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The Latest Dirt - Sept 2023

News From Our Garden

By Janet Miller
Photos by Greg Letts

Photo by Greg Letts.
Photo by Greg Letts.
The summer season at Our Garden has been one of our busiest and most productive. The year started out with more challenges than we have ever experienced. The heavy rains and cold temperatures lasted longer than ever; windstorms blew apart our hoop houses, and seedlings sat sadly in sodden beds, refusing to budge.

However, when the days, nights and soil finally warmed, our plants kicked into gear and have been wildly productive, albeit a few weeks late, ever since.

We have had a few of the usual problems with rats nibbling on tomatoes and squash, mosaic virus infecting even our resistant varieties, and, of course, the occasional gophers and ground squirrels. Even with those annoyances, we have been harvesting buckets of green beans, crates and crates of squash and cucumbers, nonstop flats of tomatoes, loads of peppers – and a few crates of eggplants. The eggplants are being stubborn – beautiful plants but just now starting to fruit. In addition to the big producers, we always have plenty of basil, kale, chard and lettuces interplanted. While they don’t add much to the total poundage, they round out the offerings for our friends at the Monument Crisis Center.

Photo by Greg Letts.
Photo by Greg Letts.
We’ve also had great success in our vineyard and the orchard. Just last week, we finished harvesting table grapes, bringing our grand total for the year to over a record 700 pounds! In the orchard, we have achieved the original goal of having year-round fruit. Beginning with citrus, running through all the stone fruits, to apples, pears, persimmons, figs and pomegranates – there is always something to share.

We have been able to deliver food to the Monument Crisis Center every week this year, and during the peak growing months, we deliver twice – Mondays and Wednesdays. So far this year, we have delivered 9,345 pounds of produce and still have four months to go. With winter squash curing in the greenhouse and summer crops still producing, we hope to get close to 14,000 pounds. The UC Master Gardeners have done an amazing job making Our Garden so productive, and the staff, volunteers and clients at the Monument Crisis Center are so appreciative!!