September is our most successful month for getting plants established and it is our favorite month for fertilizing. At Harlequin’s Gardens, we are planting; getting those plants in the ground to start rooting and gaining strength so that by next spring they will be ready to really expand and bloom. Also at this time the Boulder Valley Rose Society, to which we belong, is getting ready to fertilize the roses at the Boulder-Dushanbe Teahouse. We have been fertilizing these roses once in May and once in September for the last 11 years using that great locally formulated Mile Hi Rose Feed.
It is fine to do deadheading now of any plants that you are not wanting to reseed, or that you are not saving for seed for the birds. Pruning is good to do on fruiting plants as soon as the fruit is gone. This will compact and lighten them before winter snows and thin and prepare them for new growth and more fruit for next year. It is OK to remove dead canes from roses now, but it is better to wait until late April or early May to do thinning and major pruning of roses.
If you missed Eat Local Week, you missed a wonderful event. There was an ice cream social, presentations at Chautauqua celebrating the rising potential for the local food system, films about new thinking about what we are eating, a Flat Iron Chef Cookoff and a Local Foodshed Conference. Check it out for next year. Harlequin’s participated by hosting the Boulder Culinary Gardeners’ Tomato Tasting. (Watch for a public Tomato Tasting in 2011).
OUR BULBS ARE IN so come and get them. We don’t have large quantities this year as we are just testing your interest. We also have locally-grown, organic Chesnok Red Garlic bulbs for Oct. planting.
AND we do have limited quantities of organic vegetable starts for September planting.
AND our FALL SALE is in full swing.
Mikl was one of 22 speakers to give a brief presentation at the Kickoff Event beginning Eat Local Week. This is what he said:
The local food movement is guiding our society to a more healthy, enjoyable and saner experience with life.
When food is not shipped long distances, the varieties of fruits and vegetables can be chosen for their great flavor and for their nutritional value, rather than for their tough skins and resistance to decay. So we get to taste and enjoy tomatoes like Cherokee Purple, Sungold, Black from Tula and Green Zebra; and fruits like Swenson’s Red Grape, Cortland Apple and Crandall Clove Currant.
In addition, these fruits and vegetables do not have to be picked green so they will resist bruising in shipment. They can be allowed to ripen on the vine or tree, so the starches have time to convert to sugars. These sweet and delicious foods satisfy our food cravings and replace the impulse to consume processed sugars and high fructose corn sweeteners.
Because we appreciate and prefer soil building and nontoxic farm and garden management, we eliminate many physical and psychological health problems at the root.
“Hear-Here” for a locally sustained, healthy soil that leads to healthy plants, that lead to healthy humans in a healthier, saner community.
The Bottom Line cannot be money alone; the Bottom Line has to be our day-to-day enjoyment of Life which includes Good Food, Good Water, Good Air; and a Community where love and sharing is common.
10% Local Food Shift: Transition Colorado is challenging Boulder County residents to make 10% of food purchases buying local food. Make this commitment to eat well, support local food security and strengthen our local economy. Pick up an Eat Local Resource Guide at Harlequin’s Gardens, or go to http://www.transitioncolorado.org/.
NOW is the time to get our beautiful Broccoli, Cauliflower, Kale, Chard and Lettuce seedlings in the ground for your fall and winter harvests. Our seedlings are really beautiful and robust! Arugula will be ready soon, and spinach, cilantro and broccoli-raab should be following soon thereafter. These are crops that thrive in cool weather, tolerate frosts, and, with easily-installed protection, can provide lots of fresh, homegrown greens through the fall and even the winter. Ask us about our Row-Cover Fabric and Loop-Hoops. And you thought the vegetable gardening season was almost over!
Don’t forget we have added a great class, ‘Sprout your Eats, Eat your Sprouts!’ on Sunday September 19th at 1:30 pm. This class will enable you to grow incredibly nutritious, tasty, fresh greens all year long, even if you live in an apartment. Check it out on the list of classes on our website at https://www.harlequinsgardens.com/classes-for-2010/.
OUR BULBS HAVE ARRIVED!
We received a shipment yesterday containing most (but not all) of the bulbs we are offering this year. We will probably receive a few more varieties today, and another few are expected in the week of September 20. These bulbs should be purchased now, but held for planting in late October, November or early December. There are two exceptions: Saffron Crocus (Crocus sativus) is fall-blooming and should be planted immediately, and Paperwhite Narcissus can be planted in indoor containers right now, or held for a couple of months.
GARLIC BULBS are also in! We have a very limited supply of local, organically grown Chesnok Red hardneck Garlic for planting. They are really nice, large, plump bulbs that have been properly harvested and cured, and with every garlic purchase we are including a locally-appropriate instruction sheet that covers planting, growing, harvesting and storage.
Saving Tomato Seeds:
Did you know that tomatoes are almost entirely self-pollinating? This means that they rarely cross-pollinate, so you can collect the seeds from your open-pollinated varieties (any variety that is not an F1 hybrid), and if properly ‘processed’ and stored, you’ll be able to grow the same variety from your own seeds next year, and for years to come. The procedure is really easy – Eve has been doing it for several years, with excellent success. Here’s how:
Select one or more thoroughly ripe, unblemished fruits from your best, healthy plant of a given variety. Label a small glass or jar with the name of the variety. Cut the fruit(s) in half horizontally and gently squeeze out the gelatinous substance that contains the seeds, into the container. Add a little water (1/4 to ½ cup), and cover the container with a lid or a piece of plastic wrap. Place in a warm location out of direct sun for about 3 days, until a layer of mold has formed over the top – usually, it is a thin white film, and sometimes has black fungus spots as well. The function of the gelatinous substance surrounding the seeds is to prevent the seeds from germinating inside the warm, juicy fruit. The mold/fungus eats the gelatinous, germination-inhibiting coating and also produces antibiotics that help control seed-borne diseases. When this film of mold has formed, skim off and discard the mold and any floating seeds (these are not viable seeds) and pieces of pulp. Then add a little more water to the container, and pour the seeds into a small strainer (wire sieve) that has holes smaller than the seeds and carefully rinse under running tap water until no pulp debris remains, only seeds. Let the excess water drip out, then invert the strainer over a plate or baking sheet. Be sure to label the plate with the variety name! Some people like to dry the seeds on a sheet of paper towel, but with most brands of towels, the seeds are very hard to remove from the paper when dry. Try to spread the seeds out so they are not in a big clump. Allow them to dry completely (usually takes about one day), break up the clumps into individual seeds, and store them in a paper envelope that has been labeled with the variety name and the date. Tomato seeds usually remain viable for 5 years or longer.
We are very proud that Mikl has recently been awarded the E-chievement Award, an honor bestowed by the Boulder-produced
E-Town radio show. He was nominated by one of our beloved long-time customers. Listeners from around the country send in stories that nominate individuals or groups, and E-chievement awards are bestowed upon those nominees they feel are “remarkable individuals who are working hard to make a positive difference in their communities and beyond….One step at a time. That’s how things change, that’s how problems are solved. That’s the message that’s delivered each week, as we recognize people who’ve found positive solutions to challenges in their communities” (excerpted from the E-Town website). To learn more about E-Town and the E-chievement Award, go to http://www.etown.org/.