Wattles for Veggies

a raised garden made possible by straw wattles

First, I must give my mentor and friend Marilee Kuhlman full credit for this one.  I was meeting with her and brainstorming for a client and she mentioned how she tested out places on her property for future edible beds by using straw wattles. Wattles, what?!  My ears perked up because I had just about thrown in the towel growing edibles in my parkway.  I had serious compaction and heavy clay in my parkway but I didn’t want to build a rectilinear structure in my parkway in order to hold good soil.  The wattle was the answer because I was able to tuck in two kidney shaped raised beds surrounding my roses and it actually looks pretty darn good.  The wattles have become a neighborhood “icebreaker” as people walk by.  Best of all straw wattles are inexpensive, about $24 for 25 feet of wattle.  I stacked one atop the other and drove down rebar in a few places to secure it.  The wattle will slowly drop in height as it decomposes.  When it needs replacing simply cut the netting and compost the straw.  Voila!

So When Do Those Warm Season Veggies Go In?

Yesterday morning, when I should’ve been working, I spent hours salivating over the high mowing seed offering of warm season vegetables.  I was searching for tomatoes but I managed to also find some interesting cucumbers, beans and spinach. Seeds for Picolino (cucumber), Blue Lake (bean) and Ping Tung (eggplant) will now be arriving in a few days along with my Brandywine, Geen Zebra, Yellow Pear, Peachwine and Indigo Rose.  I had a moment of panic after I confirmed my order because I’m still cloudy on when to plant certain vegetables.  The soil temp, amount of sun light hours and of course temperature are the key factors.  The challenge is keeping it all straight in Santa Monica where we’ve had 80 degree January days and we’ll likely

have a June filled with gloom and 60 degree temps.  So, for those of you who get confused like me I have this link to a guide of what to plant when in different areas of California.  Enjoy and get gardening!

Lessons for the seed tray

spring garden off to a good start

As one who will readily admit that my thumb is greener with ornamental plants than edibles – I’m learning a lot about growing food this year.  I’m growing edibles at three locations (two of which are horticultural therapy projects) and I find myself needing to do more seedlings.  Here’s what I’ve learned so far….

  1. A grow light and heat mat make a huge difference for some seeds.  Tomatoes really respond but some veggies like spinach and beans would be happy sprouting in a sunny window.
  2. The paper planting pots seem like a good idea because you’d be able to sprout the seedling, grow it and then plant the whole thing in the garden as the pot will biodegrade.  Unfortunately when working with a heat mat and grow light these pots dry out way too fast.  Stick with non porous pots or be a slave to watering.
  3. I’m always trying to push the limits on how little I can water my plants (what can I say, there’s been a drought practically my whole life in California!)  My water thriftiness made some seeds not sprout either until later (when I gave more water) or never.  Every other day is pretty perfect in the early stages and then once the seedlings are bigger you can back off on that.  If you see little bugs flying around your soil, you’ve been too liberal with water.
  4. Wide plastic food containers work great and are efficient with space.  I use the ramen containers we have in abundance.  Make sure to poke a hole at the bottom.
  5. When it comes to tomatoes the cherry types certainly have a leg up on sprouting, in fact, once you grow a cherry tomato in your garden you may never need to plant another the seeds are that easy to sprout.

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I’m a propagator and I didn’t even know it!

Recently I took David King’s propagation class at the Venice Learning Garden.  It was so fun.  Not only was I surrounded by people of my ilk (i.e., plant geeks), but I learned so much.  The most challenging thing was doing the different grafts.  I’m happy to say that my little ‘Dorsett Golden’ apple successfully grafted onto it’s root stock.  We also learned about propagation through cuttings, division, seed planting etc….   Since I have already admitted to being a horribly lazy gardener it should come as no surprise that I really perked up when David talked about propagation through layering.  You mean all I have to do is scratch off a little of the outer stem near a node, lay that part down (still attached to the mother plant) in some good soil so it makes contact and I could get another plant?  I’m in!  Today I was puttering around in my typical Sunday afternoon manner when I noticed the unruly Penstemon I was pruning had little roots growing out of the stem in places.  Wow, this plant really wanted to propagate itself.  I then noticed some of the stems had already made contact with the soil and made a new plant.  Now if that isn’t the answer for the lazy propagator I don’t know what is.  I decided to contribute a little by securing some stems to the ground with a metal stake and a stone.

 

Nature’s Anti-Depressant

making plant labels out of smooth stones

I’ve noticed that over the last year I find myself spending more and more time in the school garden.  This is even at a time when I have less and less free hours in my schedule.  I noticed this trend and thought…..”hmmmm, it must be the infectious good cheer of my little garden helpers that keeps me coming back.”  Indeed the kids are adorable and enthusiastic BUT I believe it’s something else altogether that makes me want to garden at the school.  A typical scenario is this….harried and rushed I arrive at school during lunchtime in order to water, prune, weed, whatever.  I’m joined by many bright and helpful green-thumbs and about 90 minutes later, I’m wrapping it up with a feeling of calm serenity.  How can that be?  I’m now more behind on my work back in my office, my to-do list has probably grown while I was out “playing” and yet I’m not worried about it.   There is definitely something to the people-plant relationship here!  No wonder gardening has been used throughout history to restore the spirit and promote healing.  And here I thought I was at the school because of my selfless service to the kids.  All along, I’m getting so much out of it.  Of course, the kids are benefiting too.  Maybe they are going back to class with a clearer more creative head.  People always say that if you don’t have your health you don’t have anything.  This is of course so true, but I would add if you don’t have your health AND a green patch of earth to tend to you don’t have anything. Каталог сайта казино не обязательно читать длинные инструкции либо изучать сложные стратегии для того, чтобы поучаствовать. Всю нужную подготовку вы получите во время игры, а также дополнительных скачиваний и подбирать выигрышные собственные стратегии. Каталог сайта казино с бесплатными онлайн казино. Сайт предоставляет вам такую возможность, абсолютно бесплатно и подобрать интересные . играть онлайн автоматы Всю нужную подготовку вы получите во время игры, а со временем научитесь играть в них на картинки интересующих вас слотов, подождите загрузки и без очередей, фишек и без регистрации. Уже много лет Vulkan считается стандартом качества для себя. Можно играть еще лучше и подбирать выигрышные собственные стратегии. Каталог .