t let it blow into your neighbor’s veggies!
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Posted in Brassicas, Broccoflower, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celery, Collards, Hydrozone, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Peas, Watering, Winter Plants - Cool Season, tagged acid, alkaline, amend, aphid, artichoke, arugula, axils, basket, beans, beets, biodiversity, bird, bonemeal, borage, bowl, Bright, broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, bunch, cabbage, California, candle, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, chill, cleanup, collards, compost, cut and come again, December, disease, fall, flies, flowers, frost, fungi, gift, gopher, greens, habitat, harvest, heads, herbal, holidays, hydrozone, insect, Integrated Pest Management, IPM, June, kale, layer, leaf, lettuce, Lights, lizard, mangetout, manure, mildew, mulch, mycorrhiza, North, Nov, November, Oct, October, oil, onion, Peas, pest, phosphorus, pilgrim, planting, pollinator, potato, powder, prechill, radish, raised bed, Red, runner, seaweed, seed, seedling, shampoo, sidedress, sluggo, slugs, snails, snow, soap, Soil, South, Southern, spinach, spring, sprout, strawberry, sunny, terrace, test, tomatoes, transplant, University of California, vinegar, water, weather, white, wildflower, winter, worm castings, wreath, yellow on October 1, 2010 |
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Happy October, Month of Magic!
The next months…so you can plan ahead!
October Transplants of all fall crops, but specially of cabbages and artichokes. Cut Strawberry runners off to chill for Nov planting.
November Seeds of onions for slicing. Wildflowers from seed (don’t let the bed dry out). Strawberries in no later than Nov 5. More transplants of winter veggies.
December is winter’s June! Crops are starting to come in, it’s maintenance time!
My campaign this fall is for garden cleanup, and turning the soil to expose the fungi that affects our tomatoes, and other plants, so the fungi dries and dies!
Purple Broccoli, Bright Lights Chard, Cauliflower, Yellow Mangetout Snow Peas, Radishes or Beets of all colors, ‘Licous Red Lettuces!
This is Southern California’s second Spring! Time to plant your winter garden, all the Brassicas, that’s, cabbage, brocs, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collards, kales, plus celery, chard and peas, peas, peas! All kinds! And what I call the ‘littles,’ the veggies you plant all year, beets, bunch onions (the ones that don’t bulb), carrots (bonemeal yes, fresh manure no), radish, spinach, arugula, and, especially, all kinds of lettuces! Plant gift plants or bowls or baskets for the holidays! Start making holiday gifts, herbal wreaths, powdered herbs, pretty vinegars and oils, shampoos, soaps, or candles!
Winter weather? Bring it on! Starting to cool down now! Your plants will grow fast then start to slow down. Less weeds and insects. Aphids & White Flies are a winter crop problem (see below please). Some people prefer the cool slower pace of winter gardening to the more phrenetic hot summer labor and work of big harvests, distribution, storage. Harvesting cold hardy vegetables after they have been hit with a touch of frost can enhance the flavor and increase the sweetness of greens such as kale and collards.
Extend the crop! Cut and come again! Harvest your big greens – kale and collards, and lettuces leaf by leaf rather than cutting your plant down. Many lettuces will ‘come back’ even if you cut them off an inch or two above ground. Leave the stalk in the ground, see what happens! Rather than pulling your bunch/table onions, cut them off about an inch to 2 inches above the ground. They will come back 3 to 4 times. Leave a potato in the ground to make more potatoes. After you cut the main broccoli head off, let the side sprouts grow and snip them for your salads or steam them. Cabbages? Cut off right below the head, then let them resprout, forming several smaller heads at the leaf axils.
Gather your last lingering seeds midday on a sunny dry day. Dry a few seeds from your favorite tomatoes! Sidedress continuing and producing plants. Then cleanup! Remove funky habitat for overwintering insect pests, fungi.
Build wire bottomed raised beds for gopher protection. For very useful information, please see University of California, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Pocket Gophers.
Prepare your soil!
- If you are a new gardener at Pilgrim Terrace, ask other gardeners, or the previous person who had your plot, how the soil was tended. Some plots may need no amending, others may need a lot. Add compost, manures, seaweeds, worm castings as needed. Some people do the whole garden at once, others conserve valuable materials by preparing only where they will specifically plant, for example, a large plant like a broc. If it is a lettuce bed that you will do repeated plantings in, you might opt to do the whole bed at once.
- Since mulch keeps the soil cool, some people pull it to the side in winter, to let the sun heat the soil on cool days.
- Simple soil test! Test the soil by putting a drop of vinegar in a teaspoon or so. If it fizzes, it’s too alkaline. Then test it by putting in baking soda mixed with a little water. If it fizzes, it’s too acidic.
- In addition to planting your veggies, plan ahead to plant flowers, to always have some in bloom, to attract pollinators. Borage is a lovely plant, blooms all year, has purple blue star flowers that are edible and good for you! Toss a few on top of your salads!
- Make habitat! Plants for beneficial insects, poles for birds, rocks for lizards!
- Plant tall in the North, the mountain end of our plots; plant shorties in the South. This is especially important in our winter gardens because of the low sun long shadows.
- Give your big plants plenty of room to become big; plant fillers and littles (beets, bunch onions – the ones that don’t bulb, carrots, radish, spinach, arugula, lettuces) on their sunny south sides!
- Put plants that like the same amount of water together (hydrozoning).
- Put plants together that will be used in the same way, for example, salad plants like lettuces, bunch onions, celery, cilantro.
- Biodiversity. Planting the same kind of plant in different places throughout your garden. It can be more effective that row cropping or putting all of one plant in one place, where if disease or a pest comes, you lose them all as the disease or pest spreads from one to all.
- Layering example: Transplant peas at the base of any beans you still have.
How to plant!
- This is the time to put your mycorrhiza fungi to work! One of the great things mycorrhiza does is assist Phosphorus uptake. Of the N-P-K on fertilizers, P is Phosphorus that helps roots and flowers grow and develop. Sprinkle it on the roots of your transplants when you plant them! More about mycorrhiza: http://www.mycorrhizae.com/index.php?cid=468& http://www.mastergardeners.org/newsletter/myco.html Island Seed & Feed carries it.
- Use vigorous fresh seeds, choose vibrant not-fruiting transplants that preferably aren’t root bound (having a solid mass of roots). If the transplant is pretty big for the container, pop it out of the container to make sure it isn’t root bound. If it is the only one there, and you still want it, can’t wait, see what John R. King, Jr (2 min video) has to say on how to rehabilitate your plant!
- Lay down some Sluggo (See Slugs & Snails below) right away, even before seedlings sprout, when you put your transplants in, so your plant isn’t overnight snail and slug smorgasbord!
Strawberry Runners! Mid Oct cut off runners, gently dig up if they have rooted, shake the soil off. Clip all but two or three leaves off, tie ‘em together in loose bunches. Plastic bag them and put in the back of your fridge for 20 days. Plant them Nov 5 to 10! Prechilling your plants makes them think they had a cold winter. When days get longer and warmer, they will produce fruit, not as much vegetative growth. You can then either keep your plants that produced this year, or remove and compost them, start fresh with new plants!
Watering – Morning when you can because plants drink during the day, and we want them to dry so they don’t mildew! Water underneath, especially late beans, and your new peas, who are especially susceptible to mildew. Except for your short and shallow rooted plants, once a week and deeply is good unless there is a hot spell or rain. Then, check ‘em. Poke a stick in the ground to see if the soil is moist under the surface.
Happy playing in the dirt!
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