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Organic Gardening Class Newsletter February 12, 2010

Thanks to Lee and Francine of GRUB Cooperative Farm for their wonderful advice. It really helps when we get details about varieties, planting dates, and such.

This Sunday February 14, Jerry Bonds and Mary Berglund will be visiting with us. Mary has an incredible one acre family farm which produces much of her family's food. Expect to get specific recommendations about choosing fruit tree varieties to extend the season in your home garden. And lots of other information. Mary will have a handout of fruit tree varieties either at the event, or it will be in next week's newsletter. Jerry has been gardening his whole life, and enjoys sharing his expertise. His specialties include onions, melons, potatoes, sweet corn. 1:30 to 3:30 at the Chico Grange. If you aren't signed up for the series, the cost of an individual session is $15 at the door.

As of this morning, the 80 copies of the Seeds of Change catalog still haven't arrived. If they aren't here by Sunday, you might want to order your own. A few other catalogs to consider: Fedco Seeds (Maine),Johnny's Seeds (Maine), Territorial Seeds (Oregon), Park Seeds (South Carolina), Harris Seeds, Lockhart Seeds (Stockton CA), Willhite Seeds (Texas. lot of melons). They all will send a free catalog. Lockhart doesn't sell online, only mail order and phone order. If you deal with them, make a point of requesting untreated seed. You don't want to be handling that pink stuff (Thiram). Late breaking news: We have plenty of Territorial Seed Company catalogs to distribute this Sunday.

The fabled February Planting Window may yet come to pass. After today, is predicting 8 days of a 20% or less chance of rain, and highs in the 60's. So by next weekend, Vina loam, Vina sandy loam, and similar soils may be dry enough to work. It would help to scalp off whatever leaves, weeds, mulch or whatever is covering the surface of your soil. 

Soil tests have come back to Carl Rosato, and he will have your results graph ready for him to interpret Sunday February 21. Carl will be interpreting the soil samples for anyone wanting to stay after class ends at 3:30. 

Carl will also bring a limited number of bareroot peach and nectarine trees for purchase by class members on February 21. These are 3/4" diameter trees, a larger size that will likely start to bear fruit a season sooner than smaller trees. We will be taking reservations at the break tomorrow. Cost is $10 each. Varieties available are: 

Paul Friday Lucky 13 peach (yellow peach, ripens mid July),  
Red Gold nectarine (yellow nectarine, ripens early August), 
Elegant Lady peach (yellow peach, ripens mid August), 
Blushing Star Peach (white peach, ripens early August), and 
O'Henry peach (yellow peach, ripens late August).

Carl says these should all do very well and produce excellent flavor in Chico. He has grown all but Paul Friday Lucky 13, and that one is his brother's favorite variety. 

C Bar D Feed has asparagus crowns, seed potatoes, and baby chicks for sale. They also carry several of the Lockhart Seeds varieties in bulk.

Gardening Tips: If you want to plant a spring garden, next weekend is probably going to be your best opportunity. Lettuce, spinach, beets, chard, kale, peas, radishes, carrots and similar cool season plants need to be established early, so that they mature in April and May.

Happy Gardening,

David Grau

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