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Monday, March 11, 2013

Got Compost: Artichokes Are Here!

Got Compost: Artichokes Are Here!: 1st artichoke planted 3/3 - we'll keep you posted on it's progress! Artichoke plants are now available in nurseries and garden ...

Artichokes Are Here!

1st artichoke planted 3/3 - we'll keep you posted on it's progress!
Artichoke plants are now available in nurseries and garden centers on the Central Coast! 
Planting is simple: space transplants 4 to 6 feet apart, adding plenty of compost into the soil.  Shoots should be just above the soil surface. 
Be sure to add a layer of compost as mulch around the base of the plant to keep the roots cool in the summer and retain moisture. 
Water whenever the soil beneath the mulch dries out.  Cut the plants almost down to the ground after harvesting the first crop in June and they will regrow, giving you a second crop in the Fall.
They might not be the prettiest, and they may be a tad prickly but artichokes remain some of our favorite veggies! Treat 'em right and they keep on giving, naturally! Click for more info.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

When Life Hands You Lemon Trees - Prune 'Em!

Lemon trees grow fast but that doesn’t mean we have to let them rule the yard. Pruning is vital to maintaining a healthy tree (and they’re very forgiving), so if you make what you feel was a major mistake, fear not. Give it a little time and the tree will grow past it. 
So why go to the trouble of pruning a lemon tree? To improve the health, beauty and growth of the tree, of course! Removing branches that appear sickly will stimulate growth in sparse areas of the tree, slowing down unwanted growth and conserving energy for fruit production.
This is also your chance to shape the tree any way you like (remember, it’s a forgiving tree.) Cut any sucker growth from below the graft and any growth on the trunk up to the first main branch.  Trim any branches that are growing cross ways in the tree and clean out branches in the center of the tree so air can circulate and light can get in. Click for a glossary of prunning terms.
Remove the growth that grows straight out of the top of the tree. Trim the limbs that hang down around the lower part of the tree so the 'skirt' of the tree is a couple feet above the ground. Most of your fruit will come from growth that has occurred in the last couple of years. By opening the center of the tree you will get bloom and fruit on the inside that is excellent quality.
Now, back up and look at the tree - if you can still see a few stray branches that need trimming, give 'em a *snip, snip* and you’re finished. When all looks good, take a seat, pour a glass of fresh lemonade and enjoy the view!
Of course, it's always a good idea to spread some high quality Harvest Blend Compost around the base of the tree to replenish soil organic matter, adding nutrients and increasing soil structure. Click for more info.