- Author: JoEllen P Myslik
Warm days have extended my summer garden, so I have appreciated the extra sun. However, you may have noticed that we are severely lacking in rainfall. In fact, Vallejo has had .08 inches of rain to date, while the average is 1.2 inches with 2.44 inches as the historical maximum. No or low precipitation is rarely good news for gardeners, but according to the Farmer's Almanac, today is a "Barren Day" anyway, so don't try to do any planting. Instead, you can give yourself a break and just focus on 'simple' tasks, like watering, weeding or prepping your garden for winter veggies.
But if you are a believer in planting by the phases of the moon, then do your planting this Sunday when there is a full moon! A full moon is said to encourage germination and growth.
Whatever your beliefs or your methods, Happy Gardening! It's nice to have an interest that we can essentially participate in year-round!
14th-16th Neither Plant Nor Sow On These Barren Days.
17th-18th Plant Root Crops Where Climate Permits. Good Days For Transplanting.
19th-20th Any Seed Planted Now Will Tend To Rot.
21st-22nd Best Planting Days For Fall Potatoes, Turnips, Onions, Carrots, Beets, And Other Root Crops Where Climate Is Suitable. Also Plant Seedbeds And Flower Gardens. Good Days For Transplanting.
23rd-27th Poor Period For Planting. Kill Plant Pests, Clear Fencerows/land.
28th-29th Favorable Days For Planting Root Crops. Fine For Sowing Grains, Hay, And Forage Crops. Plant Flowers.
30th Plant Carrots, Beets, Onions, Turnips, Irish Potatoes, And Other Root Crops In The South. Lettuce, Cabbage, Collards And Other Leafy Vegetables Will Do Well. Start Seedbeds. Good Day For Transplanting.
- Author: Betty Victor
The first small garden harvest is in. Picture one shows the beginning of the garden, minus the tomato plants. Picture two is the first harvest.
This first harvest may not look like a lot to some gardeners who have a larger garden area to plant in. I have a very small spot where an avocado tree once grew-this is now the small garden.
In this small garden, you will find growing--Kentucky Pole green beans, which are producing more than we can eat now, so we are freezing them for winter. Growing next to the green beans are yellow string beans. In addition to the beans, there are two sweet green peppers, also a Jalapeño, and a peperoncini, 2 sweet Italian long peppers, that I am anxiously waiting for them to turn one yellow the other red, a medium size Italian white eggplant, that has 5 eggplants that are just about ready to be picked.
Tucked in between a Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina domestica) and a (Butterfly bush) Buddleia are 2 tomato plants that are heavy with fruit. In addition to these, I have 3 tomatoes plants in large containers. All the tomatoes were started from seed and are the heirloom variety. Scattered around the yard in containers you can find zucchini, patty pan squash, cucumbers, shallots and a leek, also 3 different kinds of basil, to go with the tomatoes for a caprese salad or tomato sandwiches.
So I have learned if you really want a vegetable garden, you will find the space for it. They need some tending almost every day, especially the ones in the containers, but well worth the effort.
- Author: Karen Metz
I got the chance to visit a farm recently on Molokai. Amongst other things, they grow macadamia trees, Macadamia integrifolia. They had about fifty trees on their farm that had been there since the 1920s. Farmer Purdy explained that macadamia nuts start off as pale, slender, bottle-brush shaped flower clusters. The flower cluster is pollinated by bees and later forms small green nuts. The nuts grow and when they are ripe, they fall to the ground. The family gathers the nuts daily from the orchard floor. Harvest is essentially year round. The family then husks them, dries them, cracks them and roasts them without any preservatives.
The farmer said that because his is a small multi-crop farm, he has not found the need for any insecticides. The only thing he spreads around the trees is ashes from the burned leaves that he rakes up daily. He stressed that because the crop is picked up from the ground, the orchard must be kept very clean. It was so unique to look up into the tree and see every stage of the nuts' life cycle all growing at the same time. And cool to think of a year round harvest.
- Author: Karen Metz
It seems like every year there is one plant or crop that stands out, sometimes because of its success and sometimes because of its abject failure. This year the spaghetti squash has been the star of the show. I saved the seeds from a squash from a farmers' market and started them in little six packs. I was starting several other kinds of squash as well. This year's garden was slow to get started as we had a prolonged cool spring. By the time things started growing I had forgotten which squash was where. Most of the squash stayed politely where they had been planted, but the spaghetti squash took off running.
Soon it had grown through my tomato cages, escaped the bounds of my raised beds and started up the climbing roses. I would whack it back every now and then to leave room for the other vegetables. After it began flowering and setting fruit, I was amazed at the size of some of them. Some were like small watermelon. Now they have turned from green to orange instead of the expected yellow.
For those of you not familiar with spaghetti squash, it's a winter squash that when halved, seeded, and cooked, has flesh that can be separated into spaghetti like strands with a fork. Squash are famous for their ability to cross pollinate so I'm starting to wonder if there isn't a bit of pumpkin in this squash's background. I guess I won't know until I try and cook them.
When I went on the web to try and look up the proper timing of the spaghetti squash harvest, I had my first exposure to garden forum humor. When others had asked a similar question, the answers had ranged from when the water is boiling to when the meatballs are ready. Apparently the real answer is to let the color change from green to yellow and to wait til the skin thickens, hardens, and cannot be pierced with your fingernail. Then the squash will be able to be stored for months.