Ojai Valley Guide Summer 2020

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just to have some fun in the sun, then why wait? Find an open sunny place in your yard. Mark out a plot and turn over the soil to a depth of 12-18 inches removing any large stones and root material. Raised beds are popular because they are nicely self-contained and greatly reduce the need to bend and stoop. It’s not hard to build them yourself (you can find plans online) or they can be bought ready made. Add plenty of compost, steer or stable manure to enrich the soil and use garden netting to protect your plants. If you are able to find a source of seeds locally or online you can raise your own starter plants. Sow them in pots or trays of

Above: Raised beds and containers help protect against marauding gophers and reduce back strain. Above and lower right photographs by Scott Daigre.

seed compost. Keep them moist until they germinate then grow them on until they reach 4-6 inches tall before transplanting into your garden. Protect young plants from foraging wildlife and look out for snails, caterpillars, earwigs or other hungry bugs that will literally eat your lunch. Don’t forget to water, particularly in dry spells as fruit and vegetables require plenty of moisture to bring crops to maturity. Home grown food is more tasty and nutritious and you can have fun experimenting with


some unusual, gourmet varieties instead of commercially cultivated varieties. Your garden can be a source of fun, creativity and comfort, particularly in times such as these. It teaches patience and persistence and puts us into closer relationship with the rising and setting of the sun and the changing of the seasons. It rewards us with a cornucopia of tasty food and with the pleasure of sharing with friends and family. And as you sit contemplating those rows of green delectables on a warm summer evening you may too decide that the answer as old Ted said, “lies in the soil.”