Green Bean Connection
A Happy and Green New Year to You!
February - Final Plans, Preps, 1st Spring Plantings!
Calendula ~ Edible, Medicinal, Good for Your Garden, Easy to Grow!
January, February Seeds or Transplants, Pros & Cons
Other Community Gardens - Virginia Avenue Community Garden, Washington DC
Events! CEC EARTH DAY Celebration 2017!
Dear Community Gardeners, Garden Friends,
So thankful for the rains! Bareroot strawberries are doing great in spite of being soggy. It's been chilly and frosty, may delay some plantings. Please enjoy some January garden images!
We are still in drought conditions, so please WATER before 10:30 AM and after 4 PM. Use a watering sprinkler head or wand with a shutoff valve. Water at ground level rather than overhead watering other than to clean dusty plants. Berms need to go to the dripline of your plant so tiny subsurface feeder roots can fully supply your plant with water and nutrients it needs.
If you or a friend would enjoy gardening at a community garden, please join us! February is great for spring/summer planning, prepping, very earliest spring planting late February! A 10 X 20 spot is only $65/year! YES! Go directly to the Westside Community Center, weekdays 10 to 4, to sign up. That's at 423 W Victoria St, Santa Barbara. We will be delighted to meet you, share friendship, the great outdoors, and garden craft!
At Rancheria we have 4 people on the waitlist and at Pilgrim Terrace we have 5 plots available - 2,3,4,11,21. 11 and 21 don’t get a lot of sun so they’re a last choice. Contact Luis Gomez please!
Across-the-Plot Gardening Tips
February - Final Plans, Preps, 1st Spring Plantings!
Fine stout strong cherry tomato seedling grown by Jessica of Bountiful Backyard!
You went to the Seed Swap, have gotten your seeds from the catalog or nursery, and are itching for the right temps to plant!
Planning now is important because not all spring/summer plants are installed at the same time
. Planting in the right places now makes a difference.
Zucchini, cool tolerant tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and corn can be started now, by seed, in the ground. March is a little warmer and early variety plants get a better start. April is most everything - cucumber, pepper, squash, beans, more tomatoes, watermelon. May is the true heat lovers, cantaloupe, okra (June may be better yet), eggplant. Some gardeners wait to plant tomatoes until May and June to avoid the soil fungi of earlier months. I hold that space by planting something temporary there in March. June is good for okra, eggplant and long beans!
Summer garden planning tips emphasizing needing less water! Companions!
PLANT PLANTS THAT REPEL PESTS IN ADVANCE SO THEY WILL BE UP AND WORKING WHEN YOUR SEEDLINGS COME UP OR YOU INSTALL YOUR TRANSPLANTS!
Super use of your space!
- If you are not going to be canning, indeterminate tomatoes are the excellent choice! These are the vining tomatoes that produce all summer! This saves time and water because determinate, bush tomatoes produce quickly, all at once, then you have to replant and wait for more production. determinate toms do produce sooner, so for an earlier table production, plant them to hold you until your indeterminates are producing. Also, for earlier production, plant cherry tomatoes! Yum! Basil is great with tomatoes, and a pack of dandelions!
- Choose more prolific plants and varieties of them so you get more production for less water.
- Plant tall plants to the North unless you anticipate a scorching summer. If you think it will be HOT, plant tall to the west to shade shorter plants, keep your soil cooler, use less water.
- Plan to put cucumbers up on trellises to keep them disease free and clean, and so they ripen evenly all the way around. Co-plant with beans! Beans above, cukes below. Japanese Long cukes give a generous supply per water used!
- Next, intermingle mid height plants, bush beans, determinate tomatoes, tall peppers like Big Jim Anaheim or Polanos, zucchini - try the prolific heirloom, star shaped Costata Romanesco! Potatoes with Zucchini to repel squash bugs. Plant Radish ahead of cukes & zukes to repel cucumber beetles. Eat a few, but let several grow up by and through the plants you are protecting.
- Leave a winter broccoli or two for salad side shoots. Mulch well under your brocs right now! We want to keep these cool loving plants in cool. They help repel cucumber beetles, so push the mulch back, plant cucumbers underneath them. The mulch does double duty, keeping the cukes clean off the soil and insect free above the bug zone!
- Leave a couple of winter kale to provide over summer. Heat tolerant 1000 Headed Kale is a prolific choice that harbors less aphids on its FLAT leaves. Plant lettuces on the sunny side under your brocs and kale.
