Organic Gardening Tip of the Week

Week of December 6, 2017
The best place to store your firewood is outside, away from the house, instead of stacked right up against the house. Firewood that is stacked right up against the house can give insects an avenue to enter the house or hide out. Insects such as cockroaches, termites, carpenter ants, beetles or pill bugs can take up residence in the wood pile. It is also a good idea to not store firewood inside the home either. Any insects that are dormant in the wood can warm up enough to wake up and take up residence in your home. Stay warm this winter, but keep the bugs outside!

Tips of the Past

Week of November 29, 2017

Week of November 29, 2017

Blackberries have three possible growth habits—erect, semi-erect or trailing. The way to train and prune them will depend on the type. Dormant pruning of erect blackberries entails removing dead canes and cutting back laterals to 12–18”. Semi-erect blackberries should be thinned to 5 to 8 of the strongest canes and shorten the laterals to 12–18” and remove any growing on the lower 3’ section of the main canes. Tie to a fence or trellis to provide support. Trailing blackberries are less cold tolerant and in cold regions the canes can be left on the ground and protected with rowcover over the winter. In spring the canes can be lifted and tied to a trellis at 3’ and 6’.
Week of November 15, 2017

Week of November 15, 2017

Applying dormant sprays in the fall and winter is a great way to reduce overwintering pests & diseases in the home orchard. Dormant oils are applied when trees have dropped their leaves and are dormant. The oils can be applied when daytime temperatures are over 35-40°F. Dormant oils control aphids, scale, spider mites and many other insects by smothering eggs and larvae. To control diseases such as peach leaf curl, a fungicide is applied multiple times throughout the dormant season. An easy way to remember when to apply is after leaf drop, New Years day (or around that time) and a final treatment on Valentine’s Day (before bud break).
Week of November 8, 2017

Week of November 8, 2017

Garlic plants can withstand cold weather as long as they are not exposed to a sudden drop of freezing temperatures. To help protect garlic from sudden drops in temperatures, apply a thick layer of mulch such as straw mulch (seed-free)—a minimum of 4 inches is recommended, and thicker in regions with harsh winters. In the spring the mulch can be pulled back to allow the soil to warm up faster and also helps avoid excess moisture, which can cause rot. Another benefit to mulching is weed control. Garlic does not like to compete with weeds and it will suffer if weeds are not removed.
Week of November 1, 2017

Week of November 1, 2017

Artichokes are hardy down to zone 6, but they do need care before the cold winter temperatures set in. Cut back last years flower stocks to about 6” and tie up the remaining leaves with a piece of twine. Apply a thick layer of compost around the base of the plant and top off with about 8 inches of straw. Asparagus is hardy down to zone 4 and needs a little care in the fall. When the ferns start to turn yellow to brown, cut them back to about 2 inches. Apply about 2–3” of compost and cover with a mulch such as rice straw to a depth of about 4–6”.
Week of October 25, 2017

Week of October 25, 2017

Some beautiful summer plants like dahlia, gladiolus, tuberous begonia, canna, calla lily, and Elephant Ear are actually either subtropical or tropical plants. Their bulbs, corms, rhizomes or tubers will not survive if your ground freezes and they should be lifted before that happens. These can be dug up after the plant is killed by frost or after the foliage has dried up. After curing, place in sphagnum peat or vermiculite and store in a cool (45–50°F), dry location over the winter. Monitor over the winter and remove any rotting pieces.
Week of October 18, 2017

Week of October 18, 2017

Fruits stop ripening when temps drop below 50°F, so if you are still warmer than that during the day, best leave the fruit on the vine as long as possible. Remove any new flowers and really small fruit and gradually decrease the amount of water. Once daytime temps are consistently below 50°F and before the first frost, harvest all of the fruit. Place it in a single layer in a box lined with newspaper, and store between 55-70°F. To speed up the ripening process, add a couple of apples to the box. Check weekly for ripened tomatoes and remove any rotted fruit.
Week of  October 11, 2017

