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Organic Gardening Class Newsletter Nov. 14, 2009

Thank you Lee and Francine of GRUB for a wonderful field trip of your farm. We learned a lot about planting and weeding and harvesting fall crops. It was great seeing Broccoli already in harvest, and so many other vegetables. Lee tells us that they don't spray for pests, even with organic approved materials. This fall, their Red Russian Kale had a bad infestation of aphids, so they took it out and replanted other crops. One of their techniques I will be using next summer and fall is the use of a shade house for starting fall seedlings for transplanting. They begin seed flats in early July for planting out in August. We hope to visit GRUB next spring for a field trip. By the way, Francine was telling me that she is loving the daikon radishes they planted. Seems like a late summer planting is the best for big crispy delicious daikon.

There is a field trip coming up Sunday November 22 with Carl Rosato. Time: 1:30 to about 3:30. We will have an opportunity to see Carl pruning several fruit trees. This field trip is happening rain or shine, and will be in Chico at Hazel and Mair's gardens. This is a wonderful opportunity to see Carl in action and ask any questions about pruning, winter spraying (or not spraying, and why), soil management, and so much more. If you attended the organic gardening class sessions last spring you already know how knowledgeable and enthusiastic Carl is. Don't miss it.  $10 payable at the garden.

To Register, please reply to this email. We will send directions.

Also, belated thanks to Mary Berglund and Bruce Balgooyen for the field trips to their farms this summer. We had a great time, and learned a lot.

Gardening Tips: Yes, it is time to take out your tomato and eggplant plants. You could plant garlic or onions where they were.

Just a reminder, check your soil moisture on your fall vegetables and keep watering if it hasn't rained. This is leaf gathering season. They make an excellent main ingredient for compost piles. In this cool weather they won't decompose rapidly. But what's the hurry? You can stockpile the leaves and make your compost piles next spring. Leaves also make a great mulch for the garden. Worms love them. If you are going to mulch a lawn area, you might want to start with a layer of cardboard. The staples and tape will not decompose, so you need to remove them first. The permaculture version of this involves adding a nitrogen source to the mulch of leaves or straw so that it will decompose over the winter and be ready to be dug in for spring planting. You can also use just leaves and remove them in the spring prior to planting.

It is not too early to be planning your spring garden. Check the sun pattern on the area you have in mind. February sun will come from a similar angle. There will be a "planting window" in late January or February. Plan to have seed on hand, your beds ready to dig, and your tools in order. When we hold the class January through April, you should have access to all the information you need to plant lettuce, spinach, beets, peas and more. So getting beds ready will make your spring garden a great success.

Happy Gardening,

David Grau

Valley Oak Tool Company
P.O. Box 301
Chico  CA   95927
telephone 530-342-6188