Saturday, September 30, 2006

Pineapple Sage............

Just started to bloom a few days ago. One of my favorite fragrant herbs, and the hummingbirds feed off the flowers all winter long. I started out purchasing one 2" seedling a few years ago, now I have divided it each year, and have at least 5 huge bushes of it throughout my garden, and have given some away.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Fall Citrus

Not ripe and ready to pick yet, but had some good growth over the summer months.


Problems with ants?

If you have a problem with ants, like I did near this orange tree, you can protect the tree by putting a layer of Tanglefoot on the bottom. It is a sticky substance that prevents the ants (and other insects) from crawling up the tree, carrying disease with them. You don't apply it directly on the tree, first wrap the tree with some stretchy support tape, then apply the Tanglefoot over the tape. This can easily be removedd each year, and re-applied. Now is the time to do it, before the rain starts, and the ants start looking for higher ground.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Complete-Diet Mini-Farmin

A GROW BIOINTENSIVE® Class taught by John Jeavons at Common Ground

Does your desire for better nutrition have you wondering if you could live off your land? This class will show you how to plan a garden or mini-farm that will produce healthy, nutritious food and be highly productive as well as truly sustainable, in the smallest space possible.

John is the Executive Director of Ecology Action and the author of our book How to Grow More Vegetables, which has been translated into 7 languages and is used in over 100 countries.

I don't have enough land to live off of, but I like to think that maybe one day I may (or one life is more like it), so for now I am just having fun practicing and getting ready for that day.

I took this class recently, and it's really a very simple plan:

To feed one person, you will need 40 beds that are 100 square feet each.

60% of your crops will be Carbon or Calorie Crops (Grains). So choose 4 of your favorite crops from this category and grow 6 beds of each, for a total of 24 beds.

30% of your crops will be High Calorie Root Crops (potatoes). Choose 3 of your favorite crops from this category and grow 4 beds of each, for a total of 12 beds.

10% of your crops will be Vegetable Crops (Salad Crops). Choose 4 of your favorite crops and grow 1 bed of each, for a total of 4 beds. 3 of these beds will be used to earn money by selling the crop, only 1 will be needed to feed yourself.

Of course this formula will not work for everyone. I recently discovered that I cannot tolerate starches. This includes potatoes, dried beans or grains of any kind. So I might plant some Almond trees, fruit trees and lots of berries, in my beds.......or grow clover to graze farm animals. But it is still a very interesting concept.....which may just require a little creativity.........and definetly a lot of hard work.

For more information on how to design a diet with the recommended amount of vitamins and minerals please refer to Designing a GROW BIOINTENSIVESM Sustainable Mini-Farm – A Working Paper

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Fall Plant Propagation

Fall is the best time to propagate some of your favorite perennials.I have chosen my favorite lavender, rosemary and a climbing rose. Just snip off about a 5" piece, remove leaves from the bottom 2-3" which you will stick into soil and keep moist over the cool season. I put them in a flat, and will leave it outdoors. Next spring, I will be able to transplant the little plants into my garden.

If you want to get even simpler, just wait till the rain starts, and put your cuttings directly into the soil where you want them to grow, and they will establish themselves over the rainy season. I would recommend putting some kind of protection around them, so they don't get stepped on, etc.


Lots of good root growth since starting cuttings, about 5 months ago. In my mild climate I left the flat outdoors, but protected from the cold with remay cloth. I did water them occasionally, since we haven't had any rain this winter.

New Rosemary plant ready to transplant

New Lavender plant ready to transplant

I'm so glad that I thought ahead to do this. I have now transplanted about 15 new plants throughout my garden, at no cost to me. I can't wait till next fall, so I can propagate some more. These plants will be very low maintenance for me, and the flowers and fragrance will be fantastic.


New lavender plants are taking off and growing fast.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Cool Season on its Way..........

Their are a lot of things we can grow to eat in the San Francisco Bay Area during our cool season. My raised beds will be in full use:

Bed #4
Stock Flowers were started from seed using
Uncle Toms Method. Thats a dill plant going to seed in the center. Thyme plants are established in the front corneres. Cereal Rye(cover crop) seeds were directly broadcast into the rear half of this bed. I should have started them in a flat, then transplanted on 5" centers, but I skipped that step. Just being lazy really............but I like to call it an experiment.

Bed #5
Lettuce seed was broadcast in a flat, then those seedlings were transplanted into a second flat on 1 1/2" centers, then when they were about 3" tall they were transplanted into this bed. Calendula Flowers were started from seed using Uncle Toms Method. Basil is still producing in the rear. Thyme plants that I started from seed last fall, were transplanted to the front corners.

Bed #6
Parsley seed were broadcast directly into the right/center portion of this bed. Balck Emmer Wheat seeds are being started in a flat, to be transplanted into the back half of this bed in a few weeks. Lemon Basil is going to seed the the front left corner, and a few volunteer calendula are getting big in the right front corner, hiding another oregano bush, which will go dormant for the winter.

Bed #7
Fava Beans were sown directly into this bed on 8" centers. Stock flowers were started using Uncle Tom's Method. I have a sage bush growing in the back left corner, and some oregano in the right front corner, and some basil still producing.

Bed #8
This is where I broadcast Beet and Scallion seeds a few weeks ago, but it looks like the volunteer's dandelion, arugula and curly frisse are taking over, and I decided to let the more determined veggies win. Maybe I'll get a few beets here and there. I forgot that beet seeds, are actually little containers with multiple seeds inside them, so I am doing a little experiment right now, starting some beet seeds using Uncle Toms Method, to see how many seedlings come out of each seed. I know beets are recommended to be direct sown, but I will attempt to get these seedlings transplanted into a bed, and hopefully get some beets this way.

Bed #9
Fava Beans (sown on August 25th and already about a foot tall), Carrots, Cilantro seeds (just about 1 " tall now) were all direcly sown into this bed.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Fava Bean Germination

Fava Bean SeedlingsThese seeds were planted on August 25th, and have just about all starting coming up now. A lot of other volunteers to weed out as well......