- Lower plants like eggplant, like a little humidity, so snuggle them among, in front of tall chards, maybe some curly leaf kale behind the chard. Radishes with eggplants/cucumbers as a trap plant for flea beetles.
- Lowest are the 'littles' or fillers! Mindful of companions, scatter beets and carrots, lettuce, radish, here and there among, alongside, under larger plants on their sunny side. Bunch onions away from beans. Some of them will be done before the bigger plants leaf out. When the bigger plant leaves start shading out the littles, harvest strategic large lower leaves. There isn't really a need to allot separate space for littles except strawberries! They need a separate patch with more acidic soil to keep them healthy and be more prolific producers!
- If you love cabbages, plant a few more, but they take up a fair footprint for what they produce and they take quite awhile to do it. Plant quick maturing mini varieties.
- SEED SAVING SPACE! Leave room for some arugula, cilantro, chamomile, a carrot or two, and a celery to go to flower to bring bees and beneficials! Besides being beautiful and having lovely scents, let them seed out for seeds for next plantings. Carrots love being with cilantro and chamomile!
- Pumpkin, melon, winter squash vines require some thoughtfulness. Pumpkin and winter squash vine leaves get as huge as healthy zucchini leaves, easily a foot wide! Mini melons have dainty 2" wide little leaves, can be trellised, are definitely low to the ground, can be quite smaller than strawberries! A healthy winter squash vine can easily be 3' to 4' wide, 30' long plus side vines, and produce a major supply of squash! You can use them as a border, as a backdrop along a fenceline. In SoCal, unless you are a squash lover, or won't be gardening in winter, there is question as to why you would grow winter squash at all. Greens of all kinds grow prolifically here all winter long, giving a fresh and beautiful supply of Vitamin A.
As winter plants finish, in spaces needing to be held for later, ie if you are planting okra in June, grow plants that are quick and prolific producers grown for their leaves, until it's the right time to plant those heat lovers! They produce continuously, and can be removed when you want the space. You will have lush harvests while you are waiting. Think of kales, chard, lettuce, beets, crops grown for their leaves, even mini dwarf cabbages. Perhaps you will leave some of them as understory plants and plant taller peppers like Poblanos or Big Jim Anaheims, and tomatoes among them. When the larger plants overtake the understory, either harvest the smaller plants, or remove or harvest lower leaves of larger plants and let the smaller ones get enough sun to keep producing.
Hardly anyone can resist planting early tomatoes!
In this early cooler time, plant your leafies to the sunny side of where the toms will be planted. Pop your tomato seeds in when soil temps are good, or put your transplants in as you get them. That way you have table food soonest and your heart is happy too! Here are a couple tips from James M Stephens at Florida University Extension: Tomato plants 4–5 weeks old grow and yield better than older transplants. He also says when setting your transplant into the soil, do not compress the soil around the roots; gently pour water into the hole to settle the soil around the roots. After the transplanting water has dried a bit, cover the wet spot with dry soil to reduce evaporation. Check! See Tomatoes
Choose early cold tolerant varieties.
Ones with northern names, in SoCal that could be Oregon Spring, or Siberian. Stupice from Czechoslovakia is very early! Bellstar, from Ontario Canada, is larger and earlier than other plum tomatoes. Early Girl is a favorite! And SunGold cherry tomatoes are almost always a winner! Cherry toms are small and will ripen when other tomatoes just stay green for the longest!
Hopefully, the weather will warm rapidly.
It's been COLD in Santa Barbara area! The January 30 9 AM ground temp at Rancheria was 48 degrees
. Though the soil may become fairly warm quickly in days to come, day length is still important. No matter how early you plant some plants, they still won't produce fruit until they have enough hours of sun, and for some, warmth including day and/or night and/or ground temps. If they miss their window, they may never produce at all...better to pull and replant. Keep growing those leafy producers - lettuce, chard, kale - in that space and plant the right plants at the right good time! See Best Soil Temps
indoors now for March/April plantings. If seeds and tending seedlings aren't for you, just wait, get transplants and pop them right in the ground per their right times!
