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Saturday, January 14, 2017

2017 Plant Propagation Checklist

    Checklist for Plant Propagation
    Name _________________
    Term __Winter 2017_____­_
This paper must be turned in the last day of class to receive course credit!
Seeding

Task
Date
Results
Initial*
Sow small seeds (one six pack)






Sow medium seeds (one six pack)






Sow large seeds (one quart)






Pot on seedlings






























Division

Task
Plant Type
Date
Result
Initial
Divide perennial 1








Divide perennial 2






































    * Initial means instructor's initials


Cuttings

    Task
Plant Type (variety)
Date
Results
Initial
    1st rose








2nd rose








Fig tree ( 4 cuttings)








Grape (4 cuttings)








Pomegranate (4)








Root stock (8)








Leaf cutting







































Grafting (three only)



Task
Scion/Root stock
Date
Results
Initial
Chip Budding








T-budding








Saddle graft








Cleft or Bark Graft








Whip Graft




























Welcome to Plant Propagation 20217! (Syllabus)

COURSE SYLLABUS

Instructor: David King
Email: greenteach@gmail.com
Phone: 310.722.3656

There are no prerequisites for this course, although some knowledge of basic botany is extremely helpful. We meet on Sundays from January 11 through March 29 for 10 meetings, nine on Sunday and one Saturday field trip.

In our field trip we will attend the WLA chapter of the California Rare Fruit Growers meeting on February 11th, from 10:00 to noon. This is the day of their annual ‘Scion Exchange’ and is not to be missed if you can help it. There is no other forum in Los Angeles that offers a better introduction to grafting!

All other meetings are on Sunday 1:30 to 4:30 PM to The Learning Garden, at the Venice High School campus. This site is close to the ocean and because we meet outside or in a poorly heated classroom, please dress appropriate to the weather, which is invariably colder than one would imagine. We will do what we can to mitigate the cold and rain, should it come, but the material of the class is best covered with live plant material in the garden – which, of course, is outside.

We will also be working with potting soils and cut plant material in almost every single class, gloves will probably be desired. Dress so that you can comfortably get dirty and still stay dry. Dressing in layers is probably the best idea when it comes to being outdoors at The Learning Garden.

Course Purpose

This course is an introduction to the principles and practice of plant propagation, both sexual and asexual, and the science and art of grafting and budding.

Course Objectives

  1. Understand the care and safe use of tools in plant propagation.
  2. Understand the biology of sexual and asexual propagation of plants.
  3. Understand and use the different styles of propagation of plants.
  4. Be able to create or craft and use a plant propagation system.
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of the above by propagating different species of plants.
  6. Understand the physiology of plants sufficiently to be able to successfully bud and graft a variety of plants.

Application

The materials presented in this course will enable the student to start plants from seeds and cuttings, in an amateur or professional setting and graft woody plants with a working understanding of the scientific underpinnings of the process. While we are working mostly with food plants, these techniques cross easily to ornamental plants.

Text for this course

Plant Propagation A to Z – Bryant; Firefly Books, 2003 It is readily available online or in the appropriate UCLA Bookstore. There will be many additional handouts from the instructor. Reading assignments in this syllabus are from this book only. The Grafter's Handbook – Garner; Chelsea Green Publishing, 2013, is the current edition. It has been and still is the most authoritative book on propagation in or out of print. This book is a wonderful reference book for someone involved in grafting. Unlike the modern books that only show a few grafts, this one shows grafts for all kinds of plant work and as such, is essential for one who wishes to make this work a part of a skill set
.
All material for in class will be available online at http://lagardennotes.blogspot.com/. Additionally, I invite all of you to join the group, Greener Gardens, on Facebook. Handouts are put there as well, and students use the group to contact one another – I also post other items of interest for you. I try to not have handouts in class to avoid wasting paper printing handouts you may not care to keep and I will occasionally link to internet site allowing the use of videos (especially of grafting) you may find helpful.
 

Class Meetings

To each class meeting, in addition to any note-taking tools you deem necessary (paper, camera, tape recorder etc), each student should bring propagation tools that will be described in our first class meeting; please don't purchase a lot of stuff until then. You will need pruners, a grafting knife, a regular pocket knife (or one knife with two blades for different purposes), a black, permanent Sharpie, a sharp pencil and a sturdy pair of gloves – leather preferred. If you are unsure of what to buy, buy NOTHING until after the first class meeting – we will not be using most of these items until later.

