Let’s talk about what to plant RIGHT now in San Diego and how to ensure you get good healthy plants out of your efforts. In most areas, April is a little late to start from seed for the early Spring harvest fruits and veggies. This is San Diego though and we’ve got Summer-like conditions all year long. There’s a full gamut of things you can plant right now, and you can decide whether to start from seed or buy six packs from a local nursery.
For Spring in Southern California, Sunset Western Garden Handbook recommends the following plants for your kitchen garden:
- Basil (or try our new favorite: Thai Basil)
- Carrots (try a fun colored variety for extra antioxidants like Rainbow Crunch Carrots from Colorful Harvest Growers)
- Chives (Garlic Chives are just as easy and add a little more flavor)
- Green Bunching Onions (or regular old onions from your fridge. Don’t throw them away if they get too old! Plant those suckers!)
- Lettuce (try fun varieties like Blushed Butterhead Lettuce available from Kitchen Garden Seeds)
- Peppers (get some color here too—almost all varieties of peppers have deep colors to spruce up your garden)
- Radishes (red, white, Daikon, whatever you like…we planted two varieties this year!)
- Strawberries (careful—these will take over your garden if you let them!)
- Sunflower (try Teddy Bear variety from Burpee…so fluffy…)
- Swiss Chard
- Tomatoes (check our post last week for growing tips!)
How do you get your plants started? You want them to be healthy right? Here’s a little sage advice (get it?):
Good Soil = Good Harvest.
Whether you’re growing in a raised garden bed (the easiest way to control soil) or in the ground, soil amendments are very important! Good compost is first among these soil amendments—if you can’t make your own, you can always buy a quality mix at a home improvement store or nursery. City Farmers on Home Avenue is a great stop. No matter what the state of growth your plants are in, medium compost will provide a nice mix of nutrients, biologically diverse microorganisms and organic material to enrich and emulsify your soil.
Next, I always add a few cups of regular granulated sugar to my soil. The sugar helps feed all the natural microorganisms you want in your soil and is extremely cheap as far as fertilizer goes. If you’re concerned about ants or bugs, mix the sugar with cinnamon which is a natural bug repellant as well as an anti-fungal agent.
Last but not least: add some magnesium to your soil in the form of Epsom salt. As it breaks down, it will help strengthen the cell walls for strong healthy plants.
Start planning out your planting! Stay tuned next week for natural ways to get rid of garden pests!