Tag Archives: celery

Vegetable Planting Guide

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To go along with my last blog, Planning A Vegetable Garden, here is an excellent vegetable planting guide from Grangetto’s Farm and Garden Supply. The table lists the recommended times to sow vegetable seeds for our typical Southern California climate. If you’d like to get the guide in a PDF downloadable format to have as a reference, please click here.

Given the dire state of California’s water and how seriously it is impacting all of the farmers, the cost of produce will most like rise, and, given the drought’s seriousness and projected long-term duration, probably by a considerable amount. Creating your on “Victory Garden” would be one way to help save on your grocery bill. While California may be running out of water, what it has in abundance is sunshine.

VeggiePlantingGuide

Monthly Planting List

Here is a month-by-month planting guide through August:

January:

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

February:

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

March:

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,

April

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,

May:

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?

June:

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

July:

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

August:

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…

 

 

Herbs – A Brief History & Guide

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In doing research for a landscape I’m designing that will include an herb garden, I came across an interesting and brief history of herbs. Since herb gardens come in all shapes, sizes and can be grown anywhere you have good sun, I though it might prove interesting for anyone interested in growing their own.

History of Herbs

Herbs have played an important part in man’s life for countless years — in his politics, romance, love, religion, health, and superstition.

Celery was used by the Abyssinians for stuffing pillows. Ancient Greeks and Romans crowned their heroes with dill and laurel. Dill also was used by the Romans to purify the air in their banquet halls.

Some herbs were given magical properties, probably because of their medicinal uses. The early Chinese considered artemisia to have special charms. In France during the Middle Ages, babies were rubbed with artemisia juices to protect them from the cold. Ancient Greeks used sweet marjoram as a valuable tonic, and parsley as a cure for stomach ailments. Rosemary was eaten in the Middle Ages for its tranquilizing effects and as a cure-all for headaches.

Chives, still a common herb often found growing wild, had economic importance throughout Asia and many Mediterranean countries. Odd as it seems now, the early Dutch settlers in this country intentionally planted chives in the meadows so cows would give chive-flavored milk.

Mint, another popular herb today, also had its beginnings early in history. Greek athletes used bruised mint leaves as an after-bath lotion. In the Middle Ages, mint was important as a cleansing agent and later was used to purify drinking water that had turned stale on long ocean voyages. Mint also was given mystical powers It was used to neutralize the “evil eye” and to produce an aggressive character.

Mustard was lauded by Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician, and Shakespeare called it a desirable condiment in several of his plays.

Other herbs with importance dating back to early times include basil, saffron, sage, savory, tarragon, and thyme.

Early settlers brought herbs to America for use as remedies for illnesses, flavoring, storing with linens, strewing on floors, or burning for their pleasant fragrances. Some herbs were used to improve the taste of meats in the days before preservation techniques were developed. Other herbs were used to dye homespun fabrics.

Herb gardens were almost an essential feature of pioneer homes. They were placed in sunny corners near the house to be readily available to the busy homemaker. As the population of the new country grew, people from many nations brought herbs with them. This resulted in an exchange of slips, seeds, and plants.

Many herbs familiar to settlers from other countries were found growing wild in the new country. These included parsley, anise, pennyroyal, sorrel, watercress, liverwort, wild leeks, and lavender. American Indians knew uses for almost every wild, nonpoisonous plant, but they used the plants chiefly for domestic purposes — tanning and dyeing leather and eating.

Herbs for Beginning Gardeners

Beginning herb gardeners may have a problem deciding which herbs to plant because of the large number of herbs from which to select. A quick check of your supermarket shelf will give you some idea of the types of herbs used in cooking and also will serve as a planting guide. Many cookbooks also offer information on uses of various herbs as flavorings.

Following is a good variety of flavors and uses of recommended herbs for beginners:

  • Strong herbs — winter savory, rosemary, sage
  • Herbs strong enough for accent — sweet basil, dill, mint, sweet marjoram, tarragon, thyme
  • Herbs for blending — chives, parsley, summer savory

As your interest and needs increase, you can add to the variety of herbs in your garden. Keep in mind that herbs can be annuals, biennials, or perennials when selecting herbs to grow for the first time.

  • Annuals (bloom one season and die) — anise, basil, chervil, coriander, dill, summer savory
  • Biennials (live two seasons, blooming second season only) — caraway, parsley
  • Perennials (overwinter; bloom each season once established) — chives, fennel, lovage, marjoram, mint, tarragon, thyme, winter savory.

