June 2015: San Diego Padres, Harlequin Bug, and a Thank You!

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“I had rather be on my farm that be emperor of the world.” – George Washington

Karen’s Corner: A Message From Our Founder

Family, friends and often friends of friends pull me aside with a huge list of gardening questions.  One reoccurring theme I’ve noticed: folks hesitate when planting varieties of fruits and vegetables that vary from the mainstream.

Not to worry!  Regardless of what you’re planting, the right amount of water, sunlight and fertilizer overcomes most gardening challenges.  Trying a couple new varieties each season can open you up to fresh experiences, colors, favors and even harvest quantities.

Don’t hesitate to search online when your seedless watermelon plant isn’t bearing fruit or other questions arise.  Gardeners before you have asked the same questions.  Two of my favorite resources are the UC Davis Integrated Pest Management website and the Master Gardener’s Association of San Diego website.

By the way, your seedless watermelon probably isn’t bearing fruit because it requires a standard variety plant for cross pollination!

Good gardening to you!  ~KC

In The Garden:

Did you know…

Padres Head Groundskeeper Luke Yoder is 4 years into keeping an organic garden in Petco Park’s home and visitor bullpens. The garden includes radish, tomato, onion and a grafted tree with lemons, limes and oranges.

Most notable are Yoder’s hot pepper crops. As of April, his hottest pepper was the Black Cobra (coming in at 30,000 Scoville Heat Units). He’ll be planting the real hotties this summer, including the Moruga Scorpion (1.2 million SCU).  These plants are no joke: they come with caution signs!

What’s Sprouting:

California Farm and Garden has gone into full research mode- we hit up the EPA and the Alliance for Water Efficiency for cold hard facts on water usage in the United States. We compiled our findings and discussed water conservation techniques in this article:

Proponents of water conservation in California call attention to the greater issue of national water mismanagement.  Many have reacted by pointing fingers at big-ag farms as he greediest offenders.

The truth: it’s it’s conservatively estimatedthat US lawns take up 40.5 million acres and annually use over 4x more water than alfalfa, the second highest consumer of water. This makes turf the largest crop in America…read more!

What’s Fresh:

California Farm and Garden farmers are currently harvesting the last of the cold season crops: peas, cauliflower, broccoli, collards and early artichokes. Once your larder is full of these greens, check out My New Root’sSimple Mint Pea Dip” and her unique take on a Tuscan salad, “the Rainbow Panzanella“, starring colorful cold season crops.

They’ll be replaced with seedlings that enjoy the sunny southern California summer: corn, squash, pole beans, pumpkins. Next up for harvest is everyone’s favorite: tomatoes!

Helpful Tips:

Have you seen this garden marauder? It’s the Harlequin bug (Murgantia histrionica) and it can suck the sap out of your cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower or brussel sprouts.The best thing to do when fighting a Harlequin bug onslaught is to hand-pick and destroy the insects and their eggs, which can be found on the underside of leaves.

Thank You:

We would like to extend a very special “Thank you” to Valerie, who was in charge of UP’s social media the past year. We will miss your vivaciousness and way with words!

Please welcome Stephanie, our new marketing assistant, who comes to us all the way from Boston.  Welcome to the UP family!