Organic Gardening Class Newsletter #13
you Brian Marshall and Nancy Heinzel for sharing your experiences of tomato culture.
For those who missed their talk, or want to review their recommendations, we will have DVDs
available soon. There will be some copies to loan to class members, and they will be for sale at class and online at valleyoaktool.com in a week or so.
Thanks also to
Dr. Lee Altier and Katie Fugnetti for the March 29 tour of the CSU Chico organic vegetable project.
We are working on setting up another visit soon.
Our next class this Sunday April 26
at 1:30 at the Grange will feature a presentation on drip irrigation systems by Leslie Corsbie.
The class schedule and registration forms are available online at valleyoaktool.com
. The class card you picked up at the first session is transferrable if you can't make it and want to let a friend use
your card. If someone wants to attend a single class, the fee for lectures at the Grange is $8, and the fee for field trips
is $10. Please register and pay in advance for the field trips.
If you haven't noticed, we are not keeping retail hours at the Valley Oak Tool warehouse. The
following items will be available at the class meetings:
T-Tape drip tube 8 mil, holes 8" apart, 40 gallons per hour per 100 feet.
10-99 ft. @ $.08/ft. 100-499 ft. @ $.06/ft. 500+ ft. @ $.05/ft.
(we are selling this particular tubing because it is a good one for home gardens and Chico Sprinkler
only sells this one in 7500 ft. rolls. Chico Sprinkler carries a full line of drip accessories. We are still looking for where
to get a versatile reliable battery-powered timer. Let us know if you found one you are happy with.)
Agribon row cover AG-19 83" wide
10-49 ft. @ $.40/ft. 50+ ft. @ $.30/ft.
Earthway seeder with 6 seed plates $110.00
7 foot tall 1.5"x1.5" white fir wooden tomato/cucumber/ bean stakes $1.50 each or for 10 or more $1.25 each
Stake Pounder for wooden stakes $45.00
By arrangement, you can rent a wheel hoe for $20 for a week (refundable deposit = retail price)
CA sales tax of 8.25% on any purchases except seeds
If you prefer to have professional install your drip irrigation system, landscape
contractor Leslie Corsbie is available. Call 879-0999.
This week's vegetable gardening tips:
Watering: If you got your early spring garden planted in February, you may be harvesting spinach, radishes,
and lettuce by now. When the weather turns hot like the past few days, you need to pour the water on to
keep rapid growth happening. Most lettuce turns bitter, and starts to bolt if it gets water stressed in the heat. One
of the main secrets of extending the season for snap peas, lettuce and spinach is plenty of water, at least every other day.
Thinning: I planted my spring vegetables about an inch apart, and have been eating
lettuce and spinach thinnings. Now that the plants are 4" to 6" tall, it is important to thin them. Spacing in the row: lettuce,
beets, chard and kale and spinach: 4" to 12" apart. Radishes and carrots: 1" to 3" apart. When you thin plants, the
remaining plants respond to the decreased competition for sunlight, water and nutrients. Firm the soil around the plant
if you have pulled plants right next to it. Now there will be a growth spurt and with better air circulation, there
will be less leaf rot.
Summer Planting: Now is the time to transplant
tomatoes, peppers, basil and eggplant, and to plant seeds of summer squash, cucumbers, beans, and corn. Your first planting
of melons can go in now also. From now to the end of May, you can plant summer crops and still get a good yield. There
is not much point in planting winter squash and pumpkins before late May, since you want them to mature in the fall, not the
heat of summer.
When I grew tomatoes to sell, I started seed in flats from January to late May, and
transplanted to the garden from March 20 to June 30. That way, we had main crops constantly until sometime in October.
If you are planting tomatoes to can or freeze, a late May planting could be better than earlier, since your main crop
will come in mid September when the kitchen is a little cooler.
Brian Marshall of Sawmill Creek Farm
says that they generally transplant their tomatoes in mid to late April. His top recommendations for the beginning tomato
grower are New Girl (hybrid), Beefmaster (hybrid), and Black Prince (heirloom). For a harder to raise but more exquisitely
flavored heirloom, he says try Brandywine, Kellogs's Breakfast, or Cherokee Purple. For canning, he says the standard
Roma paste (hybrid) is reliable. San Marzano (heirloom) is a wonderfully flavored paste variety, but tricky to grow due to
the tendency to blossom end rot.
GRUB Education Benefit Coming up:
Friday, May 1
1525 Dayton Road at the GRUB cooperative
5:00pm- 8:30pm outside Dinner and farm tour
($20 get your pre-sale tickets, includes the show too)
8:30 pm Live music and celebration
We are hosting our second annual Education benefit
on Friday May 1st and we want all the people to be able come and see what we do.
**It will be a dinner outside on the farm, next to the our new outdoor kitchen under the gigantic walnut tree.
The money will go to support our education facets from our 12 preschool gardens to volunteer food, rice
and beans for the year, to tools for people to learn about compost.
Bring your family and dine with us out on the beautiful spring time farm scape, you may learn a little more about
other GRUB programs.
Tickets : $20 & kids free.
You can get them at from us here at 1525 dayton road on Wednesday evenings,
or at boho boutique on 116 West 2nd street next to the Naked lounge Cafe
Or at Bustalinis cafe on the corner of 8th and main.
Out look for the night
* 5pm: farm tour, croquet
& lizard bike ride
* 6:30: pm Dinner served to you accompanied
with live music by:
Good Luck Tom Waters
Fools Rush in
* 8:30pm More music inside our big room:
Dick & Jane
Luke Byron and the Delivery boys
Hope to see you there.. we only
have 75 seats for dinner, so get your tickets now!
with love and
hope for full, healthy bellies everywhere....
all of us at GRUB
GRUB is doing so many good
things. I hope to see you at this event.
Valley Oak Tool Company
Chico CA 95927