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Too late for a first time garden???

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Too late for a first time garden???

Post  katvert on Thu 10 Oct - 3:37

Just weeks ago we moved to a place with a yard. My son is super excited to start a garden. So, we are building our boxes this weekend and are going to give it a go? Is it to late in the year to start??

He wants to grow broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, spinach.

I have never had a garden in Southern California so I am not sure if it will work this late in the year. Looking in the books and online it appears these all can grow in Fall. We are zone 8 or 9.

Any suggestions on what grows well this time of year? anything to avoid this time of year?
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Re: Too late for a first time garden???

Post  Goosegirl on Thu 10 Oct - 5:20

welcome  katvert!  Simi Valley should give you great opportunities for a fall garden!  If you are not going to have much in the way of frosts for a while, give it a go.  Spinach is a fast grower, so that should give you good results right away.  The others take more time but are fairly cold hardy, so you may only need a bit of protection during the coldest snaps.  I am jealous of your fall - ours is almost over in zone 4!

GG
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Re: Too late for a first time garden???

Post  jimmy cee on Thu 10 Oct - 8:31

If this was me, I would plant anything my heart desired.
Your son's excitement will only build and build and build.
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Re: Too late for a first time garden???

Post  sanderson on Thu 10 Oct - 13:21

Welcome to the Forum!  glad you\'re here I'm in Fresno, Zone 8B-9A.  I have to take off for the dentist, but I will write more later.  Your son is so lucky to be in SoCal where gardening can be a year around endeavor.  Still on my first cup of coffee reading   Here's a list for Oct - I'll send link to source later.

Northern Cal – October

Beetroot (also Beets) Sow in garden.  - Harvest from February.
Broad beans (also Fava bean) Sow in garden.  - Harvest from March.
Broccoli Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. Harvest from February.
Cabbage Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. Harvest from February.
Capsicum(also Bell peppers, Sweet peppers) Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. Harvest from February.
Carrot Sow in garden. - Harvest from March.
Cauliflower Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. Harvest from April.
Chinese cabbage (also Wong bok) - Sow direct in the garden.  - Harvest from February.
Collards (also Collard greens, Borekale) Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks.  Harvest from February.
Daikon (also Japanese radish, Lo Bok) Direct in garden. Harvest from February.
Fennel (also Bronze fennel) Sow in garden.  - Harvest from March.
Florence Fennel (also Finocchio) Sow in garden. - Harvest from March.
French tarragon Plant cuttings or root division. - Harvest from January.
Horseradish Plant root pieces. - Harvest from April.
Kale (also Borecole) - Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. - Harvest from February.
Kohlrabi Sow in garden. - Harvest from February.
Lettuce Sow in garden, or start in seed trays and plant out in 4-6 weeks.. - Harvest from February.
Mustard greens (also gai choy)  - Sow in garden.  - Harvest from January.
Onion Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. Harvest from June.
Parsley (also curly leaf parsley or flat leaf (Italian) parsley) - Sow in garden. - Harvest from February.
Potato Plant tuber. - Harvest from April.
Radish Sow in garden. - Harvest from January.
Rocket (also Arugula/Rucola) Sow in garden.  - Harvest from January.
Rosemary Plant cuttings - Harvest from 12 months.
Shallots (also Eschalots) Plant small bulblets, with stem just showing above ground.  - Harvest from March.
Snow Peas (also Sugar Peas, Mangetout, Chinese Peas)  - Sow in garden. - Harvest from March.
Strawberry Plants Plant with crown (of roots) just covered.. Harvest from March.
Thyme (also Common thyme) Grow in seed trays and plant out 6-8 weeks. - Harvest from October.
Turnip Sow in garden. - Harvest from January.
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Re: Too late for a first time garden???

Post  Marc Iverson on Thu 10 Oct - 17:05

Agree that you really are lucky to be gardening where you have such an extended growing season. Only thing is, water can be costly in your area. So you might want to look into deep mulching, or even self-watering beds and/or containers. On this forum, the search feature will take you into good threads about those things. The "Back to Eden" thread is a long one with plenty of good info and links on a grower in Washington who almost never waters, because he mulches deeply in fresh wood chips. The mulch constantly degrades and provides his soils with structure and, eventually, nutrients. Because of the composition of wood and its porous structure, it also helps a lot with water management, sucking up water when conditions are too wet (doesn't happen much in your area) and keeping moisture from evaporating too quickly, which would dry out the soil. Considering water costs, you might find that thread and the "Back to Eden" movie that inspired it worth thinking about. The movie is free on the internet.

You may also find yourself wanting to use covers to keep both bugs and excess heat/sun from your cabbage-type crops. A bonus (sometimes) is that they can keep humidity higher, again meaning less evaporation and ultimately lower water bills. Some bugs and viruses love humidity, so it's something you'll have to research and adapt to your conditions if you want to do it. Some cloths are very breathable too, so "to cover or not to cover" is not an all-or-nothing proposition.

