Below are a few notes I prepared for you prior to class. First,
here’s a little follow-up on our class discussion.
The kelp concentrate supplement I use if the plants seem
stressed and need a little boost is Algamin from Peaceful Valley Farm Supply in
Grass Valley. Add it to water and liquid fish emulsion (I don’t have a favorite
brand. I’m using some I won at a farming conference). Apply around the base
of plants. Algamin can
also be used as a foliar spray. This allows for the plant/tree to receive the
nutrients quicker, through its leaves rather than having to draw them up
thought the roots. Typically, the feathermeal, gypsum and kelp I add to my soil
before planting is all the plants need. I like the feathermeal because it is a
slow release nitrogen providing food for the plant throughout the season. I
only administer the liquid supplements to the plants as I would vitamin C and
zinc to my kids if they look like they might be coming down with a cold. Your
best bet is to provide the soil nutrients required to build strong healthy
plants from the start. Remember that disease and pests strike the weaker plants/trees.
So, keep them healthy and enjoy your bountiful harvests!
My thoughts regarding seed saving: Follow the experts advise
if you can. If you don’t have the space to refrigerate your seeds don’t let
that stop you from saving them. Life loves to live and many seeds are hardy and
have a shelf life of several years. My breezeway is a good home for my seeds
most of the year. It would be a good idea for me to move them to the basement
for the summer and I would have by now if seed viability had been a problem for
me. It hasn’t
When I save seeds I’ve grown I let them dry inside, then I
package them in an envelope which I store in a mental mesh tin inside until the
weather cools. With soybeans I harvest the whole plant, stick the plants in a
paper bag and let them dry in the breezeway. When dry I put another paper bag,
this time over the open end and move them down to the basement. I do the same
thing with the zinnia flowers although I do not cut the whole plant. I need this
quick and easy method because I’m busy preserving food in August.
Now for the farming notes:
My goal is to produce a wide variety of fresh, clean,
quality food to feed my family throughout the year on our acre. Thus, I farm
No matter what size your yard, if you are thinking of
planting fruit trees decide which types of fruit you would like to grow and
then look for varieties which ripen at different times throughout the season/s.
For example a cherry tree variety for early June harvest, a plum for late June,
a peach for July, a pluot for August, a pomegranate for September, a persimmon
for October/November. If you vacation the same time each summer you may want to
avoid planting a fruit tree that ripens during, say, that two week window.
We love peaches and have a dozen peach trees which provide
us with continual fruit beginning in May and ending in September. (There is
even a new Dave Wilson variety which ripens in October called Carnival. It can
be special ordered through Hodges Nursery in the winter.) Some of you have
asked which varieties I have and when they ripen. Here the list with
approximate ripening times.
Gold early Sept.
July (Kim) Elberta late
O’ Henry *
Indian Free (white) late
to late September
(* susceptible to brown rot)
I do LOTS of canning, freezing, drying and storing so I
greatly prefer freestone fruit (that’s fruit which comes away from the seed
easily). Many plums, delicious as they are, have fruit which clings to the seed
making it much more work to cook with. Our family has fallen in love with
Pluots! Pluots are about 70% plum and 30% apricot. The three freestone
varieties of pluots are harvested in August and September, when most plums are
just a sweet memory. Of the 21 pluot varieties here are the only freestones:
Apricots, pears and apples are the most challenging to grow
in the Valley. I suspect that apriums may also be since they are a cross of
mostly apricot. Apricots are susceptible to bacterial canker in young trees in
California. Our Valley’s hot summers often cause the fruit to “pit burn” (That
is when the flesh around the pit turns soft and brown.)Apples and pears are
susceptible to both fire blight and codling moth.
Blueberry varieties I like are Misty and Ozark Blue.
Raspberries: Indian Summer for the heat of our valley. Good
to plant in a shady area.
Grapes: I’ve heard that green varieties are easier to grow.
Garlic: Music (hardneck), Early California White (softneck
Tomatoes: Magnum Beefsteak, Caspian Pink, Cherokee Purple,
Pineapple, Black Prince
Carmelo, Royal Hillbilly.
Black cherry, Sun Sugar (a hybrid)
Amish paste, Ernie’s Plump, New Zealand Pear, De Barrao Black.
drying: Jaune Flamme (slice in half, sprinkle a little salt & thyme)
Peppers: Italian Pepperoncini, Jalaro (white jalapeņo),
Cuneo (yellow bell), Orange Bell, Marconi (red bell), Orange Fogo (hot/sweet
Thia), Ancho San Luis or Anaheim (for .rellenos).
Melons: Bidwell Casaba, Sakata’s Sweet, Ambrosia Cantaloupe,
Summer: Trombetta A pale green, snake shaped, climbing
summer squash, prolific.
d’Eysines (soft peach color with cool looking cream colored warty bumps),
Jarrahdale, Butternut (great keeper), Sucrine de Berry (productive), Thelma
Sanders sweet potato (acorn type). Lady Godiva
(grown for its hulless seeds only-yum).
Celery: Celebration (rare) from Seeds of Change
Herbs: Grow fresh herbs. They’re easy, don’t take up much
room because a little goes a long way and add so much freshness to a meal.
Dill: doesn’t like the heat but loves it here in spring and
Parsley and cilantro are even happy in the winter if covered
on frosty nights.
Basil: Grow a row of it and make pesto (freeze and enjoy in
winter too). Harvest top stems of leaves and plant will keep producing all
I believe I’ll end here for now. I’d be happy to share more
in another class. Citrus,
Avocado, winter gardening, lined beds, chickens, which
preserving techniques I use for which crops, favorite books, pest control, etc.
The garden is calling,