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February in the Garden

 

This month warm weather has returned and I’m sure we are all itching to get our spring garden started. Here at SITC we have a greenhouse full of tomato seedlings in all stages. Even though we aren’t clear of frost just yet we can still began prepping for spring with some of these great events.

Wednesday, February 1st – Herbal Energetics and the Four Temperaments will be the topic of discussion at the San Diego Herb Guild Meeting, Casa Del Prado Rm. 101, 6:30 p.m. Free

Thursday, February 2nd – Slow Food San Diego will host the Support San Diego Mixer with Jimbo’s Naturally at their Horton Plaza location from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. Free

Saturday, February 4th- Visit the San Diego Fermentation Festival at the San Diego Waterfront Park from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tickets start at $25.

Saturday, February 4th – Attend the Backyard Composting & Vermicomposting workshop with the Solana Center at the Water Conservation Garden from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Free

Saturday, February 4th & 5th – Bring all your gardening questions to Ask a Master Gardener at the Balboa Park Botanical Building from 10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Free

Monday, February 6th – The San Diego Mycological Society hosts Lee Hamm who will be on hand to discuss “Foraging, Hunting, and Fishing on the Cleveland National Forest” Casa Del Prado Rm. 101, 6:30 p.m. Free

Sunday, February 12th – Attend the Rainwater Tank Installation Workshop in North Park from 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. $45

Monday, February 13th – The San Diego Horticultural Society will have Panayoti Kelaidis on hand to discuss Looking for Succulents in all the Wrong Places. The lecture starts at 6:45 p.m., guest are $15.

Thursday, February 16th – Head over to the South Bay Sustainability Fair from 10 – 2:00 p.m. Free

Monday, February 20th – Learn how to make your own Kombucha at The Kombucha Workshop hosted by The Homebrewer. Just $45 for the class or $85 for the class with your own home brewing kit. 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, February 25th – Dr. Shannyn Fowl will be giving a class on Healthy Herbs from 10:00 – 12:00p.m. Free for members, $10 for guests.

 

Spring planting is just around the corner and we can’t wait to taste our first tomato! This year we have restrained ourselves to just 20 different rare and exciting tomato varieties that we can’t wait to share with you.

Here’s to a bountiful spring!

Jen

New Year, New Gardening Events

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Most of the country has begun to feel the effects of winter. In San Diego, we are lucky to have beautiful sunny days with intermittent rain to water our gardens. 2016 brings plenty of opportunity to start a garden for the first time, plan your spring garden or meet fellow gardeners at some of this months exciting events.

Our fall garden has yet to yield a sizable harvest but our mailbox is bursting with seed catalogs for the New Year so our time can be dedicated to planning what unique and exciting heirloom vegetable seedlings we will be offering this Spring.

 

January Events

 

Monday, January 4th – The San Diego Mycological Society hosts Pat Nolan who will be speaking about fungi and plant pathogens. Balboa Park, Casa Del Prado, Rm. 101

Saturday, January 9th – Get tips on pruning your fruit trees just in time for new growth at the South Bay Botanic Garden. Suggested donation $3

Monday, January 11th – Come hear Michael Buckner speak about Contemporary, Expressive and Sustainable Southwestern Gardens at the SD Horticultural Society monthly meeting. Guests are $15

Monday, January 11th – Jeff Harms will be lecturing on Planting for Pollinators at The San Diego Beekeeping Society monthly meeting. Balboa Park, Casa Del Prado, Rm. 101

Wednesday, Januray 13th – The Point Loma Garden Club is hosting Eric Mueller of Mueller’s Mushrooms who will lecture on growing mushrooms in your own home.

Saturday, January 16th – Learn how to plant your own Living Wall at the San Diego Botanic Garden. $70 material fee

Saturday, January 23rd – Get hands on experience with season extending tools and often overlooked but necessary cover crops at Olivewood Gardens.

Sunday, January 31st – Lovers of all things fermented the San Diego Fermentation Festival takes place at Coastal Roots Farm.

 

I hope this year brings you much luck and happiness in the garden!

Jen

 

February in the Garden Calendar

After the rain (Garden with chickens..) Gustav Klimt

 

Monday, February 3rd – The San Diego Mycological society hosts Steve Farrar who will be lecturing at 6:30 p.m. in the Casa Del Prado, Room 101. Steve will cover Mushrooms and Health: The Healing Powers of Medicinal-Culinary Mushrooms. Free

Wednesday, February 5th – Join the San Diego Herb Club for their monthly meeting from 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. in room 101 Casa Del Prado.

