News & Notes of the UCSC Farm & Garden

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of the UCSC Farm & Garden Issue 121, Spring 2009 Forrest Cook Spring Plant Sale Preview A Bo u n t y o f Pl a n t s at This Year s Plant Sale SUE TARJAN This year s Spring Plant Sale will offer one of
of the UCSC Farm & Garden Issue 121, Spring 2009 Forrest Cook Spring Plant Sale Preview A Bo u n t y o f Pl a n t s at This Year s Plant Sale SUE TARJAN This year s Spring Plant Sale will offer one of our largest arrays ever of annual vegetables and flowers along with perennial landscape plants, medicinals, and succulents. We ll also have available a wider variety of California native plants than we ve had at past sales, thanks in large part to the work of second year apprentice Robbie Martin, our resident expert at propagating native flora. As you re oohing and ahhing over the outstanding array of vibrant young plants available this year, direct a hefty portion of that appreciation toward Renee s Garden Seeds and Botanical Interests, two seed companies whose generous seed donations have helped to make it all possible. Renee Shepherd is a stalwart longtime supporter of the UCSC Farm & Garden and many school gardens, while Botanical Interests has been donating seeds to the Farm & Garden for the past three years. Also contributing to this year s gains in quantity and quality are the Farm s new greenhouses, along with the new/resurrected mist box system that we use to propagate perennials. So take advantage of the abundance think victory garden and try raising some crops you ve never tried before. Along with the ever-popular tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and other favorite veggies, we ve focused on growing produce that will provide the most food volume along with dense nutrition. For example, chard, collards, and kale are among the most nutritious greens and this spring s plantings can be harvested through winter. Not as thirsty as lettuce or spinach or as heat sensitive as Asian greens, just harvest the outer leaves as you need them. Production will slow down in really hot weather and as soil fertility wanes, but regular watering and the addition of a compost top dressing later in the growing season will ensure a long and continuous harvest. In your haste to optimize nutrition, be careful not to overlook food for the soul the eye candy and nose teasers. And when making your selections, think about how these plants will perform for you throughout the seasons. It s easy to forget that what you see isn t what you ll get. Whether at this plant sale or at your local nursery, what you re seeing on any given day is just a snapshot of any plant s life. It s quite an art to enhance each plant s appearance to maximize appeal day after day no matter what the season. To do so, growers may force blooms by placing plants in artificially heated and lighted greenhouses, slow down blooms by moving plants into cooler locations or shade, or cut back plants that are already blooming to make them look their best for customers. Ideally, though, you want to obtain plants that feature a variety of blooming times throughout your growing season and offer eye appeal in the off seasons, too fall color, unusual seed pods, striking bark, graceful shapes, etc. The youngster of a plant that could turn out to be stunning in your garden might not turn your head at the plant sale. Don t hesitate to ask if you need some insight into the coming beauty and forms before you. Finally, here s a partial list of our current offerings with just a taste of commentary to get your mouth watering, your eyes dancing, and your nose sniffing with anticipatory pleasure. Annual Veggies and Herbs We re offering several varieties of most veggies, many in six-packs or three-inch pots. Two delicious favorites offer great food value for the buck. The all-time most popular is potatoes, of course. To harvest early in the season, continued on next page gently dig up a few tubers from each plant after flowering. Late July and early August are probably the prime times for these new potatoes, which will have thinner skins and won t store as well as those you harvest after the plants start to die back. By the way, potatoes should be drip irrigated and can even be dry farmed to avoid fungal diseases that are so common here with our summer fogs. Whatever you do, avoid getting their foliage wet! The other scrumptious powerhouse that stores for months is winter squash; we ll be offering Delicata, Early Butternut, Waltham Butternut varieties. Harvest winter squash when the plants die back and the skins are hard to the touch so that when you scratch them, they don t show any green underneath. They keep beautifully in a cool, dark, dry box in a garage or closet, ideally on the north side of your house. Other favorites on sale this year include a wide variety of lettuces, lots of sweet and hot peppers, and a huge selection of cherry, heirloom, slicing, and paste tomatoes. For a full list of annual vegetables and herbs we ll be offering, check the