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Veggie Gardening for NO $ at All!

Pest Prevention and taking care of your plants during pest cycles is a natural part of gardening!
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There are times in our lives when being frugal may be a necessity. If this is one of those times, read on! Or if some of these ideas work for you just because they are good, go for it! If you are just starting your veggie garden check out Start Growing Your Own Organic Veggies! for general ideas first!

Pick a space that thrills you! Backyard, front yard, street strip, a cheerful sunny spot where you can put a bench or a comfortable outdoor chair. Put your garden near a water source.

Tools A shovel and trowel will get you started! A pitchfork is handy for turning compost. Check Craigs free, see if a neighbor or friends have extras they are not using.

If you want raised beds, they can be simple frameless mounds, or frame them with reused lumber, logs, a natural stone border, cement blocks, use old kiddie swimming pools – get creative!

Prepare your soil! The least work is making a mound on the ground! It starts with twigs, straw (not hay), stuff that allows air flow. Then, compost in place! Layer on dry brown stuff first, then green wet stuff,  2 to 3 dry to 1 wet ratio, repeat, repeat, repeat in 1/2 to 1″ layers! The smaller the bits the faster the decomposition. This is the same as sheet composting, literally making soil in place, often called lasagna gardening. Same, same. If you have a raised bed system, build your ‘pile’ right in the bed! No digging, no moving compost! Greens might be your neighbor’s grass clippings. Your straw might come from your local feed store; usually they will let you sweep it up for free! During the fall, after pumpkin events, outdoor events or displays, straw bales are often given away for the taking! These already-starting-to-decompose bales are perfect for gardening! If you get really adventurous, check out Hugelkultur! See Composting Methods, Make it Your Way!

You can plant immediately by opening up a hole, putting already made compost, some manure, and if you have them, some worm castings, and plant!

Scout for free manures. Check Craig’s list, free items. Make sure no pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers have been used, stalls not sprayed to kill flies, and animals not fed hormones and the animals themselves are healthy. All you need are trash cans or buckets or big strong trash bags to carry stuff in. If you don’t have a car, do small loads on/by bus, or invite a friend who has a car/van/truck on an adventure with you; repay them with some of your harvest!

If you don’t have a yard area, containers are kosher! Any container will do as long as it has drainage holes in the bottom, or along the side if you are setting up a self-watering system. It can be a 5 gallon bucket to a lovely 1/2 wine barrel! Anything that will hold soil will do! Hang it on the fence, the balcony railing, the wall. Grow plants in the window! Get up on the roof (be sure that is safe for the weight including when watered)!

Get thee to the Foodbank for free seeds!  Seeds there that are donated by local gardeners are adapted to our local climate niche! Seed Swaps are terrific! Some seed houses, like Baker Creek Heirlooms don’t charge shipping!

Great good stuff from your organic grocery store! Eat some, use the rest in your garden! Get fava, lentil and beans seeds by the pound, unradiated potatoes for slips and eyes, mini onions for onion sets. Tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers for seeds. Excellent seeds from the farmer’s best plants!

Scout for trellising materials for your winter peas and summer beans. Peas have small tendrils, so wire type materials work well for them, or a string system. Old tomato cages will do if that’s all you have available. Beans don’t have tendrils, so any trellis will do.

Get free mulch for pathways at the Transfer Station, or call your local arborist for free delivery of chipped trees. Ask for the kind of tree you want and size of chips you want.  Tell them it is for a veggie garden and you want disease, pesticide and herbicide free materials. They are happy to save the dump fee. Be there when they are to deliver so you be sure you get what you asked for.

Check Craigs free list for garden goodies and plant giveaways. Be sure the goods are clean and the plants are disease and pest free. When in doubt, don’t.

Learn how to do Cut & Come Again! You can do that with almost all greens crops! Rather than cutting the plant down, like the whole head of lettuce or a stalk of celery, harvest the outer leaves/stalks while they are young, tender and in good shape!! Let more grow from the center, harvest again! You don’t need as many plants and you don’t need to keep buying seeds or continually replant.

  • Be careful with beet and turnip greens. Leave enough for the plant to produce the bulb!
  • Cut bunch onions/leeks about 2″ above the soil; they will grow back! If conditions are right, Spring onions will grow more around the parent plant!
  • Keep peas and beans harvested so the plant doesn’t quit producing!
  • After cutting the main head off broccoli, let the side shoots grow to form many small heads on all sides of the stem!
  • MSU’s Gretchen Voyle says fennel may have several small plants growing around its green, bulbous base where it comes out of the ground. Remove the big one and let the small ones grow larger. Same with artichokes!
  • I also like this that she says! ‘It is similar to planting a big row of beets and thinning them so the remaining beets can grow bigger. Instead of throwing away the thinned ones like some gardeners do, wash and cook them for greens and tiny beets. Oh, let’s call that “double-duty cuties” and make it new and fun, too.’

