May 2016: Garden To-Do List, the Gourd Family & Native Seeds
“Our future depends on the degree to which we understand, value, protect and share
crop agricultural and cultural diversity.” -Native Seeds Search
California Farm and Garden and Green Acre Campus Point
were thrilled to host the 2nd grade from Del Mar Heights
last Monday. The visit first involved a kitchen walk-through and fresh healthy snack. Kids loved the colorful sweet potato fries. The tour continued into the restaurant garden as UP farmers led each class through picking chard and potato-digging, insect and animal habitats, and the concept of composting. Thank you for visiting, Del Mar Heights Elementary and please come again!
Seed saving- why do people do it? Is it easy? Today we farmers and gardeners save seeds to preserve a particular variety, to save money on seeds, and to take advantage of the plant’s entire life cycle. Plants, if you let them fruit or grow to maturity, will reward you with seeds for more plants!
Efficient harvest and storage can save seeds for years to come. Farmers save seeds from certain plants in order to prioritize genes for sweeter fruit or stronger stems or disease-resistance or climate tolerance.
Organizations like the Native Seeds/SEARCH
have established seed banks in order to preserve rare seed genetics and to address the food security crisis. Widespread monoculture farming (planting the same variety repeatedly) and large-scale processed food has led to a sudden scarcity of local heirloom varieties, native biodiversity, and genetic diversity. Imagine if most people and farms relied on potatoes for food and income. A blight wiping out every potato tuber would be an economic and social disaster- one that occurred in Ireland in 1845-1852.
Native Seeds/SEARCH projects include a 160 acre conservation farm and a seed bank holding 1,900 different strains of arid heirloom strains. These seeds are extremely valuable for their unique genetic makeup and for the role they play in Native American communities. NS/S writes: “When peoples once sustained by agriculture lose their farming traditions, their survival as a culture may also be at risk.”
May Garden To-Do List
- Be conscious of rising temperatures: slightly increase irrigation time or days and mulch the garden to retain water and block water-greedy weeds.
- Remove the suckers on your tomato plants. A sucker is a shoot that sprouts from the joint of a tomato plant.
It will add lots of foliage to the lower part of the plant which will decrease precious air circulation.
- Deadhead your flowers.
- Transplant new warm-season crops to garden. Thin new seedlings and feed established plants with organic fertilizer.
- Control ant populations by getting rid of aphids if also present and/or using ant traps. Consider increasing irrigation.
Second graders inspect our compost bins at varying stages of decomposition.