Posted in Bean, Bees, Beneficials, Bolt Resistant/Slow Bolting, Cantaloupe, Companion, Disease, Drought tolerant, Heat Tolerant, Long bean, Melon, Mulch, Okra, Pests, Sidedress, Summer, Tea, Varieties, Veggies, Water, tagged Alice B Toklas, bee, beneficial, bolt, cantaloupe, Community Garden, Companion, disease, drought, Garden, heat, insects, June, Long bean, may, melon, mulch, okra, pest, Pilgrim Terrace, Plant, prevention, quote, resistant, sidedress, slow, Summer, Tea, tolerant, Varieties, Veggies, Water on May 1, 2016|
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Love your Mother! Plant bird & bee food! Capture water! Grow organic!
MAY/June Planting Timing Plant as you would in April, but in addition, now is perfect time for cantaloupes! Keep a steady table supply coming by planting second and third rounds now, seeds or transplants or both! Add different varieties with different maturity dates for a steady supply, a palate pleasing assortment! Some people just remember when they planted what. Others make an ID plant tag with the plant date and name on it and the # of days to maturity. A quick glance will tell you if that set of plants is ready for another round to be planted. Or, just jot it in your calendar so you be sure to plant another round in 6 to 8 weeks.
If seeds and tending seedlings aren’t for you, transplants are fine! Eggplant, limas, all melons, peppers, pumpkins and squash! Many wait until even June, to plant tomatoes to avoid fungal problems, but if your garden is fungus free, plant away! Ideally you would wait until the soil has warmed to 70°F before sowing squash and melon seeds, but if you can’t wait, and who can?, get nursery transplants and pop them in the ground! Some gardeners do wait until JUNE to plant southern heat lover okra. Choose faster maturing varieties for coastal SoCal. If YOU anticipate a HOT summer, plant a tad earlier, but be prepared to deal with it if summer is overcast as often is the case after all.
Long beans are spectacular and love heat. Late May, though usually in June is best to start them. They grow quickly from seed. They will last longer than other beans, hitting their stride toward the end of summer. Certain varieties of them don’t get mildew either! Their unique flavor keeps your table interesting.
Right now, in addition to the plants listed above, sow and/or transplant more asparagus, beets, carrots, celery, chard, corn, herbs, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, heat-tolerant leaf lettuce, parsley, peanuts, white potatoes repel squash bugs, radishes (with cukes to repel cuke beetles, and with eggplant, potatoes and arugula to repel flea beetles), and spinach.
Time for heat-resistant, bolt-resistant lettuces of all kinds! Sierra, Nevada, Jericho, Black Seeded Simpson are some. Tips for super Successful Transplanting!
See last month’s chat on Tomato and Cucumber specifics, especially if your soil has Fusarium and Verticillium wilts as ours does at Pilgrim Terrace Community Garden. Mainly, keep those babies’ leaves off the ground! Remove lower leaves, get them UP a cage or trellis and lay down a loose 1″ deep straw mulch blanket. Too much straw keeps the soil moist, which is good for some plants, not for others. Under maters and cukes, we want some air circulation and a bit of soil drying. The main purpose of mulch is to keep your plant’s leaves from being water splashed or in contact with soil, the main way they get fungi/blight diseases.
With our warming temp trends, get bolt resistant/slow bolt varieties, and especially heat and drought tolerant varieties.
Companion planting is more than just saying Howdy! Certain combos enhance growth, others repel pests, some invite beneficial insects!
- Basil is great with tomatoes, and a pack of culinary dandelions! Basil is thought to repel white flies, mosquitoes, tomato hornworms, aphids, houseflies, and asparagus beetles. Smells great and tastes great!
- Beans, Cukes, Dill, Radish Combo! Cukes and Beans are great on the trellis, one high, one low. Dill goes with your pickling cukes. Radishes deter Cucumber beetles.
- White potatoes with Zucchini to repel squash bugs.
- Radish with eggplant, cukes & zukes as trap plants for flea beetles and to repel cucumber beetles.
- Carrots love being with cilantro and chamomile!
Put in ‘licious fast growers like lettuce, beets, turnips, arugula, in space being held for subsequent plantings. To use your space super productively, put these veggies on the sunny sides under any large plants. If needed, remove lower leaves that would shade out the ‘littles.’ If you anticipate unusually hot summer weather, grow the littles on the east side of larger plants to protect them from the afternoon sun.