Grading

Your grade in this class is based on a checklist you will keep and two short exams. You need to be able to perform each of the tasks on the log with sufficient skill and understanding of the process in order to receive a passing grade in this course. The completed checklist must be turned in the last day of class unless other arrangements have been made beforehand with the instructor. I reserve the right to administer quizzes throughout the course to insure comprehension. They will count in your participation score.

Instructor’s Office Hours

Please avail yourself of my willingness to meet with you at any time to discuss your progress in the course or to clarify instructional material or to answer any difficulties you are having. My preference is to meet with you at my office at The Learning Garden where we can cover the material without distraction, but I am willing to meet with students anytime, anywhere to assist you in learning; after all, that is the point you're taking the class and my teaching it. It is my wish that all students learn and are profited by their enrollment in this course. Do not struggle; I am here to help.

At The Learning Garden:

THE FIRST AID KIT IS LOCATED DIRECTLY ON THE LEFT OF THE FRONT DOOR AS YOU ENTER my office

Remember its location.
I’m very serious... So far only two students have had to have emergency medical treatment. I don't like adding to that number. It's hard enough to get students without killing them off.

A garden is filled with uneven surfaces, rocks, plants with thorns and other armaments and an infinity of possibilities for injury; most of the time in this course we will be using very sharp tools which deserve your utmost attention at all times, please give due attention and consideration of this. Remain on the pathways and do not walk into planted beds unless it is absolutely necessary. Do not pick anything without permission.

Food and drink are allowed, but the removal of any trash or waste is entirely incumbent on the eator and/or drinkor. I will hold you responsible.

We will probably have hot tea and coffee to mitigate the cool weather we anticipate needing to endure. Bring your own cup or mug and any eating utensils you feel you need. I drink it black – if you want sugar or cream, it's on you.

Appropriate clothing is essential. Remember, Venice can be hot and cold by turns. Layering is suggested; a jacket or sweater close at hand is essential. We will meet, regardless of weather. If it is a light rain/mist, we will continue work. If it is a gullywasher (as though we get those in Southern California), we will meet in the classroom and carry on.

Point Assignment

For Credit Students. It is more important to me that you learn the material above all other considerations. I will endeavor through point assignment, lecture and demonstration to teach you in a way that will facilitate learning the material. If you don’t understand, please allow me to help you.

Tools You Will Need

Each student shall provide:

Pair of pruners – secateur type, like Felco #2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12 or 13. No anvil pruners allowed EXCEPT for those students with hand pain or arthritis that must use the ratcheting type of pruners. Felcos can be bought on the internet (eBay) for much less than most local sources; I am also a Felco distributor and carry several models at a very competitive price. Coronas and other secateur pruners are OK, although if you have ever used Felcos, you can appreciate why I am so fond of them.

Pruning knife – only used for plants. It is suggested that everyone also has a second knife for all the other needs in a garden. If one does not plan on doing a great deal of propagation needing a sharp knife, an inexpensive knife with break-away blades available from many local stores may be used. Grafting knives and horticultural knives are also found for reasonable amounts on eBay and other internet connections; I also have a selection of inexpensive pruning knives from Swiss Army. No one should feel pressured to buy my items – I only have them because they can be hard to find locally and often all you can find are the really expensive Felcos which you don't need.

Pair of gloves – leather is preferred, some folks like to have more than one.

Sharpie – fine point, only black will not wash off

Pencil sharp, wooden (the Learning Garden does have a sharpener)

You will need to take notes, so paper is necessary – may I suggest you take notes in pencil because it won’t run if it gets wet and a pencil is a wonderful small dibber in a pinch.

The Garden (or instructor) will provide as needed:
Cactus mix and potting soil
Watering devices
Pots
Root stimulating gel
Other tools and supplies as needed
Oil, sharpening devices, cleaners and rags for pruner and knife maintenance
Alcohol wipes, Listerine and hand soap.
Plant material/seeds
First aid kit
Plant markers

If you forget your pruners or knife, I do have a few of each, and while I do have gloves, a pair that fits your hand is preferred (and a pair of gloves is somewhat personal too). I can sharpen your pruners and we will learn how in this course.