Trouble?! One of the simplest ways to prevent trouble is to use companion planting. The companion plant is usually also edible! See this page for summer and winter companion lists! For Mildew, a common disease, use this home remedy mix for prevention – see Pest/Disease Free, Well Fed Veggies! If you do run into trouble, there are many homemade remedies you can make with what you already have at home. An important one is for Wilts diseases: Wilts & Cucumber Beetles, Tomatoes & Cukes!


Canning, drying, freezing and storage
extend your rewards! Unless you have a windfall gift, there are the initial expenses of cans and cooking gear, a drying machine maybe. You can sun dry some veggies and fruits. Dry your herbs for seasonings! Give as gifts! Freezing requires secure storage bags. In cool country, growing winter squashes is a no brainer for nutritious long lasting cold season food! Store winter squashes and sweet potatoes in clear storage containers under your bed! The containers are a one time expense unless you have some around. Other than that, you are supplied for a time to come at no further cost.

Save seeds to keep it going! Save some for seasonings, like cilantro/coriander! And if you have extra, please give some back to the Foodbank seed library or share at the next Seed Swap. There are many who will be grateful.

If you go to your local nursery and can’t help yourself, remember, that $3 tomato plant will make pounds and pounds of tomatoes over a season! A $3.99  6 pack of kale or chard will feed a family all year long! A few strawberry plants will produce tons of delicious berries for your breakfasts or healthy snacking!

Frugal Gardening is literally its own reward!

Last updated 5.10.2020

 


Love your Mother! Plant bird & bee food! Think grey water! Grow organic! Bless you for being such a wonderful Earth Steward!

The Green Bean Connection started as correspondence for the Santa Barbara CA USA Pilgrim Terrace Community Garden. All three of Santa Barbara’s community gardens are very coastal. During late spring/summer we are often in a fog belt/marine layer 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!

 

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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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Mesa Harmony Garden Volunteer Planting & Maintenance
First Saturday of every month between 9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., July 2
Bring shovels, wheel barrows, picks, etc. and a friend!

Sunday July 10 FREE DAY at Santa Barbara Botanic Garden!
YouTube link  Celebrating 85 years, perfect for summer guests!

Fairview Gardens, Urban Homesteading, Preserving the Harvest!

Beautiful image is header at SBCanning!

These 3 classes are taught by our Westsider list member, Certified Master Food Preserver, Cindy Shipp!  Sign up in advance for all these tasty classes!

All the classes will be hands on demonstrations of either water bath or pressure canning techniques. Every class will take home a jar of the recipes we make. For more information, or to sign up for these great classes, go to: http://www.fairviewgardens.org/PreservingtheHarvest.htm

July 23 Preserving the Harvest #1 9 am to 12 pm $40
August 20 Preserving the Harvest #2 9 am to 12 pm $40
September 17 Preserving the Harvest #3 9 am to 12 pm $40

International Permaculture Conference and Convergence, IPC10, will be held in Jordan across September 2011.  The theme is “Plan Jordan ~ Water”. http://www.ipcon.org/  The biennial International Permaculture Conference is the world’s premier permaculture gathering. Don’t miss it!

Enjoy!  Ride your bike or walk to these events when you can! 

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Local and One International Event! 

Mesa Harmony Garden Volunteer Planting & Maintenance, Install Water System
First Saturday of every month between 9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., June 4
Bring shovels, wheel barrows, picks, etc. and a friend!

Surfrider Foundation’s Ocean Friendly Gardens Program Series, Basics Class
Saturday, June 11th, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm
Louise Lowry Davis Center, 1232 De La Vina St

Basics Class: review the process of creating and maintaining an Ocean Friendly Garden and steps necessary to complete the work yourself.  Led by G3, the Green Gardens Group (flier attached).  RSVP To: santabarbaraofg@gmail.com

Soon to follow in the Series: Ocean Friendly Garden Workshop, Workday and Walk!

Fairview Gardens, Urban Homesteading  Sign up in advance
June 4 & 5 Introduction to Permaculture: 2 Day program Two full days $195
June 18 Container Gardening – Gardening for small spaces, 9 am to 12 pm $40

July 23 Preserving the Harvest #1 9 am to 12 pm $40
August 20 Preserving the Harvest #2 9 am to 12 pm $40
September 17 Preserving the Harvest #3 9 am to 12 pm $40

International Permaculture Conference and Convergence, IPC10, will be held in Jordan across September 2011.
The theme is “Plan Jordan ~ Water”. http://www.ipcon.org/  The biennial International Permaculture Conference is the world’s premier permaculture gathering. Don’t miss it!

