Monday, November 1, 2010

What Vegetables Grow Well in Southern California

These are some of the best vegetables to grow in southern cali. However, not all of them are the best idea to keep on your tiny patio. If you are looking for low maintenance plants then stick with tomatoes, forms of squash, and misc herbs.

Asparagus:

If planted properly, asparagus is a perennial that can produce for 15 years. Asparagus requires well-drained soil and deep, fertile, sandy loam or loamy soil. Asparagus is a great vegetable for any garden because it produces a great crop from 10-15 years. However, most gardeners recommend not eating it after it's first crop. It needs time to build a rot mass. It takes about 2-3 years for the asparagus to come into it's full flavored production. If you are planting 5 ft row in your tiny back yard you will most likely yield about 2lbs. They grow best in all day, full sun so planting in the fall or winter isn't the best idea. Overall this veggie needs a lot of tender care and space to grow. So this is most likely not the best plant for my tiny apartment patio.


Peppers:


Peppers take 70 to 90 days to mature from seed to harvest. Like other southern California-friendly vegetables, this plant loves the sun and heat. Eighty degrees F or hotter is preferred. Starting your crop indoors is always easier, but in either case, once planted make sure the plants have plenty of water and well-draining soil. Always cut the pepper off the stem, rather than picking it.
What's so great about peppers? They grow wonderfully in pots. In any urban back yard you first have to realize pots are your best friend. Peppers grow best in full sun, with ample amounts of water, and can be eaten after the first harvest.

Squash:

As we are now getting into November, so I'm going to focus on growing winter squash (however, summer squash is the best for growing in pots). This particular squash is usually grown for baking and pies. Make sure you are providing regular water to the squash but leaving the vines and leaves very dry. This will prevent leaf and fruit diseases.




Tomatoes:

Tomatoes are so fun to grow because you can grow them in a pot, upside down, in raised beds, or just your standard open garden. This veggie or you can call it a fruit if you want grows best in full sun with regular water. First, sow the seed in pots for 5-7 weeks before setting the plants outside. The seedlings should be about 2in tall. The challenges with tomatoes is they suseceptbable to a wide variety of diseases. Most of these can be avoided however with the proper amount of watering. Make sure you are keeping the soil moist and properly distributed.


Cucumbers:

I would love to grow fresh cucumbers, not only to add to salads, sandwiches, and to make delicious cold soups with but mainly so I could make my own pickles. So the thing about cucumbers is they typically need 25ft to spread out with their large vines so I first thought I guess that means no cucumbers for me. However, I recently learned that one can train the vines to run up a fence or trellis (a framework of light wooden or metal bars, chiefly used as a support for fruit trees or climbing plants) IN CASE YOU ARE NEW TO GARDENING. They need full sun and a steady supply of water but be careful not to flood the plant because it leads to cases of mildew. For harvesting, unlike the asparagus you can pick them as soon as they're ready. For sweet pickles (2in long), dill pickles (5-6 in long), and for slicing (6-8 in long). The biggest challenges with cucumbers are slugs, snails, and beetles.The best cure is to either put row covers on before flowering or to hose off regularly. This seems like an easy plant to grow and the fact that the vines are trainable (up in most definitely better than out in this case).


Spinach:



There are three types of spinach but the one I particularly enjoy the most is True Spinach (the one you see at the grocery store). This specific type
of spinach grows best in the cooler months but be aware that frost kills it. True spinach prefers fertile, well- drained soil. Spinach grows very well in containers so this is a great crop fro a small back yard. It needs regular water and it typically ready for harvest in 7 weeks. The most common challenges with spinach are leaf miners, aphids,slugs and sales but these can all be protected with row covers.

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