Week of October 11, 2017

After you have amended your soil with compost and bone meal or soft rock phosphate, it is time to break apart the cloves. Select the biggest cloves to plant, and soak them in diluted liquid kelp (2-4 Tbs/gallon). You can also add 1 Tbs/gallon of baking soda to your liquid kelp. Soak overnight and plant immediately the next day. Don’t toss out the smaller cloves – grow them to use as garlic chives or garlic scallions. Add a layer of mulch to your garlic bed and you’re done!
Week of October 4, 2017

Week of October 4, 2017

To get that nice white section at the bottom of your leeks plant them deep and continue to hill them through the growing season. Start with a trench or a hole about 6” deep and plant them 2-6” apart. Leeks send their leaves up exactly opposite one another, so position the plants so the leaves face into the rows. As the leeks grow, you can continue to fill in the trench and hill up to get the sweet and tender white stems. You can harvest your leeks when they are about 2” thick.
Week of September 27, 2017

Week of September 27, 2017

Raw legumes in your cover crops need to be inoculated (coated) with rhizobia bacteria in order to fix nitrogen on their roots. Inoculate your seeds right before you are ready to plant. Put your seeds in a bucket or big bowl and either moisten with non-chlorinated water or a mixture of milk and molasses (one quart and 2 Tbs, respectively). Adjust the amount of liquid you add to just moisten the seed. Sprinkle the inoculant over the seeds and stir to coat. Don’t skimp on the inoculant, more is better than not enough. Plant the seeds right away.
Week of September 20,2017

Week of September 20,2017

The summer garden is winding down and it may be time to start removing old or dead plants. Some plants’ seeds can be saved for next years planting. Flowers like marigolds or poppies are easy to save and replant the following year. Beans, okra, corn (if only one variety is planted), peppers and even tomato seeds can be saved. Watch our video, Seed Saving, for some helpful tips and tricks.
Week of September 13, 2017

Week of September 13, 2017

Most pumpkin seeds have a fibrous white hull around the seed. But the Kakai or Lady Godiva pumpkins produce hulless seeds, also called pepitas. The seeds are great toasted with a little olive oil and salt, check out our blog site for a recipe. The only downside to growing these types of pumpkins is that the flesh is kind of tasteless and stringy. But the pepitas make up for that! They can always get added to the compost pile or worm bin.
Week of September 6, 2017

Week of September 6, 2017

Legumes “fix” nitrogen in the soil but they can’t do it without the proper strain of rhizobia bacteria (inoculant). Raw cover crop seed must be inoculated with the proper strain of rhizobia bacteria. All our cover crop seeds list the recommended inoculant to buy for the raw seed. If the seed says “nitrocoated” then the inoculant is already coated around the seed and no further inoculation is needed.
Week of August 30, 2017

Week of August 30, 2017

Winter squash develops a hard skin, which allows for longer storage. Test by pressing your nail against the skin, it should not leave a dent if mature. The skin should be a full rich color and not have any soft spots. If it seems ripe but has soft spots, pick it and eat it right away, cutting away any of the area that may be soft. If harvesting for storage, leave about 3" of stem on the squash when cutting it off the vine.
Week of August 23, 2017

Week of August 23, 2017

If you think it is time to hang up the gardening tools for the year, think again! Fall is a great time to plant veggies and greens that like it a little cooler. You can use our Planting Calculator to see what can be planted in the fall and the times to plant. Some favorite fall veggies to plant are beets, carrots, chard, kale, kohlrabi, greens, lettuce, peas, onions, radishes, turnips and garlic. You can extend your season even further if adding some floating rowcovers or plant in low tunnels.
Week of August 16, 2017

Week of August 16, 2017

Zucchinis are wonderful in the garden but by now you may be getting tired of the same old recipes, or your neighbors and co-workers politely decline your offer of free squash. Well there are endless ways to use zucchini and tons of unique zucchini recipes on the internet. Here is a great site with lots of recipes to use up your squash, http://amysfinerthings.com/zucchini-recipes. If you want to preserve it for later, either cube or shred it (remove excess water first) and put it in the freezer.
Week of August 9, 2017

