How to Grow a Beautiful Garden This Summer- Workshop at Explore Ecology

 In Environmental Education, Explore Ecology

vegetables-790022_1920Are you wondering how to keep your garden healthy and happy during the summer? How to ensure that your plants thrive in spite of the drought? Oscar Carmona, owner of Healing Grounds Nursery, has spent the last 25 years helping connect people, plants, and the planet. Oscar is teaching a Summertime Gardening Workshop on Saturday, July 18th at Explore Ecology in Downtown Santa Barbara. From 3:00 – 4:00 pm, Oscar will be sharing how he produces beautiful and nutritionally-rich plants year-round.

We caught up with Oscar and asked him a few questions about gardening.

OCarmonaExplore Ecology (EE): Oscar, what are some tips that you would like to share with people about Summertime Gardening?

Oscar Carmona (OC): Although we enjoy year round gardening opportunities here in Santa Barbara, summertime is the best time of year to maintain a garden.  An important tip is to know how to water effectively so as not to waste water. Mulch well, at least 3 inches of organic material over the soil surface to keep the moisture in.  Feed your plants once a week with a combination of Fish emulsion and Kelp so keep your plants growing well.

EE: Should people keep watering their trees, plants and yards now that we are in a drought? 

OC: I think it’s important to be aware of how water is used generally.  For example, taking long showers may be more wasteful than taking shorter ones and using some of that saved water to give to your veggie garden. Some trees are suffering at this time due to lack of water. Additionally, at our house we use a five gallon bucket to catch the shower water as it warms up before we step in.  This provides water for trees and shrubs that might not otherwise get a drink.  Also, most natives can get by with little or no water.  And of course lawns are not a very good use of our limited water.

EE: What are some good plants to grow right now?

OC: Green beans, Summer and Winter Squash varieties, Tomatoes, Peppers and Cucumbers are some of the veggies that grow well now.

EE: How do you prepare the soil for planting?

OC: Make sure to add a good amount of compost to the soil before planting.  Mineral additives such as rock dust are also a good idea.  You only need to prepare the root zone, two feet, for planting.  Work the soil evenly and do not step on the newly prepared area as the plants will thrive when they are able to easily grow their roots in open, loose soil.

EE: Why do you grow organically?

OC: Growing organically means avoiding chemical fertilizers and pesticides that kill important beneficial soil micro organisms that are essential to healthy plant growth.  It also means feeding the soil with good amount of compost and other essential nutrients so that the soil microbiology and the plants are well nourished.  This way the plants will be more resistant to disease and will also contain the highest nutritional content possible.

EE: What can people expect  to learn at your workshops?

OC: Workshop attendees will come away with a good understanding of everything they need to know about what to plant now and good gardening strategies to enable them to see a successful and abundant harvest!  Workshop attendees will benefit from my 35 plus years of organic gardening and teaching experience here in Santa Barbara.  There will also be a large assortment of Healing Grounds plants and compost for sale after the workshop!

The cost of the workshop is $10.00. Get your tickets online at EBrite (click here) or at the door. Explore Ecology is located above the Art From Scrap Creative Reuse Store at 302 East Cota Street in Santa Barbara.

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