Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Gardens in Bloom June 2020

Greetings gardeners, this fun video highlights what is growing, blooming and fruiting in our school gardens.  Many of the plants you will see in this video were grown from seeds planted by Kalmiopsis Elementary School students in March before schools were closed.

This time of year is such a fun time in the garden with pollinators hard at work, we see beautiful blossoms, fruits and vegetables growing quickly before our eyes.  

Please share a picture or video of what you are growing at home.  

Friday, June 26, 2020

Early Summer in your kitchen garden

Good Morning Gardeners!

During a normal early summer gardening season in our 17C school gardens we would be gearing up for the summer food program, sowing and harvesting for the salad bar and processing the excess produce in value added products. Here is an image showing average weekly harvest from 2019.

This summer of COVID19 is different in more ways than one.  This summer the school garden education/farm to school crew and maintenance dept are working on infrastructure.  When students return in the Fall they will see two new greenhouses erected in the gardens.  We are putting our raised garden beds to ‘bed’ for the summer by covering with cardboard and wood chips which will help conserve water as we complete the work on rebooting both gardens this summer.

Even with limited growing activity in the school gardens there are always chores to do.  In this final week of June it’s time to start thinking about our Fall gardens.  Below is a list of  ‘To do's for you to consider working on.  Happy Gardening!


* Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli (Sow seeds in pots, flats, garden for late season harvest)
* Bean, Squash, Sweet Corn - Resow if first sowing failed
* Bush green bean - make ongoing showings in your gardens for continuous harvests
* Summer Squash, bean, carrot, fall cabbage, leaf lettuce and turnip - Sow seed in areas vacated by early crops
* Cilantro - make another sowing


* Mulch around most plants EXCEPT Herbs 
* Leek - hill soil around stems
* Weed regularly 
* check for pests, white fly, potato beetles, squash vine borer, corn borer


* Zucchini, summer squash - harvest when fruits are 3-4” long
* English Peas - Harvest when pods are plump and firm
* Green Beans- harvest before pods bulge
* Pickling Cucumber - harvest when 2-6” long 
*Cabbage - Harvest central head, but leave plant to form smaller side heads


*Hand pollinate all squash for better yield

Monday, June 22, 2020

Week of June 22 - Let’s keep this garden going!

As our gardens burst out of spring and into summer we see a change.  From sowing cooler weather crops to summer crops that love the heat, the tasks continue on.  Everyone’s gardens are different and as such, keep in mind we  need to adapt to our micro climates as everyone has unique climates.  

The cabbages in my garden that I’ve so religiously guarded from slugs and cabbage moths are ready to harvest.  All 12 heads have formed at the same time.  This year I sowed Farao, a variety I’ve not grown before.
 I will definitely repeat this because we are swimming in Coleslaw and Sauerkraut! 

So what can I put in their place once I harvest?  The best rule of thumb I’ve read is think of crops as falling in to 3 different criteria.  Leafy, Fruiting, Root crops.  So once I pull the cabbage I’ll sow a root crop, probably carrots.   By always cycling through leaf, fruiting, root you will help you garden to avoid pests.  If you always sow tomatoes in the same place you will deplete your soil and invite pests.  As long as you keep the same cycle, Leaf, Fruit, root you will alternate crops and help your soil to heal.

General Planting Reminders

Sow under cover or indoors:
Tomato (large or small)

Sow outdoors or plant out:
Beans (Bush Snap) 
Potatoes (Main crop) 
Sweet Potato 

As always, keep an eye on those pests.  They can mow down your well tended garden in a night.  Here at our house we have rats, gophers and squirrels to deal with.  It never ends!

Hand pick pests, squash beetles, slugs,

Mulch to conserve water

Cut off suckers on tomatoes and strip bottom 2 feet of indeterminate tomatoes to prevent blight.  Here's a good article on vertical growing.

Pinch tops of peppers to force side stems and increase your harvest.

Hand pollinate squash.

Consistently harvest beans to continue production.  If your bean runners are growing taller then your trellis, snip the top and they will bush out below.

Amend soil when re sowing with 1 hand full compost, 1 hand-full perlite per square foot and replant with an alternate type of crop (root, leaf, fruiting) 

Finally, continuing to build your compost. An even ratio of greens (fruit and vegetable cuttings and garden trimmings) to browns (dried leaves, dried grass clippings, paper bags or cardboard) and crushed egg shells;  layer it all with shovels of your native soil and sprinkle with water occasionally for the worms.  

Start thinking on fall sowing.  I know Fall you say?  Yes. Many crops for fall harvest are are sowed in mid summer.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Blue Orchard Bees

Hello gardeners!  Welcome to June.  Many of you have seen bees in our school gardens.  Bumble Bees, Honey bees and Blue Orchard Bees.   What is an Orchard Bee?  That is what we are going to discuss today.