Week of August 9, 2017

Sweet corn might be ready to harvest. To pick at the peak of sweetness and flavor, harvest early in the morning when the sugar content is at its highest. Also the corn is ready to be picked when the silks have turned brown, are drying up, and the ear feels full. You can peel back the husk on one ear to check the kernel size.
Week of August 2, 2017

Week of August 2, 2017

For cantaloupes and other melons with netted rinds, the color under the netting (ground color) will change to a golden color. Another clue is that the melon easily separates from the stem (slipping). They will also smell sweet and the end will be slightly soft. For watermelons, look for when tendril has dried up. Also where the melon sits on the ground, this spot remains green, as melon ripens it turns a yellowish color (as long as you don’t turn the melon).
Week of July 26, 2017

Week of July 26, 2017

Summer peaches, nectarines, plums and pluots are ripening, but how do you know when to pick at their peak? Well you will need to use your sense of smell, touch and sight. Peaches will smell, well like a peach, they will give slightly when squeezed and no longer have any green undertones. Same holds true for nectarines, except they will smell like a nectarine. Ripe plums and pluots will have a sweet, fruity smell and give slightly when squeezed.
Week of July 19, 2017

Week of July 19, 2017

Cut your tomato from the vine to avoid damaging the plant and the fruit. Handle the tomatoes with care, they bruise easily. If the tomato is at the full firm-ripe stage you can store at 44-50°F for 3-5 days, or for about a day on the counter. Store it with the stem side up. Do not refrigerate, this can effect the flavor and texture of the tomato. If tomatoes are picked before they are fully ripe, leave on the counter to ripen but do not place them in a sunny window.
Week of July 12, 2017

Week of July 12, 2017

Even though the summer garden is in full production by now, it is time to think about planting seeds for a fall or early winter harvest. These vegetables can tolerate some cold temperatures and some even taste better with a little frost. Here is a list of some veggies that can be direct sown now for a fall harvest: beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, cilantro, collard greens, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard greens, peas, spinach, swiss chard or turnips.
Week of July 5, 2017

Week of July 5, 2017

If you see black or rotting bottoms on your tomatoes, peppers or eggplants (less common), it is most likely blossom end rot. It is caused by a calcium deficiency in your plants caused by soil deficiencies or from uneven watering (calcium is not taken up). Mulch around your plants to help conserve the moisture and remove affected fruit. If your soil has sufficient calcium, then no supplement is needed. Deep cultivation can damage roots which will impair nutrient uptake.
Week of June 28, 2017

Week of June 28, 2017

If you are unsure if your garlic is ready to harvest, look for about 3 to 4 dried leaves at the bottom of the plant and dig up a bulb to see if it has sized up. If they are ready to harvest, dig the bulbs up carefully with a garden fork or shovel. Knock of the soil, being careful not to hit the bulb, leaving the roots & stems, and cure out of the sun in a place with good air circulation. You can use fans if needed for improving air flow.
Week of June 21, 2017

Week of June 21, 2017

Table grape vines can be pruned in June to thin out shoots to open up the plant for better sunlight penetration and air circulation. Prune the shoots on the vines, with shoots about 3 inches apart. Cluster thin your vines so you only have one cluster per vine. You can also snip off the bottom of each grape cluster, which will improve the size of the fruit. Remove the suckers growing on the trunk of grape vine.
Week of June 14, 2017

Week of June 14, 2017

June is a good time to thin out your fruit set on your apples, pears and stone fruit. Thin the fruit in the clusters and thin between the fruit. For apples or pears thin to 1-2 fruit per cluster, nectarines and peaches can be thinned to one fruit every six inches. Pick up any aborted fruit on the ground and if there are no signs of disease, you can add it to your compost pile or worm bin or your chickens might enjoy a fruit salad.
Week of June 7, 2017

Week of June 7, 2017

Advantages to pruning out the suckers on your tomatoes are increased fruit size, better air circulation and will help with disease control. The suckers are the stems growing out of the leaf node. You should remove the suckers from the bottom of the plant up to the first flower cluster. Remove them before they get too big, less than 3” long is a good rule of thumb. Determinate varieties should not get pruned, you can leave the suckers on those plants.
Week of May 31, 2017

