October 2013: Winter Crops!

UP Beet Pumpkin

Karen’s Corner: Notes from our founder

  If you’ve been thinking about adding a fruit tree or three to your landscape, now is the time to start planning.  Some of our local nurseries are offering sales on potted deciduous trees to make way for bare root trees which will start arriving at nurseries in December. When shopping for potted trees, select trees with a straight central leader and be sure to inspect the trunks for signs of bark damage.  The most common problem we see in home orchards are trees planted too closely one another.  Every tree has it’s particular space requirement and planning before planting will save you headaches in the years to come. There is nothing like fresh fruit from the garden and we’re happy to help you plan your orchard, plant your trees and care for them as well.  Our orchard care program is a huge success with our clients! Gardens are making headlines all over the world today. We  love this article about an organic farmer, Michelle Lutz, leaving her farm to work at a hospital greenhouse garden in the suburbs of Detroit.  Have a read: Hospital Greenhouse Garden Good growing to you ~ KC

October in the Garden

Fall has arrived! The days are getting shorter and nights are much cooler.  The arrival of fall also means it’s time to plant winter crops. Some of our tried and true favorites are:  ‘Belstar’ Broccoli, “Graffiti” Purple Cauliflower and ‘Purple Vienna’ Kohlrabi.  Even though we’re already into October, watch out for late heat spells and adjust your watering accordingly. The notorious Santa Ana winds that arrive this time of year increase transpiration, pulling water from leaves and soil at a rapid rate. Water deeply in the morning so there is plenty of water available to the plants throughout the day. Plant abundant flowers in your winter garden, bees have a hard time finding food in the cool months. Your garden will be their oasis! Try seeding winter-blooming annuals like love-in-a-mist, nasturtium, borage and sweet peas. Feed Your Soil! Remember, the most important part of any seasonal transition in the garden is to reward your soil for providing you with the abundant harvest from the season before.  After you remove your spent plants, add a minimum of 4 inches of compost and other soil amendments like composted chicken manure. Fresh worm castings and minerals are also part of a complete garden refresh.  Let us know if you need help with this!  We’ll bring all the materials, do the hard work and you do the fun stuff! Planting your fall garden! Plant Garlic – October is the month to plant garlic! Hardneck garlic varieties are generally hardier than softneck varieties and they are also the best option if you want to enjoy garlic scapes in early summer. Hardneck varieties tend to form fewer cloves per bulb than softneck varieties, but they also are usually a bit larger. Garlic scapes are the pseudo flower stalks of hardneck garlic plants, although they don’t really produce flowers. These stalks start to appear a month or so after the first leaves. They are usually cut off of the plant, since leaving them on diverts nutrients away from the main bulb. If left on, they eventually form small bulbils. Many gardeners simply toss their scapes in the compost, but garlic scapes are both edible and delicious, as are the bulbils. Similarly, young garlic plants that are pulled to thin a row are referred to as “green garlic”. Used in the same manner as green onions, these too make excellent eating. Softneck garlic varieties can only be grown in milder climates. They don’t form scapes, and generally form several small cloves per head. They mature quicker than hardneck varieties.   For complete details on planting garlic, check out this website.

Helpful Tips

Ants – Ants usually nest in soil; nest sites vary with species but are often found next to buildings, along sidewalks, or in close proximity to food sources such as trees or plants that harbor honeydew-producing insects like aphids, scales and mealybugs. We are challenged with ants constantly! Our favorite control methods are Tanglefoot and organic bait stations. Tanglefoot is a non-drying, organic sticky paste that is applied around the trunks of trees and shrubs to block access for crawling insects, especially ants. This method needs to be refreshed routinely, but it can keep ants from introducing new honeydew-producing insects to your trees. Spraying for ants with liquid ant killers does not kill the queen and only masks the problem. Baits are a key tool for managing ants and the only type of insecticide recommended in most situations. Ants are attracted to the bait and recruit other workers to it. Workers carry small portions of the bait back to the nest where it is shared with the workers, larvae, and queens to kill the entire colony. When used regularly, baits are more effective and safer than sprays. Organic baits are available, or easily made at home. Check out this recipe for more information!

What’s Fresh?

Pumpkins! Nowadays, pumpkins come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. The common jack-o’-lantern has watery, stringy flesh and is not especially good for eating. ‘Sugar Pie’ pumpkins and ‘Cheese’ pumpkins are two widely available varieties that are good for cooking and baking, thanks to their dense, sweet flesh.  Because they store well, pumpkins can be saved and used through the fall and winter. Wipe rinds with a mild bleach solution to kill any bacteria that may be present and keep them in a cool, dark place. Have leftover pumpkin pie filling? Try making homemade pumpkin spice lattes – move over Starbucks!

What’s Sprouting at UP

The new Cucina Enoteca Garden in Del Mar – For those of you wondering where we’ve been up to this month – we’ve been helping our pal Tracy Borkum and her team of experts get ready for their grand opening. It was amazing to see this restaurant come together! New Children’s Museum Grand Opening – Our installation for the New Children’s Museum in downtown SD is opening this Sunday, October 13th! Feast!! The Art of Playing With Your Food is an exhibit that will provide hands-on learning, interaction and observation. We believe that gardening can help children build understanding and respect for nature and our environment. When children participate in growing edible plants, they are more motivated to taste, eat, and enjoy fruits and vegetables.  We will be there from 9:30 to 4:00 to answer questions. Hope to see you there!

Congratulations Jackie!

Jackie’s new daughter Araya was born on born on 9/16 weighing 7lbs. 4oz. Jackie reports the new baby has auburn colored hair, is already acting like a princess working herself into a frenzy over the littlest things. We can’t wait to meet her!
Help us serve you better! Is there something you want to know more about? Let us know so we can improve our newsletter and service. Contact Karen at: karen@urbanplantations.com Contact us for a FALL GARDEN consultation. Share this Newsletter with a friend so they can Join Our Mailing List! Send us your questions and photos of your garden! Follow us on Facebook!