Thursday, February 6th – Professor Karen Liftin will discuss Ecovillages and Diversity in the 21st Century at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice, USD, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Free

Saturday, February 8th – Thinking about composting? Attend the free Composting Workshop with the Solana Center at Crestridge Ecological Reserve from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Monday, February 10th – The Wild World of Succulents will be covered by speaker Kelly Griffin at the San Diego Horticultural Society. The lecture starts at 6:30p.m. at the Race Place in Del Mar and is $15 for guests.

Thursday, February 13th – Interested in going solar? Attend Solar for Homeowners at the CA. Center For Sustainable Energy from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Free.

Saturday, February 15th – Do you want to learn how to make your own baby food? City Farmer’s Nursery host Making Your Own Baby Foods from 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Saturday, February 15th – Learn about Outstanding Trees of San Diego with Dave Ehrlinger at the San Diego Botanic Garden from 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., $24 for non-members.

Sunday, February 16th – Make time for the annual Fungus Fair at Balboa Park. The San Diego Mycological Society will host several guest speakers in Casa Del Prado Rooms 101 and 104.

Friday, February 21st – Attend the Village Aquaponics Workshop at Ecolife from 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. $40

Saturday, February 22nd – The Peace Garden hosts the annual Kale Festival from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. at 3850 Westgate Place.

Wednesday, February 26th – Learn the Benefits of a Plant-based Diet: The China Study by Collin Campbell presented by Neal Biggart Ph.D. through the California Rare Fruit Growers. Starting at 7:00 p.m., Casa Del Prado Room 101.

Friday, February 28th – Are you thinking about planting fruit trees? Get some much-needed information first at Fruit Trees in the Landscape from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. at the Del Mar Fair Spring Home Garden Show. Free

 

Whew! A lot of fun stuff to do. Now we better get back to the greenhouse as I know we have many anxious planters out there just dying to start their gardens.

 

The Countdown Begins,

Jen


Winter Cover Crops

I love your questions and, nothing makes me happier then helping you solve your gardening conundrums. I think my latest question could help a lot of us, myself included, who were completely overwhelmed this holiday season.

“I haven’t had time with the holidays to plant a fall/winter garden but I don’t want to just leave my soil bare over the winter. This last spring I planted heavy feeders so I know my soil is lacking nitrogen. What can you recommend that is fast and easy?”

 

This sounds like the perfect situation for a cover crop! You plant the seeds, add water and then watch it grow. You’re protecting your soil from erosion, weeds, giving it nutrients and in some cases helping to break up heavy soils. Now the question is which one do you choose? It needs to be able to overwinter which in our mild climate is not saying much, as well as fix nitrogen in the soil and be ready to turn under when it’s time for spring planting. Here are my favorites:

1. Fenugreek* – This first one is a legume, so it’s definitely going to fix nitrogen and, it has no problem germinating in cool soils (even surviving frost), plus it’s non-invasive and it grows fast giving you enough time to turn it under before spring planting.

2. Berseem Clover* – Another great nitrogen fixer this one also germinates in cooler soils. Make sure you plan out your calendar though as you turn it under after 30 – 60 days and then leave your soil to rest for about 4 weeks. As an added bonus the flowers are a great food source for honeybees.

3. Fava Beans* – This cover crop not only feeds your soil but you as well. While fixing nitrogen it produces 7″ – 8″ pods as well as beautiful black and white flowers that provide some much needed winter food for beneficial insects. It should be ready to turn under in about 30 – 40 days with time set aside for it to break down.

4. Austrian Field Pea* – With this beauty you will get a little less nitrogen than the clover will provide your soil, but as a trade off you get much faster growth and it will break down faster.

* Most of these nitrogen fixers will need to be inoculated and this video provides a great introduction, however with your seeds a bucket will do just fine. You can also find many seeds that are pre-inoculated.

 

January in the Garden Calendar

Andrea Brueck ‘City Flower Wall’

 

What a year it has been. Seeds in the City have seen many changes and the one we are most excited about is more room! Our flock has expanded as well as our growing space. 2013 was a year of work and rebuilding but we are happy to say we are back and better then ever! With that, we launch our first post of the year with the ever-popular gardening calendar. Just because most of the country is covered in rain, snow and ice doesn’t mean we have to run for cover as well. This month there is plenty to do in and around town.

Happy New Year!

 

Wednesday, January 8th – Learn how to Attract Butterflies and Hummingbirds to Your Garden with Marcia Van Loy who will be speaking to the Point Loma Garden Club at 10:00 a.m. in the Portuguese Hall.

