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Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month?

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Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month?

Post  sanderson on 11/9/2013, 4:42 pm

Here in the Fresno area, we are having glorious fall weather, sunny in the day and 40-ish at night.  The leaves are falling.  I used to hate falling leaves, nasty clean-up before the rain (if we get it).  Now I am gathering each and every little Pistachio leaf for next year's compost!  Well, not on the sidewalk side of our fence where people let their dogs visit, but everywhere else.

Our Region stretches from Bakersfield at the south end of the San Joaquin Valley north to shy of the Oregon border, and from the west Pacific coast to the Sierra Mountain foothills.  That means a lot of micro-climates and first frost dates (and some areas without frost!!).

I would love to hear from more folks in this Region.  It seems Audrey and I are the only frequent posters.  Opps, there may be others but I'm still on my second cup of coffee. reading   I really slept in this morning!  Embarassed   Please post your successes and failures, plus photos.  Maybe if more in this Region started posting, some of the Northern Cal Visitors will join the Forum.  ??  Very Happy
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Re: Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month?

Post  keepercjr on 11/9/2013, 9:22 pm

I live in Fresno too.  I got some garlic, broccoli and lettuce in so far.  This is my first time doing garlic.  I bought it from the seller at the Vineyard farmer's market so I know it is good for our area.  My monster tomato plants seem to have caught a second wind and have lots of green fruit on them (from small to large).  I'm hoping the frost holds off long enough for them to mature.  I will plant some more broccoli in another week or 2 and am waiting for cauliflower.  Oh I did sew some carrot and beet seeds and I am still waiting on those to appear.
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Re: Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month?

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 11/9/2013, 11:44 pm

We should meet for lunch some time! 3 of us within close driving distance, that's fun.

I'll show some pictures maybe tomorrow. My lettuce is doing really well, and Kale, beets, cabbage and I forget what other seedlings I have going.

I have beautiful tomatoes like you, they're just starting to turn a little a little golden so I should start harvesting Romas again in the next week or so. If it freezes, you can harvest the green tomatoes and let them ripen indoors. I had tomatoes until Late Jan. last year.
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Re: Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month?

Post  sanderson on 11/10/2013, 12:21 am

Keeperjr,  What part of town do you live?  Are you in the City?  I'm at Maple and Teague.  Please post some photos!
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Re: Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month?

Post  keepercjr on 11/10/2013, 11:54 am

I live just south of Fresno State in a former county island. I have lots of room to garden Smile

Lunch sometime sounds fun!
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Re: Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month?

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 11/11/2013, 8:14 pm

Okay, I'm glad you had this thread as I hadn't taken recent pictures of the garden and like to do that for reference next year (helps me remember what things were growing like in November). 

" />
This is my seedlings started a little over a month ago:  Collards, cabbage, lemon balm and four seasons lettuce.


volunteer tomatoes, cilantro, more lettuce and spinach, peas and red romaine lettuce.  I've been harvesting baby leaves and these were just harvested today.  They've actually grown quite a lot. 


far back corner, purple bush beans which are harvesting quite nicely right now.  Cherry tomato, Japanese eggplant, red mini bell peppers (volunteers from Costco mini three color bell peppers), beets, lettuce (can you tell we love our salads?!), swiss chard, red hot peppers and tomatoes.

In the back a lemon cucumber that looks bad but is still producing pretty regularly, basil, tomatoes, acorn squash. 


Left to right, front to back:  orange mini bell peppers - volunteer, golden beets seedlings, radishes, butternut squash, eggplant standard variety in the center, kale, cherry tomatoes. That's it for the greenhouse.


Strawberries, mixed all season varieties.  We added the gutters to root the runners.  I'll plant those runners elsewhere next spring. 


front left, green spring onions planted last winter from a bunch bought in the store.  They root super easily and I like using them for my salsa as they're mild onions.  Lots of lettuce in here.  Orange mini-bell peppers, another butternut squash (it won't make it though), a siberian short season tomato, kentucky wonder green beans, beets, and a pumpkin I just pulled out today. 

Sounds like a lot when you write it all down, doesn't feel like that much when you harvest a bit every day though :-)
Audrey
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Re: Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month?

Post  sanderson on 11/12/2013, 2:01 am

Audrey,  thanks for the update photos.  You've got to be super happy with that hot house.  Keeper,  Can you post some photos, also?
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Re: Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month?

Post  keepercjr on 11/12/2013, 3:33 pm

Nice! I lost all my squash and pumpkin plants to cucumber mosaic virus. I had no idea what was wrong with them and finally figured it out. I had never seen anything like it before in my garden and it was pretty sad but at least I know for the future to pull anything that starts looking like that ASAP! Adding to the pain was that I probably spread it to each plant by cutting off leaves that were heavy with spider mites.

I'll take some pictures today.
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Re: Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month?

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 11/12/2013, 3:38 pm

Bummer.... I haven't encountered that disease, I'll file a note in my pea-brain to try to look it up and be prepared if I see it.
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Re: Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month?