Date
Mtg.
TOPIC
01/15/17
1
Lecture: Introduction – roll, Extension policy, meeting time and place, attendance and tardiness, tools etc. Tour Garden. Tool selection, care and safety. Sexual and asexual propagation defined. Introduction to the different arts of propagation. Botany as applied to propagation.
Demonstration: Cutting scions for the exchange
Practical: Harvesting scionwood
01/22/17
2
Lecture: Meristematic tissue and the principles of propagation by cuttings; Pages 92-113; soil mixes for propagation
Demonstration: Different kinds of cuttings
Practical: Making cuttings
01/29/17
3
Lecture: General Propagation Methods and Application; Pages 47-91; pests and diseases and methodology to deal.
Demonstration: Division of perennials
Practical: Dividing perennial plants
TEST: Primarily on Cuttings and Safety *
02/05/17
4
Lecture: Seeds, structure, germination and viability, collection, storage. Propagation, pages 47-74; seed starting problems and their solution.
Demonstration: Scarification/Seed sowing
Practical: Sowing seeds of different sizes
02/11/17
5
Field Trip to California Rare Fruit Growers
>>> NOT TO BE MISSED <<< your Valentine will forgive you....
02/12/17
6
Lecture: Grafting
Demonstration: Grafting
Practical: Practice Grafting
02/19/17
7
Lecture: Budding
Demonstration: Budding
Practical: Grafting
02/26/17
8
Lecture: Propagating ornamentals; Katarina Ericksen
Demonstration: Ornamental propagation
Practical: Propagating something unusual.
03/05/17
9
Lecture: California Native Propagation
Demonstration: Fire scarification of a California native
Practical: Transplanting seedlings
03/12/17
10
Lecture: Uses and Varieties of Grafting
Demonstration: Air Layering
Practical: Air Layering
TEST: Grafting Principles and Seeds
03/19/17
11
Lecture: Tool Care
Demonstrations: Sharpening knives and tools
Practical: Another graft
03/26/17
12
Lecture: Covering all things left uncovered.
Demonstration: As dictated by circumstances.
Practical: Work on your checklist. (Student evaluation of instructor/course…) FINISHING REQUIREMENTS FOR CREDIT STUDENTS

Our Class Meeting Locations

The Learning Garden

13000 Venice Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90066
310.722.3656 (my cell)
The Garden is located on the southeast corner of Walgrove Avenue and Venice Blvd. It is the first gate on Walgrove south of Venice – there is a small amount of parking inside the gate, there is no other secured parking, other than those few spaces, you are on the street and on your own. DO NOT PARK ON THE CAMPUS PROPER.

California Rare Fruit Growers, West Los Angeles Chapter

Scion Exchange meeting on February 11 10:00 AM, Veteran's Community Building, Overland Boulevard, Culver City, CA 90232

Tool Suppliers: Search online at eBay and other buying services, but the following companies, in addition to myself, reliably have the tools you need and prices that are competitive.

A.M. Leonard (AKA The Gardeners Edge) www.gardenersedge.com They have everything and they make good house brands of knives and pruners. Frost Proof Garden Supply www.frostproof.com A good source for many common garden tools including pruners and grafting knives and associated supplies. Peaceful Valley Farm Supply www.groworganic.com Felco and Corona pruners, inexpensive Swiss Army grafting knives. A good choice.
Scoring For Grading in This Class

Class Participation
30.00%
In class exams
20.00%
Checklist (handed out in class)  
50.00%
TOTAL
100.00%

Grading is as follows:

A
100-90
B
90-80
C
80 and <80 font="">


* Please note: ALL students take any test or quiz even the not-for-credit students, I want to gauge your learning/my effectiveness in teaching this material. The same is true of pop-quizzes when given.




Sunday, December 25, 2016

Propagation Class 2017!

Happy Holidays to everyone - wishing you peace and joy in this holiday season whatever holiday you celebrate! 


Teaching propagation a few years ago, that's
a scion in my mouth, not a cigar!  

I was just online and noticed that the Plant Propagation class from UCLA Extension for Winter 2017 has a few spaces left in it.  The magic of plant propagation has been mostly lost in this current world's whiz bang get it done in three seconds attitude.  

