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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Perennials For Food Production


Jerusalem artichokes
Onions, walking and others


Blueberries (Southern Highbush, low chill) – to about 4 feet, prefer acidic soils and lot’s of water. Other than that, easy to grow
Ribes sp.


Berries/Rasp and black, boysenberry
Passion fruit 

The following herbs are perennial as well:
Anise hyssop
Some basils
Burnet, salad
Lemon Verbena
Sweet margoram
Oregano, Greek (Origanum heracleoticum)
Tarragon, French

What are the advantages of perennial plants being a part of your food growing mix, besides just being plain delicious?


Friday, November 19, 2010


Under almost any conditions afforded by the climate in Southern California, we can have class no matter what.  However, this weekend, I have heard reports of up to two inches of rain in a 24 hour period.  IF that happens, we will have to schedule a make up class - probably 11 December (afternoon).  If we have just a bad drool or even a light rain, pull on your boots and jacket and come on out - we will have class.  The prospect of flooding is the only thing that bothers me.

ADDENDUM, 8:00AM Sunday - Class is going forward - although we will not be able to garden, we will do some lecture, and maybe do garden inspections...  I would rather meet today and not have to postpone.  


Sunday, November 14, 2010

COMMON Seed Viability

Seeds are the basis of all we eat.  Failure to maintain access to seeds could become one of the biggest failures of our generation.  Grow open pollinated plants and save their seed to plant again next year.  Insure the safety of your food sources. 


Approximate age at which seed of good initial viability stored under cool and dry conditions will still give a satisfactory germination. Seed stored dry and cool will last longer. Remember, a researcher at UCLA germinated lotus seed found in a pyramid that was over several thousand years old.

Common Name Binomial Family ~ Age
Asparagus Asparagus officinalis Liiaceae 3
Beans Phaseolus vulgaris (& others) Fabaceae 3
Beets Beta vulgaris Chenopodiaceae 4
Broccoli Brassica oleracea Brassicaceae 5
Cabbage Brassica oleracea Brassicaceae 5
Cardoon Cynara cardunculus Asteraceae 5
Carrots Daucus carota sativus Apiaceae 3
Cauliflower Brassica oleracea Brassicaceae 5
Celeriac Apium graveolens rapaceum Apiaceae 5
Celery Apium graveolens dulce Apiaceae 5
Chervil Anthriscus cerefolium Apiaceae 3
Collards Brassica oleracea Brassicaceae 5
Corn Zea mays Poaceae 2
Cress Lepidium sativum Brassicaceae 5
Cucumbers Cucumis melo Cucurbitaceae 5
Eggplant Solanum melongena Solanaceae 5
Endive Cichorium endivia Asteraceae 5
Fennel Foeniculum vulgare Apiaceae 4
Kale Brassica oleracea Brassicaceae 5
Kohlrabi Brassica oleracea Brassicaceae 5
Leeks Allium porrum Liiaceae 3
Lettuce Lactuca sativa Asteraceae 5
Muskmelons Cucumis melo Cucurbitaceae 5
Mustard Brassica cretica Brassicaceae 4
Okra Abelmoschus esculentus Solanacea 2
Onions Allium cepa Amaryllidaceae 1
Parsley Petroselinum crispum Apiaceae 1
Parsnips Pastinaca sativa Apiaceae 1
Peas Pisum sativum Fabaceae 3
Peppers Capsicum annuum Solanaceae 2
Pumpkins Cucurbita maxima Cucurbitaceae 4
Radishes Raphanus landra Brassicaceae 5
Spinach Spinacia oleracea Chenopodiaceae 5
Squash Cucurbita moschata; C. pepo and C. maxima Cucurbitaceae 4
Swiss Chard Beta vulgaris Chenopodiaceae 4
Tomatoes Lycopersicon esculentum Solanaceae 4
Turnips Brassica rapa Brassicaceae 4
Watermelons Citrullus lanatus Cucurbitaceae 4


Month By Month Planting Guide for Southern California: A 'Cheat Sheet'

These generalizations are for The Learning Garden, located in Sunset Zone 24, less than 3 miles from the Pacific Ocean in an alluvial plain that is just above sea level. Cold air from the near-by hills drains into our area and we are reliably cooler than much of the surrounding areas. If you are growing inland from us, your temperatures fluctuate more than ours. As one gardens further from the ocean, the temperatures are less moderate and the effects of heat and cold are more pronounced. While we can grow some cool season crops year round (kale and chard come to mind first), this becomes more difficult without the ocean's pronounced influence. (Photo:  Bundles of fresh food are being sorted into individual packages for distribution with the Westside Produce Exchange for redistribution.)


