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Spring 2022 Flower Bed Clean-up

Join us for a clean-up of the Beresford Park flower beds:  Where: 28th Ave & Fernwood St, San Mateo When: Saturday, March 26th Time: 9am to 11am Bring gloves, small gardening tools, a drink to hydrate and a big smile to share.
Recent posts

It's Gopher Season: what to do

 I went to visit my new plot at Beresford Park yesterday and found that a gopher had started to tunnel in the new compost.  And, in talking with our neighbors, it sounds like the gopher season is definitely upon us.  These little critters can take down huge plants in a single meal - pretty much destroying the garden bed you've worked so hard to prepare for the new growing season.  Here are a few strategies for dealing with them: 1. Take a deep breath Discovering gophers in your garden is a huge bummer and it can feel like you're personally being invaded.  So the first thing to do is take it all in and just will be okay.  You do have some work ahead of you...but everything will be okay. 2. Insert wire screen (also known as "hardware cloth") into the bottom of new beds This is expensive and labor intensive, but can give you some peace of mind.  Basically, the bottom of the bed is lined with wire, making it difficult for gophers to channel through.  Below i

A fun way to get started growing

You can grow your own food in just about anything (like the to-go container above) - and watching seeds come to life never gets old.  Getting started can sometimes seem daunting - so here's a simple way to begin growing your own food. You may have noticed "microgreens" in the produce section of your local grocery store.  They come in many varieties: lemon grass, kale, amaranth, sunflower, pea shoots, etc,...  Kale Microgreens sold by Whole Foods Growing your own microgreens is a fun way to add a homegrown ingredient to your meals.  Below are details for growing sunflower sprouts - and peas can also be grown using this method.  It's also nice to give a second use to plastic containers that would otherwise end up in the landfill.   Growing Sunflower Microgreens Step 1: Put holes in the bottom of a clean to-go container Step 2: Fill the bottom of the container with some type of soil & add seeds This could be potting soil, compost, coconut coir...there are many option

The December Garden

Snap Peas (& a garden gnome!) Beresford Park Community Garden December 15, 2021 It's hard to describe just how good the winter gardening is in San Mateo.  While most gardens across the country have long gone into a frosty hibernation - we're, at long last,  getting the rain we've been without for the last 9 months or more.  It's finally time to turn off the irrigation systems and let Mother Nature do her thing.  The new moisture is creating a full-on nutrient soup that flows through our soil, fueling an explosion of activity within the soil food web.   Fungal activity is pushing mushrooms to the surface.  Our favorite spring flowers of nasturtium, poppies, sweat peas, borage and yarrow are in a race to establish their growing territory.  And, thankfully, the newly moist soil makes pulling up oxalis, mallow and bindweed sprouts a bit easier. As you would expect, plants thriving now in the garden were initially planted out in the fall.  Those crowns of cauliflower and

Peaches and more

Yesterday we handed out the sweetest of peaches thanks to a generous donation from Circle Foot Permaculture .   Along with the quarts of peaches, we also provided Samaritan House Food Pharmacy clients a handout with nutritional information on peaches - how they impact your blood sugar - and a recipe for a Roasted Peach Parfait.  Here are links to the handout: Nutritional Spotlight: Peaches (English) Nutritional Spotlight: Peaches (Spanish) It all seems somewhat routine at this point:  gather donations of locally grown produce quickly pull together helpful nutritional information based on the week's donations In retrospect, this is the culmination of 3 years of effort to create a network of local gardeners, foragers and volunteers - with a goal of becoming a reliable source of fresh produce for lower income families struggling with diabetes and other health disorders.    While it has been known for some time that eating fruits & vegetables can positively impact a person's he

Dealing with the inevitable: Powdery Mildew

A healthy squash leaf Now is the time of year to be on the lookout for powdery mildew.  It will show up initially as small round spots on the leaves of squash, cucumber, pumpkin, green beans and even fruit crops like apples, peaches, tomatoes and strawberries.  If you're growing in one of the San Mateo community gardens - it's not a question of if you'll see PM (powdery mildew) - it's when?  Fortunately, there are some things you can do to disrupt the progression of this type of fungus.  Here are a few tips: 1) Diligently prune healthy leaves to allow a good amount of air & light into the plant.   2) Avoid overly moist soil conditions.   Water adequately and, preferably, earlier in day to avoid having wet plant surfaces overnight.  Splashing water from infected plants can transport the mildew spores to nearby plants - making drip irrigation optimal. 3) Many gardeners spray a mixture of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), cooking oil and dish soap upon discovering PM.

Maximize the flavor & longevity of your garden harvest

"Once pulled from the ground or severed from their mother plants, fruits and vegetables begin their march to their twilight, and there is a narrow window between optimal flavor and appearance and the onset of decay and rot."   Michael Ableman, Street Farm: Growing Food, Jobs, and Hope on the Urban Frontier , 2016 You've spent months germinating seeds and caring for young seedlings.  Now your plants are full of produce and you're ready to reap the rewards of your garden.  How you handle your newly picked fruits and vegetables will make or break their flavor and appearance.  And, should you choose to share your harvest, there are ways to increase the longevity of produce to keep it fresh longer.    Here are 6 tips to get the most from your harvest: 1) Start with good hygiene Wash your hands and harvest equipment thoroughly.  Only use clean, sanitized tools. 2) Quickly remove "field heat"    It's important to understand how fruits & vegetables lose flav