Right now, from seed in the ground, sow
beets, caraway, celery, carrots, chard, chervil, chives, collards, cilantro (coriander), dill, endive, fennel, garlic, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuces, mustards, green onions, bulb onion sets, flat-leafed parsley, peas - mildew resistant varieties, white potatoes, radishes, shallots, spinach, and turnips. Get bolt resistant/slow bolt varieties, and especially heat and drought tolerant varieties.
Along with deciding plant locations, get ready for Summer Gardening!
Spring planting soil prep!
- Install gopher barriers.
- Get netting or bendable wire like aviary or 1/2" hardware cloth for bird protection.
- Install or repair pathways, berms. Lay in straw, boards, pallets, stepping stones.
- Waffle Garden, basins & windbreaks, Water Garden. Excellent drought choices.
- Gather cages & trellises
- Terrace slopes to prevent water runoff and topsoil loss
- Build raised beds, Hugelkultur
- Get new containers
- Setup Compost areas - enclosures, area to compost in place
- Organize where you will keep straw bales for summer mulch, compost layers
Add all your amendments at the same time! See more
- Compost! The amount of compost to use varies, depending on your soil's condition, plant selection, compost quality, and availability. A guideline offered by Cornell University (veggies - bottom of Pg 4) says use 3 inches over the surface worked into the top 3-6 inches of soil!
- Add well aged manure as appropriate. Less in spring because you want fruit production, not leaf, unless it is a plant grown for its leaves, like lettuce, kale or cabbage! None for carrots, peas or beans.
- Add 25% worm castings. As little as 10% works. They are potent - increase germination, faster seedling growth, help with plant immunities to disease.
- Adding guanos high in P, Phosphorus, at planting time helps your plants continue to bloom LATE in the season! Jamaican bat is high P phosphorus (blooms) 1-10-0.2.
- Sprinkle with a tad of coffee grounds to reduce fungal rots and wilts!! Grounds are more potent than they have a right to be! 0.5%, that’s 1/2 a %, or less is all that is needed or wanted!
- Don't cover with mulch unless you need it for erosion control. Covered soil is cooler. Let your winter cool soil warm up. Do mulch under broccoli and kale you will be keeping over summer. They do best with cool conditions.
- Water your prepped areas when you water your other veggies. Moist, not flooded, soil is rampant with soil organisms enriching your soil for free!
You are going to need it for summer plants! Soil building is the single-most important thing you can do for your garden. Compost keeps your soil aerated, has great water holding capacity, soil organisms flourish, it feeds just perfectly! And if you made it, you know what's in it! Make it HOT, Cold, or In place!
Dry is dead, so be sure it is always slightly moist. See more
One more round of green manure is doable where you will plant late April, May. Grow it where you will grow heavy summer feeders
like tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, peppers, chilis, squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, melons, and corn; hungry stalk vegetables like celery, fennel, rhubarb, and artichokes; or continually producing green, leafy vegetables like lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard. Green manure can be beautiful favas, bell beans, or a vetch mix to boost soil Nitrogen. Favas are big and you get a lot of green manure per square foot. With our warming weather, longer days, your green manure will grow quickly!
As soon as it begins to flower, whack it down, chop into small bits and turn under. It's more tender to chop while it's smaller. Taller is not
better. It takes 2 to 2 1/2 months to grow. Cut and turn. Wait two to three weeks then plant, plant, plant!
Hard working plants need fuel and water. As broccoli
starts to head, give it a fish/kelp tonic or compost/casting/manure tea! After the main head is cut, your side shoots will flourish!
When you put in seeds, sprinkle a bit of Sluggo type stuff around immediately to keep snails and slugs
from vanishing upcoming seedlings overnight, making you think they never came up! No, they didn't let you down. Killing off the creatures ahead of time saves the babies. It stops new transplants from being seriously damaged or entirely eaten while they are small. Do this a few times, to knock off the generations, and there will be no tiny vegetarian predators for a while.
Pull away those blotchy sections the leafminers
make on chard and beet leaves. Remove whole leaves that are too funky for rescue. Harvest the bigger outer lower leaves more often to stay ahead of the miners. Rather than row plant, interplant here and there. Water a tad less so leaves are less soft and inviting.
Watch for leaves unnaturally curled along the length of the leaf, particularly broccolis, cauliflowers, kale, cabbages. Hose aphids
off chard, kale and brocs. Keep doing it for a few days to catch the ones you missed. A little less water.
- For hard to get at places, down the centers of chard, crinkly kale leaves, get out that spray bottle! Treat once, wait a couple days, treat the ones that got away and newborns.
