Ahhh, long hot days, coolish nights and the plump, fragrant flesh of tomatoes. August is the iridescent shimmer of sunshine along the edge of the scented foliage of exuberant tomato plants – running wild in the vegetable garden. It is the salads and soups and sandwiches made of this most anticipated summer fruit/vegetable. Photo: Fragrant tomato leaf glistening in the early morning sun.
Photo: The wide variety of tomatoes in my garden this year – seedlings of which I got from Brian Marshall and Nancy Heinzel of Sawmill Creek Farms in Paradise (firstname.lastname@example.org) – if you ask me, the little purple red ones are the very best – Black Plum, it’s called.
Savor this moment in the garden.
Even this morning, the coolness of 6 am felt noticeably dimmer than it did just two weeks ago. August in the North State Garden is a pivotal month transitioning us between the hot height of summer and peak plant growth to the cooler, more circumspect autumn garden. What we do now lays the groundwork for the garden for several months to come.
John Whittlesey, well-known plantsman, owner of Canyon Creek Nursery and Design, and longtime regional advocate for the use of waterwise plants and designs in our gardens, recently completed his certification for designing and installing greywater systems for landscape use: “Late Summer and Fall is the time to think about design and make structural changes in the garden. The pace is slower, plants are not as distracting or demanding because their period of rapid growth is past,” he writes. “In fact,” he continues: “Ornamental plants, lawn, trees, shrubs, perennials (including weeds) for the most part have completed much of the growth. The water they’re taking up is to sustain the plant not to increase its size. So if you’re watering with an irrigation controller, reduce the run times across the board 10% and continue reducing the run times at least 10 % each month through the fall. Be careful not to overwater drought tolerant plants. Most English lavenders are killed in late summer when watered excessively during a hot spell. And of course, mulching reduces water use considerably.” Photo: Garlic harvested in July.
As things like watering and weeding, slow down and yell at us a little less loudly, John notes that “in late summer and fall, it is easier to look at the whole picture not just the parts that need attention. In considering the garden as a whole take a look at drainage and lay of the land and consider what happens during the winter months. There has been a major shift in recent years from sending water off properties and into the sewer lines to be dumped into creeks and rivers, to an approach of keeping rainwater onsite by slowing it down and allowing it to soak into the garden. Designing rain gardens or swales and/or considering the strategic reuse of greywater brings you, the gardener, to another level of thinking that your garden, your little eden, is tied into a bigger garden, a bigger watershed.” Photo: Perennials like roses and dahlias have hit the peak of their growth season and need a little less water each month from now through winter.
“If you are reassessing your garden in terms of water use, with an intent to reduce irrigation,” John suggests you “take a close look at the plants in your garden, look at the high water use plants, and ask yourself: are they consolidated, are they plants you’re attached to? Can you keep the lush, water-loving plants in one place, say around a patio, and use more drought tolerant plants on the periphery. And of course take a look at the lawn in your landscape, does it serve a purpose, such as playing on – or entertaining, or is it there as a default. As Michael Pollan wrote, ‘For as soon as an American decides to rip out a lawn, he or she becomes, perforce, a gardener, someone who must ask the gardener’s questions: What is right for this place? What do I want here?….. How can I make use of nature here without abusing it?’ No magic formulas other than choosing plants that require less water and paying close attention to what you are water, how long and why,” and use your findings to make decisions on changes you’d like to make over the coming planting season in late fall and winter. John can be reached by email regarding plants and innovative waterwise designs: email@example.com.
