This class is part of the ‘Grafting’ series, including ‘Scions: Selecting Fruit Tree Varietals for Successive Ripening’ (this class) and ‘Early Spring Fruit Tree Grafting’ (2/4/2017) Purchase tickets for both together and save over 15%! This class will get you ready to graft onto your own fruit tree, which is included in the price of the 2/4 class.
Join Jesse Imbach and James Lalikos for a wide-ranging survey class on how to select different varietals of your favorite fruits so that they ripen throughout the year. Here is a preview of the class from the teachers:
The climate of the Bay Area is very unusual. According to codeminders, there are three spots in Portugal, two in France, and one each in Spain and China that share similar conditions. Our long, dry summers and short, moderate winters allow we residents of “The Valley of the Hearts Delight” to grow a huge variety of fruits throughout the year.
Fruit from all over the world can be grown here. In many instances, we’re on the edge of what the plant prefers climatically – most cherry varietals need a little more chill than we have, while bananas will need protection from the frost – but with a little care and some careful selection, we can grow both!
Varietals of the most popular types of fruit have been developed to take advantage of our extended growing season. For example, there are apples, peaches, and plum hybrids that ripen from the end of May through November. If you love peaches, why not graft together a tree that will give you a few peaches a week over five months? Many fig varieties, as well as Dorsett and Gravenstein apples, can produce two crops per year. Citrus varieties provide fruit year-round in our climate.
This class will include five sections:
Jesse Imbach is a member of the California and Santa Clara Valley Rare Fruit Growers Associations. His modest home is taken over with experimental grafted trees and rare fruit varieties from around the world.
James Lalikos is a member of the California Rare Fruit Growers Association, a mechanical engineer, and prototype designer, who has been whittling twigs and splicing plants together since he was a child. He’s currently working on converting a collection of old flowering pear trees into every-variety-pear trees using scions from the germplasm collection at Filoli and planning out a large aquaponic installation in his front yard.
The two of them are also working to plant a fruit forest in the hills above Los Gatos. The goal is to have several hundred varieties of fruit available for hybridizing across twenty-eight acres.
We’ve enjoyed several good storms so far this fall. The trees are pruned. All of our winter crops are in and the soil is now evenly moist; we hope to keep it this way until many of the crops are done growing late spring. Now is the time for weeding: this is especially true of the alliums (onions, leeks, garlic) that need it until they are well established. Next week, we will prick out our winter lettuce, and two weeks later we’ll transplant it and some carrots. Also, we will be planting 30 native plants in the back of the garden, supported by a local girl scout troop. With the wet soil, and (hopefully) more rains on the way, now is the perfect time to put in natives.
If you haven’t gotten started on your winter garden yet, and you’re not feeling super energetic, not to worry! This is a great time to start planting fava beans! Just push the seeds into the soil on 8″ centers.
Want to get winter seeds and a few natives to attract the pollinators? Check out Bountiful Gardens’ selection.
Our energetic volunteers are helping us to double dig the last of our beds. Now that the rains have begun we will direct-sow winter cover crops into some and transplant winter wheat, favas, rye, and barley into others. Planting grains is a relaxing and meditative task. We use a dibble board to press in dowels for the 5″ spaced holes, and then hand transplant the little grass seedlings. Our leeks will be planted out next week, now that they are as thick as pencils. Garlic cloves will also be separated and planted pointy-side up, at a shallow depth.
We have already gotten to harvest some fall crops: the sprouting broccoli, red kale, and bok choi. We will wait until spring to harvest the copenhagen cabbage and napa cabbage when it has made nice large heads.
The range of seeds we plant gets smaller as the days get colder. Lettuce is one that can still be propagated. As well as the volunteers, the snails and slugs also love it…. We plan to grow enough for all our visitors.
Get your seeds from Bountiful Gardens, and plant your winter garden! Keeping the garden planted during the rainy season will prevent soil erosion, and nutrients from leaching out of the garden. Even if you don’t harvest the crops to eat, at the end of winter you will have biomass for the compost pile.
Our early warm season crops (beans, some of the corn and amaranth, potatoes, turnips, etc.) have now finished and have been cleared from the beds. Our main warm season crops (tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers, quinoa, sorghum, more corn and amaranth) are producing like mad.
This week we planted our fresh shipment of open-pollinated heirloom Bountiful Gardens seeds for all of our Fall and some of our Winter crops. For Fall we have cabbage, kale, beets, turnips, spinach, romaine and amish lettuce, and others. For over wintering we’ve started leeks, onions, parsnips, and favas (mainly for compost material).
Bees are going mad for all of the mustard and herbs that we have let go to seed. Soon we’ll cut the best basil, cilantro, and mustard green plants to dry and save seed from. The plums, pluots, apricots, and peaches are long gone, but the apples and figs are swelling rapidly, and we have harvested loads of elderberries for making concentrated juice to use in baking, drinks, and sauces.
August is the time to get your fall and some of your winter garden going- get your seeds started today!
Since June, all four classes of Young Life Christian Preschool have come and visited Common Ground Garden! Each group started off by reading the book “The Vegetable Garden,” a story about where food comes from and all the parts needed for a healthy garden (good soil, water, and sunlight).
Next, the preschoolers took a sensory tour of the garden. We took a look in the worm box, identifying critters that are helpful for creating rich soil. For June, we sampled rattlesnake beans and strawberries, two tasty treats in season this month. Next, we sniffed some rosemary leaves and discussed what type of food they reminded us of. (Baked chicken?) Finally, we got up close and personal with some sunflowers, feeling their prickly stems and rough leaves. The kids were amazed to see how tall the stalks were – even taller than all the adults!
These mini classes give the preschoolers the chance to experience outdoor education early on, and gain a foundational appreciation of where their food comes from. Every student may know what a strawberry looks like, but seeing a ripe one growing on the bush is a whole different experience! The lessons change every month to reflect which fruits and vegetables are in season.