For this tour of beautiful roses
and so many more plantings at Sky Lake Gardens, Christy Santos will focus more on landscape design and installation than having
the names of every variety planted (the plantings are very extensive).
card set Carl showed us on the field trip
is the Tree Fruit Pest
Identification and Monitoring Cards
by Carolyn Pickel et al. UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Publication
3426. Available at anrcatalog.ucdavis.edu
or phone 800-994-8849. These cards looked pretty good.
Vegetable Gardening Tips:
I am visiting a few gardens around town, I am noticing that some soils just don't have that alive feel that was so evident
at Carl's Woodleaf Farm. A major factor in this difference is that Carl has tested his soils and balanced the nutrients
over many years. Also very important is the way Carl has encouraged grasses, clovers and frankly many weeds to flourish throughout
his orchards and fields. Joseph Cocannoeur wrote a book many years ago called Weeds: Guardians of the soil. There is an art to managing herbaceous weeds to increase the organic matter
content of your soils and thereby increasing the biological activity. Some weeds like red root pigweed are "deep divers,"
going down into the subsoil to bring up nutrients that may have leached beyond the root zone of shallow rooted plants. There
is an art to managing the weeds, and you may have noticed Carl Rosato has mastered that art in his orchards, with organic matter
content up in the 6% range.
In our hot dry summers, we may find ourselves watering some weeds and
not pulling them right away. In a vegetable plot, you have to stay on top of the cycles, so that you get the benefits of root
growth and yet cut or pull the weeds before they inhibit your crops. Every plant puts down roots that pulverize and loosen
tight soils. This could be weeds or it could be a green manure crop you intentionally plant. This year, I am letting weeds
like prickly lettuce get large around the borders of the garden, and letting some weeds get bigger than I used to between
the rows. I am still weeding, but managing the timing differently. A friend has a new garden, with a vigorous crop of red-root pigweed
sprouting. This weed will grow 4 or 5 feet tall and have very scratchy seed heads in the summer if left alone. But I wouldn't
hoe the whole area as quickly as I used to do. Start with pulling the weeds right next to the plants. With the pigweed that
is at least 6" away from the squash and beans, you might want to leave some until the pigweed is about 6" tall, then
hoe it. You can leave the desiccated weeds right there to serve as a mulch. Another weed (especialy perennials like
bermuda grass, Johnson grass, bindweed and nutsedge) should be hoed and removed as soon as you see it. Purslane never gets
tall, it is a ground-hugging succulent, and is hard to control. I wouldn't let it go either.
you have a lot of weeding to do, a wheel hoe gets it done much faster and easier than a hand hoe. You can check out valleyoaktool.com
for a video demonstration.
The back side of these recent rains is an excellent time to break
open new ground, pull weeds, etc. Remember to thin young plants before they stunt each other's growth. Get your first plantings
of beans, corn, squash and melon seeds in now. Tomato, pepper and eggplant transplants can go in the ground. It is best to
transplant in the late afternoon or early evening so that the roots can re-grow some root hairs before being in
the blazing sun. Give them a nice big drink of water as you transplant, and again the next day.
the water on the cool season crops like lettuce, peas, beets and kale.
I am looking for someone
to post video footage on YouTube (either volunteer or for a fee) so that you can click on a link in the newsletter and
see what I am describing. We need to get the stake and string method of tomato trellising posted. It is the best method for
our climate in my opinion. If you know of someone who could revamp my emailing system, please let me know.
Sunday at 1:30, we area returning to the Chico Grange for a talk on Composting by a true professional, Gary Foster
of Compost Solutions.