December 2014: Colorful Cauliflowers, Perennial Herbs, and Aphids!

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Gardening tips, recipes and helpful information you can use!!

Karen’s Corner: Notes from our founder


In between the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I love sitting down with a warm drink and perusing the seed catalogs that start to show up among the usual array of holiday flyers. Planning my spring garden always helps keep the holiday frenzy at bay, as I focus on a gift that will nourish my family (and some neighbors!) throughout the New Year. Gardening is something that I truly take joy from, but this year, my Christmas wish list is short: all I want is more rain! I hope this holiday season brings you everything you need, and that you and your families are happy and healthy.

Good growing to you! ~KC

In the Garden

Carnitas Snack Shack North Park Raised Bed

We are so lucky to have many amazing and talented clients! Chef Hanis and Carnitas’ Snack Shack have won several awards in the three short years they have been around, and it has been our pleasure to grow with them too. UP happily tends fresh herbs and veggies at both restaurant locations. So, the next time you are in North Park, think about stopping by Carnitas Snack Shack. Enjoy some tacos, a seat on the patio, and the recently refreshed garden. Look for some fresh garden greens to be gracing the menu soon!

What’s Sprouting

Orchard Pruning and Care

You’ve been asking for it and we delivered – Introducing our NEW Seasonal Garden Lecture Series! We’ve partnered up with our friends over at North Park Nursery and are hosting a Winter Fruit Tree class on Saturday, December 13 from 10 -11 am. UP will be offering a 10% discount for all consultations booked by participants, and NPN will be offering 10% off fruit trees and select tree supplies. No need to sign up and the event is FREE. Come learn with us!

Congrats to Silverlake Elementary, recipient of the Edible School Garden of the Year Best Nutrition Education award! On December 3, California Farm and Garden, Edible San Diego, and Les Dames d’Escoffier International – San Diego Chapter were there to present them with the award. We can’t wait to see what sprouts!

What’s Fresh

Colorful Cauliflower Varieties

Did you know that not all cauliflower is created equally? Amazingly, cauliflower can be found in a rainbow of colors. Gone is the boring white cauliflower of yesterday. Today, you can find orangegreen, and even purple varieties! Cauliflower is high in Vitamin C, folate, fiber, and complex carbohydrates. The orange varieties contain beta carotene (which cause the orange color), and the purple varieties contain anthocyanins, the same compound found in many berries. Here at UP, we don’t have a favorite variety, we plant them all! And here are 50 recipes to try out with your new favorite color of cauliflower.

Helpful Tips

Perennial Herbs

In San Diego, we are lucky that we don’t have to deal with snow and ice in the winter. Due to the mild nature of our weather, we can take advantage of the rains and plant perennial herbs. Now is the perfect time to spruce up your regular landscaping by adding fun edibles like rosemary (it comes in low-growing and upright varieties), sage, thyme, tarragon, lavender, lemon verbena, mint, and echinacea. There are several varieties of each of these aromatic herbs, so make sure to ask your local nursery for help when choosing. Remember that herbs have different water requirements so you will need to plan accordingly. Pro tip: Mint can be especially invasive, so make sure it’s contained.

Lady Bug Nymph  A lady bug nymph enjoys an aphid snack.

Have you seen this insect? With over 4,400 species, it’s a sure bet that you have seen your fair share of these fellas (or most likely – ladies!) around in your garden. Yep, we are talking about aphids. Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that feed on the sap of plants and come in a variety of colors. They can cause an array of symptoms in your plants including sluggish growth, mottled leaves, yellowing, stunted growth, curled leaves, browning, wilting, and low yields. The easiest way to deal with them is to knock them off with a hard spray of water or to prune them off. Make sure to monitor the affected plants twice a week to catch new infestations early; one aphid can produce up to 80 offspring in just one week! Need more advice on how to deal with aphids? The UC Davis Integrated Pest Management resource is always super helpful.