Thursday, January 9th – CCSE hosts Solar for Homeowners – Getting Started at 11:30 a.m. at their San Diego headquarters. Free

Saturday, January 11th – Connie Beck teaches you the best practices for Hillside Gardening starting at 10:00 a.m., at the Water Conservation Garden. Free

Saturday, January 11th – Take the Introduction to Beekeeping course offered by the SDSLI at the Tecolote Nature Center from 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. $35

Monday, January 13th – Kathy Musial gives a lecture for the San Diego Horticultural Society on the Native Plants of Chile from 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Non-members $15

Friday, January 17th – Attend the Village Aquaponics Workshop at Ecolife from 10:00 – 12:30 p.m. $40

Saturday, January 18th – Head over to the San Diego Botanic Garden for a free Composting Workshop from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Wednesday, January 22nd – The California Rare Fruit Growers host their annual Scion Wood Exchange at 7:00 p.m. at the Casa Del Prado in Room 101. Free

Friday, January 24th – The San Diego Mycological Society host Britt Bunyard PhD. who is lecturing on Mycorrhizotopia: Fungi are the Puppet Masters of the World at 6:30 p.m. in Casa Del Prado, Room 104. Free

Sunday, January 26th – Attend a Fruit Pruning Workshop given by the Solana Center, held at the San Diego Botanic Garden from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00p.m.  $25

 

There is plenty of variety for everyone this month. Now back to planning out all the new varieties we will be offering this spring.

Jen

 

November in the Garden Calendar

Purple Kale – Elaine Hurst

 

November in the garden often has us missing the long days of summer, but not yet in the cold nights of winter. It is a time of transition and can often provide you with a chance to revive your soil through a fall/winter planted cover crop. Of course not all growing ceases for those of us lucky enough to grow in San Diego as we tend to have very mild winters. Some great choices for winter color this time of year include medicinal calendula as well as edible nasturtiums and don’t forget your veggies. Beets, carrots, kale, spinach and radishes can still be started from seed while broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, bare root strawberries and swiss chard can be grown from transplant.

This month is also full of wonderful gardening events;

Saturday, November 3rd – Build Your Own Hydroponic Garden at the SD Botanic Garden from 9:00 – 1:00 pm. $95 for non-members, includes materials.

Saturday, November 3rd – Learn how to Make Your Own Mozzarella at Wild Willow Farm, the class fee of $40 includes your own take home cheese.

Saturday, November 3rd – Pathfinder Farms hosts How to Manage Manure with the Solana Center from 2:00 – 4:00pm. Free

Saturday, November 10th – Attend the Water Conservation Gardens Fall Festival from 10-4pm where scheduled workshops will be held on topics such as growing blueberries and making your own cheese. $5 general admission.

Sunday, November 11th – Did you know this is the best time of year to prune certain trees? Learn everything you need to know at City Farmers, Pruning 101 from 10:00 – 11:00 am.

Monday, November 12th – The San Diego Horticultural Society hosts author Ivette Soler from 6:00 – 8:30pm as she discusses her bestselling book The Edible Front Yard. $20 for non-members.

Tuesday, November 13th – Gardening in California’s Mediterranean Climate will be discussed at CCSE from 6:00 – 7:30pm.

Wednesday, November 14th – The Mission Hills Garden Club will be meeting in our very own Little Italy at the fantastic Botanica on India Street at 6:00pm. Guest fee is $10.

Saturday, November 17th – Ecolife Foundation hosts a Village Aquaponics Workshop from 10:00 – 12:30 pm where you can learn how to build your own system. $30

Saturday, November 17th – Stop by the Dixieline on Convoy from 9:30 – 11:30am for a free Compost Workshop hosted by the Solana Center.

Saturday, November 17th – Attend Introduction to Backyard Chickens at Wild Willow Farm where you will also be treated to a screening of “Chicks in the City”. $30

Plenty to be thankful for,

Jen

 

 

Fall is here!

I hope this post finds you all well and getting ready for a fantastic Halloween (hopefully with your SITC pumpkins ready to be carved). Thank you all for your incredible patience. Josh and I recently got married in Julian, California and planning a wedding while working full-time took every last second that we normally dedicate to Seeds in the City. But we are back and better than ever!

This fall we are very excited to announce that we will be offering seeds for the first time in addition to our seedlings. The varieties available this year can be found here. We welcome all your comments and please let us know how your fall garden is coming along.

 

Happy Halloween!

Jen & Josh

Customer Appreciation Event

 

Please join us this Saturday, July 14th at the Little Italy Mercato from 8:00 – 2:00pm for our last market of the Spring/Summer season. As a big thank you to all of you, we are offering one time only discounts to show our appreciation for your support.

Stop by and say hi, let me know what your must haves are for Fall and take home one of our lovingly grown seedlings. Click here to see what we will have on hand and get your shopping list ready.

 

I look forward to seeing you!

Jen

July in the Garden Calendar

Garden Dahlia by Susan Entwistle

July is a time of in the garden that brings more reliable warm weather and with that a need for regular watering. Do your best to water late in the day after the sun starts to go down or early in the morning. Also now is your chance to get in corn, cucumber, eggplant, peppers, summer squash and melon to ensure one last harvest. Now should also be the time all of your hard work has begun to pay off and you are able to harvest some of your vegetables.

