Tuesday, May 31, 2011

June Garden Calendar in San Diego

Marcela Camarena Lubian
The gardens are in bloom and the calendar is chocked full of fun and inspirational garden happenings this month.

June 2nd - The Best Sustainable Fruit Trees will be discussed from 5:30 - 7:30pm at this free class which will be held at the CA Center for Sustainable Energy.
June 4th - Succulent Reproduction is the focus of this class that teaches how to revive old plants and start new ones for $35.00 from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm.
June 4th - This free Gardening 101 class will cover seed starting, irrigation systems and water harvesting from 9:00 - 12:00 pm at the Solana Center.
June 4th & 5th - SD Cactus Society's Annual Show and Sale will be held at Balboa Park from 10:00 - 4:00 pm.
June 5th - Choosing the Best Irrigation System is covered at Liberty Farms from 11:00 am - 1:00 pm for $35.00 and covers what irrigation will best meet your needs.
June 7th - Learn How to Start & Manage Community Gardens with the Solana Center at this free class from 6:00 - 8:30 pm that is taught every Tuesday of the month.
June 7th & 14th - Aquaponics Workshop will be held over at the Ecolife Foundation for $30.00 which includes lunch.
June 11th - This free class covers Xeriscape: Low Water Use Plants at the Walter Andersen Nursery in San Diego at 9:00 am. On the same day Summer Vegetable Care and Planting will be covered at the Poway store from 9:30-10:30 am.
June 11th - The final, free Gardening 101 class will cover pest, weed management and cooking and sharing from 9:00 - 12:00 pm at the Solana Center.
June 12th - Beehive and Frame Assembly will be the focus of this 11:00 am class taught at Liberty Farms for a fee of $35.00.
June 12th - Free Winemaking Demonstration will be held at Curds & Wine from 1:00 - 3:00pm, RSVP online.
June 18th - SD Master Gardeners Summer Plant Sale will be held from 10:00 - 3:00pm at Balboa Park. Arrive early for the best selection!
June 25th - Planting for Challenging Areas will be covered in this free class at City Farmers Nursery from 1:30 - 3:30pm which includes hills, shade and areas with poor drainage.
June 26th - Poultry Care and Management is the topic of this 10:00 am class taught at Liberty Farms for $35.00 that covers selecting the best breed for you and how to care for your chickens.

Did I miss your event? Email me at info@seedsinthecity.com

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Inspiring San Diego Home Gardens

The last month of garden tours have been full of inspirational design. It was such a delight to see how many people have converted their lawns and other water hungry plants through the creative use of succulents and drought resistant plants.

Combinations of color brightened up containers and landscaping.

It was also great to see how many people are now keeping backyard chickens!

And finally a few words of inspiration...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


What the heck?

Before the heat of the summer takes over I tend to do alot of hand watering in the garden. Even though it takes considerably longer, because it really does no good to spray blasts of water in the direction of your plants, it has its benefits. When you hand water you tend to notice slight changes in your plants and even notice new visitors which will be the topic of the next post.

Insect activity is in full swing so you will no doubt have similar calling cards left in your yard.

Winter Squash
I noticed the lower leaves of this squash were starting to resemble freshly skated ice with strange looping trails going in every direction. Up close I could see that the leaf was literally mined as the insect moved over the surface. Which brought me to one conclusion;
Vegetable Leafminer Larvae
The pale green larvae of the vegetable leafminers adult form is a tiny fly that will lay its eggs on the underside of leaves. These tiny larvae can be spotted inside the tunnels they make which gives you an idea of how small they are. Not to worry though because the leafminer will rarely do enough damage to harm production. If the damage seems to be limited to a few leaves you can remove them which will limit spreading but if the damage is widespread the plant will still able to photosynthesize. The leafminer is also dinner for ladybugs and lacewings. 

I noticed while watering this eggplant seedling that it had lost the upper edge of it's leaf. I looked for a nearby insect or slime trails and found nothing so I inspected the bite marks. The insect here only ate from the outer edge which meant caterpillar or grasshopper. On further inspection you can see that the entire leaf was a meal, veins and all. This meant we were looking at something with strong jaws.

We were dealing with a grasshopper which everyone will inevitably find in the yard and they are unfortunately hard to catch. The more time you spend in the garden the more likely you are to inadvertently stumble into one as I have many times. Luckily the chickens prize this gourmet treat and make a fast disposal system. 

The damage on this young yellow fin potato literally showed up overnight. In order to determine the culprit I looked for clues at the scene of the crime. The most telling are slime trails or a pest that is still enjoying it's meal. I had neither here so instead I had to rely on the holes in the leaves. They were closer to the center than the edge and small to medium which either pointed to an earwig or caterpillar. On closer inspection you can see that the bite marks are irregular in shape meaning one thing:

Cabbage Looper
 The Cabbage Looper caterpillar is thankfully very easy to spot and can normally be found on the underside of the leaves on the plant showing signs of damage. You can just pick them off and in our case feed them to the chickens who love these tasty treats (another great reason to keep chickens). You will want to provide a happy home for lacewings, ladybugs, solider bugs and wasps who dine on this insect. Also cabbage lopper is deterred by compact thyme which makes a great addition to the garden.

This tomato has not been attacked by a virus or bacteria, instead it been discovered by skeletonizers. Skeletonizer damage can be distinguished by sunken in, chewed away areas of a leaf where the veins are still intact. There are many variations of this species whose moth form is also spotted in the garden. I easily controlled it by handpicking them off the leaves and the tomato has grown exponentially with no new damage.

Here is the culprit

Keep in mind for most pest there is a predator and in order to lure and keep these beneficial insects we should not eliminate all of their food supply. Also if you take away one thing from this let it be that the only spray I utilized was a hard blast of water and most damage on plants, up to 20% of the plant above ground, will not harm production. 

Any mysterious damage has you stumped? Email us at info@seedsinthecity.com and we will get on the case.