THE GARDEN BUZZ
Believe it or not, washing your car, changing your oil, spraying with pesticides can all pollute our Bay Area waters. When pesticides and other pollutants are washed into storm drains by rain or over-watering they wind up in our creeks and Bay. You can help to keep our watershed from contamination by using these garden tips.
1. Limit your use of insecticides, herbicides, fertilizers and other garden chemicals.
2. Use less toxic products like oil sprays and biological pesticides.
3. Encourage natural pests predators such as birds, ladybugs, lacewings, toads and garter snakes.
4. Grow flowering plants to provide beneficial insects with nectar year round.
5. Put up traps, barriers, and snail baits.
6. Remove ivy, rotting fruit, and other pest attracters.
7. Choose plants that require less water and fewer chemicals, particularly native plants.
8. Pull or hoe weeds before they flower and leave seeds.
9. Compost garden trimmings to make a natural fertilizer.
10. Pick the right spot for your plants. Healthier plants are more pest resistant.
A slideshow showing so many years of meaningful, joyful, hands on education in the garden. Let's keep it up!
Watch this simple tutorial on how to plant and harvest a butternut squash!
When to Plant Butternut Squash
Butternut squash is a pear shaped fruit with high amounts of vitamins and minerals and other essential nutrients. The best time to plant a squash is in the summer. The soil needs to be a temperate of 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit and it needs to be placed 4 inches deep in the soil.
When to Harvest Butternut Squash:
Squash is ready to be harvested in autumn. An indication that your squash is ready to be picked is when the stem turns from green to brown, it is a pale yellow or brown color, and the squash is about 8-12 inches long. When the squash stops growing that is another sign that it is ready to be picked. Another tip is if the squash resists being punctured by your fingernail. Cut the squash on the vine and leave an inch of vine left on the squash.
Storing Butternut Squash:
Squashes can be stored for up to 2-3 months in a cool, dark place like a basement or wine cellar. They last 14 days at room temperature.
In this fun, short tutorial learn how to make cards and bookmarks out of leaves and flowers from your yard!
-flowers and leaves
-for card: card stock cut and folded into a card and clear contact paper
-for bookmarks: card stock cut the length of a bookmark and the width of a piece of packing tape.
1.Cut cardstock 6” x 2” for a bookmark and 10” x 10” for a card. Fold the cardstock into a card.
2.Make a design out of your flowers on the cardstock. Glue the flowers onto the cardstock with glue dot runner or a glue stick.
3.Cover the flowers with laminator or contact paper or simply use tape.
4.Trim off the excess tape or contact paper from edges of the cardstock.
5.If you like you can use a hole punch to poke a hole on top of the bookmark and tie a ribbon or twine through the hole.
Another option is to press the flowers prior to taping them down. The cards will last longer this way but it works perfectly fine using fresh flowers.
How to Press Flowers:
Head into your backyard or take a nature walk to pick some small flowers and leaves. Collect them on a sunny day when they’re not wet. Place a piece of parchment paper in a heavy book and arrange the flowers on the paper. Close the book and add a couple heavy books on top to weigh it down. Check the flowers in 7-10 days to make sure they’re dry and papery and no moisture is remaining.
Learn how to plant a three sisters garden of corn, beans and squash. For many Native American cultures these plants were planted together for centuries because they each help each other thrive and survive in a garden. They also compliment each other in meals. Corn provides carbohydrates; beans are rich in protein and amino acids, and squash has vitamin and minerals that are not present in beans and corn.
Why They Work Well Together
According to “Native Seeds,” Corn provides the stalks for the beans to climb. Beans provide nitrogen to fertilize the soil and stabilize the corn during heavy winds. The large squash leaves shade the soil, and helps the soil retain its moisture and prevent weeds from growing.
When to Plant
According to Native Seeds, “These crops are warm season plants and do not tolerate frost. Plant seeds for the Three Sisters outside with the spring, summer, or monsoon planting periods. Check with your local planting calendar to determine the best time for your area.”
Sachets are small perfumed bags used for scenting clothes drawers or cars. It is a simple, nature activity to do with kids!
What You’ll Need:
-2-3 Aromatic herbs and spices that have been completely dried such as lavender, mint, star anise, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, orange peel, lemon peel, and rose petals.
- A 6”x 6 ” square piece of material and a ribbon or a pre-made breathable fabric drawstring bag.
Optional: -Essential oils.
1. Pick 2-3 aromatic herbs and spices that smell good together. Some combinations we love are: lavender/mint, rose/lavender, and orange peels/cloves/cinnamon.
2. Lay material on table right side down. Place approximately ¼ cup herbs in the middle of fabric. Add essential oil if you need to enhance the smell.
3. Gather up the sides of the material and tie with a ribbon.
Farinata is a delicious, thin, savory pancake made out of garbanzo bean flour, extra virgin olive oil and herbs. The surface and edges are crispy and the inside is creamy and delicious. It’s a popular, rustic dish served along the coast of the Liguria seaside. It is excellent as an appetizer to a pasta dish or a snack with wine! The best part is it’s so easy to make with minimal prep time! My dad has perfected this recipe over the years and here is his recipe.
1cup garbanzo bean flour
1 ½ cup water
¼ extra virgin olive oil, plus 2tablespoon in the pan
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 spring or green onion or 4 fresh sage (optional)
Whisk flour with water in a bowl until there are no lumps. With a spoon remove the top layer of foam which has a bitter taste. Cover and set aside for 2 hours or as long as 12 hours. The longer the better.
Preheat oven to 475 and place a 10-12 inch ovenproof skillet or cast iron in the oven. If using the optional onions or sage, chop these now while the oven is heating up. Once the oven has reached 475 remove the pan and add 2 tablespoons olive oil and pour in the batter slowly. Sprinkle sage or onions top and place pan in the middle rack of the oven. Cook for 25-30 min until it is crispy golden on the outside. It will be creamy on the inside. Remove from oven and sprinkle salt on top and if desired. Carefully transfer to a cutting board and slice in to wedges. Serve warm!
Thanks to the Master Gardeners, DIGS gave away 600 plant starts during the Covid-19 pandemic to 60 Mira Vista School families. This has been a way to stay connected and promote home gardening during challenging times.