Put in borders of slow but low growers like carrots, mini cabbages, in more permanent placements, like on what will become the morning side of taller backdrop plants like peppers and eggplant.
This year my summer strategy is to plant tall in the West to filter sunlight, give shorter plants respite from the hot afternoon sun, keep them a bit cooler, keep the soil a bit cooler, more moist. Last summer, record HOT, our crops produced so much, they were plum done in July. Fall planting wasn’t successful until the end of October. Hopefully my new strategy will give a longer growing period this year.
- Garlic, bulb onions, and shallots naturally begin to dry this month. When the foliage begins to dry it’s time to stop irrigating. Dry outer layers needed for long storage will form on the bulbs. When about half of the foliage slumps to the ground, bend the rest to initiate this maturing. The bulbs will be ready for harvest when the foliage is thoroughly dry and crisp.
- In these drought times, water before 10:30 AM if at all possible. The earlier the better. Water at the base of your plant to the dripline. If your plants are dusty, you are near a road or there has been a wind, give them a bath. Dusty plants are habitat for White Flies. Keep a lookout, and hose away ants. Use a water device with a shut off valve.
- Water beans, cukes, lettuces and short rooted varieties of strawberries more frequently. They are all workhorses producing fast and repeatedly, cukes making a watery fruit even. Lettuces need to put on growth fast to stay sweet.
- Please always be building compost and adding it, especially near short rooted plants and plants that like being moist. Compost increases your soil’s water holding capacity.
- Soil feeding organic MULCH feeds your soil, keeps your soil cooler, moister, less water needed and prevents light germinating seeds from starting – less weeds!
- Pat on Mycorrhiza fungi right on the roots of all your transplants except Brassicas, when you put them in the ground. It increases uptake of nutrients, water, and phosphorus that helps roots and flowers grow and develop. Ask for it bulk at Island Seed & Feed in Goleta.
- If you garden in a windy area, put up porous windbreaks to slow soil drying, and you will have less dusty conditions that bring White Flies.
When your plants start to bloom, sidedress, give them a feed. Maybe a little compost, some well aged manure, a drink of tea or fish emulsion! For a deeper feed, push your spade fork in and wiggle it back and forth. Pour in your teas. Or above the holes, dig in compost, manure, worm castings. Water well and that will act like a tea! Some gardeners avoid any digging at all. They simply lay on about an inch of compost or manure, cover with thick mulch, water away! Strawberries do well with fish emulsion every couple of weeks.
Natural Disease & Pest Prevention!
Choosing excellent and appropriate plant varieties, using companion plants in wise combinations, making super soil, regularly applying prevention formulas more details and all the recipes, sidedressing and keeping up on maintenance are the things that keep your plants in top form! They will be less likely to have diseases, but pests adore tasty healthy plants just like we do, as well as them cleaning up plants that are weak or on their way out. See more in the April Newsletter
The usual May culprits!
- Cucumber Beetles get in cucumber, squash and melon blossoms. They are yellow greenish with black stripes or dots about the size and shape of a Ladybug. They are cute but oh so awful. They carry bacterial diseases and viruses from plant to plant, such as bacterial wilt and mosaic virus, deadly to cukes. Radish repels them, is a champion plant, a hero of the garden! Plant enough for you to eat, let others just grow, be there permanently or at least until the beetles are done, gone. IPM data
- Flea Beetles look like large black fleas and do hop mightily! They seem harmless enough, make tiny little holes in the leaves of eggplant, potatoes, arugula. But, those tiny holes add up. As the beetles suck out the juice of your plant they disrupt your plant’s flow of nutrients, open the leaves to disease, your plant is in a constant state of recovery, there is little production. Your plant looks dryish, lacks vitality. The trap plant for them, one that they like best, is radish! Thank goodness radish grow fast! Better yet, plant it ASAP when you put seeds and transplants in. IPM notes
- Squash Bugs like your Zucchini and other squash, cucumber and melons. Plant white potatoes amongst them to repel the bugs. You will get two crops instead of just one! IPM info