Week of May 31, 2017

When your garlic scapes have curled down and into a circle you can remove them. Save them and cook them up in a little butter or olive oil. A few weeks before harvesting you should stop watering the garlic. When the garlic plant has about 3-4 dead leaves on the bottom of the plant is when you should at least dig up one bulb to see how it has sized up. If the bulb has plump cloves, then dig them up. If not leave them in the ground a little longer.
Week of May 24, 2017

Week of May 24, 2017

Compost tea is easy to make and customize for your garden’s growth stage; for new plants add some extra nitrogen like a Liquid Fish or when they are putting on blooms or fruit, add some Liquid Bloom. For a foliar feeding of tea you can dilute it 1:10 (tea:water) or for a soil drench dilute it 1:5 (tea:water). Compost tea will add to your soil biology and your plants will really love having a sip of tea this summer!
Week of May 17, 2017

Week of May 17, 2017

Vegetable seeds like beans and corn are best planted directly in the ground when the soil has warmed enough to favor germination. But the new sprouts are vulnerable to pests like birds. They will pluck the newly sprouted seed right out of the ground. Protect your sprouts with bird netting or lightweight floating rowcover, like Agribon AG-15 or AG-19. Leave it on until the sprouts are big enough then birds will not bother them.
Week of May 10, 2017

Week of May 10, 2017

Hardening off” is the process of acclimating your pampered vegetable starts to the outdoors. The process should be gradual and can take place over a weeks time. Start by taking your starts outdoors and introduce them to an hour of sunlight (morning sun is best) and increase the time by an hour each day. By the end of the week they will be have been exposed to 7 hours of continuous sunlight and are ready to go into their permanent location.
Week of May 3, 2017

Week of May 3, 2017

There are some plants that should be started indoors and others that grow really fast and can be direct sown, and some seeds that should always be direct sown. Seeds like cucumbers, squash, melons and beans grow fast and can be direct sown when the soil is warm enough. Others like corn, okra, gourds, and most root crops don’t really like to be transplanted and should always be direct sown.
Week of April 26, 2017

Week of April 26, 2017

Spring is here and so are the flies. When controlling flies, it is important to control the larvae (maggots) and the adults. To control the larvae, fly parasites are the answer. If you have livestock, the fly parasites should be released every 1-2 weeks throughout the season. Release them near a fly breeding site. Adult flies can be caught with traps.
Week of April 19, 2017

Week of April 19, 2017

If you planted a cover crop in the fall and about half of the plants are blooming, it is time to cut it down. The easiest and fastest way to incorporate all of the goodness of the cover crop is to cut it with a weed eater, apply a product to speed up decomposition like our Biodynamic Field Spray (ISO200), and turn it under with either a rototiller or garden fork.
Week of April 12, 2017

Week of April 12, 2017

Nobody likes a wormy apple, walnut or pear. Codling moths are the culprit and they will start their first flight in March to April (depending on the temperatures). Spring is a good time to put out your codling moth traps to monitor for activity. There are several products to control codling moths; the targeted codling moth virus in CYD-X is very effective.
Week of April 5, 2017

Week of April 5, 2017

Wildflowers can be planted in the fall or spring. If you live in regions with harsh winters, it is better to wait until the spring to plant. Areas with mild winters can plant wildflowers in the fall or spring. Wildflowers will grow just fine in native soil, so no need to fertilize. Plant some wildflowers for your hard-working pollinators and to add beauty to your yard.
Week of March 22, 2017

Week of March 22, 2017

"Spring is here and it is a good idea to test your soil for pH and nutrient levels. You can use a DIY test kit to give you basic information like pH, and NPK. Or if you want to complete picture of your soil, you can purchase a professional test. The bottom line on soil testing, is you should test your soil at the same time year after year. Soil is dynamic and it will change throughout the season.”
Week of March 15, 2017

Week of March 15, 2017

Prune your table grapes from January to March by cane pruning. Save 1-2 fruiting canes on each side of the trunk and prune off the rest. Each fruiting cane should have about 15 buds. Also save 2 renewal spurs for every fruiting cane. These will become next years fruiting canes. Watch our video on grape pruning for more information.”
Week of March 8, 2017

