Global Gals Gardening

Global Gals Gathering

Gardening May 14, 2015

Attendees:  Janice, Sandra, Jen, Sharon, Heather, Beth, Orchidea, Alexis, Megan

Guest speaker:  Sommer Cartier, San Diego Community Garden Network  (

Sommer received her Masters in International Development with emphasis on Food Security.  Graduate work at Clark University back East.  Focus on cultivating food in Haiti.

Gardening can be intimidating.  Experiment, start growing what you want to grow. You will learn in the process, learn from mistakes.  Keeping a journal is helpful.  Become an expert on 2 or 3 favorites and become an expert on those first.  Can also grow a theme such as salsa, pizza, salad, three sister – focus on those 4-5 ingredients.

Three Sisters are the corns, beans, squash.  Beans add nitrogen to soil and corn and squash absorb it.  Beans grow up the corn stalk.  Squash is low lying.

Heather has visited Walter Anderson Nursery who has helpful staff to answer questions. (Chuck has his Masters in Botany)

Mico-climate can make a difference.

Solution to powdery mildew on squash, cucumbers.  Key to prevent is to keep plant healthy and water properly then its less prone to mildew.  If you get it, treat it immediately, if not, tear out the plant and discard.    Treat with Neem Oil, natural oil, spray on the infected plant, it will kill a lot.  Spray in the evening when bees are not active.  Use it sparingly because it can kill other plants.

What about caterpillars?  Kill them.  Remove them from the plants by hand.  Captain Jacks is a spray that you can use.  Can use for munching bugs.

Oils may work such as peppermint oil, geranium, chrysanthemum.  You can get organic ideas online.

Avocado trees like a lot of water then let it dry it out.

Tips for white fly?  Neem oil.  Earth friendly type dish soap, water it down, spray it.

Tips for squirrels?  Cotton balls soaked in peppermint oil placed where squirrels seem to go.  But, that doesn’t consistently work. You can also put cages around the plants, but you have to let pollinators in.

Tips for gophers?  Trap and discard.

Male could pee in the yard to scare away small mammals such as opossum, raccoons.

How do you begin to garden?  Take a soil sample to City Farmers (Home & Euclid) and Farmer Bill will test it for you then sell you all the products to improve the soil.  Can used raised beds.  Start small with a  1’x1’ box with just a few things.  Can buy high producing and disease resistant seeds.  Can start with seedlings instead of seeds.  Research and know a bit about your soil health.  Soil, Water, and Sun are the first things to learn about.  Soil is clay and sand.  Find level ground.  Once you determine location, do your soil test.

If you have too much sun and plants are burning, use shade cloth.

Don’t water the leaves.  Wet leaves can get mold, mildew.  If you are watering, do it early morning or late afternoon when the sun is not intense.  Its better to do a drip system.  The plants should reach for the moisture.  Don’t water at the base, water in a circular area around the plant so that the roots can reach for the water.  As the plant matures, it needs less water.

French Dwarf Marigolds deter nematode (microscopic worm that you can’t see).  Nematodes stunt growth, doesn’t look healthy during the day.  If you see balls on the roots when you pull out the plant, then you have nematodes. To get rid of nematodes, let it go feral for a few seasons, turn the soil once a week.  Add a pollinator such as African blue basil, it gets very large and attracts a lot of bees.  Another pollinator is Borage but it drops seeds. The flowers are edible.

Can the same soil be used the following year?  You will add compost and other things that you need to amend your soil each year.  Can consider crop rotation.

Medicinal plants:  lemon balm, stinging nettle, fever few, blue hyssop, mint, chamomile,

Grow mint in a pot, it will overtake your garden.

Thyme has to be cut, harvest it.  Start cutting back your basil, cut above the 2 new leaves.

Container Garden.  Summer teaches for Victory Garden on how to do the container garden.  Ideally teach 5-15 people.  During the class, participants actually plant in the containers.

Peppers don’t need a lot of water.  Eggplant doesn’t need much water.  Once kale is established, it doesn’t need much water.

Community Garden Network

Connect people to various resources in town around gardening.  Wild Willows Farm is an educational farm.  Altadena Community Garden somebody owns the land (32nd & Thorn). could put a message to look for someone to garden my back yard hillside.

Good Neighbor Gardens.  Install, maintain garden.  Owner can harvest what they want but every Friday the gardener will harvest to give to CSA.  There is a fee for them to plant and maintain the garden.  (talk to Mia)


Global Affects

Western developed countries are destroying the ability for developing countries to farm themselves.  Western developed countries pay subsidies to the farmers.  Developing country land is owned by wealthy people.

Books to Read

Paul Farmer, Harvard PhD wrote Mountains Beyond Mountains.

Frances Moore Lappe wrote Diet for a Small Planet

Pat Welsh wrote Southern California Organic Gardening


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