Thinking about these things in advance can save you a lot of trial and error. These forums can be a big help. Don't be afraid to look around, ask questions, and keep looking around here and all over the net. Or to visit a real-life library or used bookstores for good gardening books.
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Re: Too late for a first time garden???

Post  sanderson on Fri 11 Oct - 2:56

Katvert, I forgot to ask if you have purchased or read "All New Square Foot Gardening" and will be using this method (SFG) for your garden boxes? SFG uses Mel's Mix (an equal blend of vermiculite, fluffed peat moss and real compost (not Kellogg). The planting possibilities are closer with MM. For the summer you will need a mulch on top of the MM to help retain water. Some hand water, others use drip irrigation (me) and others have various self watering set ups. For frost, you should plan on framing clear plastic sheeting over the boxes. It will help warm during the winter days and prevent freezing when it gets below 32*. Just prop open during the warmer winter days so it doesn't over-heat. Your micro-climate is very similar to mine.

Best of luck, and again, Welcome.
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Re: Too late for a first time garden???

Post  No_Such_Reality on Fri 11 Oct - 12:36

@katvert wrote:Just weeks ago we moved to a place with a yard. My son is super excited to start a garden. So, we are building our boxes this weekend and are going to give it a go? Is it to late in the year to start??

He wants to grow broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, spinach.

I have never had a garden in Southern California so I am not sure if it will work this late in the year. Looking in the books and online it appears these all can grow in Fall. We are zone 8 or 9.

Any suggestions on what grows well this time of year? anything to avoid this time of year?
Woot, you are lucky, you're right on time for Broccoli, Cauliflower, carrots and spinach in SoCal.

If you're Simi-Valley, you're likely Sunset Zone 18. http://img4.sunset.com/i/climate-zones/wgbmap-losangeles-w-x.jpg?500:705

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Re: Too late for a first time garden???

Post  katvert on Fri 11 Oct - 13:58

Thanks for all the information, I think I have the confidence to go forward.  My grandma, from snow country, would scold me for even thinking of planting so late in the year, it's a good thing she taught me how to can.

We are definitely going to try broccoli, cauliflower, carrots -- all which we eat daily in our house--- we are also planting spinach, parsnips, peas, onions, winter squash & lettuce.  Only a few squares of each until we get better at this. We will see what takes off - trying to keep my expectations low, so anything that turns out will be exciting. 



I am building my boxes today. My hubby has "given permission" to build two 4x4 boxes...although he keeps telling me "we are not farmers".  Once he eats some fresh veggies he will feel the love a bit more. My son (7 years old) is so excited and promises to at least taste everything... never thought I would see the day when he would agree to eat an onion.


As for watering... I am going to hand water for now, and when we work on the rest of the yard... I am thinking of trying  to run a drip system to my boxes.

I did purchase the book and have been packing it around all week. I have also been researching every question that pops in my head online. There is so much information on this type of gardening. 



My local Lowe's has Mel's Mix already mixed in bags. For me this is worth the few extra dollars so I don't have to go hunting for all the ingredients.

We are also fortunate that our new house came with mature apple, orange and lemon trees.... although they were neglected this year, I am hoping for a good harvest next year.  And, I want to pick up a stone fruit tree soon as well, just need to pick which one or look into those fruit cocktail mixed trees.
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Re: Too late for a first time garden???

Post  Marc Iverson on Fri 11 Oct - 14:54

How wonderful that you have mature fruit trees and the space for putting up more! You're going to have such a healthy variety/diet. It's sure hard to beat fresh fruit, especially on a hot summer day.

It's also lucky that you have MM purchasable nearby. It can be pretty hard to find in many locations. That should save you a ton of time and work. Vermiculite, especially, can be hard to track down in a usable size, and really pricey if you do.

Good luck on your new garden!

Oh, and if I can make another suggestion -- you might want to think about having some companion plants around, either to deter pests (like garlic, and this is the season for garlic) or to attract bees and butterflies to help pollinate (like bee balm or lavender or veronica/speedwell) or to both repel pests and attract bees/butterflies at the same time (like marigolds, nasturtium, calendula, and borage). And then there are some things that supposedly make other plants grow better just by being nearby, as basil is said to do to tomatoes. Wiki and many other sources online give lists on companion plants.

Some of those plants can be easily put in pots next to your beds, if you don't want to put them directly in your beds -- marigolds, for instance, are really tough and can live in tiny pots if they need to.
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Re: Too late for a first time garden???

Post  sanderson on Fri 11 Oct - 15:07

Wow, it sounds like you even have room for a compost pile.  The ready-made Mel's Mix is sometimes a little less than stellar but it's at least a way to get started until you get your own compost made.

I'm a first year gardener and I started off trying out different plants to see what I could grow.  My home made Mel's Mix was made with Kellogg's Embarassed  so I had to amend as the summer moved along.  The first year is exciting and I'm so glad your son is involved with the process.
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