However, there are a good many plants out there that you can't just 'buy.'  Perhaps they are not in the trade anymore.  Perhaps they never were.  But having taken Plant Propagation, there you are with your trusty (sharp and clean) pruners or your grafting knife (also clean and sharp) and all the knowledge you need possess to make a new plant from an existing one - and you can do so confidently because you understand the WHY as the WHAT.


Our teaching assistant for most meetings.

I teach four classes for UCLA in every typical year and this one is my favorite!  If you work with plants now, or hope to in the future, this course bestows a whole new sense of certainty and empowerment in your relationship with plants.  No more is it just, "well, I guess...."  you get the understanding as to how the different parts of a plant work to make the plant live and when you propagate by working with the plant, how much easier it is!  

Meeting at 1:30 (to 4:30) starting on January 15th at the Learning Garden, register soon to avoid being left behind.  The course is held at the Learning Garden, a one acre teaching garden on the grounds of Venice High School where massive amounts of plant propagating can occur to give everyone a firm feel in your hands for what your head knows.  

I look forward to teaching you!

david  

Friday, December 9, 2016

Pear and Yam Soup (or Pear and Squash Soup)

I brought this up in class last week.  This is well worth the time invested - make the soup a day before so all you have to do is heat it on the day of consumption - the flavors meld better with that time.

1½ lbs. Yams (or sweet potatoes or acorn squash)
4 Cups water
1 3” stick of cinnamon
1¼ teaspoon salt
3 large (fist size) pears
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons white wine –or– 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
 Cup cream (or half and half)
Pepper to taste

  1. Peel the yams (or whatever) and cut into smallish chunks. Place them in a pan with the water, the cinnamon stick and salt. Simmer, covered, until tender, about 15 minutes. Remove cover and allow to simmer about 5 minutes more over medium heat.
  2. Peel and core pears and cut into thin slices. Sauté in butter for 10 minutes or more over highish heat, stirring frequently. They should begin to melt down a little, but not brown. Add the lemon juice or the wine, plus 1 Tablespoon of water. Cover and simmer 10 minutes or so over low heat.
  3. Combine the cooked yams and their cooking water with the pears and their juices. Puree in a blender until smooth. Transfer the soup to a heavy pot for heating. You may refrigerate up to 2-3 days before adding cream.
  4. When you are ready to serve, add the cream or half and half and several grinds of pepper. Heat gently – do not boil. If it seems too thick, you may add a little water.


Serves two or more, but in my experience, two is best with some freshly baked bread and candlelight!  

david

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Winter 2015 in Review

My second catalog this season!  I talked myself into buying three
packets of lettuce seed, which I suppose I could live without,
but that 3 packets of seed turned into a $32.00 order
somehow! They got me pegged!

It's seed catalog time – I've got two already. Seed Savers Exchange was out yesterday (first one of my crowd to get it!) and Southern Exposure Seed Exchange came today. I will probably get a few seeds from each one – they have different varieties that entice. This last month, a friend of mine took a squash I had bought and turned it into two delicious pumpkin pies. I see the seeds for that squash (pumpkin) sold by Seed Savers Exchange and so Winter Luxury Pie will be added to my seeds sown this summer – I've already seen a lettuce I cannot live without, but I'll spend time over them, learning and dreaming of the next year's garden which is always sure to be double better than any I've grown before!

A recap of what has been grown is a great place to start to figure out what you'll grow this year! From my notes, this is what a past winter season looked like in the garden.

Artichoke: We had a great harvest last year of artichokes – mostly Green Globe Improved. They all produced big beautiful chokes with abandon. We had respectable harvest from Violetto which I love, but it wasn't nearly as productive, the chokes are smaller and not nearly as meaty. We are working with a plant breeder to work out some bugs in his purple artichokes, which he has named Winnetka Purple, but so far we've not seen really good-size chokes off his either.

Beets: Burpee's Golden and Chioggia - both are dynamite and steady producers year in and year out and both are usually from Pinetree Garden Seeds although I have been known to get seed from Peaceful Valley Farm Supply too. These are two old standby varieties that form the bulk of my beet growing – Burpee's Golden has a lower than usual rate of germination but it's well worth it and is more difficult as a harvest crop, but it worth it in my book – besides fabulous pickles, they don't stain your hands or clothing!

