Green Bean Connection
Happy St Patrick's Day & Spring Equinox!
MARCH, Celebrate Spring Planting!
Veggie Soil Planting Degrees
Garden Designs, Raised Beds to Forest Garden!
Mother's Day is May 10!
Events! Community Gardens Bike Tour, EARTH DAY, Permaculture Course!
Dear Pilgrim Terrace Gardeners, Garden Friends,
We had a terrific turnout, 102 gardeners, at our Master Gardener event at Mesa Harmony Garden yesterday! Many were members of SB Food & Farm Adventures! Please consider becoming a Master Gardener, joining Farm & Food Adventures, or volunteering at Mesa Harmony permaculture garden to promote our local gardening! It felt good to be introduced as a 'long time garden advocate!' Thank you all for coming!
Welcomes to New Gardeners Jenna Cheney Plot 6, Michael & Autumn Plot 13! So good to have you with us. Welcome back to Owen Hanavan Plot 50! Big thanks to him and his friend for clearing FOUR of our community boxes! If anyone has any baby sage plants to give us, we need 3 or 4!
Please clear your half of the pathway around your plot. Weeds have gone wild after the rains and are seeding! You don't have to dig them out, but do chop them off below the crown so they don't grow again, like mowing a lawn! Thanks!
The refurbished Greenhouse is ready for spring use! Starts begun early March will be ready for late April, May plantings! “I have great faith in a seed.” THOMAS JEFFERSON
If you or a friend would enjoy gardening at a community garden, get going right now - MARCH is the beginning of spring planting! A 10 X 20 spot is only $64/year! YES! Go directly to the Louise Lowry Davis Center, Parks & Recreation office, to sign up. That's at 1232 De La Vina St, Santa Barbara. We will be delighted to meet you and share friendship, sunshine, and garden craft!
MARCH, Celebrate Spring Planting!
Love your Mother! Plant bird & bee food! Capture water! Grow organic!
Start MORE seedlings indoors for April/May plantings. Sow seeds. Transplant! If seeds and tending seedlings aren't for you, get transplants and pop them right in the ground per their right times!
Night and ground temps are still a bit cool. Night air temps above 50 and soil temps 60 to 65 are what we are looking for. Growth stress is difficult for plants to overcome. Peppers, especially, will just “sulk” if their roots are chilled, and they usually don’t recover. They especially need nighttime temps above 55°F and soil temps above 65°F. While temps are still cool, start with small fruited varieties and cherry toms. Plant patio and determinate, early varieties for soonest production and/or if you have little space.
When the temps are right, put your seeds and transplants in at the same time. Seedlings will come along 6 to 8 weeks behind your transplants so you have a steady supply of yummy veggies! Succession planting makes such good sense. But if tending seedlings isn't your cup of tea, just leave space and put in more transplants in 6 to 8 weeks after your first planting.
Choose drought and heat tolerant varieties as possible. The Farmers' Almanac predicts a cooler summer than usual, or might that be cooler than last year's hot summer?! Be prepared for either? If we get the heat, then melons, pumpkins, large eggplants, and okra will be on the menu! Drought conditions are still on, so do still keep water saving in mind. Think of waffle garden type techniques. Please see Drought Choices info before you choose your varieties.
Timing Considerations Plant Winter squash NOW so it will have a long enough season to harden for harvest and be done in time for early fall planting. APRIL is true heat lovers time! Eggplant, limas, melons (wait until May for cantaloupe), peppers, pumpkins and squash! Many wait until April to plant tomatoes. Wait until the soil has warmed to 70°F before planting squash and melons. Some gardeners wait until JUNE to plant okra. It really likes heat and grows quickly when happy. 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.
Right now plant cold tolerating quick maturing tomatoes, and pepper transplants. Outdoors sow or transplant beets, carrots, celery, chard, herbs, Jerusalem artichokes, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuces, green onions, bulb onion seed and sets (be sure to get summer- maturing varieties), parsley, peas, peanuts, potatoes, radishes, shallots, spinach, strawberries, and turnips. Transplant broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and kohlrabi seedlings. Time for heat-resistant, bolt-resistant lettuces of all kinds! Sierra, Nevada, Jericho, Black Seeded Simpson are some. Tips for super Successful Transplanting!
