High summer, dry soils, foggy mornings, pleasantly long mild days….we are getting back on track here at IUH, with a weekend of wonderful classes coming up and our Fall season shaping up nicely. We’ll have some interesting new offerings from our own permaculture chef, Seth Peterson, some old standards from myself, a Winter Open House to look forward to and more! Wishing you a wonderful wrap up to your summer with a bounty of harvest and fun!
On gardening in a new climate
I gardened in the Bay Area for over 30 years. Some gardening is the same wherever you are: “Feed the soil, not the plant,” “when in doubt, add compost,” “keep seeds evenly moist with both light and heat to germinate”….And while the climate in Southern Oregon is not vastly different than the Bay Area it is different enough that I need to pay attention and learn new methods. I mention this for the many of you who have moved to the Bay Area and feel you have to learn all over again. Paying attention is the greatest portion of gardening. Start with what has worked for you in the past, listen and learn from your plants, adjust for climate and water needs. Learn what grows well bio-regionally and don’t torture yourself by trying to grow things that will not thrive. Learn new weeds and how they grow. Talk to locals and learn what works for them. Tomatoes not growing well? Bumper crop of peas? It is likely that others in your area are experiencing similar challenges or bounties. Find gardening friends and a planting guide for your area (Pam Pierce’s book, Golden Gate Gardening is an excellent resource). Local garden clubs are a wonderful resource and are populated by little old ladies who will love an insurgence of new blood and new methods.
Fall Gardening In the Bay Area
August 1st is the time to start thinking about your Fall/Winter garden in the Bay Area. Think about putting in lettuce, cole crops (broccoli, kale, collards, cauliflower), peas and root crops (radish, turnips, carrots, beets). Raddiccio and chicory are great lesser known winter greens. Plants started in the month of August and even into early September will be ready to harvest in October and November and your root crops and hardy greens will grow through the winter. It is always tough getting things going this time of year as the soil is so dry and plants need good water to spread their roots and get established. Hand water your seed beds twice a day to keep seeds moist. Soak starts and beds thoroughly before planting. Drip irrigation is key. You can spray your collards, kale and broccoli with compost tea to boost their immune systems and help prevent powdery mildew and aphids.
Call for Teachers ~ Deadline August 10
I know it is short notice, but there is room available in our Fall calendar/curriculum and we’d love to add a few more offerings. I would need your proposal by August 10 (sooner is better) to be able to include in our printed promotional materials. Please refer to Teaching at IUH for guidelines. and don’t sweat it—as long as you include the information we ask for the proposal can be pretty casual. You do need to have an appropriate space to teach from and a class topic that is not already offered in our curricula.Please email to this address.
News from the Farm: Sun & Water
The hot summer months are intense here The once beautiful lush green grass has dried to a crisp. The best times to work are before 11am and after 7pm…avoiding the sun in the heat of the day. We have been playing with and in water. I enjoyed two long days experimenting with flood irrigation—greening up our middle pasture to feed our growing flock of sheep. We’re to 21 now, a motley crew of Coopsworth, Cotswald, Gotland, Navaho Churro and Shetland. Our new fine fiber ram is a Blue Faced Leicester
Where does 120,000 gallons of water go? In some ways this is still a mystery. The flood irrigation system we inherited is archaic…damming ditches with sheets of plastic to spread the water out. I guess we’ll know how well we did when we see where green grass grows. By next year we will hopefully dial in a polytube irrigation system… these are long tubes that you install water gates in…. much easier to control where the water goes and spread it evenly across the field.
We are finally harvesting from our fruit trees and garden, plums, zukes, cukes and peppers. The heat is frying some of the lettuce and our wonderful dahlia collection is struggling along with the scorching sun. The melon plants, on the other hand, are loving it. A food I adore that I have never been able to grow in my whole gardening life!
And in the last 2 weeks our dog population has grown. We got 2 more guardian dogs—another Komondor—likely a full brother of our Daphne was rescued from a pot farm where he was bored and neglected. And Squatch, a four way cross of rare guardian breeds has come to us from a sheep farm in Napa.
Summer Roots: Beet Quinoa Salad
Ingredients 2-3 medium beets, 1 cup white quinoa, 1-2 scallions, fresh dill, feta cheese (optional), olive oil, balsamic vinegar, tamari or braggs
Boil the beets until the skins slip off easily—about a half hour. While the beets are boiling, add 1.5 cups water to the quinoa in a pot and simmer until cooked —you usually have to add another half cup of water before it is done. Slide the skins of the beets off by hand, dice and add to a bowl along with the quinoa. Add 1-2 minced scallions, a tablespoon or more of fresh minced dill and a quarter cup of crumbled feta cheese. Toss with equal parts of olive oil, balsamic vinegar & tamari ( 2-3 tablespoons each). Yum!