- I tried it, it WORKS! The simplest is to spray with 2 Parts alcohol, 2 parts water, 1 part soap. DO NOT use on seedlings, it will kill some of them. Spritz lightly rather than drenching or you may kill your bigger plant too!
Flush away, especially under the leaves. Remove any yellowing leaves, especially on your Brassicas, that attract white fly
. Again, a little less water.
Prevention A frustrating typical disease is Powdery mildew. It's common on Curly Leaf kales. Plant leaving plenty of space for air circulation. Apply your baking soda mix. Drench under and upper sides of the foliage of young plants to get them off to a great start! Do this the same or next day if transplanting. A super combo is 1 regular Aspirin dissolved, a 1/4 cup nonfat powdered milk, heaping tablespoon of baking soda, a teaspoon liquid dish soap per gallon/watering can. Reapply every 10 days or so, and after significant rains. Not only is prevention so much better than after mildew has set in, but this mix stimulates your plant's growth! See Aspirin Solution.
Do not compost diseased or infested leaves or plants.
Soil Checks! Especially after our recent rains, check beets, carrots, radish, potatoes, turnips, in general, for low soil. Soil naturally compacts with watering. Some of these veggies naturally push right up above ground as they grow. Planting their seeds deeper doesn't compensate. It's the nature of the veggie! Never hurts to put a handy little pile of extra soil near where you plant them. Cover their exposed shoulders to keep them from drying, getting tough, needing peeling, losing the nutrients in their skins. Uncovered carrot shoulders don't ripen but stay green. Same with potatoes.
Watering & Weeding is important after rains. Winds dry soil quickly and short rooted plants like peas, or seedlings, need to be kept moist.
When grass has those frilly little green tops
- Thinning is a form of weeding! Thin plants that need it, like beets that naturally start in foursomes! Thin plants you intentionally over planted - carrots, beets, turnips, kale, chard, mustard! If you planted too close together, take out shorter, smaller weaker plants. They are all great in your salads along with small tender Brassica leaves.
- Dust Mulching, cultivation, breaks up the soil surface, keeps water from wicking to the surface and evaporating. If you use a hula hoe you do two things at once! Just a half to one inch depth cuts off weed sprouts. Indeed, it turns the soil a tad, all that's needed. More weeds will follow, but it's quick and easy to repeat the process. Two, three times, a few days apart, and there will be little weeds after that for awhile. Get 'em while they are small and easy to do. Smart gardening.
, it is blooming and seeding! Remove it ASAP. Better yet is to remove weeds before
they seed! If at the seeding stage, gently pull, don't shake the soil loose from the roots and spread seeds all over, and don't put them in your compost!
Have a wonderful February! May your seedlings grow well!
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!
Love your Mother! Plant bird & bee food! Think grey water! Grow organic!
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Calendula ~ Edible, Medicinal, Good for Your Garden, Easy to Grow!
Calendula - yellow, Pineapple Sage - red, Strawberries, Scarlet Chard in back
Calendula is a terrific January on herb that brightens SoCal Gardens most of the year though they do prefer cool weather and tolerate frost. Yellow, orange, white or bicolor! Spiffy green, green leaves! One blogger refers to them as Sunshine Incarnate!
Aka Pot, English or Poet's Marigold ~ Calendula Officinalis, not to be confused with the Tagetes Marigolds used for Nematode suppression. See the Tagetes details
Be ready to give them some room! They grow up to 2' tall and can take up a good 3' footprint, plus they self seed, given time will spread if you let them. Plant well back from narrow pathways, or soon you won't be able to get through!
It's easy to grow.
If you still have plants from last year, gather seeds, drop them here and there in well drained areas when soil temperatures reach 60 degrees or after last frosts. Cover with about a 1/4" of soil, and the ones that like that spot will grow themselves! Or transplant babies. They aren't too picky about their soil and are cold hardy up to 25 degrees. Scorching heat is not good, so plant sooner or later. They do great in containers! Put them in accent places or where you can see them a lot of the time!
Remove browning lower leaves to keep them looking fresh and let air circulate. They are susceptible to mildew. Deadhead to keep on getting flowers!