Post  keepercjr on 11/12/2013, 7:32 pm

Here are my photos from today:

My whole garden - I have 8 boxes in total and all but one are 4x2.  The garden is in a side yard of my house.  To the right of the picture I have a shed and a bunch of fruit trees.



2 pepper plants that I decided not to pull yet.  I pulled everything else out of that bed but have not amended it yet.



Some young broccoli in front and in the back I have 4 squares of garlic



Just 1 square of lettuce so far but it is amended and ready for whatever (broccoli or cauliflower probably)



This bed has some older broccoli (eaten up by the caterpillars but still going!), 1 kale, some lettuce and some sugar snap peas that are just sprouting



1 carrot, 1 lettuce (there is another one just sprouting) and 1 of my monster tomatoes (celebrity) that came into a second wind.  It was a poor producer but when I pulled out my mosaic virus infected zucchini that was in here next to it, it took off.  I have direct seeded some beets and more carrots but nothing seems to be sprouting.  Maybe not enough surface moisture



This is my other moster tomato bed.  I think there are 3 still going strong in here but it is hard to tell.  They are so big that they knocked over my trellis.  There is also a pepper plant in here somewhere but my chickens stripped the leaves off of it (it is coming back to life).  I wasn't feeling well for a lot of the later part of summer so I wasn't out there pruning the tomato plants like I had been earlier.


The bed in front has a pepper (again, stripped), an eggplant and some carnation plants.  Here you can see my cattle panel trellis that I grow my squash and pumpkins on.  I did get a nice harvest of spaghetti squash and 1 sugar pie pumpkin before the virus destroyed everything.  The bed in the back has some overgrown herbs (oregano, thyme and stevia).


another view of the back bed


I guess that is it! I have 2 4x4 beds in the shed that I got as a closeout at costco and will eventually put out but my problem is enough compost for the mels mix. I have a 3 bin system now but I don't always keep up with it. Now with the falling leaves I should get some good compost going for the spring.
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Re: Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month?

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 11/12/2013, 9:33 pm

Nice layout. That's quite a good sized side yard.

Isn't it ALWAYS the compost?! LOL! You can never have enough. I have a trash can full right now and a second batch in process, but I want to develop another Back to Eden (BTE) bed on my hillside and I need 2-4 inches of compost prior to putting the 6 inches of wood chips I want to put down to break down over the winter.

My tomatoes look just like yours, beautiful and healthy and falling all over the ground. I had a lot of volunteer tomatoes and used standard tomato cages on them. They just weren't up to the task. Next year I'm going to make super heavy duty cages. I haven't gotten the hang of pruning my romas. I want to do better next year so I don't have so much greenery and so so amounts of fruit.

Suggestions?
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Re: Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month?

Post  sanderson on 11/13/2013, 12:49 am

keepercjr,  What a wonderful, large side yard.  Even room for a 3 bin compost system.  I am so jealous!  I see you made Mel chicken wire cages!  If you wrap tulle cloth over the wire, you can protect broccoli, cabbage, etc. next spring from green worms/white butterfly.  I love the cattle panel.  I can't wait to see it sometime.
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Re: Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month?

Post  keepercjr on 11/13/2013, 11:17 am

Due to living in a former county island my lot is .4 acres.  I love all the space.  I just wish my house was a little closer to the street to give me even more space Smile 

Funny about covering the chicken wire cages - I have material I bought at the fabric store.  I was just too lazy and feeling unwell to actually take the 5 minutes to put it on.  So the broccoli got chewed up but it seems ok and is forming some small heads now.  The chickens trying to eat it through the cage didn't help either.  I have kicked the chickens out now (There is a fence separating the side yard from the main backyard) so I could uncover the larger broccoli plants. 

Audrey - I have never pruned my determinate varieties.  I really like the green tomato stake "cage" that you can see in one of my pictures.  They are pretty tall and you add on the sides as necessary.  That is what I use for my determinates.  I usually grow about 10 varieties (or more) of tomatoes and try to keep the dets. to a minimum but do grow a few each year. I have never had much luck with romas but I keep trying Smile
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Re: Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month?

Post  camprn on 11/13/2013, 12:18 pm

@audrey.jeanne.roberts wrote:   I haven't gotten the hang of pruning my romas.  I want to do better next year so I  don't have so much greenery and so so amounts of fruit.

Suggestions?
As you may know, Roma is the variety of tomato, a type of plum/sauce tomato as opposed to a beefsteak type. Are you positive it is a roma, if that is the case, they are determinate and not ideal for pruning, requiring a larger space for growing.

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Re: Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month?

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 11/13/2013, 12:53 pm

@camprn wrote:
@audrey.jeanne.roberts wrote:   I haven't gotten the hang of pruning my romas.  I want to do better next year so I  don't have so much greenery and so so amounts of fruit.

