This is John Kohler with growingyourgreens.com
that have another exciting episode for you. We’re here in Irvine California and we’re
here at the Orange County Great Park here at Irvine, California. Now I did come to the
Great Park prior about a year ago to make an episode on their demonstration gardens
here and today we’re back to show you of what’s growing on here. So besides the carousel,
which is actually free, and the hot air balloon ride that you can go on that is also free,
which is actually closed today due to high winds, which you may be hearing in the mike,
they have an edible garden section. So if you come here, you not only want to visit
those attractions, but also be sure to visit the gardening area where they will teach you
how to grow your own food at home. Anyways, next, let’s head over to the gardening
area to show you how they’re growing food, and how you can do it, too.
Now we’re here at the farm and food lab at the Orange County Great Park, and this
is where they have their demonstration, raised bed gardens and also show a variety of techniques
that you can grow some food at home. In addition to what they’re showing here, they also
have regular classes where they teach the public for free how to grow food. And actually,
they had a class just this morning on planting out the summer crop, because now it’s just
about past the official frost date for Southern California, and you can start planting out
your tomatoes and peppers and other crops. Now, Northern California and other parts of
the US are definitely soon to follow, so I’m really excited about that.
To learn more about the classes here at the Orange County Great Park, visit their website:
ocgp.org. Now, what we’re gonna do is, we’re gonna
go into the farm area and I’m gonna show you some techniques that they’re doing that
may be able to help you grow more food at home.
This is the farm and food lab, and it’s growing the farm from 2 acres to 100 acres.
This farm and food lab is currently 2 acres, but they have the plan to expand this to 100
acres. And it says here that they “celebrate the agricultural heritage by bringing food
production back to this land”. Now, think about it: Orange County back in the was like
all orange groves and a lot of farmers here, but now the farmers have moved and the big
cities, and people, and Disney Land has moved in now. So this area is teaching people how
to their food, and they’re going to expand this. They’re gonna have a lot of “demonstration
gardens, agricultural fields” and even a tree farm. I think I saw some fruit trees
planted in an area in the drive up. This is my second visit to the Great Park,
and actually maybe an episode about a year ago I showed it. But we’re gonna show you
some new things that I didn’t cover in the last episode, that’s new since I last visited,
and also some other cool techniques that are gonna help you grow more food at home.
So first, let’s go over here and check out some of their raised beds. In this raised
bed, what they’re teaching is what I teach: this square foot garden method. Now, this
is an oversized square foot garden. It’s probably, like, 8 feet by 16 feet. I recommend,
definitely usually, like, starting out with a 4 foot by 4 foot, or a 4 foot by 6 foot.
So, 4 foot by 6, 4 by 10, 4 by 12. I like to make my beds 4 feet wide, because if you’re
on either side of the 4 foot wide, you could reach in and reach in two feet, so you don’t
have to get into the bed, and step on and compact the soil.
In the Square Foot Gardening method, we planting things closer together than what’s recommended
on the back of the seed packet, so you can grow as much food as possible. And that’s
what I’m really into, you know. I teach production, home gardening. Not like, you
know, a garden for a hobby. I’m teaching gardening so that you can actually eat out
of it and eat every day from, like the episode just a few times ago where I’m teaching
you how to grow sprouts that you can eat and harvest on it every single day to have easily
one pound of sprouts a day in your own home, even if it’s not spring time where you live.
In any case, in this raised bed garden, looks like they have some great things growing.
Look like they got some broccoli, cauliflower, some celery, some cabbage, some different
colored chards here. Oh, here’s a neon glow chard. Actually I wonder if that glows in
the dark. Some fennel, and other things. Oh, and another thing I want to cover today is
the unique, trellising ways that they’re showing here. Especially if you’re growing
the square foot method, you’re gonna pack the plants in really tight and close. So that
means you want to let them grow up because you have a lot of air space and you may not
have a lot of real estate to let the plants sprawl out like they would like to if they
were growing in a field. So, here’s a really easy trellis system
you can use. They basically sunk just two sticks in the ground, one on either side,
and they’re using some concrete remesh. The remesh is very inexpensive at your local
Big Box hardware store, and they got the remesh fashioned to the stakes with just some simple
zip ties. So this makes a very quick and easy trellis that you can put up to support your
plants at actually relatively low costs. Let’s move on and check out some other trellises
they’re using here. So here’s yet another trellis system they’re
using to trellis up their grapes, but you could easily use a system like this to trellis
up your tomatoes, or even cucumbers. Once again, they’re using your standard stakes.