Week of March 8, 2017

Get a head start on your spring/summer garden by starting your seeds indoors. There are several seed starting trays to choose from, but I like the Speedling trays. The trays are designed to air prune the starts’ roots. This will direct roots downward instead of spiraling around the cell. They are very sturdy and are reusable year after year.
Week of March 1, 2017

Week of March 1, 2017

Planting bare root strawberry starts is easy and most the economical way to go. Don’t plant too deep or too shallow. Set the plant in well-drained soil so the roots are just covered. Don’t cover the crown, this will cause the plant to rot. Check out our video on Growing Strawberries for more information.
Week of February 22, 2017

Week of February 22, 2017

Care for your established blueberries this spring with a few simple steps. Remove weeds around the plant (hand pulling is best), prune out any dead branches, feed your plants with an acid-loving fertilizer, mulch heavily. If you don’t expect any rain soon, water in the fertilizer. Watch our video on planting bare root blueberries for more tips.
Week of February 15, 2017

Week of February 15, 2017

The first leaves that emerge from a seed are the cotyledons. All the food it needs is contained inside the seed. The second set of leaves are the "true" leaves. When they start to emerge is when the plant should be fed with a diluted (half strength) liquid fertilizer like our Liquid Fish. I like to mix in a little kelp as well to get my seedlings off to a great start.
Week of February 8, 2017

Week of February 8, 2017

Spring onion transplants are planted just like fall onion transplants. Make sure you pick the right variety for your growing region. If you plant short day onions in long-day regions, the onion bulb will be smaller. Conversely, if you plant long-day onions in short-day regions, the onion will grow a lot of leaves but may never produce a bulb.
Week of February 1, 2017

Week of February 1, 2017

If you are unsure of when to start your seeds indoors or when to direct seed, try our Seed Planting Calculator. The calculator will determine spring or fall planting times based on either your last or first frost of the season. The dates given are estimates only. For the most complete information, check the back of your seed packs.
Week of January 25, 2017

Week of January 25, 2017

Gojo berries can be grown directly in the ground or planted in a deep container. You can start your bare root plant in a pulp pot and plant that pot in the ground when the weather is favorable. Goji berries like a pH between 6.8 and 8.1. If you need to raise your pH, try adding some Oyster Shell Lime fertilizer to your soil.
Week of January 19, 2017

Week of January 19, 2017

Artichokes are hardy to zone 6 and can be grown as an annual in colder zones. If you are growing artichokes in areas with mild winters, you can plant artichokes from root crowns during the winter. If you live in an area with harsh winters, you can heel them in a basement or garage, making sure that the roots stay moist and do not freeze.
Week of January 11, 2017

Week of January 11, 2017

Cane berries are not picky with the type of soil they grow in, however, they do need good drainage. If you drainage is poor, amend your soil with some compost, or you can plant in a raised bed that contains soil with good drainage. When you plant your bare root berries, they will develop Primocanes, which are first year growth canes.
Week of December 14, 2016

Week of December 14, 2016

The best time to plant your bare root tree is when it is dormant. Dig a large saucer-shaped hole and plant it at the same depth it was planted in the nursery. If it is a multi-graft tree, orient the smallest graft to the south.
Week of December 7, 2016

Week of December 7, 2016

“Trick” your bulbs to bloom indoors during the winter months for an early spring. Some of the best bulbs to use are Hyacinths, certain Daffodils, Paperwhite Narcissus, some Tulips or Crocuses.
Week of November 30, 2016

Week of November 30, 2016

Apply dormant sprays on dry, windless days. Make sure you thoroughly read the product label and apply accordingly. Also wear your protective gear to prevent exposure! Take care of your trees this winter and they will show their appreciation next summer with a bountiful crop.
Week of November 16, 2016

Week of November 16, 2016

Your composting redworms will tolerate temperatures between 45-80° F, but they do their best work between 55-75°F. If possible, consider moving your worm bin indoors if temperatures drop below freezing. Also keep an eye on the moisture levels and keep the bottom reservoir drained.
Week of November 2, 2016

