Flowerdale Nursery  & Landscaping
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Flowerdale Nursery & Landscaping


 WINTER VEGETABLES

 

Planning an Edible Garden

All productive edible gardens start with a good planning

  •  Space saving methods like “Square Foot Gardening” are better suited to most small-scale back yard farmers.
  • Augment your existing landscape (sneaking edibles in with your landscape plants) for form & function.

What are you going to grow?

  • Grow what you will eat (if you can).
  • Don’t plant more food than you need.
  • Grow only varieties that do well in your area.
  • Maximize space. Mix vegetables with fruit trees, edible flowers, & herbs.

Soil Preparation

 Edibles in general need a rich deep soil with adequate soil nutrients, the better the soil the better the plants. 

Compost is key; it improves the following in garden soils.

  • It improves the water holding capacity making clay soil better drained & sandy soil hold more water.
  • It improves the nutrition of the soil by feeding soil organisms that make nutrients like nitrogen available to plants.
  • It improves the soils tilth making it softer & more workable.

Add compost in a 3’’ to 6’’ thick layer & dig in once a year (best done in the fall or winter). This replaces the organic matter that has been depleted in the soil during the previous growing season. To improve drainage further in heavy clay soils the addition of Pumice or Perlight may aid in loosening the soil.

Plant Selection

Choosing the correct varieties can increase your yield throughout the growing season & reduce your work. Heirlooms are old varieties that have been developed & preserved for specific attributes like flavor, color, or shape. They are not hybrids.

  • Choose only varieties that have been developed or are proven to do well in your area (ask your nurseryman).
  • Choose different varieties to strategically harvest the same crop at different times of year.
  • Choose varieties for specific uses, quality, quantity, flavors, or nostalgia (heirlooms).

Fertilizing

Most edibles benefit from added nutrition. The more organic matter (compost) you add to your soil the less fertilizer you need, & the healthier your soil & plants will be.

         Fertilize once every three months with a slow release conventional fertilizer or organic bled fertilizers.

         Use an all purpose fertilizer with all three nutrient ratios being the same (example: 10-10-10).

         All plants in containers need fertilizer more often to grow healthy.

         For container-grown plants use a liquid all purpose fertilizer with the same nutrient ratio every month.

         The more you fertilize the more water the plants need. Over fertilizing leads to inefficient water use. Grow your plants lean & mean. They will perform better in the long run.

Pest Control

Edibles are prime targets for pests. The following are the most common offenders aphids, mealy bugs, ants, grasshoppers, rabbits & gophers.

         Establish a threshold for a low pest population level. Monitor the pests in your garden.

         Eradicate infestations or pest populations out of control manually at first.

         Use pesticides as last resort for problem situations.

         Attract beneficial insects, bats & birds.

Aim for prevention.

         Keep a clean garden. Remove dead leaves, twigs, fruits, etc.

         To prevent introducing new pests to your garden quarantine new plants, inspect their leaves, stems, & roots.

         Use only pesticides listed for vegetables.

Organic pesticides of relatively low toxicity are best recommended on use in home gardens (we are what we eat).

Disease Control

Most plants grown correctly have few disease problems.

         Chose the right plant for the right location.

         Know when plants are dormant. They generally need much less water when dormant.

         Do not crowd plants too close together.

         Keep tools clean & sharp.

Many diseases are caused by improper growing conditions that stress plants.

         Over watering is the #1 cause of plant death besides lack of water!

         Avoid incorrect harvesting, or harvesting at the wrong time of year.

         Support plants with stakes to hold up fruit laden stems & to keep fruit off the ground.

If your plant becomes infected with a disease it is best to remove & destroy the plant as soon as the detection is noticed. The gardener is limited to what can be applied safely to edibles for disease control (we are what we eat).

Planting

There are basically two seasons for edible growing in most of

Southern California.