They got them sunk into the ground, probably about, I don’t know, 6 foot spacing, or
5 foot spacing between them. And around the end here, they’ve got a hole basically drilled
though the middle here and they basically put some bailing wire through it and they
run it all the way down probably about every foot, and right here once again they drilled
a hole right through the stake and they feed the wire through the hole all the way to another
one where they drilled yet another hole and then finally they go round and feed it through
the hole and wrap it around. So in this way, you can make a very simple and affordable
trellis to grow your produce items vertically with some stakes and only some bailing wire.
If you want to take it a notch up, you can go ahead and get something like this. This
is, like, the galvanized piping. They would use this kind of pipe for, you know, plumbing
and whatnot. The piping is definitely going to cost you a bit more money, but it’s definitely
a lot more durable. As you can see here, they’re just using some eyehooks, with some holes
in there to hold the wire. The top has, you know, just some connectors with a real pipe
to hold this a lot more stable. So on this one, they have an apple tree growing espalier
style. So, you know, the apples may get a bit heavier than the grapes, so this is a
more heavy-duty construction. What you chose to do at your house is completely
up to you. If you have a lot of money, if you want to look it nicer, more maintenance
free, then use the metal. If you don’t have quite as much money and want it more temporary
– so you’re renting a place – hey, just do the stakes and the bailing wire. That’ll
definitely last a long time, too. In this raised bed, they’re currently planting
out for the summer time, because, you know, now it’s past the frost date, so they’re
planting things like peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes. But what we’re gonna look at is
over by this bed. This is the ethnic garden. So the two points I want to let you guys know
about is, you know, number one is, you want to grow ethnic foods, or different varieties
than what you’re used to. You know, if you wanna get iceberg lettuce, you can go to the
grocery and buy iceberg lettuce. But what about deer tongue lettuce, or red speckled
lettuce, or, you know, all the different kinds of lettuces? They’re over, over a hundred
varieties, and probably even more varieties of lettuce that you can grow.
And every plant is like that. There’s many different varieties of peppers, tomatoes,
and other things, and even ethnic varieties of crops. So in this area they have some of
those. See, here’s one called Sierre red lettuce, here’s some cauliflower, here’s
one of my favorites, that prickly pear cactus. These have some nice spikes, you can use these
spike as toothpicks. But I like this plant for the cactus right there. The cactus fruits,
they’re rich in antioxidants and are really good. Some people say they may be good for
diabetes and things like that. Here’s some lemon grass,(unknown), here’s ginger. That’s
amazing. This ginger has probably been in the ground over the winter here in Southern
California. Dwarf Greek oregano, even a pomegranate tree growing in a container inside this raised
bed as well. The other thing I really want to touch on
is this fencing around it. So, you know, even if you have a raised bed, you have cats, you
know, or rabbits or other small little vermin that would get into your raised bed and eat
your crops. All it takes is this, you know, some chicken wire. This is about two feet
tall, and some stakes. And, once again, they got the handy-dandy zip ties to tie it together
and just to put a fence around it so that cats and other small animals won’t get into
your raised bed to eat the food you’re growing. Besides the regular raised beds in the ground,
right, they have easy access gardens. And I like easy access things. These happen to
be easy access raised bed gardens. So these are literally elevated off the ground, you
can see they built them with some four by four posts and they got the bottoms on these.
So this is a nice height, so, like, if you’re in a wheelchair, can’t bend over, you know,
these will take a bit more time and energy in materials to build than a raised bed in
the ground, but these can be beneficial if you don’t wanna bend or have things like
animals or, you know, bugs and pests get into your raised bed.
So, once again, this is about maybe three feet, four feet wide and have a variety of
things planted in here. And it’s about a foot deep. So, in general, I recommend you
make your raised beds a foot deep on average. Could be less but it could be more, but in
general 12 inches is definitely deep enough. So, I like that they’re showing, you know,
all these different ways of growing food. Next, let’s show you one of the most unique
ways they’re growing food here at the Orange County Great Park.
One of the coolest they’re doing here is they’re using these guys to grow strawberries.
These are literally planting towers. Now they’re growing strawberries in here but I see that
these could also be used for other crops such as herbs or lettuce. I wouldn’t grow any
like tomatoes in here, but maybe even some small peppers would do well in a system like
this. Basically, this is growing smart. This system
will allow you to put literally 30 plants in just a, you know, few square feet of space
by using this setup. You know, I’ve shown other systems like this made out of Styrofoam
when I was in Florida, but I like this one, cause it’s made out of plastic, and they
have some nice holes here that you can actually run your drip tubing into. And you basically
mount all this to a standard pipe that you could get at your local home improving store.