If you’d like more information about herbs and herb gardening there are countless books and  a ton of information on the internet. The material for this post came from Growing Herbs in the Home Garden

The Monthly Gardner – May – Growing Your Own Vegetables

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May is the month to finish up your spring planting by focusing on those heat-loving vegetables. While many of Southern California’s native plants are beginning to shut down for the dry summer months, if you plant your vegetables now and keep them well mulched and watered, they should flourish throughout the summer and provide a bountiful return come fall.

As I wrote in March and April’s blogs, “Creating Your Own Victory Garden” and “Recession Proves Fertile Ground For Fruits & Vegetables,” more and more people are recognizing that the smart thing to do is to take a portion of their beautifully manicured landscape, dig it up and turn it into a vegetable garden – following in the footsteps of Michelle Obama’s famous White House vegetable garden. This isn’t just about saving money at the grocery store, it’s about growing your own and eating you own delicious, natural (even organic) produce.

Planting Vegetables

You can either sow the seeds directly in the soil, or germinate them indoors in individual containers (see Planting Vegetable from Seed) that can be planted directly into the soil. Here is a list of vegetable that should be planted this month:

lima and snap beans, beets, carrots, celery, chard, chicory, chives, corn, cucumbers, eggplants, leeks, warm-season lettuces, melons, okras, green onions, peanuts, peppers, pumpkins, soybeans, warm-season spinaches, squashes, sweet potatoes and tomatoes.

Here are some additional tips for intelligent planting:

  • Interplant cucumbers and beans to repel cucumber beetles and prevent the wilt diseases they carry
  • Plant potatoes to repel squash bugs
  • Plant corn in blocks of at least four rows in each direction to assure good pollination and continue planting only through the end of June, as later planting suffer from severe smut when maturing in September
  • Corn stalks make convenient pole bean supports if the beans are planted after the corn is six inches tall, so that the beans don’t outgrow the corn

Using Trellises

A trellis provides support for greater vegetable and fruit production per square foot of soil and for longer periods because more leaf area is exposed to sunlight and more air circulates. Vines grown on a trellis provide shade for a porch, patio or wall. Crops grown on a trellis are easier to pick and cleaner, not available to snails and slugs and not prone to ground rot.

Some vines need more guidance and anchoring onto the trellis than others, but all will grow well with proper fertilization and irrigation.

Mulching

Maintain a good mulch of organic matter covering garden soil throughout the summer. This prevents the cracking of the soil surface, holds in moisture, encourages earthworms, moderates soil temperatures for optimum root growth, improves the soil as it decomposes and prevents weeds from germinating.

A two-to-four inch layer of mulch decreases evaporation from the soil by 70% or more, allowing you to water less often (but still deeply).

For more May gardening tips, please see May Gardening Tips for Los Angeles County Residents, which is the resource for this blog.

December’s Gardening Tips

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Here are few suggestions:

Tulips

Transplant: it’s a great time to transplant, but be sure to keep new transplants well-watered if the weather is mild and dry. In warmer regions, now through February, after a killing freeze or a frost, is a good time to move a rose. Transplant it with as much of the roots as possible and keep well-watered.

Roses: don’t fertilize or water roses this month. they need to harden off for winter.

Bulbs: plant pre-chilled spring bulbs, such as tulips and hyacinths.

Plant: bare-root trees, shrubs, roses, and vegetables such as artichokes, asparagus, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, greens, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, peas, potatoes, and radishes now.

Hyacinths

Prune: deciduous fruit trees once they’ve gone dormant and dropped their leaves.

Smart Pruning

  • In those areas where frosts are just an occasional thing, keep plantings well-watered so whenever a freeze threatens, plants are more likely to survive. A “turgid” well-hydrated plant is better-equipped to recover than a dehydrated plant.
  • If a plant is damaged by frost, resist the urge to prune the damaged parts. They may well protect the rest of the plant during the next frost.
  • Cut back dormant grapevines. A bonus: The cuttings make great wreaths!
  • Stimulate wisteria by cutting it back now. Cut back the long, thin branches that appeared this season alongside or entangled with the older wood. Leave two or three buds at the base of the branch.

Lawn: if you’ve overseeded your lawn and there are bare spots, feel free to scatter a bit more seed to fill in. Also, if the weather is warm and dry, you may need to water the lawn.

Happy gardening.