- Whiteflies do the honeydew thing like aphids, leaving a nasty sticky black sooty mold over your plant’s leaves. The honeydew attracts ants, which interfere with the activities of Whitefly natural enemies. They are hard to get rid of, so keep a close watch on the undersides of leaves, especially if you see little white insects flying away when your plant is disturbed. Whiteflies develop rapidly in warm weather, in many parts of California, they breed all year. Prevent dusty conditions. Keep ants out of your plants. Hose them away immediately. See more
Plant Bee Food, Herbs and Flowers! Sow or transplant basil, borage, chervil, chamomile, chives, cilantro, comfrey, dill, fennel, lavender, marjoram, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, savory, tarragon, and thyme. Be mindful where you plant them… Mediterranean herbs from southern France, like lavender, marjoram, rosemary, sage, savory, and thyme, do well in hot summer sun and poor but well-drained soil with minimal fertilizer. On the other hand, basil, chives, coriander (cilantro), and parsley thrive in richer soil with more frequent watering. Wise planting puts chives where you need to repel Bagrada Bugs, by your broccoli, kale, but away from peas if you are still growing some. Cilantro, a carrot family workhorse, discourages harmful insects such as aphids, potato beetles and spider mites, attracts beneficial insects when in bloom. Dill is a natural right next to the cucumbers since you will use the dill if you make pickles. They mature about the same time. Let some of your arugula, carrots, lettuces, cilantro bloom! Bees, and insect eating birds and beneficial insects love them and you will get some seeds – some for the birds, some for you, some to swap! Grow beauty – cosmos, marigolds, white sweet alyssum – all benefit your garden in their own way!
The first gatherings of the garden in May of salads, radishes and herbs made me feel like a mother about her baby – how could anything so beautiful be mine. And this emotion of wonder filled me for each vegetable as it was gathered every year. There is nothing that is comparable to it, as satisfactory or as thrilling, as gathering the vegetables one has grown.
– Alice B. Toklas
See the complete May Green Bean Connection for more great veggie gardening tips!
April brought a LOT of wonderful flowers and veggies to Pilgrim Terrace Community Garden in Santa Barbara! See what we are planting, get some great ideas!
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The Green Bean Connection started as correspondence for the Santa Barbara CA USA Pilgrim Terrace Community Garden. We are very coastal, during late spring/summer in a fog belt/marine layer area most years, locally referred to as the May grays, June glooms and August fogusts. Keep that in mind compared to the microclimate niche where your veggie garden is. Bless you for being such a wonderful Earth Steward!
See the entire May GBC Newsletter:
May is for More!
The Magic of Melons ~ Cantaloupe, Honeydew
About Pulse Crops!
Urban Agriculture in India
Events! International Permaculture Day, Dr. Rafter Sass Ferguson on Permaculture, Santa Barbara City College Annual Plant Sale, Fairview Farm – Farm to Table Dinner, Farm Camp!
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Posted in Birds, tagged bird, decal, dish, drip, Garden, Goleta, habitat, insects, island seed & feed, La Cumbre Feed, lizard, News-Press, nutrients, Organic Garden Club, pan, Santa Barbara, seeds, shallow, sloped, slugs, species, stress, thirsty, topsoil, unwashed, volunteers, Water, window crash, WindowAlert on November 26, 2012|
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Birds are wonderful for our gardens! They eat seeds then deposit them randomly, mini fertilizations; we get amazing volunteers! They eat all kinds of insects, keep infestations from happening or reduce them. They sometimes scratch up the topsoil a tad, allowing nutrients to seep in. Personally, I enjoy their chatter and just seeing them.
This just in from Santa Barbara Organic Garden Club:
Protect birds from window crashes….
Sometimes you can find decals for this purpose at feed stores (La Cumbre Feed or Island Feed & Seed in the Santa Barbara/Goleta area), or go online:
Also, let windows get dirty and stay dirty. Or clean part of window and leave an X unwashed.
The writer says: We are stunned at the number of birds (new species we haven’t seen before) in our garden habitat. Take a look at today’s bird column in the [Santa Barbara] News-Press, explains what is going on. We NEED to support bird populations, as they are increasingly under stress.
Birds are very thirsty. Please ask your blog readers to add water to their garden, deck, patio, etc. Just a slow drip from a water hose, slightly propped up on a rock or over your favorite water thirsty plant, will be helpful. [If you leave a dish or pan of water, please use low sloped shallow items, put a flat stick for lizards and other littles to climb out on in case they accidentally go for a swim!] Thank you!!!!