So, it looks like they’re growing two varieties of strawberries. They’ve got the San Andreas
variety and the Benicia variety of strawberries, and just check out all these plants. And some
of these plants loaded up with strawberries. So, if you want to have a strawberry garden,
this is definitely an excellent way to do it.
And here’s what one of these containers look like. They’re just like this. They’re
a pot that you could basically stagger and stack. So, as you stack them up, you have
more growing space. And I’d probably go maybe six or seven tall to have 36 or 42 growing
sites. To learn more about this product, that I’ve seen for the first time, you could
visit their website: eggrotower.com. They’re in Paso Robles, California, 88866253-48. So
yes, like these a lot, and maybe they’ll even sponsor me and send me a couple kits.
So here’s another garden I want to show you guys. It’s called the hay bale garden.
It’s very simple to make a hay bale garden. All you simply do is, you take some hay, you
basically make it into a square, you fill up the center with some hay or some compost.
Then you water it, you water it good for about 10 days. It’ll start breaking down and decaying.
Then, what I would do is, I would throw some additional compost on top and then plant in
that compost. And as you can see, in this garden here, they have a variety of crops
from broccoli, chard, marigolds, oregano, spinach, onions, and it looks really great.
And they have just a soaker hose in there, all just soaking the area, to water all the
plants. And in addition to the animal protection, they put some stakes, once again, with some
chicken wire, some zip ties, and over the top, they put some standard bird netting to
keep all the animals out so that their crops will remain safe.
They have some nestersions in little containers here, and then they have a little trellis
that it grows up, and then onto this big, larger frame with the, built by 2 by 4 and
4 by 4 posts and some remesh. Once again, remesh is very cheap and an easy way to give
you the rustic look if you wanna grow vertically in your garden. Now, I’d highly encourage
you to grow something like the nestersions. Not only will it attract the beneficial insects,
like the bees, but these are also edible. You could pick the flowers, are great to dress
up on salad. They have a nice spicy flavour, and what many people don’t know is that
you can also harvest the leaves. If you’re gonna harvest the leaves, I would encourage
you to harvest the young baby leaves, and they’re actually a lot more spicier than
the flowers themselves. Wow, and it’s actually an incredible scent down here. And there’s
many varieties of nestersions to meet all your colour specifications.
So I’ve saved the best for last, and that’s their container garden area. This area lets
you know that you can grow even in small spaces. Say you have a patio, or you rent an apartment,
you don’t have a lot of space, you can still grow food in small spaces. And I’m gonna
show you next how you can do that. Here’s just a standard wine barrel, or half whiskey
barrel. And this is a Valencia orange tree planted in the half barrel here. And you can
see, I mean, this is Orange County, after all. This thing is loaded up with a whole
bunch of oranges. So, while container culture is not optimal
for trees, certain trees will do well in small containers. So you wanna check with your local
tree farmer or nurseryman to ask them what trees are gonna grow best for you in a container
if that’s what you need to do. Anyways, let’s move on, and check out some
other containers they’re growing in over here. Even something as simple as a little
bucket, you know, that you’re maybe gonna wash your car with, whether it’s metal or
plastic, you can grow some food. I mean, this is like, almost like one square foot of space.
And in here we have some lemon balm. The lemon balm is growing really well, and if you are
growing in small containers like this, I would generally recommend something like herbs.
Herbs are pretty much gonna do well wherever you put them. And also, don’t forget, you
need to pop some holes in the bottom for drainage. But, I wouldn’t necessarily put any rocks
at the bottom, but I may put some kind of fabric so that it, the holes don’t get clogged
up. In addition, here’s just another galvanized
pail or bucket here, a lot larger, maybe a smaller, like, watering trough, or something,
for animals. But they got a little, mini garden in here. They got sorrel in here. Now once
again, this sorrel is delicious, has a nice lemony flavor. Besides the sorrel, they got
some lemon thyme, some sage, and some onion chives. And this is only a small container.
So remember, you can grow a lot in even a small container.
Over in this side, they’re showing how you can just grow a few strawberry plants in a
similar sized container. In addition, they’re showing some animal protection. So this thing
they made very simply out of some welded wire, and they strapped on some, like, bird netting
on top with some tie wraps, form this to the shape of the container, and they can easily
put this over the container so that the animals can’t get in, or the birds can’t get in
to eat the crops. So if you have cats or other animals, you could always make something really
easy like this to keep the animals out so that you’ll get to enjoy the fruits of your
labor. Normally, I’d talk about a raised bed garden
as a four foot by four foot, but maybe you don’t have four feet by four feet, which
I would recommend. Say you only got three feet by three feet. Well, hey, that’s alright.