- Beans, Cukes, Dill, Radish Combo! Depending on ground temps, tuck in some bean seeds where the peas are finishing, intermingled with cucumber seeds that will grow low along the trellis, below the beans, plus a few dill to go with the cukes! Plant radishes with the cukes to deter the Cucumber beetles.
- Tomato Tips: La Sumida has the largest tomato selection in the Santa Barbara area! Ask for Judi to help you with your veggie questions. Heirlooms are particularly susceptible to the wilts, Fusarium and Verticillium. Instead, get varieties that have VFN or VF on the tag at the nursery. The V is for Verticillium, the F Fusarium wilt, N nematodes. Ace, Early Girl, Champion, Celebrity, are some that are wilt resistant/tolerant. In these drought conditions, consider getting only indeterminates.
- This is the LAST MONTH to transplant artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale; also strawberry, blackberry, and raspberry roots so they’ll bear fruit well this year.
- Indoors, sow eggplant, peppers, and more tomatoes for transplanting into the garden in late April or early May. Also sow cucumbers, eggplants, melons, squash and sweet potatoes.
Tomato Wilts Fungi If your soil has wilts fungi, you can slow it down a bit, but not avoid it entirely no matter how careful you are.
- Water saving? Determinates grow quick, produce and are done! To keep having tomatoes you need to plant them again and again, taking water each time while they grow up to produce. Indeterminates vine all summer long, producing less at once but continuously, no period of no production, no wasted water. But if a determinate gets wilt sick, you can replace it and have more toms and another high production period. Good for canning! Your choice.
- When you amend your soil prior to planting, add a very small amount of coffee grounds, 0.5 percent of the material, to kill off some of the fungi. That’s only 1/2 a percent! More is not better.
- Make a raised mound with a basin on top. The raised mound technique lets the soil drain and be dryer, equals less fungi.
- Top the mound with 1" compost and cover that with only 1" of straw. This is to stop infected soil from being water splashed onto your plant. Straw gives airflow and the thin layer allows your soil to heat up. Happy tomato.
- Plant far enough apart so mature plants don't touch each other. It's sad to see an entire tomato patch go down. Not only do the wilts spread by water, but they are windborn.
- Biodiversity Break up the patch by planting other plants, like peppers or eggplants, alternately with your tomatoes. Plant them here and there. There is no law saying they all have to be together or in a row!
- When your plant gets tall enough, remove any lower leaves that would touch the ground when weighted with water
- Remove any infected leaves ASAP, daily if necessary
- Don't water if other plants around your tomato are getting plenty of water. Tom roots go deep and your tomato can be semi dry farmed.
- Wait until May or June to plant in drier soil!
Gather March salad topper edible flowers! Arugula blooms, broccoli, chamomile, Johnny Jump-ups, onion!
Don't forget to ferment probiotic, good bacteria, veggies ~ sauerkraut from your cabbages is excellent! Just about any vegetables and even fruits can be lacto-fermented, but fruits will need much less fermentation time as they contain much more sugar. Experiment with herbs and spices to your heart's content!
Plant some lovely chamomile, cosmos, marigold and yarrow to make habitat to bring our beneficial good friends, hoverflies, lacewings, ladybird beetles, and parasitic wasps.
Spring blessings, Happy gardening!
The Green Bean Connection started as correspondence for the Santa Barbara CA USA Pilgrim Terrace Community Garden. We are very coastal, in a fog belt/marine layer area most years, so keep that in mind compared to the microclimate niche where your veggie garden is. Bless you for being such a wonderful Earth Steward!
Veggie Seeds Soil Planting Degrees!
Soil temp is always your basic seed planting time guide!
There are minimum germination temps, ideal temps and max temps. Plant when soils reach minimum temperature measured at 8 a.m., 4 inches deep. Beans are an exception, being measured at 6 inches deep.
40 Degrees! Crops that germinate in the coolest soils: arugula, beets, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, fava beans, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, pak choi, onions, parsley, parsnips, peas, radicchio, radish and spinach seed.
