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Our Mission: To enable individuals and communities to take an active part in the cultivation of systems that provide the highest quality fruits, vegetables, herbs and other yields, in a way that benefits themselves, cares for the land and environment, and provides a surplus to use, share and reinvest into the system.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Cold SNAP!

We had a solid frost Friday night, I guess that is a typical start to November.  Our peppers and tomatoes cashed in their chips for good, and I need to bring in the rosemary and lemongrass pots for the winter.  This weeks update I will give you some hints and tips that I thought of sharing while doing things around our landscape.

Tree planting
A week or so ago I planted a couple small sumac trees in our yard.  Fall is a great time for planting deciduous trees, as is gives the roots plenty of time to grow before new Spring shoots start to grow and the Summer heat returns.  We might be passed the best time as soil temperatures are dropping below 50°F, but if you hurry this week you should be ok, especially if you can capitalize on a great plant clearance deal at your favorite store or nursery!  Cooler temperatures reduce evaporation and transpiration*, which gives trees time to recover from the transplanting process.  This also helps reduce, but not eliminate, the need for watering.  As the really cold weather hits and the ground begins to freeze stop watering.  Once the ground is frozen, guessing early to mid December this year, give your newly planted trees a good covering (3-4") of protective mulch.*not the case with evergreens, so save these for Spring when available soil moisture returns.
  • Transplant trees before soil temps drop below 50-55°F
  • Water well until soil begins to freeze
  • Mulch well once ground has frozen
  • Save evergreens for Spring

Garlic and Flower Bulbs
I also planted some Garlic, as well as Daffodils, Tulips and Crocus this weekend.  Garlic is
my Achilles heel, so hopefully this will be my year.  My Spring plantings have failed every year.  Last year's Fall planting may have been too early and the shoots grew too big and froze; but this year I hope to have hit the window.  I gently removed the dried skin and separated the cloves.  The largest cloves should be the best producers but I planted every one.  I set them in well-loosened soil, about 4" apart several inches deep with the top, pointy end up so that the tip is a couple inches under the soil.  I plant intensively in raised beds no wider than 4 feet, so I can reach the middle without stepping into them.  With no need for access rows to walk down, I use the suggested in row spacing in every direction to utilize the bed space more efficiently.  This also reduces weeds since there is less bare ground.

  • Gently remove skin and separate cloves
  • Largest cloves are best
  • Plant tip up, with tip 2-3" below surface
  • Space 3-6" apart depending on space available, wider spacing allows larger bulbs

I planted the Daffodils and Tulips about 6" deep with 6" spacing per the packaging.  The Crocus were done about 2-3" deep and apart.  Like the garlic cloves, plant these with the pointy shoot tip up for best results.  These flowers look best when planted in masses, as opposed to one here and there.  You can also group them together or intermix the larger Daffodils into clumps of smaller crocuses.
In your landscapes the Spring bulbs companion well with other plants that break dormancy later in the year.  They are especially good for fruit tree guilds.  Their early growth will grab nutrients and hold them so the early rains will not wash them away, and can release these as their foliage dies back and the other plants are at peak growth and fruiting.  They can also help draw in insects that help pollinate early flowering fruit such as cherries.
  • Largest bulbs best
  • Plant 2-3x as deep as the diameter of the bulb (2" bulb, tip 4-6" down)
  • Mass plantings more aesthetic than individual plants
  • Companion plants that hold nutrients

Water these new bulbs in very well.

Leaves & Composting
Leaves are also in ample supply.  Our big ash trees dropped their leaves early so these are already mixed into the compost bins.  These are a great and ample source of organic matter for your soil and carbon input for balancing your compost mix if you monitor this.  I don't pay much attention to my carbon(brown)/nitrogen(green) blend as long as everything is mixed well, and leaves are nearly perfect in and of themselves.  If you added nothing but leaves you would end up with a beautiful compost!
  • Leaves = Great Compost!

    Thanks for stopping by, and happy growing!

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