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Organic Gardening Class Newsletter February 17, 2010

Thanks Mary Berglund and Jerry Bonds for some great gardening tips last Sunday. We will be sending Mary's list of recommended fruit tree varieties in a newsletter very soon. You may be surprised at how close together fruit trees can be planted. On the Dave Wilson Nursery website, it is suggested that you can plant them 3 feet apart, in a sort of hedge. This allows a backyard gardener to have many more varieties (and the nurseries to sell lots of trees).

Carl Rosato will be presenting a slide show and talk this coming Sunday February 21 at the Chico Grange. Fee for the one session is $15 at the door. Carl will give us lots of information on soils, and answer questions about how to best amend your soil with organic amendments. As you probably know, Carl grows dozens of varieties of fruit trees on his farm, and if you want to have the best chance of getting bumper crops of tasty organic fruit from your trees, this talk is not to be missed. Carl will be staying an additional hour to review soil test results with anyone who wants to stay for that. Carl also grows vegetables, so bring your questions on that topic also.

Gardening Tips: This is it! The February planting window is here. Plant some cool season vegetables, even if you don't know what you are doing. If I had one 4 foot by 20 foot bed to plant, I would hoe the weeds, and pick them up and remove them to the compost pile. Then I would take a shovel or spading fork and loosen the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. Deeper is fine too. Then I would spread an inch of well rotted compost (if you don't have it, then get some from the worm farm in Durham (choose the blend that is 10% worm castings). You can also go to the nursery or feed store and get 6 bags of composted steer manure and one bag of composted chicken manure. Mix in the compost with a shovel and then rake it flat. Now go to the Saturday Farmer's Market in Chico and get vegetable starts 6-12 lettuce, 6 broccoli, and a couple of others. Try Shambani Organics or Towani Farms. Go home and plant them. Firm the soil around each plant and give it a little water from a watering can or a dribbling hose. Look in a seed catalog for spacing. Plant beets, spinach, carrots, radishes, and sugar snap peas from seed. Now is the time!

By the way, I can't guarantee that the dry weather will hold til Saturday. Make beds while the sun shines.

Happy Gardening,


David Grau

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