Broccoli: Nutribud is an OP of respectable performance; earliness is right up there with the hybrids and the size is comparable. As the name suggests, it is reported to have a higher percentage of glutamine. DeCicco is a smaller, faster and more home garden friendly than some of the older varieties. All the other tight headed broccoli are hybrids. There are loose headed broccoli like Romanesco and Calabrese, but they take a lot more time. With these two varieties, you can harvest the main head and have more than a month of the sideshoots which can be more worthwhile than the main head.

Brussels sprouts: Between cabbage and broccoli, I get enough of this family to skip Brussels sprouts. OP Brussels sprouts include Long Island Improved which is the standard. The problem I have is aphids get into each and every sprout and they are labor intensive to clean before eating – if you get a decent crop, grill them! I love them like that.

Cabbage: A good year for cabbage for us. Danish Ball Head, one of my favorite OP heirlooms performed good after we actually got some seedlings started. Winningstadt is a pointy head cabbage that yielded 10 pound heads that were delicious. Both were huge solid heads and we ate and ate and finally learned how to ferment cabbage to be able to eat it the rest of the year. And then I was sick of cabbage.

Carrots: How wonderful, if you decide to plant some of the different color carrots, you'll be able to grow open pollinated seeds! Because carrots didn't become uniformly orange until the last 50 years or so (because of marketing needs), the different colored carrots are all OP. In the orange department you'll find Nantes and Red Cored Chantenay as your big producers. In containers, try Paris Market and other small, 'one-bite' carrots.

Cauliflower: Mark Twain is supposed to have said that 'cauliflower was cabbage that had gone to college' and I can't afford the tuition, so I stick to cabbage. Cabbage is easier to preserve and broccoli will give successive cuttings from one plant. Cauliflower is more work and less results. But, if you must, Early Snowball is the best OP cauliflower available and it is 'self-blanching,' which means its own leaves cover the white curds keeping them from the sun. If the curds are exposed to the sun, they will not stay white but begin to turn greenish, a detracting trait according to the Regents.

Celeriac: First year with this and I like it. I don't grow celery because it's a hard plant to grow and home grown celery has always tasted bitter to me. Celeriac, on the other hand, was easy to grow and produced well. You can't smear a hunk with cream cheese or peanut butter and have the same delightful appetizer, but it does a marvelous ballet in soups. Large Prague was our selection and I've not had experience with anything else.

Chard: (I'm dispensing with the 'Swiss' part, feel free to join me, after all, is it really Swiss?) We had seed from Seed Savers Exchange of Five Color Silverbeet, (silverbeet is Australian for chard, God only knows why) and seed of Pinetree's Orange Fantasia. Both were incredibly productive – although I've never known chard to be unproductive, so I'm not sure that's saying a lot. Someone gave us a few plants of Fordhook Giant, large leaves with a tremendous white rib down the center, and that one has spectacular production. While the colorful chards are show stopper, sometimes we skip on Fordhook Giant, but those huge, beautiful, dark-green leaves are loaded with nutrition and flavor.

Cilantro: Let it go to seed and you'll have cilantro returning to your garden annually! I wish we could have it when tomatoes are ripe, then I'd grow a bundle of it, but no. It grows in our winter here. Plant any old cilantro – I have noticed no difference between Slo-Bolt and normal – one good blast of a hot Santa Ana wind it goes directly to seed and dies.

Collards: I'm not a huge fan and I've only had experience growing the old standard Vates. Collards, like some other winter crops like broccoli, are long term producers and that is a wonderful trait. Collards, a major part of the southern cuisine, became popular as one of the few crops that could remediate salty soil – like soil that had been inundated with ocean water from storms. As the slaves of the South worked with collards, they made them into stars of their now famous cuisine!

Fava beans: Windsor is my favorite and we get pounds of beans from each plant. I'm growing fewer peas preferring to grow more favas, garbanzos and lentils. Favas, of all of them, are the most productive – once you find recipes for them and are used to using them, they are really prolific! There are some less known favas that are quite beautiful.
Garlic: I love Spanish Roja and Music - hardnecks are supposed to not like warm climates, but I have great luck with them. Last year, the crows got to them. They don't eat the garlic, but they pull them out of the ground. After three or four go rounds of this (they pull, I replant, repeat), the cloves were hopelessly intermixed so which one was the better producer is anyone's guess. But even without crows, you will find yourself buying fresh seed garlic every year – especially when you grow hard neck garlic which won't keep from one harvest to the next planting.

