It's gardening time!
Well, okay, it's *always* gardening time. But especially now that the nasty temps in the 20's have gone away for a while, and we're getting days up in the 50's and low 60's (farenheit, I'm a barbarian, I know).
I've been gradually taking down the old stuff and putting in the new stuff, and much too rushed to post about it. There was more triage than anything else, like taking down last year's tomato plants, and rescuing about 11 feet of bulbs where a fence blew down in one of last month's wind storms. I managed to get a solid several hours in over the past week or so to plant things, and some of the items I tucked hastily into the ground around New Years', such as peas, are just coming up now. At last!
Speaking of gardening, how about some gardening and planting calendars for Santa Clara Valley? We have several good ones to share with you. Let me know if you have one that I haven't mentioned, please.
- Master Gardeners of Santa Clara Valley, has their guide to cool-season crops for Santa Clara Valley. It is indexed by the plant name, rather than the month, but makes up for that small flaw by listing specific varieties found to do well here in their trials. Even better, they list suppliers for each variety!
- Not a spring/fall gardener? No problem, the Master Gardeners' list of warm-season crops for Santa Clara Valley is also available.
- Common Ground Organic Garden Supply, is hosting this free month-by-month planting calendar for the SF Bay Area. There's a gorgeous printed calendar version, with much more extensive information and planting tips for sale at their store in Palo Alto.
- Not surprisingly, there is also a Master Gardeners' month-by-month garden tips reference.
- An article from one of Sunset Magazine's gardeners on garden tasks for February is very helpful in setting up bulbs and flower seeds for a good procession of bloom in spring and summer.
I highly recommend John Jeavon's book "How to Grow More Vegetables (Than You Ever Thought Possible On Less Land Than You can Possibly Imagine)". That well-thumbed tome, along with Mel Bartholomew's "Square Foot Gardening", are the mainstays of my garden bookshelf. I'm becoming more and more partial to recommending Gayla Trail's "You Grow, Girl" for beginning gardeners, since it's such a fun read and has so many crafty ideas in it too.
Next time we'll talk about what to plant together, using the art of companion planting to pick good neighbors for your crops, and things you can double-plant to get two harvests out of one area. I planted beets and carrots mixed in with my broccoli and cauliflower, for instance. I planted radishes with my cabbage, because they're compatible and also because the radishes will be ready to pick just when the cabbage is threatening to overwhelm them. We'll also talk about what to plant in or around your garden to attract beneficial insects such as native pollinators.
Can't wait to get started on companion planting? Common Ground is also providing a free web guide to companion planting. Have at!