Week of November 2, 2016

Get your tools ready to be put away for the long, cold, wet winter. Remove any caked dirt from your tools. To prevent rusting, spray with a vegetable-based cooking spray. Clean the wood handles and rub with a natural-based oil.
Week of October 26, 2016

Week of October 26, 2016

Garlic...planting it, eating it, or wearing it around your neck are just a few ways to keep away the vampires on Halloween. Have a happy, safe and vampire-free October 31st!
Week of October 19, 2016

Week of October 19, 2016

Now is the time to prepare your garden for the coming winter. Turn off water timers and drain irrigation lines to prevent damage during winter freezes. Wrap exposed pipes to protect from frost, disconnect garden hoses and store them away.
Week of October 12, 2016

Week of October 12, 2016

Good orchard sanitation is very important in preventing over-wintering of pests and diseases. Pick up dropped, rotting fruit from under trees before winter sets in. Also remove any unwanted fruit still hanging in your trees.
Week of October 5, 2016

Week of October 5, 2016

Garlic should be planted about 2-3 weeks before the first frost arrives. This gives the garlic enough time to put down roots before winter. "Crack" or break apart the bulb into cloves right before planting! Try soaking the cloves in liquid kelp before planting.
Week of September 28, 2016

Week of September 28, 2016

Fall is a great time to plant wildflowers. This gives seeds a little time to get established and also to take advantage of any fall rains. Don't over seed your wildflower mixes, smaller varieties may get choked out if planted too thick
Week of September 21, 2016

Week of September 21, 2016

The best seeds to save are open pollinated or heirloom varieties. Keep in mind if you have more than one variety of vegetable, you might get some cross pollination. This is especially true for squash and corn. The easiest seeds to save are beans, peppers, tomatoes and peas.
Week of September 14, 2016

Week of September 14, 2016

Rebuilding your soil is easy and very economical by using cover crops. Plant a Soil Builder Mix in the fall and come spring, when half of the plants are flowering, chop it down. This will add organic matter and nitrogen to the soil.
Week of August 31, 2016

Week of August 31, 2016

As your summer vegetables are winding down, cool-weathered fall veggies are ready to take their place. Plant radishes, carrots, greens, lettuce, peas and all of the brassicas for a fall/winter harvest.
Week of August 17, 2016

Week of August 17, 2016

Protect your garden, fruit trees & perennials from deer. Most deer can easily jump over a 6 foot fence and will crawl under fences that don’t go to the ground. Since deer have poor eyesight, consider putting colored streamers at the top of your fencing.
Week of August 10, 2016

Week of August 10, 2016

Make sure you look high and low for veggies like cucumbers and squash. If you don’t you may get huge, inedible fruit. If this happens, pick the fruit and add it to your compost pile, feed it to your worms or with squash, make some squash bread!
Week of August 3, 2016

Week of August 3, 2016

Remove the spent flowers from your garden to extend your enjoyment of blooms. As flowers fade and die, pinch of cut off the flower stem just above the first set of full, healthy leaves. Leave the spent flowers if you want to save seed.
Week of July 20, 2016

Week of July 20, 2016

Powdery mildew is a common problem on grape vines (and other plants) in the summer. Make sure to complete your summer pruning to increase air circulation in your plants. As a last resort, there are fungicides labeled for powdery mildew.
Week of July 13, 2016

Week of July 13, 2016

Prune suckers off your indeterminate tomato plants. You should not prune your determinate varieties. Pruning will encourage larger fruit and allow better circulation. Remove yellowed or dead leaves from your plant. Remove any leaves from the bottom of the plant that are touching the ground.
Week of July 6, 2016

Week of July 6, 2016

Once your garlic is fully cured, make sure to store it correctly. Store in mesh, paper bags or cardboard boxes in a cool, dry place. Temperatures between 60 - 65°F are best for lengthening your storage time.
Week of June 29, 2016

Week of June 29, 2016

Thin your fruit to avoid broken branches and your fruit will be bigger. Thin apples and pears to 1-2 per cluster. Other stone fruits can be thinned to one fruit every 4-8 inches, depending on the size of the fruit.
Week of June 22, 2016

