Because July is the month that your garden stretches towards the sky with long days and endless berry harvests: the first flush of raspberries has gone--to return in August, but I am still collecting blueberries and mulberries every other day and the blackberries are just now coming on. My first crop of corn is sky high with tassels and silks dancing in the wind in their special pollination dance. I just harvested my first bell pepper and my first lemon cucumber of the season and green tomatoes are showing up on the vine. Canning, dehydrating and fermenting begins now! And yes, we have a class for that!
Join us in July for Mad Skills! This month we feature classes on food preservation (Canning Extravaganza, All About Dehydration & Ferment!) , Urban Goat Farming, Mushroom Cultivation, Solar Cooking, Hand Crafted Lotions and more! Plus check out our offerings for Youth with our Family Permaculture Adventure and Cold Water Scouts Youth Camps.
What Can I Plant now?
It is getting a bit late in the season to start long season crops like tomatoes and peppers, and it is a bit early for your cool weather crops for Fall. Yet there are still some things that can go into the ground in July and come to fruition. For best success check on and water new plantings daily this time of year until they get established.
Winter Squash is a gift that keep giving all through the year. For best yields winter squash can be planted early along with spring crops, but starts can also go into the ground now for harvest by the end of the growing season. Leave the fruits on the plant until they change color and become hard enough that a fingernail doesn't easily penetrate the flesh.
Lettuce is one of those year round crops in the Bay Area and if you get some in the ground now, they may be ready just in time for tomatoes! For summer lettuce choose hearty slow bolt varieties like "Summertime" or "Nevada."
Beets are an easy reliable crop. They can be direct seeded in the ground and need to be watered daily to get started. Beets seeded now can be harvested through winter. This delicious, mineral rich crop is a no brainer for Bay Area weather (see recipe below).
Carrots can also be direct seeded but due to a long germination time must be watered once or twice daily so the small seeds don't dry out before they sprout. Once started this crop can be left in the ground and harvested through winter. Carrots appreiate well tilled soil with good drainage.
Beans. Both string beans for eating fresh and beans for drying can be planted now from seed or start. For dry beans leave on the plant until dry.
Recipe: Beet Quinoa Salad
This is one of my Summer and Fall potluck favorites that always gets a big "YUM!." It is gluten-free (be sure to use wheater-free tamari) and vegan, or Feta cheese can be added for an extra rich flavor.
You need: 1 cup quinoa, 2-3 red beets, 1-2 scallions or spring onions, Dill, Feta Cheese (optional), Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, Tamari
Prepare the quinoa by adding 1 cup seed to 1.5 cups water. Bring to a boil then turn the heat down and simmer until fluffy. You msy need to stir and add a little more water. Prepare beets by simmering until the skins slide off easily. Slide skins off the beets and slice into chunks in a bowl. Mince scallions and dill and add to the boel. Add quinoa and mix. Crumble in a 1/4 cup if Feta Cheese if desired. Dress with even parts olive oil, balsamic vinegar and tamari.
Urban Farm Tours Report Back
Thank you to everyone who came out and made Urban Farm Tours 2013 a success!. We logged over 1100 visits to the 8 sites in 7 hours. The showing was a little lower than in past years, perhaps due to the North Bay location, but all the farmers had plenty to do. A hardcore bicycle contingent made it's way from Albany to El Sobrante and visited 6 of the 7 sites. Next Years Tour will feature new, never before seen sites in Berkeley and Oakland, plus a separate tour along the same model in the Vallejo area! See you there next year!
INTRODUCING: Api-centric Beekeeping and Bee-Centric Honey
Honey Bees have been in the news a lot the last few years due to declining populations and the mysterious CCD (Colony Collapse Dsorder). While the cause of CCD has been definitively proven, most people aren't aware that conventional beekeeping practices are as ill-conceived and counter to nature as practices in conventional agriculture. These include such misguided activities as the use of anitbiotics even if the bees are not sick, poison miticides which impact queen fertility and build up in wax & honey, feeding high fructose corn syrup which alters the pH and natural ecosystem inside the hive, forced labor out-of-season, manipulation of how bees build their comb, artificial insemination and decreased genetic biodiversity---all of which impact the immune system and vigor of our honeybee populations. This year IUH is introducing and promoting the idea of api-centric beekeeping. Rather than adopt practices to maximize honey production and what we "get out" of the bees, we focus on supporting the natural evolutionary resilience of the honey bee towards their health. We use neither phamaceuticals or any other chemical inputs (thus also creating wax and honey free of these noxious products) and for the most part, we get out of the bees way allowing them to do what they do best. We trust that the bees know what the are doing, having been around much longer than we have and provide simple support such as a clean box and ample floral forage. We allow them to self-select through natural die offs and adapt to our local climate, allowing weaker less disease resistant colonies to perish, so that stronger colonies can survive to reproduce. Want to help the bees? Plant flowers! Want to learn more? Ateend an Api-Centric Beekeeping Course. A small amount of Bee-Centric Honey will be available this seasons' end at our WINTER OPEN HOUSE. Mark your calenders for December 13 &14.
July Classes: MAD SKills!
ADDED Canning Extravaganza July 27 10am-2pm
TIME CHNAGE Luscious Lotions will now start at 2:30pm instead of 2pm.
RESCHEDULED Home Smoking is now on September 22, 2:30-5:30pm
Wednesday, July 10, 6:30-9:30pm
All About Dehydration
Sunday July 14, 2013 10am-3:30pm
One Day Urban Permaculture Adventure for Families
Sunday, July 14, 11:00am-3:00pm
Urban Goat Farming
Sunday, July 14, 2:00-6:00pm
Mushroom Cultivation Homestead Style
Saturday, July 27, 2:00-6:00pm
Cooking with the Sun: Making and Using Solar Ovens
Saturday, July 27, 2:00-5:00pm
Make Your Own Beauty Products: Luscious Lotions Revealed
Sunday, July 28, 3:00-6:00pm
Cheese Making 101
Monday, July 29th- Friday, August 2nd
Coldwater Scouts Youth Camp: Session One
Wednesday, July 31, 6:30-9:30pm
Ferment! Lacto-Fermenting for Flavor and Health
Maya of SoulFlower Farm
Photo: Lori Eanes