GARDEN WORKHORSE COMPANION PLANT
Most insects avoid the plants
, which is in keeping with one of its old uses as the basis for insect sprays, contains pyrethrum. The idea of brewing up calendula tea from the plants' flowers and leaves, and using it as an insecticidal spray, is getting renewed attention based on several recent studies. In Poland, growing calendulas among cabbage resulted in fewer problems with aphids, cabbage worms, and diamondback moths. A recent study in India showed that calendula extract reduced feeding by tobacco cutworms.
The Mexican beetle avoids Bean rows that have Marigold/Calendula growing among them. Calendula repels a number of unwanted soil nematodes and asparagus beetles, but may attract slugs. Plant Calendula with tomatoes and asparagus.
Calendula attracts a wide range of pollinators because it provides nectar over the whole growing season.
It is a super trap crop for aphids, whiteflies, and thrips
because it exudes a sticky sap that they find more appealing and delicious than nearby crops.
Calendula flowers attract pollinator bees and butterflies!
The nectar–along with the pests that it traps–attracts beneficial insects such as ladybugs, hoverflies, and lacewings. Black flies that are attracted are followed by predatory hoverflies that feast on insect pests.
Calendulas also benefit the garden below ground, where they form partnerships with soil-borne fungi that turn the plants into soil-cleaning machines. In China and the USA, calendula has been found to be useful in the restoration of soil contaminated with high levels of cadmium. In Columbia and Spain, cover crops of calendula were found to suppress root-knot nematodes.
Calendula is an excellent multi-functional plant for permaculture fruit tree guilds.
Calendula grows thick and makes a great cover crop
. Seed an area, let it grow, turn it under.
Plant Calendula right in the middle of things, between, next to any plant you want to help!
PESTS & DISEASES
Pests are Aphids, snails, slugs, whiteflies and the cabbage looper. Wash away aphids, remove infested leaves if necessary. Use a vinegar solution to kill them. Toss some organic snail/slug bait around two or three times to remove generations of snails. Where there are holes in the leaves, seek and remove loopers.
The disease is Powdery mildew. No Overhead watering. Mildew can be a problem on a plant you have pinched back to get dense bushy foliage with little air circulation. Best to prevent mildew by including it in your baking soda
applications. UC IPM Powdery mildew UC IPM Calendula
Calendula seeds have personality! No two are alike. Saving them is simple! Let them dry on the plant for the most nutrition the mother plant can give them. Select plants with the color you want. Hold a bag underneath the dried flower head, gently break off the seeds. If the seeds don't want to break off easily, let them dry a little longer. Lay them out in a dry place for two to three days to dry completely off the plant.
Gather enough for yourself and to share as gifts or package up for your local Seed Swap! Label your packet, store in a dry cool dark place.
Calendula infused oil Recipe
by Ashley. That's her beautiful image just below!
An account, written in 1699
, states “The yellow leaves of the flowers are dried and kept throughout Dutchland against winter to put into broths, physicall potions and for divers other purposes, in such quantity that in some Grocers or Spicesellers are to be found barrels filled with them and retailed by the penny or less, insomuch that no broths are well made without dried Marigold.” Marigold is another name for Calendula.
Medicinal, of course, depends on whether you like doing that with your plants. I'm not too patient about building my own remedies, though one of these days I might do it. I know Calendula from tubes of goo I buy at the health food store. It's good for skin ailments, minor cuts and burns, sunburn, insect bites, diaper rash, dandruff! Use for skin and tummy ailments with dogs, horses, and cows, ear mites in doggies.
Sore throat? It doesn’t matter whether it is viral or bacterial infection because Calendula is effective against both! Gargle your tea 2-3 times a day or sip warm calendula tea slowly to get immediate relief. For children, mix honey with the tea and give spoonfuls of it several times a day.
It increases blood flow to the skin cells, provides antioxidant protection that reduces the appearance of wrinkles and ages spots, and even the visibility of scars. Calendula tea is great!
The easiest way to make the tea
is to put about a tablespoon of dried calendula
flowers in a heat proof mug and pour boiling water over them. Cover with a saucer and let steep for around 15 to 20 minutes.
It has antibacterial
properties that make it good in toothpastes, mouthwashes, soaps, and shampoos. It is very effective in killing bacteria that cause everything from gingivitis to cavities. Research has shown that calendula has antioxidant compounds that directly impact your vision
, helps prevent macular degeneration and the development of cataracts. Calendula can significantly reduce inflammation
discomfort from a cough, joint pain, upset tummy. Add some calendula oil to your skin balm.
