School Garden Workshop September 15th
Undersea Garden at Quail Botanical Gardens

September in the Demo Vegetable Garden

My fall vegetable class at City College of San Francisco (111E) just started and the demonstration garden at the college stands at ready to demonstrate what you can grow in this season. Here are some photos so you can see what is happening there.

Ccsf_garden_sept_9_005_copy I do this every fall. In August, I, with several student volunteers, planted 82 seedlings of cabbage family crops. Specifically, these are all the same species, Brassica oleracea, which includes brocoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. The seedlings look pretty much the same at this age, but as time passes, the plants will develop into the different vegetables. I'll take photos as this happens and post them from time to time. The plants right in the front are purple kohlrabi, which will develop purple bulbs on their stems. You can see the bulges just beginning to appear.Ccsf_garden_sept_9_013_ready

Ccsf_garden_sept_9_013_copy Meanwhile, however, the summer crops are still in full swing. This is scarlet runner bean, Phaseolus coccineus. It is a bean of the Mexican and Central American uplands, so it prefers cooler weather. That makes it ideal for San Francisco. If weather turns too warm, fewer pod set until it gets cooler. This is the second flush of pods this summer and there are dozens of beans. The plant is a perennial. Two plants came back from last year. One of them is at least 12 years old. I also put in a few more seeds, and got 2 new plants this year. The red flowers attract hummingbirds.

Ccsf_garden_sept_9_020_copy And we are still getting zucchini. The plants suffered more than usual from powdery mildew this summer. I sprayed last week with baking soda, oil, and soap, after removing the leaves with the worst symptoms--the ones with many white fungal spots. I will probably have to spray again, but maybe I can stop the outbreak long enough to get a few more zucchs. The recipe for the spray I used is 1 heaping tablespoon of baking soda, 1 teaspoon summer oil, and 1/2 teaspoon of liquid soap in a gallon of water. I sprayed using a $10 plastic pump sprayer that holds 1 1/2 quarts of water, so I had to reduce the amounts of the ingredients for less water. (Summer oil is sold in nurseries for spraying plants to control various pests. It is sometimes based on petroleum products, but you can also find formulations based on soy or canola oil.)


This final image shows a late planted bush bean crop, just now blooming. If you plant a bush bean in mid-July, you should get a nice crop in September/October. This a bush Romano bean. It has nice flat pods that are deliciously tender when cooked. And such nice lavender flowers!


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