  1. Warm season (Summer - Fall)- runs from March till May
  2. Cool season (Winter – Spring)

* Note, with some crops a “bonus” seasons exists, between warm & cool seasons (usually midsummer & mid winter).

Mechanically the planting process is as follows,

·         Dig a hole in the prepared earth & plant your plat to the same depth it was in the container.

·         Backfill with the remaining earth.

·         Fertilize & water deeply.

·         Plant in cool to pleasant weather in the evening or the morning.

·         Only loosen roots that are noticeably matted & crowed.

Crop Rotation

There are two reasons crop rotations are strongly recommended for a productive vegetable garden.

  1. Reduce the buildup of crop specific pests & diseases.

·         Pests & diseases can stay behind in soil or organic material to re-infect their host plants when the following growing season.

·         One must take care to avoid planting vegetables even in the same family in the same places every year. Plants in the same family are usually prone to the same problems.

·         Plant crops in blocks & move their position around the garden every season.

·         One year (two is best) is the absolute minimum amount of time needed before you can re plant.

  1. Increasing soil fertility & your overall yield by planting cover crops & companion plants in rotation (or in unison).

·         Certain plants increase nitrogen in soils (the Pea family, Legumes). Vegetables in this group of plants include beans, peas, & chickpeas.

·         Plant Legumes one season ahead of N hungry crops like corn or spinach.

·         Make sure to till in the leaf, stem, & root litter of the Legume crop into the soil. The N is locked up in the plants tissues & will be released during their decomposition.

Inter planting with a variety of different plants makes for a healthier garden. The more variety you have the less monoculture the less pests & diseases you will have.

 

         

Edibles for Fall Planting & Winter Harvesting

 

Sunflower Family

  • Lettuce (Lolla Rossa, Butter crunch, Red Sails, Tango, Australian Yellow, Black Seeded Simpson, Florellenschluss, Marvel of Four Seasons, Red Sails, May Queen, Red Romaine, Mignonette Bronze)
  • Artichoke
  • Radicchio
  • Endive
  • Escarole

Carrot Family

  • Celery
  • Carrots (Carnival Colors, Kuroda, Danvers, Tonda Di Parigi)
  • Parsnip

Spinach Family

  • Spinach (Strawberry, Winter Giant, Blomsdale, Giant Noble)
  • Swiss Chard (Fordhook Giant, Northern Lights, White, Rhubarb Red)
  • Beets (Detroit Red, Bulls Blood, Chefs Multi Colored)

Cabbage Family

  • Southern or Collard Greens
  • Broccoli (Romesco Italia, Rapini, Chinese, Waltham 29, Arcadia)
  • Arugula
  • Kohlrabi
  • Cauliflower (Violetta Italia, Graffiti, Green Macerada, Snowball, Cheddar)
  • Cabbage (All Seasons Blend, Mammoth Red Rock, Chinese Bio, Savoy, Copenhagen Market)
  • Cress
  • Kale (Red Russian, Nero Toscana)
  • Mustard Seed & Mustard Greens
  • Radish  (French Breakfast)
  • Turnip
  • Bock Choy
  • Tatsoy
  • Pack Choy
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Watercress

Lily Family

  • Asparagus
  • Leek
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Chives
  • Shallots

Pea Family

  • Peas
  • Mungbean Sprouts

Tomato Family

  • Potatoes
  • Cool season “winter” Tomatoes only in mild frost-free climates. (Siberia, Sub Arctic Maxi, Paul Robeson, Opalka, Manitoba, Stupice, Northern Lights, Matina, Mule Team, San Francisco Fog, Glacier, Jetsetter)

Grass Family

  • Wheatgrass
  • Ryegrass
  • Oat grass

Herbs

  • Winter Savory
  • Cilantro / Coriander
  • Parsley
  • Borage
  • Lovage
  • Dill
  • Fennel
  • Oregano
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Bay
  • Mints & Spearmint
  • Lemon Balm
  • Chamomile
  • Lavender
  • Scented Geraniums
  • Rue

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