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Mary Berglund Handout 2010

Dear Gardeners,


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 organically.


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.


Peaches:                                                                                  Nectarines:


Earligrande                  May                                                     Fantasia           August

Gold Dust                   early June                                            Red Gold        early Sept.

Spring Crest                mid June                                              Double Delight    ?

Double Jewel              late June

June Pride                   early July

Suncrest                      mid July

July (Kim) Elberta       late July

O’ Henry *                  mid August

Indian Free (white)     late August/early September

Summerset                  late August/early September

Fairtime                       mid 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:

Dapple Dandy             early August

Flavor King                 mid-late August

Flavor Grenade           late August/Sept.

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 for braiding)


Tomatoes: Magnum Beefsteak, Caspian Pink, Cherokee Purple, Pineapple, Black Prince

                  Carmelo, Royal Hillbilly.

                  Cherry: Black cherry, Sun Sugar (a hybrid)                     

                  Paste:canning/sauces: Amish paste, Ernie’s Plump, New Zealand Pear, De Barrao Black.

                  For 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, Charentais Cantaloupe.



Summer: Trombetta A pale green, snake shaped, climbing summer squash, prolific.

Winter: Galeux 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 fall.

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 summer.


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,