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Posted in Amendment, Ants, Aphids, Biodiversity, Blood Meal, Compost, Disease, Disease Resistant, Eggplant, Fish - Kelp, Heirloom, Hybrid, Manure, Mildew, Pests, Season, Snails & Slugs, Soil, Tomato, Varieties, Water, White Fly, Worm Castings, tagged amend, ants, aphids, balance, basin, beneficial, biodiversity, blood meal, bloom, cold, Compost, day length, disease, drainage, drip, eggplant, fish emulsion, furrow, Garden, germination, HOT, insects, manure, mildew, N, Nitrogen, Organic, organisms, overhead, patch, pest, plants, possums, production, raccons, raised bed, row, Season, sidedressing, skunks, slugs, snails, Soil, temp, tolerant, tomatoes, variety, Veggies, virus, Water, weather, weeds, whiteflies, worm castings on February 17, 2012|
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Healthy care and choices make the difference!
Give your plants a chance!
Not too much N (Nitrogen) It imbalances your plants, just like too much sugar for us. You get lots of leaf, no fruit, growth is too fast and ‘soft,’ inviting to pests and diseases.
Watering practices make a difference. Overhead watering is not good for most plants, but especially not for fuzzy plants that like it dry – tomatoes, eggplant. Too much nighttime wet equals mildews and more slugs and snails, more remedies and pest prevention, more costly. Plants drink during the day – water in the AM when you can. Make furrows, water deep, let it soak in laterally. Make basins to keep water where you want it. Drip systems usually don’t work in a veggie garden you are planting biodiversely, mixing things up. Also, veggies come and go pretty quickly in an active garden. If you are row or patch planting, if the area is long or big enough, a drip system could work well.
- Water soaked soil is dead soil. Soil organisms, soil builders, simply drown. If in a low spot, check your drainage options; build a raised bed. Add organic water holding compost, water less no matter how much fun it is!
- Dry soil is dead soil. Nitrogen off gases, your soil organisms die or go away. See if you can channel some water to that area. Install furrows or build soil walls or basins to keep water where it is needed, avoid wasteful runoff. Again, add organic water holding compost. Water deeply. If you are gardening at home, busy and forgetful, perhaps you could install drip irrigation on a timer.
Avoid spreading viruses that can spread diseases. Really check those plants you buy at the discount nursery. Remove diseased plants and don’t compost diseased plants. This is a tough decision when it comes to disease tolerant plant varieties. They can have a disease yet still produce. They are bred to do that. Is that ethical? If you are gardening at home and make that choice, that is one thing. If you are in a community garden, and the disease is windborne, is it fair to your garden neighbors? Maybe we all need to get tolerant varieties.
Some diseases lurk in garden border weeds. Or you can bring them into the garden by walking through weeds. Insects bring some diseases and so do animals, like our skunks, raccoons, possums. If the ‘weeds’ are habitat for beneficial insects, be careful what you remove, consider the balances.
Ants. Whether you mind them or not probably depends on how many there are and what they are doing. If they are tending aphids, no! Not only are there ants with aphids, but white flies are attracted to the aphid honeydew as well. Otherwise, ants are virtuous hard working cleaner uppers! The take away dead insects. Balance is the key.
Varieties matter. Planting a variety out of season makes that plant struggle and be vulnerable to pests and diseases it can’t handle. In Santa Barbara we have the cool damp ocean areas and the hot dry foothills. Different varieties will thrive in one and not the other. Planting too early or too late, your plant will try, but may not be able. Some gardeners are totally pro Heirloom, against hybrids. But Nature herself hybridizes, it is a natural process. It occurs naturally by area and plants that grow there do the best there. In a way, we subtly do a similar thing ourselves when we select seed from our best plants. I think being flexible in your choices will get the best all around results.
Planting at the Right Time makes a big difference. Sometimes you just won’t get germination if it is too cold or hot. Or a plant thrives in temporary weather, but dies when it goes cold again, or too, too hot. They need certain temps and day length. Some may survive, but never thrive later. That is sad to see. So respect them. Know them well enough to honor their needs. Planted at the wrong time, pests they aren’t equipped to handle may eat them alive. If you are a big risk taker and financially don’t mind a few losses, go ahead. Some will succeed, for sure. You may or may not get earlier production. Sometimes plants can be planted a month apart, but the later one will ‘catch up,’ and produce at the same time as the earlier plant! Same can be true of smaller and larger transplants because it all depends on temps and day length.