Kale: Redbor has worked well for me. I had some plants of Dwarf Blue, but felt like that was a very stupid idea – same footprint for half the plant. What WAS I thinking? Lacinato, or Dinosaur Kale gets a lot of press - and the cooks seem to love it the best. From my northern friends I have heard that kale needs a frost to really bring out its flavor – in some years, we might get to find if that's true.

Leeks: King Richard is my usual dependable producer but last year was a really so-so harvest. I think I ignored it too much. You could also try Carantan or Giant Musselburgh.

Lettuce: I'm one of those who can't get through the lettuce section of a seed catalog without ordering four or five more packets! I could supply a large army with lettuce if I were given the land to do it. Marvel of the Four Seasons (Merveille des Quatre Saisons), Drunken Woman Frizzy-head (I kid you not!), Red Winter, Deer Tongue, Buttercrunch, and on and on and on. All delicious and all OP! Please note that the butter heads for which you pay so dearly in the store, are not hard to grow at all (their priciness is in the shipping) and they are actually more heat resistant than most other lettuces.

Onions: I usually buy plants from a local organic farm supply, but they sold out so I had to learn how to grow them from seed. Worked out fine, except that it takes a very long time. I like to grow Italian Red Torpedo – a delicious onion that is absolutely stellar on the grill. The seed I found was called 'Red Long of Tropea,' and they looked and tasted exactly like Red Torpedo, so that would explain why it's called 'torpedo' when it really doesn't look any more like a torpedo than a zeppelin. Onions, unlike almost every other veggie we grow is 'day sensitive.' Most onions offered in the States will not bulb in LA because they are 'long day' plants and we need to grow 'short day' varieties. Folks from the rest of the US are not able to comprehend our experiences and the catalogs rarely indicate short or long day. Onions grown in most of Italy and Texas are usually short-day onions.

Parsnips: Coming back in popularity, parsnips were overlooked for decades. The white roots have the earthiness of beets with the crunch of carrots and are a sweet treat from the earth. I've only grown Hollow Crown, but I hear a lot of good words on Harris Model. Their seeds, like carrots do not last long even under really good conditions, so buy fresh annually on both.
Peas: I remember as a child getting fresh baby peas and potatoes from the garden for one of the finest meals we ever had. Nowadays, there are more pea varieties than you can shake a spoon at! For snap peas, Sugar Daddy, Sugar snap are two reliable performers and for shelling, Little Marvel and Wando – I grow fewer peas than I used to, mainly because I like to plant other winter crops in the same space. Peas get ripe and in nano-seconds go to over ripe. Pick them thoroughly and often.

Potatoes: We gathered leftovers from bachelor friends (they sprout in the pantry and we just plant them) - I don't know the varieties but we had a good harvest. I've yet to meet a potato I don't like. You can get seed potatoes – if you like the red, the purple, the gold or any other potato, you can find seed potatoes for them.

Radishes: I often forget to mention radishes – they are not one of my favorites (they really seem like a waste of space), but if you gotta have them, French Breakfast is one the standards and nowadays you can get Watermelon (outside white, inside red) Sparkler (little red ones) and others that are delightfully colored.

Shallots: Wow! I had never grown shallots before, but I have found they are easier to grow than onions and more productive! I planted seed from Pinetree and I was impressed, I'm back for more! Olympus and Bonilla were both good performers. And if you lack the patience or missed ordering the seeds, get some seed stock shallots from a reputable seed house – you can find a bag of them in an Orchard Supply Hardware store or a local nursery.

Turnips: I used to ignore all other turnips besides Purple Top White Globe which I grew up with and is the only one sold by Seed Savers Exchange. Amber Globe and Scarlet Ohno turnips need to be trialed – and there is still time this winter!

We had some good harvests this last year and this year we are looking for way more – we have Spanish Roja garlic in the ground along with Yellow Dutch Shallots up in the garden, little pokey green things that are very cute! We have just seeded more beets than I have grow since 2008 (when I led a high school class making pickled beets!).