Plant in the ground: lettuce, carrots, beets, parsnips, potatoes, celeriac, radishes, spinach,
Plant in containers: lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, kale, chard, (these last two can be started now, but they would have been better started earlier – their production will be reduced by the coming warmer weather), peas, fava beans, lentils, garbanzo beans


Plant in the ground: lettuce (and other salad greens), carrots, beets parsnips, radishes, spinach, purple beans,
Plant in containers: early tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, summer squash


Plant in the ground: purple beans, lettuce, radishes, purple beans, beets, radishes, spinach, set out plants of basil, early tomatoes, later in the month, sow early sweet corn,
Plant in containers: tomatoes, basil, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, melons, all squash,


Plant in the ground: beans of all colors, lettuce, radishes, beets, spinach, set out plants of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, basil, you can start planting all corn now
Plant in containers: tomatoes, basil, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, melons & squash, okra,


Plant in the ground: all basil, eggplant, all melons and all squash (including cucumbers, set out plants of same and all tomatoes, eggplants and peppers) green and yellow beans and all the dried beans; corn too, if you have room
Plant in containers: As in April, but it's getting late – peppers, eggplants and basil are still OK to start, but it's getting late, did I say it was getting late?


Plant in the ground: all the above, but it's getting late... you can still get a crop, but it will be cut shorter by any early cool weather; the last of the corn can go in early in the month
Plant in containers: after starting pumpkin seeds, take a nap


Plant in the ground only out of necessity – extreme necessity
Plant in containers: continue napping


Plant in the ground: nothing if you can avoid it
Plant in containers: towards the end of the month, in a shaded location, the first of the winter veggies can be started, cabbage, broccoli, kale, chard, fava beans, leeks, shallots, onions...


Plant in the ground: nothing, until late in the month, start sowing turnips, parsnips, radishes, beets and carrots – keep seeds moist! Peas, lentils and garbanzo beans can be sown...
Plant in containers: Cabbage, broccoli, kale, chard, favas, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts,


Plant in the ground: by now you can begin to set out some of your cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, chard and so on. Continue with seeds as above... you can also direct sow favas if you want. Potatoes can usually be found about now as well as sets or seed bubls of onions, garlic and shallots and they all should be planted from now until late November.
Plant in containers: More Cruciferae and favas, celery and celeriac,


Plant in the ground: More of September's plants can be sown – you still have time for all of them except onions, this will be the last month to plant peas, lentils, garbanzos, shallots, garlic and fava beans. Their growing season is too long to get the harvest you would want. Although the legumes can be planted if you are willing to take a lesser harvest or are using them as a cover (green manure) crop.
Plant in containers: I'm still sowing cabbages, broccoli and cauliflower, but Brussels sprouts are a longer season item so they're not a part of my efforts until next season's planting begins.


Plant in the ground: Too little light and too many parties make it difficult to find garden time – but if you have some things left over from November, try to get that done.
Plant in containers: Pretty much the same story, if you have time, do more of all that's listed from November.

There are two big shifts in Southern Californian gardening: At the end of September, beginning of October it's all about the winter crops. At the end of February, beginning of March, the focus all shifts to summer and the heat lovers. Seeds get started slightly before then (if you have the right conditions, up to six weeks before then!). 


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Quick Notes for November 7th Class

1.  The menu has changed: rhubarb pie will be a different day.
2.  It will be cold.
3.  Soup will be hot.
4.  We will meet a chicken, not in the soup.
5.  We will discuss bees, using an empty hive.
6.  I hope you remember to set you clocks back!

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