Week of June 22, 2016

After digging up your garlic, leave the roots & stems and cure out of the sun in a place with good air circulation. You can use fans if needed for improving air flow. A temperature of 80ºF is ideal and about 2 weeks is enough time for curing!
Week of June 15, 2016

Week of June 15, 2016

Throw your plants a compost tea party this summer! Compost tea can be applied as a foliar or soil drench. It is easy to make at home with just a few components and can be customized to your plants' needs.
Week of June 8, 2016

Week of June 8, 2016

In regions with extreme hot afternoon sun, some summer veggies, like peppers, will do better with a little shade. Also you can extend your growing season of your cool season plants by using shade cloth.
Week of June 1, 2016

Week of June 1, 2016

Provide your hard working pollinators, like bees, butterflies, and moths, something to feed on. Plant a variety of flowers, colors and shapes to meet the needs of a variety of pollinators.
Week of May 25, 2016

Week of May 25, 2016

Best to get control of weeds when they are small and before they have produced seed heads. You can use natural herbicides, weed pullers or flamers to get rid of weeds. Best practice is to pull up the whole plant...if you can.
Week of May 18, 2016

Week of May 18, 2016

Much of the West is still experiencing drought. By installing drip irrigation, you can help save water and also give your plants the right amount of water to thrive during the hot summer months. Drip irrigation will help cut down on plant diseases like powdery mildew and also help reduce erosion.
Week of May 11, 2016

Week of May 11, 2016

You can start your melons, squash and cucumber plants indoors by late spring. They grow fast but are very tender. Transplant them out in the garden after the danger of frost has passed.
Week of April 27, 2016

Week of April 27, 2016

Strawberries grown in good, fertile soil will produce the sweetest berries. If your berries seem to need a little boost, foliar feeding with a mix of liquid fish and kelp can help! Also make sure your strawberries are getting plenty of sun (at least 6 hours a day) and water!
Week of April 20, 2016

Week of April 20, 2016

Chicks need to be kept warm. The temperature should be between 90-95°F the first week. You should reduce the temperature by 5° each week. Chicks are messy and will kick up bedding into their water and food, so be sure to keep their water and food clean too! Feed them chick crumbles and enjoy the fun of raising chicks!
Week of April 13, 2016

Week of April 13, 2016

Have some floating row cover on hand, just in case! Spring weather can sometimes be unpredictable. Don't let Jack Frost ruin your Summer veggie starts!
Week of April 6, 2016

Week of April 6, 2016

Fly parasites are tiny wasps that parasitize the pupae of flies. Start your fly control program early, before you see flies! Fly parasites can be put out as early as April, depending on your outside temperatures.
Week of March 30, 2016

Week of March 30, 2016

In some areas, seeds like radishes, peas, chard, lettuce, mustard, and carrots can be directly seeded into the garden. Make sure your soil is warm enough, and keep some floating row cover on hand for chilly days and nights.
Week of March 23, 2016

Week of March 23, 2016

Hang your codling moth traps in your apple, pear, or walnut trees to monitor & trap codling moths. Change out the pheromone lure every 8 weeks. Use in conjunction with the codling moth virus to control populations of moths.
Week of March 16, 2016

Week of March 16, 2016

Plant your spring potatoes about 4 weeks before the last frost. The soil temperature should be at least 40°F. Amend your soil with compost, but don't use animal manure based compost, as it can cause scab.
Week of March 9, 2016

Week of March 9, 2016

Apply dormant sprays on dry, windless days. Make sure you thoroughly read the product label and apply accordingly. Also wear your protective gear to prevent exposure!
Week of March 2, 2016

Week of March 2, 2016

Now is a great time to plant some bare root strawberry plants! Choose a spot that gets at least 8 hours of sun, and make sure the soil drains well and is rich in phosphorus. On new plants, remove the flowers to encourage strong growth.
Week of February 24, 2016

Week of February 24, 2016

Some seeds, like tomatoes, peppers and eggplant, should be started ahead of other summer seeds. They grow rather slowly, so by the time it is warm enough outside, they will be just the right size to transplant! Use a heat mat and dome to keep them warm.
Week of February 10, 2016