catalogue you recently received, or go online to Annual Cut Flowers Boldest of the many annuals are the sunflowers. Renee s Garden sunflower seed donations have allowed us to bring you many stunning varieties that are sure to enliven your summer garden. We re offering both smaller ornamental and huge edible seed-producing varieties. If you want to protect your edible seed types from hungry birds, cut the heads early in the maturation process and dry them inside. You ll also enjoy Love Lies Bleeding, a dramatic, cascading, maroon-colored amaranth, along with traditional cut flower garden favorites as bachelor s buttons ( Blue Boy and Choice Mix ), foxglove ( Faerie Queen and Foxy ), hollyhock ( Black Watchman ), poppies, and zinnias. These and many others will add delightful colors, scents and textures to your garden and bouquets; see the complete list in your catalogue or the above web link. Perennial Vegetables/Fruits Among the usual favorites are two that are not so usual: cardoons and yakons. Cardoons look like overgrown grayish-green celery but are related to artichokes. Rather than eating the as-yet-unopened flowers, as we do with artichokes, with cardoons we eat the midrib or petiole of the inner leaves. Just trim the ends, remove the stringy fibers and the broad leaf surfaces, and cook the midribs until tender in a large pot of salted water with some cider vinegar or lemon juice added. They re also very ornamental and make a nice cut flower (not edible). Plants grow to about three feet by three feet with six-foothigh stalks that feature tight silvery gray buds. Cardoons are also a source of vegetable rennet used in cheese making. 2 Yakons, also known as Peruvian ground apples, are members of the sunflower family and produce bright yellow-orange flowers and soft, velvety heart shaped leaves. This exotic tuber is crisp and crunchy like jicama but tastes like a cross between apple and watermelon with a hint of sugarcane. It can be planted year round in frost-free areas and is relatively drought tolerant. Use it raw in salads or as juice or baked in fruit crumbles for dessert. You can also marinate it or grate over salads and soups. Other perennial food plants available this year are raspberries (five varieties), strawberries ( Seascape ) and rhubarb a great pie-making combination! Prime perennials Flowering perennials are the mainstay of the cottage garden. Combine sizes, shapes, and colors for eye-catching displays. Some long-time favorites available this year include dahlias, sedum Autumn Joy, heucheras in a range of colors from pink to plum to purple, and a variety of irises, including several in the Pacific Coast group. Also well represented will be English, French, and sweet lavenders, along with numerous salvia varieties and cultivars all require little water once established. Other notables include Veronica spicata Chadwick Especial, a namesake of the Chadwick Garden s founder; its two-foot-high stems sport tall lavender-colored blooms. Also available will be long-time favorite woolly lamb s ear (both Stachys byzantina cultivars and Stachys lanata) with their fuzzy foliage and cheerful blossoms. Roses are another cottage garden favorite, and we ll have a good cross section of rose classes and varieties available (see page 6 for descriptions of some of those on sale this year and a discussion of own root roses). For a complete perennials list, consult your catalogue or see California Natives Natives are always nice as ornamentals and for feeding and sheltering wildlife, and once established they don t need much water to thrive. If you re interested in attracting pollinators to your yard, the juncus, coffeeberry, toyon, and coast daisy are great choices. This year we ll also have on hand some beautiful native salvias, including Salvia mellifera (black sage), S. munzii, and S. spathacea (both yellow and red varieties), a favorite with hummingbirds. See the perennials list mentioned above for a complete list of our native plant offerings. Note: Farm & Garden staff and apprentices will be available to answer your questions about the plants for sale, and the Friends booth will be stocked with free gardening information handouts and merchandise for sale that helps to support the Apprenticeship training program. We encourage you to bring your own bags and boxes for your purchases, and we welcome donations of washed plastic 1-gallon and 4-inch pots in good condition. See page 4 for additional plant sale details. UCSC Farm & Garden Spring/early Summer Calendar of Events Friends Apprentice Reception Friday, April 24, 5:30 pm - 7 pm CASFS/UCSC Farm Join us in welcoming the class of 2009 apprentices to the Farm & Garden as they begin their six-month training course. Light refreshments will be served. Spring Gardening Workshop Saturday, April 25, 10 am - 1 pm CASFS/UCSC Farm Join Orin Martin to learn how to choose appropriate vegetable and flower varieties, and improve and prepare the soil for spring planting. Wear comfortable shoes and bring a snack. $15 for Friends members; $20 general