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.