Pam Geisel, Statewide Coordinator for the Master Gardener program and who lives and gardens in Hamilton City writes in to remind us that: “Even though it is hot, hot, hot outside now, August is the time to do quite a lot of pruning in the home orchard. Apricots, cherries and olives should be pruned now while the weather is still very dry to avoid disease problems such as Eutypa Canker and olive knot. The black and boysenberry canes that bore fruit should be pruned back to the ground and the new canes trellised onto the trellis wire. It is also time to divide your bearded iris and save the new rhizomes for replanting. You should also consider your fall-winter vegetable garden. Even though now is when the garden is bulging with abundant tomatoes, peppers and squash, it is time to plant from either transplants or direct seed many of your winter vegetables now including: broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, dill, endive, fennel, green onion, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, mustards, peas, spinach, chard, and turnips. If you wait too long to plant, they will bolt before harvest and you will have wasted your garden space. Some of these crops, especially those transplanted as seedlings, may benefit from a light shade cloth over the top of them on the warmer days.” Photo: Prune olive trees now while the weather is still hot and dry. Pam can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Laurel Kessler of Shambani Organics recommends keeping up with some of our every day tasks as well as thinking ahead: “weed, remember to harvest the veggies, tie up the tomatoes (We put up another level of twine as the tomatoes need it.), trim flowers off the basil, although let some things go to seed for saving (if they won’t have crossed with something else), and start making plans for the fall/winter garden.” Photo: Start winter crops – such as carrots – as seeds or seedlings in August.
If you are starting to divide some of your perennials, such as the iris suggested by Pam, remember that with autumn comes many a garden club, plant society or community plant sale or exchange. For instance, Jim Carr of Redding tells me the 4th annual plant exchange at the Pilgrim Congregational Church is set for October 16th this year.
I harvested seed from my bolted Black Seeded Simpson lettuce and cilantro this past week, so seed saving season is also here. Keep your eyes open for seeds that are ripe and ready for collecting and storing. Photo: Black-Seeded Simpson lettuce plants gone to seed. A light shake releases the ripe, black seeds from their position and a light rub removes the fluff from the seed for easy storing in a cool, dry, dark place.
Finally, Laurel Kessler reminds me about the Plant a Row for the Hungry project of Garden Writers Association: www.gardenwriters.org or 877-492-2727. If you have a lot of extra produce coming from your garden just now, consider calling one of the food banks or food providers below to see if they are in need of fresh produce. “More families are in need this year, and we can imagine that they would appreciate fresh food over canned!” ends Laurel.
If you know of a food bank or food provider that might accept excess food for the benefit of our community, let me know and I will get it added: Jennifer@Jewellgarden.com.
Chico?Butte County Gleaners, Inc.?1436 Unit E – Nord Avenue?Chico CA 95926?Phone: 530-899-3758?Fax: 530-899-0307?Executive Director: Orval Jones
Jesus Center 1297 Park Avenue Chico, CA 95928-6175 (530) 345-2640
Tehama County Gleaners- 530-529-2264 20699 Walnut St Red Bluff, CA 96080
Shasta Trinity Tehama HIV PO Box 493283, Redding, CA 96049-3283 (530) 223-2118?
Food Bank 100 Mercy Oaks Dr, Redding – (530) 226-3071
Shasta Senior Nutrition Program, Redding – 530.226.3071
Yuba/Sutter Gleaners Food Bank, Yuba City – 530.673.3834
California Emergency Foodlink, Sacramento – 800.283.9000
Placer Food Bank (serving Placer, Nevada and El Dorado Counties)
Roseville, CA 95678
You can find a food bank near you by accessing the Food Bank Locator on the Feeding America website at www.feedingamerica.org
Given the abundance of events these past few months, the monthly Calendar of Regional Gardening Events seems pretty laid back this month as many horticulture clubs and plant societies settle in for a long summer’s nap – they will all be back by September. Until then, there’s plenty do and learn, and the native plant societies especially have some amazing field trips planned in the coming months. If you are interested in our regional events, be sure to check the On-line Calendar of Regional Gardening Events at jewellgarden.com regularly – events are added everyday! I do my very best to keep the calendar up to date and accurate, please confirm all events with the event host’s contact information. If you are aware of a mistake on my calendar, please send me corrected info: Jennifer@jewellgarden.com! Thanks.