public, payable the day of the workshop. This event is part of the Friends of the Farm & Garden s Victory Garden series on home food production. Grow a Farmer Month! May is Grow a Farmer month, a month of events and benefit efforts dedicated to raising money for the Apprenticeship housing project at the CASFS Farm at UCSC. Please see pages 4, 5 and 12 for details on the Grow a Farmer campaign, its supporters, and some of the many events that will be taking place as part of this fundraising campaign. Farm & Garden Spring Plant Sale Saturday, May 2, 10 am - 3 pm, and Sunday, May 3, 10 am - 2 pm Barn Theatre Parking Lot, UC Santa Cruz Note: Friends of the UCSC Farm & Garden have pre-entry priority, Saturday, May 2, 9 am 10 am Don t miss this chance to enhance your home and garden with organically grown flower, herb, and vegetable starts as well as perennial landscape plants and some perennial vegetables. Friends members receive 10% off all plant and merchandise purchases. See page 4 for additional details. All proceeds benefit the Apprenticeship Training Program in organic farming and gardening. Water-Saving Irrigation Saturday, May 16, 1 pm - 3 pm CASFS/UCSC Farm Faced with rationing and water shortages, conserving water is becoming more important than ever. Join Brent Greene of Edible Landscapes and Garden Design to learn about water-saving ideas and the latest applications for your garden and landscape. $20 for Friends members, $25 general public. No pre-registration necessary. This event is part of the Friends of the Farm & Garden s Victory Garden series on home food production. Strawberry Shortcake Festival Wednesday, May 20, 4 pm - 6 pm CASFS/UCSC Farm Enjoy organic strawberry shortcake, lemonade and coffee from the Community Agroecology Network as you listen to bluegrass tunes. This fundraiser supports limited-income shares in the CASFS Farm s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. $5 donation requested. Farm tours take place at 5 pm. Thanks to New Leaf Community Market, Clover Stornetta Farms, Straus Family Creamery, UCSC Dining, College 8, and the UCSC Bake Shop for their support. A Garden of Poetry and Music Saturday, June 27, 12 noon - 2 pm Alan Chadwick Garden, UCSC Join us for one of our favorite events as we gather in the Chadwick Garden for poetry and music from some of the region s most talented artists. Enjoy the Garden at its early summer best at this free event. Snacks provided; free parking at Stevenson College, across the street from the Chadwick Garden. Also coming up Life Lab Science Program Events! See page 11 for details If you d like more information about these events, need directions, or have questions about access, please call , or see our web site, Please note that we cannot accept credit card payments for classes or at the plant sale (cash or check only). Co-sponsored by the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems at UC Santa Cruz, and the Friends of the UCSC Farm & Garden. 3 Friends Members - Arrive Early at the Spring Plant Sale for Best Selection Take advantage of your Friends membership by enjoying early entry to the UCSC Farm & Garden s Spring Plant Sale on Saturday, May 2. Friends have shopping priority from 9 am to 10 am, with the sale opening to the general public from 10 am to 3 pm. On Sunday, May 3, the sale will open to everyone from 10 am to 2 pm. Friends members also receive a 10% discount on all plant and merchandise purchases. Please remember that we can only accept cash or checks for purchases. If you re not sure whether your membership will be current for this year s sale, take a look at the mailing label of this newsletter. If it says June 09 or later, your membership will be current for the sale. If your membership expires in May 09 or earlier, you can renew it at the sale on Saturday morning starting at 8:30 am, or contact us and we ll send you a membership envelope that you can bring with you or mail in prior to the sale. Call or send to to request a membership envelope, or if you have any questions about the status of your membership. You can also access a membership form at Shares in the 2009 CSA Program Still Available! We still have some shares available in the UCSC Farm s CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program, with pickups scheduled to start in early June. As a CSA member, you ll receive a season s worth of fresh and local organic produce, along with other benefits, including a complimentary membership to the Friends of the Farm & Garden. Shares for the 5-month season cost $440. A share is designed to feed a household of two or three for a week, or a larger family that perhaps doesn t cook every day but still wants to eat fresh, organic and local. Payment can be in full or divided up into two or four installments. If you d like to receive our CSA Brochure and Pledge Form or have any questions regarding the CSA program, please contact Crystal Jensen or Liz Milazzo at or More information and the CSA Brochure and Pledge Form are also available at csap.html. April & May Grow a Farmer Events in