September Newsletter: Kiva Installation, Fall Heat, & Green Beans

“You are not Atlas carrying the world on your shoulder. It is good to remember that the planet is carrying you.” ― Vandana Shiva

California Farm and Garden News

Today we wanted to share a recent installation where we donated supplies and time for a special project. The McAlister Institute Kiva Center is a residential treatment program for women with drug and alcohol addiction. This long-term facility provides counseling, domestic violence assistance, and classes on employment and parenting to its residents. Exploring and caring for the new garden will be incorporated into the educational programming at Kiva. UP added rows of tomatoes, peppers, watermelon, eggplants, and squash to the raised beds on Kiva’s property. We hope the women and children enjoy caring for and learning about their new garden. Thank you for this opportunity to contribute to your program!

What’s Fresh

Green beans! We can’t pick them fast enough. Grown on free-standing plants or a voracious vine, these veggies are filled with fiber, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. They’re delicious as a raw snack or try them in Smitten Kitchen’s “green beans with almond pesto” dish.

California News

We often chat about drought around here at California Farm and Garden. Our Drought Resource page includes a breakdown of how vegetable gardens are more water-efficient than lawns. Warm season in San Diego doesn’t conclude in September- indeed, some of our hottest farming days are in October. According to the NOAA, the past several months were each the hottest on earth, on record. So it can’t hurt to review easy ways to save water every day.
  • Fix leaks in your home.
  • When replacing an appliance or toilet, consider a water-efficient brand.
  • Take shorter showers or “Navy showers“.
  • Turn off the tap while brushing teeth.
Conserving water in the garden is our specialty; here are several recommendations:
  • Plant heat-tolerant varieties of vegetables.
  • Mulch, mulch, mulch!
  • Set up rain barrels to make use of precious rain.
  • Weed beds to prevent resource competition.
  • Water in the early morning hours to avoid evaporation.

National News

If you’re a bee activist or a farmer, this may be old news. Conventionally-grown corn -nearly all corn grown in the US- is contributing to the disastrously declining bee population. Corn seeds are currently being coated with “neonicotinoids,” the world’s most common insecticide group, that are well-documented bee-killers. But bees don’t pollinate corn, you may point out- how are they threatened by a plant they don’t interact with? According to the non-profit Center For Food Safety, around 5% of the “neonic toxin” is absorbed into the seed. The rest is left for our environment to absorb, and for the bees to face with fatal results. Join the CFFS in buying environmentally-safe corn (most popcorn that are certified Organic), in speaking out and boycotting companies like Orville Redenbacher, who insist on using bee-killing seeds.

Garden Tips September Garden To-Do List

  • Don’t kill every caterpillar you see. Some will turn into valuable pollinator butterflies, like the Swallowtail caterpillar pictured above. Monarch butterfly caterpillars also feature distinct striped markings.
  • Pick, prune, and mulch” your current vegetable garden to continue growth and final fruiting. Pull anything spent or dead!
  • Don’t plant any more new veggies because we’re nearing the end of the warm crop season. When temps begin to cool, we’ll begin planting “cool” crops like brassicas and lettuce.
  • Until temps cool, use our suggestions from this newsletter to combat the fall heat and drought in Southern California.
  • Anticipate cool-season rains by getting a So-Cal-specific wildflower mix. Sow them just before rain.

Farm Tour Day

Saturday, September 17th 9 am-3 pm
Farmer-guided walking tours showcase a variety of the region’s agricultural specialties. Tour participants use their own transportation with provided directions. This tour includes six farms, from Bonsall to Valley Center. Tickets here.

San Diego Grown Dinner

Sunday, October 2nd 2:30- 7 pm
Enjoy refreshing local beverages and a delectable menu prepared by a local chef on California’s last standing Rancho. Featuring approximately 23,000 acres, Rancho Guejito has raised countless herds of cattle and remained untouched by time. 200 seats available. Tickets available here.