November 2013: Adjusting Irrigation for Fall and Persimmons 101!

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Karen’s Corner: Notes from our founder:

November is the time of year when we take time to be thankful for the positive things in life.  Research varies on why we celebrate Thanksgiving in November, but for many cultures the holiday is strongly linked to celebrating the bounty of the past year’s harvest.

As a child, I grew up thinking we were thankful that dad had 4 days off and could watch football and drink beer all weekend.  As a young mother raising children, I was thankful that our plane arrived on time as we traveled long distances to be with family. Now, I’m thankful for chilly mornings, rainy days and the way the sun sits low in the sky.

Though most of our country has moved away from our agrarian roots, we continue to celebrate the season with a feast that outdoes any other meal served during the year. So this year, I hope your Thanksgiving is filled with delicious food from your garden, that all your loved ones are close, and that we have a beautiful, fall day in San Diego. Oh, and of course, “go Steelers” and pass the beer.

Good growing to you ~ KC

November in the Garden:

Cool Season Gardening! – November brings cool, mild weather to San Diego that is perfect for gardening. It’s a fun time to be outside during this Fall transition. If you haven’t already, this is a perfect time to set out young broccoli and cauliflower, and to seed sugar snap peas. Even if you don’t have space for a big garden, you can grow a wide variety of flowers, vegetables and herbs in half  barrel containers on a sunny patio or balcony. Vegetables like beets, carrots, radishes and lettuces grow especially well in containers and they love this cool Fall weather.

Fall is also a good time to plant potatoes. Local nurseries may have some seed potatoes in stock; check with them. If unable to locate them, organic seed potatoes are now available online from Peaceful Valley Farm Supply. Check out the web site at

Helpful Tips:

Adjust Your Irrigation!

Don’t forget to adjust your irrigation schedule for cooler weather. As the sun moves lower in the sky and the weather cools, reset your timer to water less frequently. However, don’t change the number of minutes the system waters each time. A deep soak is still required – even if it rains lightly, the water may  not penetrate the root zone.  In many areas, trees and shrubs will need watering every week to week and a half, and in ground citrus trees just once a month. Don’t fertilize deciduous fruit trees in fall. The new growth is undesired and can put fruiting branches out of reach. Also, if you are in a frost zone, these tender new shoots will be damaged. The earliest time to fertilize is one month prior to spring growth.

Persea Mites

The persea mite (Oligonychus perseae) causes small dead spots to develop on the undersides of avocado leaves. Each spot is covered by a fine, silvery webbing, which protects the mites underneath that are feeding and laying eggs. Persea mites cause significant leaf drop, which is especially harmful to young avocado trees. Mites tap into the tree’s energy reserves causing small fruit, loss in vigor and fruit sunburn due to the loss of leaf cover.

Keep trees well-watered during leaf flush, but reduce watering after mite-induced leaf drop until new leaves have regrown. Excessive nitrogen fertilizer can actually worsen the damage, so use nitrogen sparingly during leaf flush. If mite damage is severe, consider releasing predatory mites, to get the persea mites under control.

Washing leaves with a high-pressure water spray before releasing the “good” mites is recommended to break up mite webbing and wash off dust and mites that are on leaves. If chemical controls are needed, horticultural oils such as neem may be used as a last resort, but use them carefully because they can cause harm to beneficial insects as well. Read more about persea mite control here.

For information on beneficial mites and other biological controls, visit or contact American Insectaries Inc., Escondido 760-751-1436

What’s Fresh?


There are various misconceptions and confusion regarding the different Persimmon varieties. Native American persimmon and the more common Hachiya persimmon are astringent varieties and must be very soft to be eaten. If eaten when firm, they will pucker the mouth and cause a very undesirable reaction.

The Fuyu is a non-astringent variety. It is sweet and delicious when it turns a deep-orange color and is still firm. The traditional use of  the Fuyu is to eat out of hand.After harvest, the Fuyu will stay firm for two to three weeks if kept at room temperature and will gradually soften like the Hachiya variety. Many people feel it is sweeter at a somewhat spongy stage, so it has a long shelf life. We love them raw, but check out this website for great recipes like Persimmon, Fennel and Almond Couscous — Yum!

What’s Sprouting at UP”

PBS Series ‘A Growing Passion’

Last week Nan Sterman and the crew from PBS’s “A Growing Passion” visited one of our gardens. For more info on the program that covers San Diego’s agricultural, gardening and farming communities, check out A Growing Passion. We’ll let you know when the UP episode airs!

New Children’s Museum Grand Opening!

We had a great time participating in the Grand Opening for the New Children’s Museum exhibit, “Feast The Art of Playing With Your Food.” Activities at the New Children’s Museum are in full swing and admission to the garden itself is always free. Read more here!

Green Acre UTC

We’ve begun construction  at the new Green Acre restaurant in UTC. This project includes a very diverse “teaching” herb garden, citrus orchard and more. Stay tuned fore more info as this garden grows!

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