Saturday, July 7th – Learn all about Oyster Mushroom Cultivation with SoCal Shrooms at Wild Willow Farms from 11:00 – 2:00pm. $30 signs you up for the class and gets you your very own take home oyster growing kit.

Saturday, July 7th – Visit Seeds in the City at our next to last summer weekend with a Little Italy Mercato booth from 8:00 – 2:00pm. We are located just west of India Street on Date.

Monday, July 9th – Join the San Diego Horticultural Society as they welcome Nicholas Staddon, Director of New Plants for Monrovia. His talk will include some of the best ornamental plants for our area. $10 for non-members, 6pm at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

Saturday and Sunday, July 14th & 15th – SD Botanic Garden host the 2012 Insect Festival with tons of experts on hand and many kid friendly exhibits. Free with admission.

Saturday, July 14th – Join Seeds in the City from 8:00 – 2:00pm at the Little Italy Mercato one last time as we say goodbye to spring and return back to the nursery to plan and prepare everything you need for your fall and winter gardens.

Saturday, July 14th – Ecolife Foundation hosts a Village Aquaponics Workshop where you can learn how to best raise fish while growing your own food from 10:00 – 12:30 pm for $30.

Sunday, July 15th – City Farmers Nursery teaches you how to Can & Preserve Your Harvest from 1:00 – 3:00pm.

Saturday, July 21st – Plant it, grow it, eat it! Organically: Learn how to build a bed, plant and harvest organic produce with Seeds at City from 8:00 – 12:00pm, all proceeds benefit the urban farm.

Saturday, July 21st – Visit the Lakeside River Park Conservancy from 9:00-11:00am for a free Composting Workshop with the Solana Center.

Monday, July 23rd – Learn how to Raise Backyard Chickens with Cari Johnson of White Mountain Ranch. Hosted by the SD Edible Garden Society in rm. 104, Casa Del Prado at 6:30pm. Free.

Saturday, July 28th – Visit the SD Botanic Garden from 2:00 – 3:00pm for Low Water, Low Maintenance Plants for Year Round Beauty. Landscape designer Linda Bresler will give you all the tips and inspiration needed to ditch your water hungry landscape. $15 for non-members.

Saturday, July 28th – Join the SBBG for Walk & Talk: Plant Propagation Tips from 4:30 – 5:00pm. Walk the garden collecting cuttings to learn how to propagate and then take home. $3 donation.

 

Have a happy and safe 4th of July!

Jen

Native Pollinators

 

Syrphid Fly

Friend or Foe?

This issue is not nearly as black and white as we would like. Like all things, your garden must also have a dark and a light, literally and figuratively. Just outside your door there is a constant whirlwind of insect activity. Day and night ‘bugs’ are at work pollinating your flowers, decomposing organic waste and of course some are also damaging your plants. But many of the bugs you can spot on any given day are doing you and the nations food supply a great service.

Even though it may not seem like it, many of the insects in your garden right now are providing the service of pollination. Many people are surprised to hear the staggering numbers associated with these pollinators.

  • 90% of all plant species require animals to help start seed and fruit production in flowers, ensuring full bodied fruit and seed set
  • To date more then 199,000 invertebrate pollinators including bees, butterflies and moths have been discovered around the world
  • 75% of food, fiber, condiment, spice and medicine crops are pollinated by animals, 1 out of every 3-4 bites or sips of a beverage was brought to you by a pollinator!
  • This includes Asparagus, Broccoli, Cacao, Coffee, Lettuce, Olives, Black Pepper, Tea, Mustard, Cotton and many more!
  • This equates to a $40 billion agricultural industry in the U.S. alone

When I think of pollinators the first thing that comes to mind is honeybees but they are actually non-native and can out compete some of our 4,000 native north american bees for resources.

Sweat Bee

Bumble Bee

 

What can you do? 

  • Don’t make assumptions. Just because you don’t immediately recognize a bug as ‘beneficial’ doesn’t mean that it is a danger to you or your garden.
  • Do provide the basics of food, water and shelter.
  • In order to keep and feed all of the beneficial insects you hope to attract you will also need a population of ‘bad bugs’.
  • Also because a product claims it is safe to beneficial insects doesn’t mean that it is. Research a product and the ingredients in detail before choosing to buy.
  • Do use your best judgment with products that claim to be safe as long as they are not sprayed on the flowers or the pollinators, assume that all plants absorb what is sprayed on them, distributing it throughout their systems (even to pollen and then your food!).
  • Better yet eliminate sprays, soaps and chemicals altogether if you cannot be sure that they will not negatively affect the workers ensuring your healthy crop.

Swallowtail Butterfly

 

Your garden will thank you!

Jen