The gift that keeps giving

 I am talking fruit trees, vines, and bushes. It seems so often the gifts we are told are "in" this year turn out to be just so much fluff. How about the timeless gift of hope and joy?  It's said that if you really want to make a statement about the future, plant a tree. We have all sorts of fun and useful fruit trees and bushes to give this year. Have a beer maker in the family? Why not give hops this year? Hops are fast and easy to grow, providing a beautiful vine to shade the patio, and wonderfully fragrant flowers to make beer with. 

Speaking of vines, we have a hardy kiwi vine that will withstand the coldest of foothill and mountain temperatures. Need a cold tolerant blueberry? We have several varieties to chose from. Blueberries are fantastic container plants, so you can place them anywhere they can receive a days sunshine. 

Sure to please anyone who likes apples, "Honeycrisp" is the hot topic theses days. Its sweetness, firmness, and tartness make it an ideal apple for eating raw. It has much larger cells than most apples, which rupture when bitten to fill the mouth with juice. The Honeycrisp also retains its pigment well and boasts a relatively long shelf life when stored in cool, dry conditions.

All our fruit trees and bushes come in containers so you don't have to plant them right away. Some of these varieties are very popular and will sell out, so don't delay. Get what you want, store right outside, and plant before spring. If you have never planted a fruit tree we can fill you in on the right way to do it for our area. 


New skin and hair care line from The Golden Gecko

Our line of all-natural skin care products grows with the addition of our three lip-balm's. Made from our bees wax, and all natural ingredients. When you use these they will keep those lips from cracking, and you'll be supporting the bees and our efforts to combat bee decline in our area. Available in two flavors, Peppermint and Honey Coco, as well as one unscented. These are made with care here in Garden Valley by Guinevere's Garden, our neighbor. $3.50 ea.

What did we harvest today?

Here is the latest harvest from our small farm behind the nursery. The peppers are really coming along strong. Jalapeno, Padrone, Fresno Chili, and more. Rattlesnake and purple beans are ready. "Rattlesnake Beans" are a tender, refreshing edible podded bean. Beautiful, 7 inch long, purple striped green beans appear on tall plants in summer. When pods are left on the plant to mature and dry, they reveal auburn and brown speckled seeds that are scrumptious in warming winter soups and stews. "Purple Podded Beans", are a delicious heirloom discovered in the Ozark mountains by Henry Fields in the 1930’s and is still requested by many old-timers of this region. The pods are bright purple, stringless, and tender.

Zucchini and cucumbers (both slicing and pickling) are also available. All organically grown right here!

Lots of peppers and beans today

Lots of peppers and beans today

Purple and Rattlesnake beans.

Purple and Rattlesnake beans.

Today's vegetable selection

Organic vegetables from our farm are starting to come with more frequently. Tomatoes are still a week out, but as you can see we have loads of other summer fruits. Pickling and slicing cucumbers,  garlic, "Gold Bar" squash, "Black Beauty" zucchini, and peppers. In peppers we have "Black Hungarian", "Gypsy", "Jalapeno", "Padrone" , and "Fresno Chili". Potatoes and "Rattlesnake" beans round out today selection. Oh, and lots of picked daily Basil!

Remember, we are closed on Mondays!

Blossom end rot, a common problem

Starting to see Blossom End Rot on samples of tomatoes brought in by customers. We even have it on some of our tomatoes. It also occurs on squash, and peppers. Usually the "blossom end" of the fruit develops a black spot that eventually destroys the fruit. It's very common, and fortunately an easy cure. The number one reason for it is a "calcium deficiency". Calcium is an important nutrient, that is sometimes lacking in our soil, or in the soilless mixes we use. We use a product called, Foli-Cal, which when mixed with water and applied will quickly remedy the situation. The fruit that is stricken won't get better, but new fruit will be OK! Don't delay, feed with Foli-cal today! 

Try the Padrón pepper for your next tapas.

 In Spain “tapas” are a wide variety of appetizers, or snacks. Tapas are designed to encourage conversation, because people are not so focused upon eating an entire meal that is set before them. One fantastic food for tapas is The Padrón Pepper.

These small-fruited peppers originated in Galicia, northwest Spain, where the bite-sized green fruits are sauteed in olive oil and served with coarse-ground sea salt in tapas bars across the country. Also fine for pickled peppers; the heat increases as they ripen to red. The Padrón is an authentic regional variety. These peppers are grown along the banks of the river Ulla and its tributary Sar, especially in the greenhouses of the municipality of Padrón, hence the name. This pepper is also currently grown in various places of southern Spain and Morocco.

We have limited supply of organically grown Padrón started plants for 2.99 ea. We also have over 10 different varieties of peppers available. 