August 1 – Yuba City: Yuba Sutter Fair Honor Glory Tradition! Yuba Sutter Fairgrounds. Come out and Enjoy the Fun!
August 7 – Sacramento: Fair Oaks Horticulture Center/Sacramento County Master Gardeners Harvest Day 2010 8 am – 2 pm. Watch demonstrations and how-to sessions, listen to speakers, visit educational booths, and tour the FOHC gardens. Sample tree-ripened fruit, grapes, and vegetables. Fair Oaks Park, Fair Oaks, Ca. More info call: 916-875-6913. Or: http://groups.ucanr.org/sactomg/Fair_Oaks_Horticulture_Center/Workshop_Schedule.htm
August 7 – Redding: McConnell Arboretum & Botanical Gardens at Turtle Bay: Charlie Rabbit and Friends 9:30 AM. An interactive program in the Gardens (or Greenhouse in rain) for children, their siblings, parents and grandparents. Free with Park or Garden admission. Meet at West Garden Entrance. Take N. Market Street, turn on Arboretum Drive. Take the right fork. Parking lot and entrance are on the left. More info: 530-242-3178 or www.turtlebay.org/nursery
August 7 – Durham: The Worm Farm – Build Your Own Worm Bin Workshop 10 am – 1 pm; $50. Information provided at The Worm Farm workshops include, construction of your worm bin, instruction on proper drainage and ventilation techniques, covering the bin, identifying the best location, prevention of pests and parasites, and selecting the best bedding for your worm bin. Other knowledge you will obtain is the anatomy, regeneration, longevity, and feeding of your worms. The Worm Farm, 9033 Esquon Road, Durham, CA 9593. Price includes materials & 1 pound of special composting worms by The Worm Farm. More Info: www.thewormfarm.net/workshops-build_bin.html or call: 530-894-1276
August 14 – Redding: Shasta Chapter Cal Native Plant Society: Field Trip in Klamath Mountains Marla Knight, botanist with Klamath National Forest and long-time member of CNPS, will lead us on a fieldtrip to the meadows of Cabin Meadow Creek near Kangaroo Lake in the Klamath Mountains. We will drive by car to several meadows and along the creek, with a possible side trip to the top of a ridge at about 5,200 to 6,000-foot elevation. Expect to see such species as several gentians, showy raillardella, Siskiyou fireweed, darlingtonia and other meadow species. At the top of the ridge is Potentilla cristae and Eriogonum alpinum, if we get up there. Be prepared for an all-day fieldtrip if you are coming from Redding or points south. It is about a 2.5-hour drive to the meeting place from Redding. We will meet at the US Forest Service office parking lot in Fort Jones in Scott Valley at 8:00AM, or at the junction of the Gazelle-Callahan Road and Rail Creek Road 41N03 (the turn-off road to Kangaroo Lake) at 8:45-9:00AM. If you want to come up the night before, camping is available at the improved campground at Kangaroo Lake (16 spaces), or at the primitive campground at Scott Mountain summit. Bring lunch and water. Call Jay & Terri Thesken at 530/221-0906 for more information.
August 14 – Mt. Shasta: Spring Hill Nursery Fall/Winter Garden Workshop With Micah Dobush – Please call for times and registration: 530.926.2565 1234 Nixon Road, Mt. Shasta, CA
August 14 – Davis: UC Davis Arboretum Guided Tour: An Oak Oasis in August 10:00 a.m., Arboretum Gazebo, Garrod Drive, UC Davis. The UC Davis Arboretum contains one of the nation’s largest collections of oaks, and the Shields Oak Grove is a shady oasis in the hot summer months. A free guided tour on Saturday, August 14 will highlight the new Oak Discovery Trail. The tour guide will discuss oak ecology and the importance of oaks in human culture through time and around the world. The tour will leave at 10:00 a.m. from the Arboretum Gazebo, on Garrod Drive on the UC Davis campus. There is no charge for the tour, and free parking is available along Garrod Drive and in Visitor Lots 50 and 55. For more information, please call (530) 752-4880 or visit arboretum.ucdavis.edu.
