On March 19, 2011, Mark Gaskell, UCCE Farm Advisor, led a blueberry workshop at the UCCE Auditorium, our back up location on a rainy day for the Garden of the Seven Sisters.
Photo by Brenda Dawson, UC Davis
Here are some helpful links to more information about growing blueberries:
Mark Gaskell has all of his information for small farm blueberry production here.
If that link didn't work, his page can always be found at: http://cesantabarbara.ucdavis.edu
Check out the UC ANR general information for backyard gardening of berries here.
Thank you Mark!
November Chores in the Garden
By Ann Dozier
Q. I’d like to grow some winter vegetables. Is there anything I can plant now?
Jeanne Hyduchak, San Luis Obispo
A. Yes, you can still enjoy home-grown crops by planting vegetables that like cooler temperatures. Seeds of beets, carrots, chard, onion, peas, radishes and turnips can be sown in many areas. Garlic may also be planted. Cabbage, broccoli, beets and cauliflower may need a head start to get established before winter – Instead of seeds, buy small plants of these vegetables. As always, gardeners need to be aware of their micro-climate; if frosts are early and severe in your area, tender vegetables may not succeed. In coastal areas, it’s still possible to plant salad crops: lettuce, mesclun and arugula are good choices.
If you should decide not to plant vegetables in your plot this winter, consider planting a cover crop of clover, Fava bean, rye or vetch to enrich your bed for next season’s vegetables. (Large Fava beans are a delicious spring treat.)
November is also a good time for planting of biennials such as hollyhocks and Canterbury bells. In milder areas you can continue to divide daylilies, agapanthus, and iris. As the weather cools plant spring blooming bulbs – narcissus of all kinds are good for spring color and will naturalize in many areas. Tulip and hyacinth bulbs purchased now should go in the refrigerator for six weeks before planting.
In cooler areas begin to clean up for winter: rake leaves, dispose of garden debris and pull out annuals and vegetables that have finished their lives (disease-free plants can go in your compost bin). Finish your winter preparations by making sure the garden is well mulched. A good layer of mulch will keep down weeds and make them easier to pull when they do show their heads. It will also retain moisture if this is a dry winter, or help control erosion if big storms arrive.
Got a Gardening Question?
Contact the University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners: at 781-5939 from 1 to 5 p.m. on Monday and Thursday; at 473-7190 from 10 a.m. to noon in Arroyo Grande; and at 434-4105 from 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesday in Templeton.
By Maggie King- Master Gardener
There are many reasons to love living on the Central Coast. High among them is our mild winter weather. While gardeners in most parts of the country are putting down their trowels and picking up their snow shovels, we are able to grow vegetables all year round if we take in to account the particular needs of various plants.
While leaf vegetables like lettuce, spinach and chard may bolt and go to seed in hot summer weather, they grow happily and produce well throughout the cooler months of winter. Other stars of the winter garden are the root vegetables- beets, carrots and radishes, for example, as well as cole crops- broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, which do best when temperatures are cool.
English, snap and sugar peas like cool weather and stop producing pods when it heats up. These legumes have the ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen into the soil, improving it for the coming season.
Onions, garlic and leeks can be added to the garden at this time, as well as culinary herbs.
Many seeds can be planted directly into the soil throughout the winter months, while others do best if planted from seedlings. It is important to follow instructions regarding timing of planting.
When preparing for a winter garden, amend the soil well. Most cool season vegetables like to be well-watered, but hopefully seasonal rains will help out.
Some of us are April to September gardeners, seeing the Fall and Winter months as time to stay indoors, read, and make soup. For those in this category, I urge you to venture outside at least long enough to plant a cover crop. Clover, vetch have nitrogen fixing ability as well as providing organic matter to the soil. Fava beans are an especially rewarding cover crop, as they provide a tasty early spring harvest.
A few weeks before planting the spring garden these plants should be cut down and tilled into the soil.
For more information on planning for the cool weather season, call the Master Gardeners.
Join the the UC Master Gardeners for a Fall Gardening Workshop!
"Nurturing the Soil"
Saturday, October 16th, 10am - noon.
2156 Sierra Way, San Luis Obispo
- Author: Chris Cocchiaro
By Dale Norrington
Q We so often hear the word sustainable these days, from various sources and seemingly with various meanings. We do care about the environment but are not in a position to completely renovate our landscape and garden. Can the Master Gardeners offer an approach to sustainable gardening, or some specific practices which we can begin to use right away?
Paul and Mary Kubacki - San Luis Obispo
A An approach to sustainable landscaping recommended by the University of California Cooperative Extension includes practices developed by the Sacramento Stormwater Quality Partnership with permission and assistance from StopWaste.org in Alameda County.
Most gardeners should be able to implement these practices immediately and relatively easily, and save energy, water, time and money.
