Question from Sagar: I was brainstorming/talking with Robert Abe of Chia Nursery in Carpinteria a few days ago, and he mentioned how inspiring and informative your talk and stories of your adventures in your vegetable garden at the SB Horticulture society meeting was. I hear you are full of garden wisdom and simple tools that anyone can have to make gardening more easy.
I wish I had been there at the meeting, but I would very much like to see if we can create more possibilities for vegetable garden conversations now and in the near future. We all could use more specific tips for vegetable gardening. yes?
I’m an aspiring gardener, and grew up with a love of plants since I can remember, and in particular in gardens that are edible. For indeed, how exiting and nurturing is it to walk out one’s front door and smell the fragrance of compost and earth, feel it, and pick one’s food daily, grazing.. a being just utterly thankful for being alive…
Anyway,I have a small gardening/landscape business here in the Santa Barbara area, and am looking to expand what I do and create a niche for myself. I so enjoy doing the edible gardens!
I’ve so far build a few very nice and functional raised bed vegetable planters for my clients, and i love this medium.
Would it be possible to pay you to do a class in our area, or LA area? And/Or for me to come down study with you for an afternoon, in the San Deigo area? I’d be happy to organize such events.
Perhaps to even document some of your wisdom for everyone’s benefit for internet or…?
Let me know, as you can see I’m a bit enthusiastic, and spring is here, thank you!
Answer from Pat:
I too wish you had been there to hear my talk in Santa Barbara and see my slides. I wish you luck on your new venture of helping folks by building raised beds for them and getting them started with edible gardens. This is an excellent idea, and you do not need me in order to make a complete success of it. Currently I am fully booked until my vacation in May. I am going to take the summer off to work on my next book and simply enjoy life. In fall I am fully booked for September until mid October. See my website for a list of events and keep an eye on it since more may be scheduled soon. I hope you will be able to attend one or more of these events.
Several people in our area have begun businesses of building raised beds and planting vegetable gardens. These people have been helped by my talks and by my organic book. The main thing is to put the raised beds in full sun, not in a seasonal shadow caused by a wall, tree, or house in winter, and not in a daily shadow either. So study the site carefully. Also, don’t build raised beds against a wall unless it is a south-facing wall. Always nail hardware cloth on the bottom of raised beds to keep out gophers even if there are no gophers, since once you start raising vegetables gophers will come. It’s important to fill raised beds with amended top soil, not with potting soil. Then install a drip system and attach it to a timer. Use organic fertilizers and plant in tune with the seasons. Plant cool season crops in fall and winter and warm season crops in spring and summer, at the right time for each item.
My month-by-month book has all the information, for planting, growing and harvesting the best-known crops, including all the special tips and hints I gave in my talk. Read the vegetable sections of my month-by-month book and you will know just what to do when and how to do it. Also read the opening pages from the beginning to page 47 since that will fill you in on so much technical stuff in an easy-to-read and absorb way. Underline the parts you want particularly to remember. I have always felt that anyone who reads my book all the way through month-by-month for a couple of years and follows its advice will know everything I know since I have tried to put almost everything I have in my head about local gardening into that book. It is just packed full of information, lots of which you can’t find anywhere else.
I will try to arrange to give a talk in the Los Angeles area in fall and I trust that would not be too far for you to go. I will also try to do more videos and put them on my website, but all this takes time and effort and as you may have guessed I am not a spring chicken any more. At least hearing from you gives me ideas about what I need to psyche myself into doing. Perhaps a way will be shown to me that I may accomplish doing more vegetable videos. It is too bad that all this new interest in vegetables didn’t happen back in the 1980′s when my TV career was in full swing. In those days I had my whole TV set in my own home garden, and I was much stronger and more physically able then than I am now. Now my garden is a place for my own enjoyment and for the enjoyment of my family and friends. It’s no longer a TV set and it is no longer open to the public.
I hope to get a video or audio record of my talks so folks like you who missed one of my talks, will nevertheless be able to experience the help I am trying to give out.
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