From seeds in the garden right now we have all these plants. Most of them, on the coast like we are can still be planted!

Start These In Containers
Start These In The Ground
Move to the Ground from Containers
I would not start anything in containers – but direct sow
Beets
Fava beans
Cabbage family members
Fava beans

Garbanzos and lentils


Garlic


Lettuce and Other greens
Turnips

Since last month's list, I've removed carrots, parsnips and other long season crops. On the coast, we might get crops in from them, but it gets riskier as the warmer days approach. Remember, the 75 day fava bean, in a cold season will take 90 days or more – you might have time to get a picking or two, but the harvest you could have had will be lost by your lateness.

SEED HOUSE SUGGESTIONS

BAKER CREEK HEIRLOOM SEEDS; www.rareseeds.com 2278 Baker Creek Road Mansfield, MO 65704; 417.924.8917 What a catalog! Beautiful pictures of the produce – vegetable porn for sure. Anyone who works this hard in putting out a beautiful seed catalog is working with a great deal of love. Drooling is hardly optional here. They have a really comprehensive selection as well.

BOTANICAL INTERESTS; www.botanicalinterests.com 660 Compton Street, Broomfield, CO 80020; 720.880.7293. I 'have been dealing with these folks for only a couple of years - I have seen their seeds on seed racks here and there, but I really got to know them for the quantity of seeds they donate to Venice High School and other educational programs. Good seed.  Clean.  Good variety and a good price. Great packaging!

BOUNTIFUL GARDENS;
www.bountifulgardens.org 18001 Shafer Ranch Road; Willits, CA 95490; 707.459.6410 Organic seed; open-pollinated. A part of the work done by John Jeavons, a proud and active member of the population of organic and open-pollinated gardeners.

PEACEFUL VALLEY FARM SUPPLY; www.groworganic.com PO Box 2209; Grass Valley, CA 95945; 916.272.4769 I have purchased many seeds (and a lot of other things!) from Peaceful Valley – I love their catalog. They have an excellent selection of cover crop seeds as well as a lot of organic gardening supplies and tools. I have used their catalog to teach organic gardening because they clearly explain their products and how to use them.

PINETREE GARDEN SEEDS; www.superseeds.com PO Box 300, Rt. 100; New Gloucester, ME 04260; 207.926.3400 Probably the best for a home gardener – small packets of very current seed, a very good value. The smaller packets mean a smaller price so a person can order a lot more varieties and experiment. I have been a customer for many years.

SEED SAVERS EXCHANGE; www.seedsavers.org Rt. 3 Box 239; Decorah, Iowa 52101; 563.382.5990 Membership fees $50. Free brochure. Organic, and ALL open-pollinated. There are two ways to save seeds: one is to collect them all and keep them in a huge building that protects them from everything up to (and including) nuclear holocaust. The other way is to grow 'em. You can find the chance to grow them here. I have been a member for about 10 years and believe in their work.

SOUTHERN EXPOSURE SEED EXCHANGE; www.southernexposure.com P.O. Box 460, Mineral, VA 23117, 540.894.9480 (Fax: 540.894.9481) A commercial venture that is somewhat similar to Seed Savers Exchange, but really isn't an exchange. They do carry seed saving supplies - nice to have if you are going to save seed. And they have varieties that I've found nowhere else.

And speaking of beets! Yum!

BALSAMIC-GLAZED BEETS

3½ pounds beets (4 pounds with green attached, reserving greens for another use), scrubbed and trimmed, leaving about 1 inch of stems attached
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup or honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves

In a large saucepan cover beets with salted water by 1 inch Simmer beets, covered, 35 to 45 minutes, or until tender, and drain in a colander. Cool beets until they can be handled and slip off skins and stems. Cut beets lengthwise into wedges.

Beets may be prepared up to this point 2 days ahead and chilled, covered. Bring beets to room temperature before proceeding.

In a large skillet stir together vinegar, syrup or honey, and oil and add beets. Cook beet mixture with salt and pepper to taste over moderate heat, stirring, until heated through and coated well. Sprinkle about half of thyme over beets and toss gently.

Serve beets sprinkled with remaining thyme.

david


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