Benefits of sustainable practices can be felt in our own households; the environment benefits from such practices adopted throughout watersheds, and the cumulative effects may be significant.
Landscape in harmony with natural conditions of the site, watershed and climate.
Maintain fire safe landscaping, protect local flora and fauna, and utilize site-adapted plants, ideas for which can be seen at Cal Poly's Leaning Pine arboretum and at
* Landscape for less to the landfill
Use plants of sizes which match their intended space to reduce pruning; grasscycle; compost; and incorporate salvaged hardscape materials where possible.
* Nurture the soil
Save topsoil, mulch, avoid use of quick-release inorganic fertilizers and use pesticides as a last resort.
* Conserve water
Minimize turf, group plants according to water needs, and maintain efficient .
* Conserve energy
Plant trees to minimize energy use. Shade paved areas. Shade south and west sides with . Design carefully.
* Protect water and air quality
Utilize ; minimize impervious surfaces; prevent runoff; use appropriate equipment.
* Create and protect wildlife habitat
Maintain diverse plantings and utilize natives. Provide water and shelter. Conserve or restore natural areas and .
Please contact Master Gardeners for much more related information and detail.
Got a Question?
Contact the University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners: at 781-5939 from 1 to 5 p.m. on Monday and Thursday; at 473-7190 from 10 a.m. to noon in Arroyo Grande; and at 434-4105 from 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesday in Templeton. Visit the UCCE Master Gardeners Web site at groups.ucanr.org/slomg/ or e-mail .
UC Master Gardeners for their monthly
"Advice to Grow By" Workshops!
2156 Sierra Way, San Luis Obispo
Learn how to Build Raised Beds!
Click HERE to find a great step-by-step instructions by Sunset on building your own raised bed!
The Benefits of Raised Beds
- They warm up and dry out faster in spring, so plants get a jump-start on the season.
- You can grow more vegetables in less space and have less area devoted to paths.
- They create attractive, well-organized planting areas.
- They save on the amount of fertilizer and compost used because it's concentrated just on the planting beds.
- It's less work, especially if you make permanent raised beds bordered with wood, bricks, or stone. You won't have to remake the beds each spring.
- The plants will have healthy root systems because you won't be stepping on the planting bed, compacting the soil, and making it hard for roots to grow.
- You can be more creative with design, making round raised beds for example, and planting vegetables, herbs, and flowers in various designs on the raised beds.
- It's easy to plant climbers such as cucumbers up an A-frame trellis because it fits nicely over a 4-foot bed.
- It's easy to fit season extenders such as row covers with wire hoops over the 4-foot beds.
- Raised beds are designed with the human back in mind – less bending and stooping over.
- Lower maintenance for weeds, watering, pests and replanting.
- You’ll have more control over your soil mixture and you can easily change the soil texture, fertility and tilth.
- Ability to add gopher wiring and copper barrier around edges easily.
- Raised beds are a good way of balancing nature’s resources.
- They're beautiful!
Key points - good drainage for proper aeration and organic matter, organic matter, organic matter!
- Decide whether to use an amended garden soil and organic matter or a growing media like potting soil with amendments.
- Mix the top several inches of native soil with several inches of whatever you put in the raised bed to prevent abrupt soil boundaries that could impede drainage.
- Put down hardware cloth to eliminate gophers.
- Very sandy soils or soils high in clay will have the most benefit from organic matter amendment.
- If you use garden soil, double dig the planting bed to make sure that amendments and organic matter are uniformly mixed.
- Aim for at least 4 to 5% organic matter to soil ratio, good compost works well (good compost doesn't look like the original materials, but has a dark rich appearance and a moist, crumbly texture.)
- Add 2 to 3 inches of compost for every 6 to 8 inches of depth and mix well. 3 cu. yds of compost covers 1000 sq ft 1 inch deep
- Check the pH in the root zone after a week or so - should be around 6 to 6.5. Lime or sulfur can be used to adjust pH up or down, respectively.
- Leave at least 2 inches for a mulch on top of the beds
Other issues to consider:
- Peat moss is often mentioned as an organic matter addition - is this a sustainable amendment?
- Manure also mentioned as an organic matter addition –it can add salts to the bed and should not touch the edible parts of the plants.
- Good quality compost (fully composted, no large pieces of woody material) is best and sustainable.
- Vermiculite and perlite are also referred to as good soil amendments- they can be costly for large beds but may be reasonable for smaller units. They are also very light and tend to rise to surface and wash away.
More information can be found here:
Soil Information for Raised Beds:
Soils and Trouble Shooting:
Chemically Treated Lumber Info:
Vegetable Gardening Basics:
Master Gardener Gardening Resources: http://camastergardeners.ucdavis.edu/files/64772.pdf
For more information and events, follow us on our website: http://groups.ucanr.org/slomg/