Sunday, April 1, 2012

June's tips for gardening at Page Street

What I Grew
by June Dershewitz, Page Street Gardener

After more than 6 years tending a plot at Page Street Garden, I am
giving it up as I move to another part of San Francisco. I will miss all of the quality time my family and I spent in the garden, but I am also happy to give someone new a chance to grow plants of their own.

Here are some of the plants I was able to grow (and not grow) in my
plot over the years:

Favorite plants / best luck
- Scarlet runner beans
- Sweet peas
- Artichokes
- Sunflowers
- Echinacea
- Oriental poppies
- Cosmos
- Foxgloves

Also grew well
- Green beans
- Fava beans
- Strawberries (lots of fruit, but watery)
- Chives
- Cherry tomatoes
- Garlic
- Chard (but always got some kind of leaf rot)
- Prickly pear cactus (but only in full sun)
- California poppies
- Amaryllis
- Bishop's flower (although harmless, it looks like Queen Anne's lace,
which is toxic)
- Ornamental sage (can tolerate partial shade)
- Rose geranium

Could not grow
- Peppers (too cold)
- Eggplant (too cold)
- Melons (too cold)
- Carrots (soil quality?)
- Hollyhocks (pest problem)
- Lettuce (mine always bolted, but other people somehow managed to grow it)
- Kale (grew, but was tough and stemmy)
- Squash (powdery leaf stuff)

If you've spent more than 5 minutes in the garden you've probably
noticed that there are a lot of snails. Everyone has their own recipe
for snail removal: copper strips, cups of beer, obsessive removal of
each snail by hand, etc. I will openly admit that - after trying all
of these methods - I found that a little sprinkle of Sluggo now and
then worked really well. Sluggo is widely purported to be safe for use
around pets and children.

Also, due to unchangeable aspects of landscape and architecture, our
patch of land is often shady and windy; this can make gardening a
challenge. In terms of combating the weather, climbing vines - like
beans and peas - always did quite well. Every year I would build
tripods out of bamboo poles and twine in order to give climbers as
much vertical real estate as possible. I would also stake up anything
with a tall stalk - like sunflowers and foxgloves - so they didn't
succumb to wind.

In summary, while there are some limitations due to our environment, I
managed to find plenty of plants that would thrive in our garden. Good
luck, future gardeners!

1 comment:

Jen Gurvey said...

Great tips - thanks for posting Michael. Looking forward to trying some of these things this season. - Jen Gurvey