If you need a lot of flowers for your remedies, fertilizers high in phosphorus help. Jamaican bat guano is great, but needs to be added to your soil 4 months in advance of planting so it has time to break down for your plant to uptake. Plant densely and deadhead.
Some people have allergic reactions to high doses of calendula oil. Consult a trained herbalist or medical professional to avoid any major side effects.
EDIBLE LANDSCAPING - COOKING WITH CALENDULA!
Petals of single flowered varieties have better flavor! It's spicy leaves and flowers are added to soups, sprinkled on salads, used as garnishes, in salsas, burritos, scrambled eggs, and frittatas! The yellow pigment of the flowers is used in place of saffron, in fact is called 'Poor man's saffron.' It is tasty good looking quiche, cake frosting, rice, butter, in or on cream cheese! Add to bread, syrups and conserves. You can dry the flowers and leaves for longer storage, to make winter tea and tonics.
There are tons of calendula varieties with different flower shapes, color combos, dwarfs for containers and borders, single to multi heads! Prince is heat resistant. Pacific Beauty
is heat tolerant
, has long stems for cutting!
Orange Calendula Flower at Pilgrim Terrace Community Garden, Santa Barbara CA
We are charmed by its beauty and it serves us well. Thank you dear plant.
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January, February Seeds or Transplants, Pros & Cons!
Starting Sage & Lavender Indoors - Gary Pilarchik
Do both! Seeds and transplants!
If you are late planting seeds, it's off to the nursery for transplants!
Some plants just don't come in six packs, like radish. Seeds it is.
Watching seeds sprout and seedlings unfurl and grow is divine! It's a miracle! Many have just never done it and find, to their delight, how easy and inspiring it is! Seeds can be started indoors at home or right where you want them, in the garden!
Veggie Seeds Soil Planting Temps!
Seed Soaking/Presprouting Tips & Ideas!
Soil for Seed Starting! DIY, Pre-made
- The beauty of seeds is you can select plants your nursery doesn't carry!
- You can start them indoors 6 weeks earlier than you can plant seeds in the ground!
- If you planted it right in the ground, you have saved yourself the step of transplanting!
- Some plants just don’t like to be transplanted! Annuals, plants with large seeds, plants that require weathering, plants with fragile root systems and root crops - beets, carrots. Like snapdragons, nasturtiums, spinach, and peas.
- Root crops like carrots need depth. If their tap root comes in contact with the bottom of a container it will fork or bend. Better to sow directly in your soil.
- Plants that are quick to germinate, get up and get strong, are great to start from seed, like radishes, beans, peas, beets, and turnips.
- If you are growing a lot or in succession, seeds are the most inexpensive way to grow your garden.
- Be prepared to thin your seedlings, which means pulling out a few plants so your crop is spaced apart enough. Beet seedlings need 2-4 inches apart, but the seed grows in fours, so each plant needs room to make a normal-sized beet. Crowded plants compete for light, water, and nutrients. Also, lack of airflow will encourage diseases. The pro here is those young tender seedlings are perfect in salads!
- Seedlings thinned from over-crowded areas may be moved to fill in bare spots.
- Growing seeds for transplants indoors are protected from the elements and garden pests while you can also control soil, moisture, fertility and heat.
- You can select only the strongest seedlings to transplant.
- All your plants are up when you plant them - no germination failures, empty spaces, no wondering, no replanting necessary, no lost time.
- If you complete the circle by continually keeping the seeds from open-pollinated plants in your garden, you'll create a vegetable strain (AKA: landrace) that thrives in your particular environment.
- There is well deserved pride in growing your veggies from seed-to-plate!
- Seed germination in the ground isn't guaranteed. You wait to find out and if it doesn't start, you lose time, possibly it gets beyond the planting window and it was not a plant your nursery carries. Starting a few seeds indoors as backup is wise.
- The number of days to germinate in your garden could be very different than those given on a seed packet due to soil conditions, weather, whereas with a transplant, there's no guessing.
- Extra tender care and time is needed as seedlings germinate and get going. Transplants are sure, up and ready! All you have to do is go get them...
- Seedlings need to be weeded so they aren't overgrown.
- Sometimes seedlings need protection from birds, pests - especially slugs, and freezes or hot sun.
- Right watering must be done, you can't miss.
- Tomatoes like moving air to development well, if starting indoors you may need a fan.
