Would you like to have a bigger harvest out of your garden this year? After many years of requests, we are happy to announce that Sierra Harvest is now offering home garden consultations with Emily Koller, our Food Love Farm Director! If you have been struggling with a specific garden challenge, or just want to get general tips to upgrade your garden or improve your harvest, now is the time to schedule an appointment!
If you are part of the Sierra Gardens Program, you’ll be receiving your summer starts from Edy this coming week. While it almost seems late to be getting them, we promise it’s not! The last few weeks have been so warm that many people have already planted their frost sensitive summer crops, but spring is a finicky season! Many people wait until Mother’s Day to plant heat loving plants and this timing is just fine.
These are strange times to find ourselves in, and I hope that you all are staying home as much as you can, and staying as safe as you can be. Crises such as these present opportunities at the same time as they threaten security, and there is definitely no better time to put work into your home garden than the present moment. From food security to psychological well-being, a home garden can offer some bit of stability in these increasingly uncertain times. With that being said, we are gearing up to get started on our spring plant deliveries, and have compiled this planting guide to help you along once you receive your spring starts and seeds.
I am a lover of tools, and I am also a believer in using the right tool for the job. Having the proper tool (and knowing how to use it properly) increases your efficiency and quality of work done. Use this information as not only a garden lesson, but a life lesson!
The following are some musings and recommendations of mine on tools that you should probably have for your garden, including sources for those that might be harder to find. If you can’t afford the top of the line from the sources I post, know that you can generally find less expensive versions of all of these tools at your local hardware stores. You can often find basic garden tools at yard and estate sales. Also, consider checking out the Habitat For Humanity ReStore on Loma Rica Road. I have seen many quality used garden tools there at a great price.
Winter is a nice time to just let your garden go unattended for a bit. Hopefully you tucked your garden in last fall, mulched and/or cover cropped, and planted fall Brassicas and garlic.
Now is the time to start to prepare your beds for your first spring planting. Most of those Brassicas have probably been harvested and eaten, and your garlic is hopefully growing tall and loving this mild winter. Leave that garlic alone…it needs to stay in the ground for another 4 or 5 months.
The Brassicas are a plant genus that includes crops such as broccoli, cabbage, kale, brussell sprouts, turnips, mustard greens, cauliflower, pak choi, rutabagas, etc. The Brassicas always comprise much of your first spring plant delivery, as they do much of the fall plant delivery, and they are tasty and good for you, so here are some tips for how to maximize your harvest!
We plant Brassicas in the fall and the early spring b/c they thrive in cooler temps and can withstand very cold temperatures, which actually make them sweeter! Most brassicas will tend to bolt (go to flower then seed) in warmer temps, or if they are stressed because of not enough water, or being held too long in little pots (rootbound).
How did it get to be mid-November already? While the middle of the country is blanketed in snow and single digit temperatures, we are still enjoying higher daytime temperatures and it’s shirt weather. Lucky us! (Although we can all agree it’s time for the rains, seriously.) Temperate as it is, we are in the homestretch of autumn now. The night arrives promptly around 5, and gardens are all but forgotten for the moment.
Amanda here reporting from our second glorious rainy day of this fall. I hope you were able to get a good harvest in before the rains- as I type this my house is filled with the sweet smell of roasting tomatoes which will become a bright sauce for the winter. (In case you’re wondering, I’m going to freeze it- not can it).
As the seasons turn yet again, I have to say that fall is my favorite. There’s something about the light changing and the shifting that makes me go into squirrel mode. I’ve been drying pears, making pickles and harvesting herbs and it’s so satisfying! And, of course, I’ve been thinking about next season, too.
Since you can read all the details on how and why to grow a fall garden in the other post, for this post I’m going to get personal and share a few of this season’s wins and losses in my garden and what I’m doing differently this year.
Well, summer is here. It’s HOT and things are drying out really quickly! In some parts of the country (looking at you east coast) there’s rain all summer to help growers but here in the arid west if you want to garden edibles, you’ll have to irrigate.
Here’s a hard truth- all of the veggies in your garden are primadonnas. Look around the forest and you’ll see loads of plants thriving without any water all summer, but miss a couple of days in the garden and your zucchini plants may not survive.