Below is an awesome video created by KQED Public TV station in California.  It will provide a wonderful resource to learn about these important pollinators. Click the link below in blue to learn about Orchard Mason bees.  Answer the questions below and share a comment.  Don’t forget to follow us for more amazing information on your gardens.

1. Where does the female Blue Orchard Bee lay her eggs?
2.  What does she use to build her nest?
3. What are the two large pincers on her face called?
4. Where does her food come from?
5.  How does she feed her offspring?
6. What is the house called that the lave spins?
7.  What does pollinate mean?
8. How many babies does a female Blue Orchard Bee have in a year?

Answers are in the Comments below!

Happy Gardening

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Welcome to your June 2020 garden

Welcome to June 2020.  On this rainy Saturday it's time to make our lists and see what chores are on the schedule for this upcoming week.  I'm also going to introduce you to my  favorite resource book.

Chore list for the first week of June

Tomato, pepper, eggplant:
    * Set out transplants
    * Place mulch around plants
    * Place bamboo support next to peppers and eggplant

Cucumber, squash, melon:
    * Set out transplants
    * Mulch around plants to keep fruit off the ground

All Crops:

    *protect from slugs and snails

    * sow main crop
    * If you have potatoes growing, hill soil/straw around plants to increase yield

Leaf lettuce, carrot, beet, sweet corn, radish:
    * Make additional sowings in the garden

Bush type summer squash;
    * Sow seed for container planting

    *cut scapes and use in cooking so the garlic bulbs will form

Plants you can sow under cover or indoors in the next two weeks from Mother Earth News reminders:

Cabbage, Fall Red - can you believe it?  They are talking about FALL!

Plants you can sow outdoors or plant out over the next two weeks:

Beans (bush and snap)
Borage (we have a lot of starts at the school garden if you want one or two.
Chives (garlic chives)
Pepper, Jimmy Nardello's
Potatoes (main crop)
Sweet Potato


Cleome, Coreopsis, Daylily, Echinacea, Gazania, Geranium, Gladiolus
Gomphrena, Impatients, Johnny Jump Up, Latana, Lemon Balm
Salvia, Sunflower, Verbena, Zinnia

Finally, Let's talk a bit about planning for a Fall/Winter garden.  

I've provided you a link below to the best book I've found as a step by step guide to growing year round.  It gives a wide variety of information on how your garden can provide fresh organic vegetables all year long.  I know we're just getting our summer gardens going but by planning ahead now we will be ready to go this summer as we sow for fall/winter.  As you can see I use this book a lot!  

Four-Season Harvest - Eliot Coleman

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Succession planting

A BIG shout out of thanks to Siskiyou Seeds for this post on Succession planting.  Remember,  the sowing can continue through July as we prepare for a fall harvest. 
Planting Successions
Many summer vegetables will grow quickly in the long days of the northern latitudes.  Some crops such as green beans, basil, cilantro, carrots, beets, sweet corn and more will produce and then wane and finish their productive life cycle.  This is where planning for successive plantings comes in!
Take green beans, for example, they tend to mature in about 60 days and then produce a sustained flush for about 2 weeks and then they stop flowering and stop making pods.  So, the wise move is to plant successions about 2-3 weeks apart for a continual harvest. For instance if you planted green beans on May 15th, then you'd want to start another wave on June 5th and then another on June 20th and maybe even a 4th planting after that for a sustained harvest of fresh pods.  This year I’m tucking beans everywhere I have a spare plot of soil.  My new friend, Terry Allaway, inspired me to do so.  
In some climates, cucumbers and zucchini may become besieged by powdery mildew or other diseases so that their productivity begins to wane.  In that instance, you would be well served to plant a later wave that is coming into productivity as they first planting is tapering off. 
Other crops like cilantro, arugula and basil struggle with providing a consistent supply of fresh green leaves and the best bet is to replant more and then compost the early plants that may be bolting (flowering).
Root crops definitely require successional planting because the part we harvest, the root, requires the removal of the plant.  We plant a spring wave of carrots, beets, radishes and turnips in March and then another in May and then a final fall wave in late July (for fall harvest and winter storage
Lettuce is. Great succession plant.  As we come up to June 1st.  Remember to sow enough lettuce to feed you family for a month to keep the lettuce train going! 

Monday, May 25, 2020

Planting/sowing guidelines for the week of May 25

Hello Gardeners.  Your weekly to do list is at the bottom of this post.

This week looks to be awesome weather.  It will be sunny and check out that forecast high temperature on Thursday!  Yikes.  It’s a heat wave!  Then Saturday and Sunday a chance of showers.  