August 14 – Redding: Shasta Community Teaching Garden: Canning from the Garden 9 – 12 noon, Room 822, Shasta College Main Campus. Joan Bosworth, Bethany Schaarschmidt, and Susanna Sibilisky will focus on canning tomatoes, with emphasis on preparation and processing. To maximize nutrient content, proper and safe techniques will be emphasized. Please DO NOT bring your own produce. All equipment, produce and handouts will be provided. Fee $30. For registration information call: 530-225-4835. Register by going on-line to: www.shastacollege.edu/EWD and then click on Pathways. For workshop information: 530-242-2248 or email: email@example.com.
August 15 – Chico: Mt Lassen Chapter Cal Native Plant Society – Field Trip: Scotts John Creek Lassen National Forest 8:30 am meet at Chico Park and Ride (Hwy 99/32). TAt an elevation of about 5,200 feet, near Butte Meadows, we will follow the course of Scotts John Creek on an easy walk to see some wonderful flowering plants. rWear sturdy shoes. Bring lunch, water, sun/insect protection, and money for ride sharing. Leaders: Emilie White: 530-894-8057; Gerry Ingco: 530- 893-5123.
August 19 – Redding: Shasta Community Teaching Garden: Canning from the Garden 6 – 9 pm, Room 822, Shasta College Main Campus. Joan Bosworth, Bethany Schaarschmidt, and Susanna Sibilisky will focus on canning tomatoes, with emphasis on preparation and processing. To maximize nutrient content, proper and safe techniques will be emphasized. Please DO NOT bring your own produce. All equipment, produce and handouts will be provided. Fee $30. For registration information call: 530-225-4835. Register by going on-line to: www.shastacollege.edu/EWD and then click on Pathways. For workshop information: 530-242-2248 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
August 20 – 22 – Loomis:High Hand Nursery and Conservatory Tomato Gathering! Aug 20: an evening celebrating the history of Loomis, fruit shed alumni and the farmers of Placer County. This is a fundraiser supporting Placer Grown, Blue Goose and the Loomis Historical Society. Experience an evening of rich history and great food. Live entertainment, open bar and light hors d’oeuvres 5:30 to 7:00. Dinner and live auction 7:00 to 9:00. Tickets are $75.00 and can be purchased at www.highhand.com. Saturday, August 21st, 9am-5pm, Sunday, August 22nd, 9am -4pm – Join High-Hand in Celebrating the Bounty of Placer County at the historic High Hand fruit sheds in Downtown Loomis. Taste all things tomato. Meet the Farmers & Producers of Placer County. Enter Tomato Growing Contests. Experience the Rich History of Placer County Agriculture. General Information and Vendor and Contest forms available at www.highhand.com or www.placergrown.org.
August 21 – Chico: Mt Lassen Chapter Cal Native Plant Society – Field Trip: Deadfall Lakes on Mt. Eddy 7:30 am Meet at the west lot of Chico Park & Ride (Hwys 99/32). The trail starts at 7,000’ elevation and is reached by driving 15 miles southwest of Weed over improved forest roads. This is a moderate hike along a fairly level section of the Pacific Crest Trail to Lower Deadfall Lake (7,200’). After lunch we climb to Upper Deadfall Lake. See the insectivorous California pitcher plant, stunning gentians, and other alpine flowers. “Top-of-the World” views from the Northern Trinity Mountains. Individual Options: An overnight campout, local lodging, or dinner at Mt Shasta City. Call if you elect to meet at the trailhead. Leader: John Whittlesey, 530-533-2166 or 530-774-4955 or email@example.com
August 21 – Redding: Shasta Chapter Cal Native Plant Society: Field Trip in Paradise Meadows This fieldtrip was attempted in June, but had to be cancelled due to snow. August should be a safe bet. Member David Ledger will lead a fieldtrip in Lassen National Park, along Hat Creek to Paradise Meadows and Terrace Lake. This will be a strenuous 5- to 6-mile hike at elevations of 6,400 to 7,600 feet. The hike will be through lodgepole, red fir and mountain hemlock forests, with beautiful wildflowers expected at Paradise Meadows and Terrace Lake. Bring hiking footwear, lunch, and plenty of water. Meet in Redding at 9 AM at the south City Hall parking lot (Parkview Avenue side), 777 Cypress Avenue. Call David Ledger at 355-9442 for details.