You can build a three by three garden, and that’s what they’re showing right here.
This is a three foot by three foot garden. And these are just using, like, fence boards,
you know, to build a fence out of. And they got some two by two as the corner brackets.
So, very easy and simple construction, very easy to do. And they have this sectioned off
in this square foot gardening style, so they got these little pieces of wood here to denote
each square. They got nine squares in this garden. And in each square they planted something
different. Here’s they have terracotta. It looks like
it didn’t do too good. Lemon thyme, garlic chives, oregano, sweet marjoram, sage, and
hopefully these purple oregano. Actually, I grew that one. It took over. Here’s one
rosemary. So say you don’t want to in the raised bed. You could actually just put a
pot in your raised bed and use the same drip irrigation that feeds the rest of your crops.
In addition, they have a nice large pot in the middle to make this look real pretty,
and they’re growing some yellow calendulas in here for looks, and also to give this garden
some depth. They’ve also added some accent on the side, like some little fence posts
just for decoration. What we’re looking at now is a blueberry
orchard. Yes, and the blueberry orchard is all in pots. These pots are eighteen inches
by eighteen inches by eighteen inches deep and that’s a minimum width and dimensions
I would recommend if you wanna grow blueberries in a container.
Now the reason why they are growing blueberries in a container is because here in Orange County
and here in this spot, they have alkaline soil, and the blueberries like acidic soil.
So if you, if you have to grow something that needs a different soil type than what you
are, you could basically put that soil type in a container. So, you could keep it acidic
so these blueberries will thrive. These blueberries look really nice. They’re pushing out lots
of flowers and are probably gonna have lots of fruit on them. But the big problem with
blueberries is the birds, so I’m sure later this year they’re gonna come up with some
cool bird netting setup to keep the birds out so that they’ll be able to enjoy their
blueberries this year. But here are the last two raised beds I want
to show you guys. And this here, this could be considered a raised bed garden, but also
a container garden. You could easily build something like this and put a bottom on it
to grow it in your patio if you can’t grow it in the ground, or even just put it over
concrete if you have enough soil depth. This is basically a two by six garden made out
of some two by sixes. Stacked up, one on top of the other, so we got a depth of 12 inches,
and with some two by two posts on the edge, and really, this is a two foot by four foot
bed. In addition, over by this raised bed, once
again, this is a two foot by four foot raised bed. This is showing an easy way to keep the
animals out, from whether it’s cats or skunks or rabbits. You know, you can easily build
a framing out of the two by two with some standard bird netting and staple it all together.
And when you want to work on your raised bed you could literally just move this off. And,
you know, you could build one two by two, or even, you could build one four by four
if you’re having problems with animals getting into your raised bed. And when you’re done
working on your bed, guess what? Just put it back down to cover your raised bed to keep
it all safe so that you’ll be enjoying your food, and not your local wallaby.
There are many things you can grow food in, one of which is just an old wheelbarrow. So,
this wheelbarrow has a flat tire. So, maybe they got another wheelbarrow, maybe this was
going to be thrown out as garbage, but guess what? The wheelbarrow, once you pop a few
holes in the bottom, is a great space to grow plants in. In this one, they’re actually
growing a whole heap of onions. The onions are doing really well in this wheelbarrow,
and I want to encourage you to always literally think outside the box, outside the raised
bed box, and use things around your house that will hold soil that you can grow food
in, whether it’s an old laundry tub, whether it’s an old dish tub, whether it’s an
old igloo, or, you know, old storage thing that you’d store your clothes in underneath
your bed. Basically, as long as it will hold soil, you put some holes in it, it’ll grow
some food as well for you. The last thing I’m going to show you guys
today at the Great Park is what they’re growing against their hurricane fencing that
leads to the outside, to the parking lot, actually. And what they’re growing along
their hurricane fencing are some, this is apricot trees. They’re growing these espalier
style on a single plane. So instead of the trees branching out in this direction, they’re
having them all go one direction. And I always wanna encourage you to use all the available
space in your garden whether it’s your fence space, or whether it’s your space inside
your garden, you could always grow something. And fruit trees are excellent to grow. They’re
relatively much lower maintainence than planting a vegetable garden, and you could also train
them how you want them. But it does some work to train them properly to make them grow up
this fence. Now, if you do have fencing, I would encourage
you to put up some kind of fencing that has holes in it, because that lets the light through.
Solid wood doesn’t let the light through and things might not grow quite as well.
In any case, I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode here at the Orange County Great Park,
and you’ve learned a few things that will help you grow more food at home. Once again,
my name is John Kohler with GrowingYourGreens.com. We’ll see you next time, and keep on growing!