Tuesday, August 26, 2008

2009 Master Gardener Calendar

(Colorful cover art and interior black & white and semi-transparent illustrations by Susan Poirier)

I'm enjoying my advance copy of the 2009 Sacramento County UC Master Gardeners Gardening Guide and Calendar. This year's popular theme is "Savoring Home Grown". Printed on off-white recycled paper with embedded bits of color flecks, each month features harvest-ready vegetables.

For instance, September tells you it's time to harvest melons, how to determine ripeness and how to store your melons once picked. There's plenty of space to add your own notes on the calendar pages.

In addition to Harvest This Month, other categories include:

Garden Maintenance
Pest Notes
Be Water Wise
Try Something New

At the back of the calendar, you'll find two very handy charts-

Vegetables: A Guide for Cultivation in the Sacramento Area Sacramento Vegetable Planting Schedule (Yes!)

And finally...
How to Have a Happy Lawn

Calendars are available at the UC Cooperative Extension Office, 4145 Branch Center Road, Sacramento, 875-6913 and soon at most nursery locations in the Sacramento County area.

Here's to a delicious new year!

Monday, August 25, 2008

UC Davis Good Life Garden

Hey, fellow foodie gardeners... check this out!

Click on thumbnail for large version (PDF) or visit the website: http://goodlifegarden.ucdavis.edu/events/

When: Saturday, September 27, 2008
Where: Sciences Lecture Hall & Courtyard
Time: 4:30 pm
Includes: Three speakers and a "Taste of the Region"
Cost: $75 per Person

You can buy tickets online.

NatureSweet's Homegrown Tomato Challenge

Hey, a fellow Carmichaelian won the grand prize!

NatureSweet Tomatoes congratulates Bob Peruch of Carmichael for winning the $2,500 grand prize in the small tomato category at the August 23 Homegrown Tomato Challenge. Peruch won the competition with his Gardeners Delight variety of tomatoes. NatureSweet Tomatoes also congratulates Lin Cole of Citrus Heights for winning the other $2,500 grand prize in the large tomato category. Cole won the competition with her unknown variety of tomatoes. This year’s competition was held at the Raley’s located at 25025 Blue Ravine Road in Folsom.

While Peruch and Cole can now claim to be two of America’s best tomato gardeners, they each faced stiff competition by the following runners-up, who all received a $250 store voucher for their premium tomato entries: August Spagnolo (Sweet 100), Kaitlyn Shupe (Small Cherry),Jan Decker (Bonnie Hubby),and Bryan Sattler (Black Krim).

Six finalists were chosen from 280 entries. NatureSweet’s distinguished judges included Pat Rubin, The Sacramento Bee; Robbie Guggenheim, Edible Sacramento; Michael Marks, Your Produce Man; Al Pierleoni, The Sacramento Bee; Judy McClure, Sacramento County Master Gardeners, Chuck Person, Sacramento Kings Assistant Coach; and Michael Schutt, Raley’s.

Finalists were chosen based on a Brix test which determines tomato sweetness -- the higher the Brix number, the better the taste. The finalists were then taste-tested by the judge’s panel. All tomato entries – approximately 600 pounds of tomatoes – were donated to the Twin Lakes Food Bank after the Challenge.

Now in its sixth year, the popular Homegrown Tomato Challenge continues to trek across the country as NatureSweet seeks out America’s best homegrown tomatoes.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

What's my name?

I'm cute, about a foot tall, have slightly succulent-looking foliage, and am growing in full sun at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens in Fort Bragg, California. Sadly, I have no identification. Can anybody tell me my name, preferably in Latin?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

North Star Nursery

Finally... both free time and motivation bumped into each other at the same and I'm blogging more of my Mendo trip. After my second visit to the nearby Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, I popped into North Star Nursery. I was looking for fairy wands (none in stock), but left with a few succulents and a fun new phormium. Love the peace sign... and how great are those pillow stepping stones... and no, they wouldn't be "so easy to make". You go right ahead.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Nouvelle Images Home Stickers

At super cool Racine's Office & Art Supplies in Fort Bragg, CA, I was wowed by their display of Nouvelle Images Home Stickers. These larger than life photo-realistic wall stickers are fabulous! I was torn between their selection of iceland poppies, saucer magnolias, stones and orchids, and Japanese anemones. In the end, the Japanese anemones lured me with their pink daintiness. When in doubt, pick pink I always say. Works especially well for flowers, lipstick and cute tops. May not work as well with cars, houses and financial portfolios.

Check these out. Seriously, you're gonna love 'em. If you can't find them locally, try amazon.com or allposters.com.

Naked Ladies

My Naked Ladies (Amaryllis belladonna) are blooming right now in my Carmichael yard, and they were also blooming (some just spiking) in Mendocino during my trip a couple weeks ago. I wanted to point out this website showing pics of a wide variety of Naked Lady hybrids. The link appeared at the end of a recent S.F. Chronicle article. My friend, Weeder, has some and I wonder if they're as tough as A. belladonna. They're pretty... and tempting to someone who doesn't just garden, but also collects. Pictured above is a variety growing in Weeder's garden. x Amarcrinum?

Monday, August 11, 2008

A mere morsel...

of Mendocino. Here I am (behind my sexy camera), shopping at the nursery... at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. Have I died and gone to Heaven? Yes! Wait... there's more... they happen to serve the best handmade ice cream on the planet... in the most beautiful place (I've seen so far) on the planet. I highly recommend the coffee ice cream. Extensively researched. The grilled cheese panini sandwich was no slouch, either. Hey, and you know what? The man next in line was from Sacramento. Small world... town... whatever. Stay tuned for more pics.