This is the absolutely PERFECT weather for getting your outside garden planted, seeds sowed and starts transplanted.  I know I’ve held some of you back  from going all in on the outdoor sowing but it’s time.   TIME I tell ya. Go for it!!.  

This past weekend the family and I spent about 6 hours total working on the squash layout next to the big greenhouse.  We used to have a chicken yard on this spot so I know the soil will be good and composted.  Plus this is at the bottom of our hill and the french drain that runs most of the year keeps the ground moist.  Add to the mix the commercial weed block/ground cover and we did it.  This has been in the planning stages for 3 years.  It just took purchasing a new DR. cutter to get it done.

As you start your sowing and transplanting be sure to label, label, label.  Did I remind you to label?  Please do label.  Especially if you’re growing out heirloom seeds for seed saving this fall.  

I scored an awesome flooring sample book at Scrap Humboldt in Arcata.  It cost me 3 bucks and I’ve used these flooring samples to label everything this year!  Since I’m growing heirloom crops and a lot of them I have been diligent at labeling.  

Find something that won’t wash away, blow away or the crows won’t carry away, ie painted rocks, cut out tags from milk cartons, cut up Venetian blinds the ideas are innumerable.  Use a permanent marker and be sure to add the name of the seed, approximate date planted and # of days to maturity so you can plan your fall garden.  I know, I know I’m getting ahead of myself.  But YES we will be sowing fall gardens. 

So what’s on the list this week. Here you go.  Be sure to Follow 

us and comment below with your questions or garden updates! Happy Gardening. 

There are no plants which need to be sown under cover or indoors at the moment.  Sow outdoors or Plant out.  Keep up on pest patrol and watch out for those nasty cucumber beetles.  They will chomp your seedlings down to nothing over night.

Potatoes (main crop)
Sweet Potato

For a more detailed list for sowing using soil temperature as your guide, Follow this link from Siskiyou Seeds .   

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Plant Pollination - making your garden bee friendly

Happy final week of May.  Today we are chatting about helping our local native bee colonies stay healthy and productive by providing them the proper food from flowers.  In the Pacific Northwest we have many species of native bees.  Many gardeners in our region purchase, maintain and over winter our own colony of mason bees.  I currently have two sets of mason bees that have made their home on our property.  For more information on Mason Bees you can check out this LINK 

Questions for today’s lesson

1.  What are Mason Bees?
2.  Do Mason Bees sting?
3.  Where do Mason Bees live?
4.  What are 2 benefits of Mason Bees?
5.  How can I encourage Mason Bees?

To help us with this subject I’ve included a video HERE from the Big Bug Hunt.  (Note:  at the end of the video he discusses the garden planner which is a free app to help you design your garden.)

Enjoy the video and keep your eyes out for our local bee populations!!

Be sure to FOLLOW us and please comment below if you have questions or completed the lesson.  Happy Gardening

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Making plant pots from school lunch waste

Welcome to sunny week 3 of May.  Here is an awesome video from the Main Children's Garden Project talking about how to recycle the containers you are getting in your weekly food delivery from the school district into plant pots to grow more food!

He talks about where to find soil and I’ll add one additional place.  If where you live has gopher mounds, this is the best soil.  It usually comes from a foot down as the gopher digs and pushes it up.  It generally doesn’t have weed seed.  So take your bucket and your hand trowel out and collect those gopher mounds! 

Happy Gardening.  Here is the video link.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Here's your To Do suggestions for the week of May 18

Hello Gardeners!

As I write this I'm bathed by sunlight as the past 5 days rain has subsided.  As we all know, living on the SW Oregon Coast, the rain will return.  More than likely Sunday!

As we slog into out prime growing season it's time to get some chores done.

The list below covers all of April/May chores so we can catch up.  Happy Gardening and be sure to follow our blog and comment below if you have questions.

Here is an image of my personal greenhouse, it ain't pretty but it gets the job done!

Succession Sow in the garden:

Peas, onions, lettuce, dill and root crops (carrots, radish, potatoes etc.)
Butter Crunch Lettuce

Initial sowing in the garden or transplant your seedlings

Cabbage, Broccoli, potatoes, onion sets
Seedlings ready to sow

Start seeds indoors

Squash, Melon, Cucumber, basil
My favorite squash.  It's a vegetable but tastes and cooks like a potato

Thin Seedlings

Lettuce, leafy greens, carrots if planted in your garden
Carrots thinned but weeding is constant

First sowing:

Bush or Pole Beans, Peas
Heirloom 'Can/Freezer' beans from the National Seed Bank

Harden off - (place your indoor grown seedlings outdoors during the day to get them acclimated for a minimum of 7 days)

Tomatoes and Peppers, melons and cucumbers
I've sown some tomatoes in my greenhouse.  The seedlings are waiting for better weather to be transplanted outdoors.  I may need to re pot them.