Week of February 10, 2016

Composting redworms will tolerate temperatures between 40-80°F, but they do their best work between 55-75°F. If possible, consider moving your worm bin indoors if temperatures drop below freezing.
Week of February 3, 2016

Week of February 3, 2016

In the winter, when food is scarce, bees need to be fed! You can use sugar patties, sugar water, or stored honey as a winter food source. This will help the bees survive the cold winter months.
Week of January 27, 2016

Week of January 27, 2016

Prune your trees to control size, remove diseased or broken branches, and increase overall vigor. However, not all trees like to be pruned in the winter. Avoid winter pruning of apricots, pluots, cherries and espaliered trees.
Week of January 20, 2016

Week of January 20, 2016

Sketch out a plan for your spring and summer garden. A garden plan will help you plant, successively rotate crops, companion plant and use space wisely. Using your PVFS Seed Catalog will help you decide when to get plants started!
Week of January 13, 2016

Week of January 13, 2016

Plant your bare root tree when it is dormant. Dig a large saucer-shaped hole and plant it at the same depth it was planted in the nursery. If it is a multi-graft tree, orient the smallest graft to the south.
Week of January 6, 2016

Week of January 6, 2016

Cut back your perennial vegetables and remove any dead summer vegetable plants. Removing dead vegetation will help reduce the amount of pathogens that can overwinter in the garden. Mulch your perennials to prevent weed growth and to help insulate the roots.
Week of December 30, 2015

Week of December 30, 2015

Different plant varieties keep longer than others. For example, onions will keep only about a year, but cucumbers will keep up to about five years. But remember to store seeds in a cool, dry place in a container that is rodent-proof!
Week of December 16, 2015

Week of December 16, 2015

"Trick" your bulbs to bloom indoors during the winter months for an early spring. Some of the best bulbs to use are Hyacinths, certain Daffodils, Paperwhite Narcissus, some Tulips or Crocuses.
Week of December 9, 2015

Week of December 9, 2015

Protect your tender plants from frost damage. If possible, bring potted plants into a greenhouse or brightly lit window. Or wrap them with a frost blanket for protection against winter freezes.
Week of November 18, 2015

Week of November 18, 2015

Protect young, thin-barked trees from sun scald in the winter. Place a tree wrap or paint with a 50:50 diluted white interior latex paint. This helps prevent sun scald on the south or southwest facing side of the young tree.
Week of November 11, 2015

Week of November 11, 2015

Get your tools ready to be put away for the long, cold, wet winter. Remove any caked dirt from your tools. To prevent rusting, spray with a vegetable-based cooking spray. Clean the wood handles and rub with a natural-based oil.
Week of November 4, 2015

Week of November 4, 2015

Time to prepare your garden for the coming winter. Turn off water timers and drain irrigation lines to prevent damage during winter freezes. Wrap exposed pipes to protect them from frost and disconnect garden hoses and store them away.
Week of October 28, 2015

Week of October 28, 2015

Garlic... planting it, eating it, or wearing it around your neck are just a few ways to keep away the vampires on Halloween!
Week of October 21, 2015

Week of October 21, 2015

Good orchard sanitation is very important in preventing over-wintering of pests and diseases. Pick up dropped fruit from under trees before winter sets in. Also remove any fruit still hanging in the tree!
Week of October 14, 2015

Week of October 14, 2015

Open-pollinated or heirloom varieties are the best seeds to save. Keep in mind if you have more than one variety of vegetable, you may get some cross-pollination. This is especially true for squash and corn. The easiest seeds to save are beans, peppers, tomatoes and peas!
Week of October 7, 2015

Week of October 7, 2015

Fall is a great time to plant wildflowers! This gives seeds a little more time to get established. Don't over-seed wildflower mixes as smaller varieties may get choked out if planted too thick. To make seeding easier, mix with some sand in a 1:10 ratio.
Week of September 30, 2015

Week of September 30, 2015

As Summer vegetables are winding down, cool-weathered fall veggies are ready to take their place. Plant radishes, carrots, greens, lettuce, peas and all of the brassicas for a fall/winter harvest!