- Yes, there is a learning curve with seeds. Research is important so you can choose the best for your climate, soil and light conditions, the season - first and last frosts.
- You'll need a seed germinating space. Regular shop lights are fine for germinating seeds, but there usually is an initial investment of some kind, like maybe that fan!
Healthy homegrown Pepper seedlings - New Life on a Homestead
Oh it's so much fun to select transplants! It gives you the option of trying new plants, varieties, sometimes getting another one if one has failed. While you are shopping, there are marvelous other gardening tools, amendments, flowers you can get! Who knows what you will come back with?! And you can plant in the garden the same day!
From the Nursery Pros:
- Nursery transplants take a whole lot less time! You just go get them.
- If you don't have a place to grow seeds, transplants from the nursery are terrific. You can ask, they may be able to get special varieties you would like.
- Some plants are just plum hard to get started from seed. A transplant is perfect, thanks.
- Starts are especially perfect for beginning gardeners who would like to skip the part that includes vulnerable, infant plants. Starting and babying tiny plants may not be your cup of tea either! Let the experts do it!
- With transplants the seed is germinated, it’s showing vigor and chances for a successful garden are more likely from the outset. This is particularly important when you have a limited number of warm summer days or you are planting late!
- On average, transplants give you a SIX WEEKS jump start on the season, because they will mature sooner and give you an earlier harvest. Transplants give higher early yields, and, one gardener says, in the case of watermelons, give larger fruits.
- Transplants can give you a great boost with succession planting, which means planting the same thing several times per season to ensure continuous harvest. For great results with lettuce, for example, you can start your first succession via transplants, and then follow every 2-3 weeks with lettuce seeds sown directly into your garden.
- If your seeds have failed, you can get transplants at the nursery!
- Transplants can be more resistant to insect pests, because they are more mature and stronger when you first put them into your garden. Many insect pests, like slugs, just love teeny tiny seedlings. Put down Sluggo or something like it even before you transplant, but definitely at the same time you install your plants. An overnight slug fest can remove an entire plant!
- Planting transplants gives you immediate satisfaction. Who doesn’t love starting their garden and seeing all those baby plants?
- Buying transplants can be more cost effective, and provides you with a great way to support local farmers and garden centers.
- Conscientious local nurseries carry starts that are grown specifically for your area. So you don't have to worry about planting a variety that doesn't do well in your zone. Box stores are less likely to be region specific.
- Having strong, young plants gives you some leeway per correct planting times. Transplants can be put in the ground earlier than seeds can be planted! If you miss a planting window, go get transplants from the nursery and you are back on time!
From Your Nursery at Home Pros:
- Start 6 weeks before safe outdoor soil planting temps. Head start!
- Sow seeds indoors during cool weather, harden off, then move outdoors, when weather warms up, not before.
- Since the seedbed produces many more plants than needed, choose only the very best plants!
- Reduce loss. The disease and pest free, precise environment of indoor planting is more protected than seeds germinated and seedling growth in the ground.
- You can plant exactly as many as you need.
- You know they are organic all the way, seed and soil, feeds.
Importantly, if you are growing your own transplants indoors, harden them off well. Expose them to slightly cooler temps and some dryer conditions before putting them out. Most transplants have been raised in warm, favorable temperatures, spoiled with plenty of water. They may suffer transplant shock from suddenly changing those conditions. They may wilt or even die with cooler night temperatures, lots of temperature fluctuation, or drier conditions.
How to Transplant for Super Successful Returns!
- Starts from the nursery are the most expensive way to plant a garden. Prices can vary drastically depending on where you shop.
- There is a carbon footprint. Yes, most do use plastic containers and you usually drive to the nursery.
- Your variety choices are limited to the plants the nursery or garden center selects from their grower.
- Box stores often carry out of season veggies for your locality.
- You have to buy more than you need, they only come in four or six packs.
- The nursery runs out or doesn't have as many as you need or they aren't in good condition.
- Consider that transplants can introduce weeds, pests and diseases into your garden. Most producers of transplants are very careful about this, especially with respect to diseases, but it is not uncommon to get a little grass or other weed seed into your transplant pack now and then. Carefully check for pests, the undersides of leaves.
- Transplants you start yourself are time and labor intensive, and sometimes the whole batch fails. For more assurance, plant backup seeds every few days. If you end up with too many, share them with other gardeners who will be so grateful!