Once your plants are going, sidedressing keeps them going! Sidedressing usually starts when your plants start to bloom, make fruits. Scatter and lightly dig in a little chicken manure and/or lay on a ½” of tasty compost, some worm castings, water on some fish emulsion, blood meal if they are yellowing and could use a quick Nitrogen boost. Water well.
Plant appropriate varieties on time, water and amend well, keep watch on pests and diseases. Robust happily producing plants are worth it, and a joy to watch!
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Posted in Veggies, tagged arugula, beetle, beets, birds, black plastic, borer, bug, bunnies, cage, catalog, chard, cloth, Colorado State, cucumber, cycle, eggplant, flea beetle, floating, floating row cover, Freeze, Frost, Garden, grasshopper, GreenhouseWorld, hardware cloth, hoop, hornworm, insects, leafminer, maggot, melon, mulch, nurseries, ocean, onion, overwintering, pesticides, pollination, potato, prevention, protection, radish, raised bed, reuse, Root, rotate, row cover, Soil, squash, store, sustainable, tomato, ventilation, warming, Water, weather, weed on January 6, 2012|
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Poly Floating Row Cover - slits for daytime ventilation. GreenHouseWorld.com
Have you ever used these? Why not?! Your family never did? The cost factor? They sound great! They’re not just for big farmers, you can get them from nurseries and most seed catalogs! I’m going to give them a try this year.
USES Use for warming your plants both for starting spring crops early, and to ripen finishing fall fruits. Use for frost protection, spring and fall. Keep away harmful insects that eat or lay eggs, spread viruses. Keep out birds and bunnies. A caution: ‘Colorado State University entomologists have found that overwintering insects can be trapped under the covers next to their favorite plants and be ready for action in spring. Some of these insects are tomato hornworm, onion and other root maggots, flea beetles and the [Colorado] potato beetle. Cultivate the soil before planting to reduce the number of surviving insects. Better yet, rotate crops so the survivors do not find their favorite plants nearby.’ OK?
How they work! If for heat and growth, lay down black plastic mulch for soil warming and weed prevention. Make your slits in the plastic, plant. Put on your row cover. You can put it over hoops, over tomato cages or wires like hardware cloth bent into an arc, tented, or laid right on your plants, installing enough so your plants have room to grow up underneath. Anchor it well so no marauders can walk under or slither in. You can water right through it. Cover a row, or cover your entire raised bed! If you are using the garden cloth row covers for freeze or grasshopper prevention, don’t let the covers touch your plants. Since they are good both to keep your plants warmer when planting early, and help with cool weather frosts and freezes, this is one time you can have it both ways! 🙂
They come in lots of varieties – ask questions, shop around. Select for your needs. Get a rig that’s easy to lift for tending, and harvesting, especially if you use them to protect your strawberries from birds.
Garden Cloth, easy to install at home using tomato cages - U of Maryland Extention
- The surest way to protect plants from hungry grasshoppers is to cover them with a barrier, such as a floating row cover or lightweight cloth. Be sure to hold the covers above plants with hoops or stakes, because grasshoppers are more likely to eat their way inside if leaves are pushing against the fabric.
- Beets & Chard Leafminers are the most common pest. Cover plants with fine netting or cheesecloth or floating row cover to protect them from adult flies.
- Effective in controlling cucumber beetles, squash borer and squash bugs.
- Flea beetles on arugula, cucumber, eggplant, radish.
Double up under the covers! Plant your main crop you want to protect, interplant with a smaller understory plant on the sunny side! You might put in some eggplant with arugula and radish interplanted on their sunny side.
Remove and store when no longer needed!
Lay right on your plants! Burpee.com
Danger of frost is past
The insect’s cycle is over. Know your insect.
You no longer need more warmth
To allow pollination. Especially melons, cucumbers and squash, that depend on insects for pollination.
Sustainable. Pesticides need to be applied weekly and/or after every rain, but with row covers they can be avoided completely. Keep your soil clean, and our ocean safe. Not only that, they save the time it takes to apply any formulas you may concoct, and if you are careful, you can lovingly reuse your row covers! You can use them several times a year, per weather need, as different plants need protection as insects cycle, and next year too! This is the best kind of ‘dirty laundry!’
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