50 Degrees: Cabbage, Chinese cabbage, leeks, onions, Swiss chard, and turnips.
55 Degrees: Corn, tomatoes.
60 Degrees warm-season vegetables: beans, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots and cauliflower.
65 Degrees: Cucumber, peppers, cantaloupe
70 Degrees heat lovers! Beans, corn, cucumbers, eggplants, melons, okra, peppers, squash, and tomatoes.
In northern climates it can take several weeks for tomatoes, eggplant and peppers to germinate in the garden. You can get a jump on the season if you do cold-tolerant, or if North, short-season variety transplants. Squash, cucumbers and corn grow quickly and are easy to start from seed.
Heat your soil with plastic mulch and use a cloche, fabric row cover or cold frame. The bane of early planting is a late hard freeze. If you decide to take an early season chance, have covers handy for unprotected plants!
We can thank Dr Jerry Parsons, Extension Horticulturist at the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, for the temps info in this great chart below! You see, there are minimum temps, optimum, and no-go temps! At the realistic temps you might not get 100% germination, but you will get a crop at the right time. Too soon you get too little. Too late, like in SW desert areas or hot climates, there may be too much summer heat and little production, high water costs.
Notice that there are differences from the temps and plants listed above and the chart below, some plants appear in two temps, and some plants, like okra, might not be planted in the north at all! Dr Parsons has longer Texas heat in his area. Northern gardeners need to plant sooner for short cooler summers. Just plant more seeds to compensate for those that don't germinate.
For another point of view, take a look at this Colorado State University Extension graph for optimum temps for starting your seeds INDOORS! See Table 1 on that page.
With a soil Thermometer and self discipline, get your seeds and plants in the ground at their most productive times for your location! Here's to abundant harvests!
Garden Designs, Raised Beds to Forest Garden!
Plant tall to the North, short to the South. View the Plan! When possible install raised beds with the long side to the North! that gives you maximum space for taller plants that you don't want to shade the others.
If your garden is diagonal to the North, plant your tall plants accordingly, to the end and end of the side nearest the North. View the Plan!
If you have a large area available, consider a food forest design! One way of doing it is to plant a U or wedge shaped perimeter of fruit/nut trees opening to the South. This cuts down on wind and drying, builds heat.
Ally and Rich (aka Happy Earth) have created a truly amazing food forest garden in their suburban lot near Wollongong, NSW. More images
From this to this in your own yard! Forest gardens start with Perennials that will be there for years. For most, it is a long time adventure. You can do one area at a time as life permits. See how they did it!
Mother's Day is May 10!
What more wonderful than a living gift?!
Plant a planter box, a cut and come again lettuce bowl
Give her a growing tower, garden gear
Give her seedlings and seeds
Plant edible flowers for her that she will love
Offer her some of your time weeding, turning in amendments
Maybe she could use some of your homemade organic compost or worm castings
How about some easy-to-make cucumber night cream?!
Special gift! Fresh organic salad in a Mason jar? Yum!
A fresh gathered
Bouquet Garni tied with a hearts ribbon
Bundles of fresh herbs she can hang and dry in her kitchen
Herbed oils and vinegars in pretty jars
Maybe she is a he! There are a lot of guy Moms out there, busy single dads who love to garden! Happy Mother's Day in advance to all you loving people!
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Upcoming Garden Events!
Walk or bike to 2015 events as possible! Heal the land, heal yourself.
Saturday April 25 Santa Barbara Food & Farm Adventures! I will lead the Pilgrim Terrace Tour! 10 AM Bike Tour to Community Gardens; No Biker left behind! The Terrace will be first, then up they go to Trinity Garden! Enjoy seeing these very different gardens.
What will you be doing on Earth Day April 22?
Santa Barbara's Earth Day Festival
April 18 & 19 Alameda Park, Santa Barbara CA
Exhibitor Registration opened February 3! Attendance is about 40,000!
Bringing productivity and beauty back to the land!
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….
Winter beauty and super nutrition to you!
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
Plant tall to the North, short to the South. View the Plan!