Veggies easy to direct seed - that's right in the ground!
- Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, Cauliflower, Collards, Kale, Kohlrabi
- Melons, Watermelon
- Root crops - beets, carrots, garlic, onion, radish, turnips
- Tomato grows rampantly from seed!
Veggies to transplant or start in trays or get at the nursery!
- Tomatoes are fun to get at the nursery because there are often so many exotic varieties! In Santa Barbara, that nursery is La Sumida!
Know that different gardeners do better with one plant than another! Their peppers always do well, they never get eggplant! Their onions never get big, but they get super big juicy celery stalks!
Garden Magic! Self-sowers & Volunteers
I have a soft spot for volunteers! I love the variety, surprises the birds bring already fertilized and ready to grow! Plants that self seed are a gift! They know where to grow and come up at the perfect time. Let your plants live out their life cycle, make flowers for the bees, butterflies and beneficial insects, seeds for the birds, before cleaning up. Leave a few of your very best tomatoes and cucumbers to decompose in the garden. Let sunflowers, calendula, violas and other annuals drop their seeds and make pretty next year. These plants will have natural vigor. Transplant them to your convenience if you must, but let them grow as they naturally are whenever possible.
Experienced gardeners do a little seed planting in the ground, some grow their own transplants indoors, and at times buy transplants for various reasons! Maybe the nursery got a new plant and you gotta try it!
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Other Community Gardens!
Virginia Avenue Community Garden, Washington DC
Photo by Ricky Carioti, The Washington Post
As Jonny Graves says, '60 plots of potential...all it takes is a quick turn away from the abject development of the city, and getting on your hands and knees in the dirt to grow something beautiful.'
Virginia Avenue Community Garden was founded in 2004 on four acres in Washington DC north of the Barracks, in the shadow of the 695 off-ramp, on the south-eastern edge of the Capitol Hill neighborhood. It was built with sweat equity. It was a threadbare city park filled with drug dealers, broken playground equipment and a cracked basketball court. The new residents of south Capitol Hill trucked in compost and soil and, in return, the District provided a watering system to help grow organic food. Private donations paid for street lamps, landscaping and bird feeders. Now the waiting list for a plot has grown to 50 families, the average wait time is 2 years to get a plot.
It is fully organic, feeds over 60 families and the members are active composters. They have also received grants to plant over ten fruit trees and build a pergola for member enjoyment. The VACG is on park land that was on top of the neighboring Marine Barracks list of desirable locations for their relocation and expansion. The garden community initiated a Campaign to Save Virginia Avenue Park in hopes of saving this beloved garden and green space and they did it!
Plots come in three different sizes (12′X3.5′; 20′X3.5′; or 10′X10′). Gardeners pay a fee of .50/sq ft.
Community Gardens are sources of fresh, nutritious food, outdoor classrooms, places of healing, links to immigrants’ native countries, centers of social interaction, and oases of beauty and calm in inner-city neighborhoods. See this touching video for some perspectives on urban veggie gardening. Save Virginia Avenue Park Produced by Roadside Organics and Guagua Productions.
Upcoming Garden Events!
Walk or bike to events as possible! Heal the land, heal yourself.
CEC's EARTH DAY 2017!
Saturday, April 22, 2017 (11am-7pm) and Sunday, April 23, 2017 (11am-6pm)
Alameda Park, Santa Barbara, CA
2016 Attendance was about 30,000! Mark your calendar for a weekend of live music, educational speakers, sustainable food, and hundreds of exhibitors eager to help you reduce your carbon footprint.
Our 47th annual Santa Barbara Earth Day festival is a reminder that we must work together as individuals, communities, and nations to keep global warming well below two degrees, the level at which scientists say climate change will have seriously detrimental effects on the human population.
To exhibit, sponsor or volunteer, get in touch! Invite your out of state guests now! Plan to plant some trees together! Walk or ride your bike!
Stay tuned for more details about the festival at SBEarthDay.org and Facebook.com/SBEarthDay.
Leave a wild place, untouched, in your garden! It’s the place the faeries and elves, the little people can hang out. When you are down on your hands and knees, they will whisper what to do. All of a sudden an idea pops in your mind….
In the garden of thy heart, plant naught but the rose of love. – Baha’U’Uah
"Earth turns to Gold in the hands of the Wise" Rumi