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Updated: Nov 15, 2019

SOUL Food Salon went on a field trip to the amazing garden of Lisa Putnam!

LISA PUTNAM Lisa has a BS in Agricultural Economics from UC Davis. She also studied nutrition science there. She currently operates a small sustainable organic farm in Woodside and is a lifetime gardener, a UC Master Gardener (1999) and Master Composter (2010). Lisa’s passions are composting and the soil food web. She teaches both summer and winter vegetable gardening at Lyngso’s, Common Ground and several local garden clubs.

KATHLEEN PUTNAM Kathleen is a professional organic vegetable gardener and a certified arborist serving the Mid-Peninsula. She has a degree in Environmental Horticulture from City College of San Francisco and is a UC Master Gardener. She teaches classes about vegetable gardening and fruit tree pruning throughout the Bay Area, at Common Ground, Lyngso, San Francisco Community Gardens, Los Altos Garden Club, Portola Valley Garden Club, San Mateo Master Gardeners and the San Francisco Professional Gardeners Association.

We are so lucky to live in a place with year-around gardening opportunities. This time of year is perfect for planting your summer garden and enjoying succulent tomatoes, gorgeous eggplant, vibrant peppers, unusual and tasty cucumbers, summer squash, summer grown winter squash, fresh corn, edamame, basil … summer abounds with possibilities! In this class we touched on fall, winter and spring vegetable gardening, from seed to harvest. There was a focus on soil health and best practices for keeping your soil alive and well. We also reviewed how and why to compost to feed your soil, which in turn, feeds your plants!

Click here for the warm and cool vegetable planting chart.

Click here to view the salon powerpoint.




It is important to maintain and enhance the life in the soil.

How to keep it alive- add organic matter in the form of compost.

Carbohydrates produced in photosynthesis are stored in the roots of plants. Roots support the life of the soil. The microbes in the soil need the carbohydrates. The plants need nitrogen and phosphorus and many nutrients which they get from the microbes.

  • If weeding your garden - leave the roots. All roots are good.

  • Grow a diversity of plants, the enhance the diversity of microbes that live in the soil.

  • Put compost (either your own or Diestel Structured Compost from Lyngso) 2-3 inches high and then put straw mulch on top of the compost. The mulch helps hold water.

  • Feed the soil food web rather than the plant. The plant will fend for itself.

  • Seed and seedlings- shop at Half Moon Bay Nursery, Wegman’s or Sloat.

  • Heirloom variety- the seeds will be true to itself. These have been around for a long time.

  • Hybrid variety- a combo of the mom and dad. It is unpredictable.


  • Hand pruners by ARS or Filco

  • Soil knife - AM Leonard (also called a horihori - it is a Japanese tool).

  • Dramm redhead - 1000 holes

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