Suggestions?
As you may know, Roma is the variety of tomato, a type of plum/sauce tomato as opposed to a beefsteak type. Are you positive it is a roma, if that is the case, they are determinate and not ideal for pruning, requiring a larger space for growing.
Positive it's Roma, they've been wonderful.  I love them on salads, I don't make sauce with them.  However, I have so much that is green fruit just getting ready to ripen, I may be harvesting before our frost that I may ripen them on the counter and make sauce out of them.

I didn't remember that you don't prune determinate, so much to fit in my little head, LOL!  I do prune my cherry tomatoes and train them to climb.
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Re: Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month?

Post  sanderson on 11/13/2013, 2:01 pm

I trained my Roma to grow vertically due to space limitations.  I pruned the suckers for about the first 5 feet, then main stem and 2 large suckers reached over 8 feet tall, up into the sunshine in that corner of the yard.  No pruning after the 5' mark.  The side benefit was that the mockingbirds ate the tomato worms!!  That was the neatest thing to watch.  Very Happy
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Re: Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month?

Post  sanderson on 1/11/2014, 4:11 pm

  audrey.jeanne.roberts Today at 10:03
sanderson wrote:I have to agree that vertical growing is easier to to spray all over. [and all over me!]  The strongest solution I used was Neem so it's not the end of the world.  I just need a shower afterwards so I wait until sundown to do it.

Side note, Audrey, when do you start and set your melons and winter squash seedlings?  I am so excited to start all of my seedlings.  
Audry replied:

A lot of mine were volunteers that started themselves and I simply put them where I could find space, LOL!

Mid-March around here is our last frost date. I have saved wide mouthed jars so I can cover up the seedlings at night if needed, so pretty much late March planting outside, back up the time maybe 6 weeks? With my greenhouse this year I'm not going to rush planting things outside, let them get a good solid start and then I can move them.

I don't use seedling flats any more. I've found that the window box sized pots work great. I start the plants in them then simply scoop out the seedling and the soil around it and they suffer no setbacks when planted.
 ----
Sanderson's reply today:

I brought this subject over to Northern Cal to continue.
--
My micro-climate shows last frost in mid Feb, which was when I started my seeds last year.  I think I will start them this coming week, mid Jan.

When do you start the winter squash non-volunteers?  Also, in window box or directly in their bed area?
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Re: Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month?

Post  keepercjr on 1/11/2014, 5:53 pm

I am going to start my seeds earlier this year than I did last year.  I started mid Feb but I plan to get started this week.

Although for squash and cucumber I will wait a few weeks and start in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel. When they sprout I put them in the ground. For onions I buy seedlings from the Madera Flower garden guy at the Vineyard Farmer's market. Those always do well for me.
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Re: Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month?

Post  sanderson on 1/11/2014, 8:55 pm

Thanks for the Madera Flower tip.  Vineyard FM would be great place to meet up!  ??
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Re: Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month?

Post  Mary429 on 1/11/2014, 10:12 pm

Hi there!
Haven't posted in a while but I'm in Fresno too.  Smile
This will be my first time starting seeds indoors.  Do you all use a grow light, or just a window?  I can't decide whether I should spend the money on a light or not.  Also, is there a place in town that had a wide variety of seeds, preferably organic, or is Lowe's or Home Depot the way to go? 

I've had broccoli, radishes, scallions, lettuce, and potatoes in a bottomless bin all doing well this winter!  Looking forward to adding another 4x4 for the spring.  Smile

Mary
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Re: Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month?

Post  keepercjr on 1/12/2014, 11:20 am

Mary,
I use a grow light on a stand I made out of PVC about 8 years ago. The light is just a 4 foot shop light from Home Depot with full spectrum lights in it (also from HD). I use a heat mat for germination set on a timer with the lights. 2 years ago my husband bought me the soil block makers for my birthday so I have been using that system as well.

Sanderson I agree that the Vineyard FM would be a good place to meet! I make it just about every Saturday. And most Wednesdays.

Is it against the rules to mention that we have a local gardening facebook group?

Oh for seeds I buy just about all of mine online, usually ebay. I find what I like in the catalogs and then look on ebay for a cheaper price. If I were trying to buy local I would check out the nurseries in addition to HD and Lowes.

Caroline
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Re: Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month?

Post  camprn on 1/12/2014, 12:13 pm

If you don't have a greenhouse or lights it's most likely that your seedlings will get leggy trying to reach for the light. Leggy seedlings are not ideal. By keeping lights within a few inches of the growing tips the plants will grow better.
I recommend using the search feature here on the forum to find threads about lights and growing stations and seed starting. You will get some good ideas. :-)

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Re: Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month?

Post  sanderson on 1/12/2014, 7:55 pm

Keeper,  I've tried to find a local group of SFG!  I'll write later.  Gotta fly
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Re: Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month?

Post  sanderson on 1/13/2014, 11:15 pm

Keeper,  Is the group into SFG?
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Re: Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month?

Post  keepercjr on 1/14/2014, 11:39 am

Not SFG specifically but gardening in general. There are some of us who SFG. But the local knowledge base is really nice to have (including someone who owns a local nursery).
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