August 22 – Redding: Shasta Chapter Cal Native Plant Society: Weeding Session One- to two-hour work session starting at 10:00 AM at the Shasta College greenhouses. The greenhouses are located near the back of Shasta College, where the livestock barns are. We will be weeding and getting ready for the Fall Plant Sale, which will be Saturday, September 25th this year. Bring clippers and any other tools you might need. Please call Susan Libonati 530/347-4654 for further information.
August 22 – Weaverville: Trinity Nursery Tomato Tasting!: 1 pm – 3 pm. Trinity Nursery is teaming up with Flying Blue Dog Nursery and Trinity’s own “Mr. Tomato” Irl Everest to put on a spectacular taste-of-summer event. Join us (We know, we’re usually closed on Sundays, but we’re opening especially for the tomato tasting!) This is a great opportunity for you to taste-test heirloom and novelty tomato varieties you may have always wanted to try. Makes your mouth water just thinking about it! For more info: 530.623.3225
August 28 – Chico: Mt Lassen Chapter Cal Native Plant Society – Field Trip: Cedar Basin Shasta Trinity National Forest 8:00 am meet at Chico Park and Ride (Hwy 99/32). ADrive I-5 north to the Lake Siskiyou exit near Mt Shasta and up into the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Cedar Basin contains the highest stands (up to 6400 ft) of Port Orford-Cedar. Lakes, bogs and open forest give a nice variety of species including the insect eating pitcher plant, (Darlingtonia californica) and the sundew, Drosera. Also see Sierra laurel, Leucothoe davisiae, and American twinflower, (Linnaea borealis). Walking distance is 3 to 4 miles. Bring lunch, water, sun/insect protection and money for ride sharing. Call for an alternate meeting place. Leader: Marjorie McNairn 530-343-2397.
August 28 – Redding: McConnell Arboretum & Botanical Gardens at Turtle Bay 9:30 am. A Walk with the Horticulture Manager, Lisa Endicott. Bring your notebooks and cameras for this participant-driven program. We’ll make our way through the Gardens with frequent stops for discussions about (what else?) plants! There’s something new to see every month! Free with Park or Garden admission. Meet at West Garden Entrance. Take N. Market Street, turn on Arboretum Drive. Take the right fork. Parking lot and entrance are on the left. More info: 530-242-3178 or www.turtlebay.org/nursery
Jewellgarden.com’s new line of lovely little note cards are bite sized and ready to enjoy on-line or at local fine shops near you. As spring turns to summer and summer to fall, look for Edibles in the Garden blank journals, note cards featuring seeds and fruits as well as 2011 calendars and blank journals. A portion of all sales of the Edibles in the Garden note cards goes to Slow Food Shasta Cascade and the many projects it supports. All of Jewellgarden.com’s cards are printed in Chico by Quadco printing using 100% recycled paper and vegetable-based ink. Yum.
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In a North State Garden is a weekly Northstate Public Radio and web-based program celebrating the art, craft and science of home gardening in Northern California and made possible in part by the Gateway Science Museum – Exploring the Natural History of the North State and on the campus of CSU, Chico. In a North State Garden is conceived, written, photographed and hosted by Jennifer Jewell – all rights reserved jewellgarden.com. In A North State Garden airs on Northstate Public Radio Saturday mornings at 7:34 AM Pacific time and Sunday morning at 8:34 AM Pacific time. Podcasts of past shows are available here.