January 2013: Bare Root Trees and Cauliflower!

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Karen’s Corner: Notes from our founder

Like many people, the new year brings me renewed energy and hope, plans for self improvement and of course resolutions. Staying positive in a crowded urban setting can be a challenge! A simple trip to the market can be a test of one’s sanity as we drive through a gauntlet of seemingly unconscious pedestrians, cyclists with no fear, and fist shaking, horn honking drivers who truly believe that they are the only one on the road.

I think if more people had access to a garden, the city would be a kinder place to live. Our diets would be better, we could spend time in the fresh air, stretching our muscles and relaxing our mind as we pull weeds. Pruning trees is especially therapeutic as we remove the old wood, encouraging new, invigorating growth. Community garden spaces encourage people from all walks of life to interact, share stories and get to know their neighbors. Planting a garden in your front yard, at your office or school will create a sense of community and a place of peaceful beauty for all to enjoy.

Our resolution this year as a company, is to plant as many gardens and orchards as possible, to teach old and young alike how to care for their soil and their plants organically, to plant more gardens at office complexes and multiple family dwellings, to plant gardens in schools, at rehabilitation centers and community parks, and to encourage the city of San Diego to develop garden spaces within the city for all of us to share. Happy New Year folks, let’s get growing! Good Growing to you, KC

January in the Garden: Buds

January is the best time of year to plant any trees you are thinking of adding to your garden. Most varieties of stone fruit (peaches, plums, apricots) are available in “bare root” now. Planting bare root trees decreases your cost while increasing the success rate of transplanting. It’s also time to prune your trees and berries.

Remember, do your homework before you start pruning and take some time to learn where the fruit on your tree is produced. Apples, plums, apricots and pears produce fruit on “fruit spurs” which can produce for 5 to 10 years. Peaches and nectarines produce fruit on the previous year’s growth and need more pruning to prevent branches from breaking and to encourage fruit for the following year. If you’re not sure, give us a call, we’ll send our team of experts to get you started with our seasonal orchard care program and we’ll do your pruning for you.

Helpful Tips: Spraying Garden

Our gardens a growing slowly this time of year, but that doesn’t mean that the plants don’t need feeding. Studies show that nitrogen is less available to plants during winter months, so it’s a good idea to feed your garden regularly with a foliar spray of Fish Emulsion combined with a micro-nutrient rich product such as kelp or other organic amendment. Mix your products in a hand sprayer with dechlorinated water (or put out a bucket and catch some rain water!) and give your plants a good foliar spray. You can also spray around the roots of your plants. We foliar spray our gardens every other week for maximum growth and to keep plants growing in the cool weather.

Got Frost ?

For extra frost protection – cover your garden or small trees with an old sheet, blanket or tarp for the night.

What’s Fresh:

Colorful Cauliflowers – curds of all sizes and shapes are ready for harvest this month and because of the cold weather we’ve been experiencing, they are bursting with flavor and virtually pest free. The most challenging thing about growing cauliflower is determining when to harvest. Most white varieties are now “self blanching” which means the leaves close to the head curl up around it and keep it white and clear of brown spots. This self blanching trait can keep a ripe head hidden from view so be sure to check your plants regularly and harvest while the curds are still tight. Once harvested your plant is done, you can pull it out, amend your soil and plant something in it’s place.

When cooking cauliflower it’s best to blanch it very briefly in boiling water with a little lemon, then roast, saute or stir fry. Steaming or boiling makes cauliflower mushy. Try interesting seasonings such as curry, cumin, or chili powder dusted over your cauliflower and remember do not overcook it. Cauliflower is high in vitamins C and K, making it a great antioxidant and anti inflammatory food. Our favorite varieties to grow are “Veronica”, which is a green Romanesco variety, “Graffiti”, a purple variety, and “Amazing”, which is a beautiful creamy white.

Experiment with your cauliflower and try this fritter recipe.

What’s Sprouting at California Farm and Garden

Our Safe Seed Pledge:

We pledge that we do not knowingly buy, sell, or plant genetically engineered seeds or plants. We wish to support agriculture progress that leads to healthier soils, genetically diverse agricultural systems, people and their communities. Furthermore, this year we will not purchase seeds and plants that are owned by companies who do not support a consumer’s “right to know”.
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