Behold The "Czerno Krimski"

The "Black Krim" Tomato originates from the Isle of Krim in the Black Sea, near the Crimean Peninsula of Ukraine. Soldiers returning home from the Crimean War, in the late 19th century, gathered these seeds and began sharing them.

A true 'beefsteak' tomato, since the fruits are both large with a very 'meaty' but with juicy firm, delicious flesh. A favorite out here on The West Coast for sandwiches, many say it's "ugly" looking. I find it intriguing, and pleasantly unlike the almost to perfect looking red tomatoes we see in the store. Besides, its flavor makes it well worth it's unique appearance.

They are not always easy to find in the grocery store so most people grow them to assure a steady supply during the summer, and fall. Since they are an heirloom type of tomato, the seeds can be saved and planted next season. It’s one of our more popular varieties at the nursery and our home where we can grill them on the BBQ.

San Marzano, the best paste tomato

Considered by chefs as the best paste tomato in the world.  Compared to the Roma Tomato, San Marzano tomatoes are thinner and more pointed. The flesh is much thicker with fewer seeds, and the taste is stronger, sweeter and less acidic. Also, unlike the Roma Tomato  San Marzano vines are indeterminate and have a somewhat longer season than other paste tomato varieties. As is typical of heirloom plants, San Marzano is an open-pollinated variety that breeds true from generation to generation, making seed saving practical for the home gardener or farmer.

According to Wikipedia, "the first seed of the San Marzano tomato came to Campania in 1770, as a gift from the Viceroyalty of Peru to the Kingdom of Naples, and that it was planted in the area that corresponds to the present commune of San Marzano sul Sarno. They come from a small town of the same name near Naples, Italy, and were first grown in volcanic soil in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius.

In the United States, San Marzano tomatoes are the genetic base for another popular paste tomato, the Roma Tomato.  The Roma is a cross between a San Marzano and two other varieties (one of which was also a San Marzano hybrid), was introduced by the USDA in 1955.

We have a limited quantity of organically grown San Marzano starts  for 2.99.

Our organically grown summer vegetables have arrived!

Our first organically grown summer vegetable starts have arrived. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and more. While I still think its a bit early to plant for me, lots of people have warmer microclimates, or just want to give it a try. We also still have plenty of spring vegetables like lettuce, broccoli, pak choi, and peas. So whatever you decide, its time to get planting! 

Earwigs are out to destroy your seedlings!

With new vegetable and flower seedlings going in some people are reporting what appears to be chewing going on. No pests are seen, but the leaves start to look like swiss cheese with all the holes. This pictures shows the classic damage from "earwigs", or "pincer bugs". The reason they are not seen during the day is they are nocturnal (operate at night) and come sunrise they hide under rocks, hay, potted plants, just about anywhere it's dark. 

Here at the nursery we use "Sluggo Plus" to get prevent and get rid of earwig damage. Sluggo Plus is the safest and most effective killer and barrier of snails and slugs we have ever used here at the nursery. Its active ingredient is iron phosphate, which is completely safe for pets and wildlife. (It also contains a small amount of spinosad, which is what kills the earwigs.) And as it decomposes, it becomes a fertilizer your garden will really appreciate! Available in 1lb, and 2.5 lb sizes. 1 lb will treat up to 2000 sq. ft.

Vegetables or lawn during drought?

Interesting article in The Sacramento Bee concerning whether to garden this year because of the drought.  It follows the same thinking we have here at the nursery. Use water to grow your food, and make cut backs in the ornamental side of the garden. From the article, "How much water do tomatoes need? Or more specifically, how much does a full-size fruit-bearing tomato plant need to get through a Sacramento summer while providing a good crop of flavorful tomatoes? The average is 5 gallons a week – less than that needed by a square foot of lawn." Wow!

The article continues, "In the vegetable garden, opt for lower-water crops such as legumes (garbanzo beans, limas, tepary beans, etc.), cucumbers, melons, cantaloupe and squash. Skip the corn (it takes more water than lawn), but concentrate on crops that produce a lot of food with what water they get. That includes peppers, eggplant and, of course, tomatoes."

There is no question that growing your own healthy, safe food is the right thing to do, drought or not. We must eat, and either you, or some farmer in the Central Valley is going to use that water to grow or raise that food. 

Maybe it's time to replace that lawn with something you can eat?


Soil Moist Natural Water Storing Granules


Soil Moist Natural is a grafted starch polymer designed to reduce plant waterings by 50% and last in the soil for an entire season. The organic starch in Soil Moist Natural is derived from corn. Soil Moist Natural is completely safe and biodegradable. The product will hold several hundred times it weight in tap water and readily releases it back to the plant as the soil dries out. Ideal for hanging baskets, annual beds and vegetables.

Use 1 teaspoon per 10" container. The product must be incorporated into the soil at the root level.

3oz. 4.99, 8 oz. 9.99, 1 lb. 16.99, 3lb. 39.99