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Los Prados hospitality

Big thank you to Kyoko, Dave & Esra and other members of the Los Prados Community Garden for hosting a Master Gardener talk by Neil Heckman this morning.  There's been a lot of talk lately about how to bring more community into the San Mateo community gardens and this was a great example.  An informal count of 25 participants were on-hand to get practical advice from Neil.  There seem to be more improvements happening at Los Prados between every visit - and GROW San Mateo will soon be leading the project to install a 3 bin compost setup at the garden (hopefully soon - stay tuned!).

Here are a few of Neil's tips from my notebook:

  • Important to think about crop rotation by dividing your plot into 3 different zones and planning ahead
  • Planting a cover crop in the fall helps to ready the soil for next year's garden
  • Try not to water in the sun, as the water droplets act as tiny magnifying glasses that can burn leaves
  • For fertilizer, try an emulsion of fish & bat guano (sold in most home improvement stores) by adding into a water can
  • Spring = nitrogen for leaf growth; Fall = potassium for fruit yield.  Phosphorus for roots.
  • Good source of nitrogen: alfalfa pellets (sold at feed stores)
  • Yellow leaves:  whole leaf yellow = needs nitrogen; tips yellow = not enough potassium
  • Plants bolt when they don't have enough water
  • For Cilantro, let it go to flower, then simply shake the plant once the seeds have dried - yielding self-seeding plants next year
  • Best to transplant: tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi
  • Use Easter as a milestone to start growing transplants to be ready once the soil warms up enough


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