the Santa Cruz Area A number of local businesses, restaurants, organizations, and Apprenticeship graduates are helping to meet our Grow a Farmer campaign fundraising goal with donations and benefit events (see next page for more about the campaign and its supporters). Here are some of the events coming up in April and May in the Santa Cruz area. Check the Grow a Farmer website ( for additional details and for more events and sponsors as they join the campaign. Pizza Party Fundraiser Saturday, April 25, 12:30 sunset 333 Laurent Street, Santa Cruz River Cafe and Cheese Shop Benefit Day Saturday, May River Street Companion Bakers Benefit Saturday, May 2, 9 am 1 pm Westside Farmers Market 2801 Mission St., Santa Cruz Gabriella Café Benefit Monday, May Cedar Street, Santa Cruz Ristorante Avanti Benefit Monday, May Mission Street, Santa Cruz Engfer s Pizza Works Benefit Tuesday, May Seabright, Santa Cruz Poetry Reading and Music at Capitola Book Café Wednesday, May 6, 7 8:30 pm st Ave Please see page 12 of this issue for details Camp Joy Gardens Spring Garden Brunch Saturday, May 16, 11 am 1 pm Please RSVP for this benefit brunch by May 1 to Redwood Pizzeria Benefit Tuesday, May Hwy 9, Felton Other local businesses donating in May include TLC Ranch, The Buttery, Love Apple Farm, Roots of Wellness, Chocolate, Soif, La Posta, Matthew Sutton Yoga, and Verve Coffee Roasters. Please see the website, for details. 4 Grow a Farmer Campaign to Help Apprentice Housing Fundraising UCSC Farm & Garden Why are chefs, business owners, and individuals nationwide pitching in to help the Grow a Farmer campaign? It s because they recognize the importance of cultivating new organic farmers and gardeners who have the training and knowledge to grow and market fresh, delicious organic food while caring for the land and communities in which they work. For more than 40 years, that s the type of graduate the CASFS Apprenticeship program at UC Santa Cruz has been turning out. Since 1967, more than 1,200 apprentices have been trained in the organic fields, orchards, gardens and greenhouses at UCSC, and they ve taken their organic growing skills around the country and overseas to work as farmers, urban gardeners, chefs, educators, and leaders in the growing organic food movement. Program graduates include Claire Strader, recently elected White House Farmer in an online campaign; Cathrine Sneed, founder and director of the San Francisco County Jail s Garden Project; Karen Washington, who is helping develop small-scale farms in the Bronx and coordinates a weekly farmers market; Blair Randall, who helps run San Francisco s Garden for the Environment and was responsible for the Victory Garden in front of San Francisco City Hall last summer; and small-scale organic growers in the Monterey Bay region, around the country and abroad who have helped jump start the organic farming movement. Interest in the training program is at an all-time high a record 152 applicants competed for the 38 positions in the 2009 Apprenticeship. This year the Apprenticeship program is facing an unprecedented challenge: raise an additional $250,000 to fund the official on-site apprentice housing at the UCSC Farm (2009 will be the last year that apprentices will be allowed to live on site in their own tents during the sixmonth Apprenticeship). The University has approved plans for eight 4-room cabins that would allow for 32 apprentices to live at the UCSC Farm. This residential aspect of the program not only immerses apprentices in the cycles of farming, but has kept the Apprenticeship affordable to participants from across the U.S. and around the world. To keep the Apprenticeship as accessible as possible to the broadest possible range of participants, the Grow a Farmer Campaign ( has enlisted the help of farm-loving restaurants, businesses, organizations, and individuals to raise the needed $250,000. In December 2008 we started a big push to raise this final funding for the Apprentice Housing Project, and in four months (December 15th April 15th) we have raised $133,622, including a $10,000 donation that came in on the day the News & Notes went to press! Donations to date include $50,000 from Newman s Own Foundation $20,000 from obaboa Foundation as a challenge grant from Olivia Boyce-Abel $10,000 from an anonymous donor $10,000 from an Apprentice grad s father $33,622 from 170 people s individual contributions, ranging from $25 to $2,500 $10,000+ in gifts from business sponsors and pledges from others to date Many Santa Cruz area restaurants, businesses, and Apprenticeship grads have also lined up to help, including Gabriella Café, River Cafe & Cheese Shop, Camp Joy Gardens, Ristorante Avanti, Engfer s Pizza, TLC Ranch, Roots of Wellness, Love Apple Farm, Matthew Sutton Yoga, Capitola Book Café, Soif, La Posta, and Verve Coffee Roasters, with more joining the campaign every day. And on May 6th some of Santa Cruz s favorite poets will be doing a benefit reading at Capitola Book Café, along with music
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