Enjoy!  Ride your bike or walk to these events when you can! 

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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 NurseryRain 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  info@fairviewgardens.org

Apr 16 & 17, CEC’s Earth Day Festival 2011!

Give your Valentine a basket of veggies and some seeds to plant!  Have a great month!

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Rainy Day Harvesting!

Anticipate! 

Fertilize before a rain so the fertilizer will soak in.
Take the cover off your compost to let it get wet.
Tie or stake plants that may topple from wind or weight.
Set up to harvest rainwater for later use! 
Make raised beds, mounds, to help with drainage issues.
Mulch to keep soil from splashing up on your plants, keeping your harvest clean, holding water in place to soak in, and keep soil from eroding.
Make ‘permanent’ pathways with boards, stepping stones, straw bedding, so you won’t be compacting your planting area soil when it is wet or dry!
Plant for air circulation so foliage dries quickly.  Plants too closely spaced, make a warmer micro environment, tend to get mildew easier.
Choose mildew resistant plants! 
Drench your young plants with a mix of a heaping tablespoon of baking soda, a 1/4 cup of nonfat (so it won’t rot and stink) powdered milk in a large watering can of water for mildew prevention and abatement.  It works for certain other diseases as well!
Water less frequently and at ground level, not overhead.

During a rainy period….

If you didn’t before, get out there in your rain gear and add some manure or fertilizer!  Great excuse to play in the rain!
Check frequently to see how your plants are doing.  Secure any tall plants, trellises that need it.
If a plant is too low and in standing water, raise it.  Put your shovel deep under it, put some filler soil underneath the shovel!  
Add more mulch if it has shifted or wasn’t quite deep enough to keep mud spatter from your plants.
Be sure your wormbox worms are not doing the backstroke!
Rebuild any drainage channel that has weakened, clear if clogged.
Make sure all your rain harvest system is working well.  Kudos to you for harvesting!
Practice arm-chair gardening!  Read garden books, magazines, browse web sites, buy some seeds from mail-order catalogs, design your new garden layout!
Get some seeds, soilless potting mix, gather containers with, or make, drainage holes.  Start some seeds!
If the rain is prolonged, uh, do an aphid, snail and slug check as frequently as you can.  Sluggo works on snails  and slugs even when it is wet.  Hard to believe, but, yes, it does.
If the rain is prolonged, do harvest your fresh and crunchy produce!  Lettuces will flourish!  Check on fast maturing broccoli and cauliflower heads to cut at peak maturity!  Gather your luscious strawberries.  Keep your peas picked to keep them coming!

After the rain!  YES! 

Do some thinning for air circulation as makes sense.  Often there is a growth spurt, and you can see where thinning is needed.
Repair areas where soil has washed away exposing roots.  Put some mulch on.
It’s often warmer after a rain, and it is the warmth that mildew loves!   Drench mildew susceptible plants with your mildew mix immediately, early in the day so your plants can dry.  If you prune mildewed areas off, remove those prunings, wash your hands and pruners before you go on to other plants.
Do what you do about snails and slugs.  Keep checking for aphids – blast them away with water or remove infested leaves.
There is often more gopher activity after rain has softened the soil, so be ready! 
In later days, after the rain, harvest first, water second!  That’s the rule to keep from spreading diseases spread by moisture.

Enjoy the superlative rapid growth of your very happy plants!

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Invitation to Plant Fruit Trees Sat June 12 at Alpha!

Thanks to your dedication in the voting process, Alpha has been selected to receive the FIRST orchard from Dreyer’s and the Fruit Tree Planting
Foundation. The ground is being prepared now to accept 140 fruit trees on June 12th that will need your loving help to plant. All you need is a shovel, gloves and a little time to come out and join in the festivities. We also need experienced fruit tree planters and gardeners to be team leaders. If you RSVP indicate if you are willing to be a team leader?  

A representative from Dreyer’s will be on hand to pass out fruit bars and dedicate a bench in the orchard.  

When: Saturday, June 12th
11:30 am – 5:00 pm
Come for any part of the time you can spare – all hands are welcome.
  

Where: Alpha Resource Center
4501 Cathedral Oaks Road
Santa Barbara, CA 93110  

To RSVP for the tree planting, please e-mail mbourke@alphasb.org  

Marisa Pasquini Bourke
Alpha Resource Center of Santa Barbara  

Alpha Resource Center - New Orchard Area!

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