October 2016


News Archive

Betty Nostrand, Editor
Molly Fisher, Publisher

President's Letter

Hallelujah our first rain has arrived! I'm feeling like it is really fall now.

The summer squashes have mildew on their leaves and the baby squashes just aren't thriving so it's time to pull them out. I still have a few tomatoes left to pick but it's getting to be that time to switch gears from the end of the summer garden to either planting a winter garden (greens, beets, carrots, radishes, broccoli, garlic, leeks, onions, to name a few) or preparing our beds for winter. If you were lucky enough to attend our Edible Garden Group meeting at Jim O'Laughlin's, you learned about planting cover crops to enrich the soil for the spring garden, or adding compost and a mulch cover to keep the soil from eroding, while feeding your soil for the next season.

As for the flower garden, my mums are sure putting on a show right now! With the soil so thoroughly watered, now would be a great time to get your spring bulbs in the ground. If you plant them in containers, pansies are a great choice to make the pot look pretty now, and will look great as the bulbs grow through them in the spring. Do look for your "fall garden art" in your garages. I get so sidetracked at times that the season is halfway past, before I remember what is stored. I remember the scarecrows and pumpkins on garden stakes that I didn't find 'til I looked for the Christmas themed ones last year, and I don't want to make that mistake again this year!

Happy Fall Gardening! Lori Martin - Co-President

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Misc. Items of Interest

...we received our membership cards from the state garden club organization and if you didn't get yours at the Oct. meeting, please contact Dean Burnett or pick it up at the Nov. meeting. The cards will entitle you to discounts at many nurseries and public gardens.

...Roy Eckhard was the lucky winner of our Plant of the month in Oct. - an asclepsis from Western Garden Nursery. Our many thanks to them for supplying this beautiful butterfly nectar plant!

...We have extra Yearbooks available for $1 each. You should have your first copy, either by picking it up at a meeting or by mail. If you haven't received the Yearbook, be sure someone else did not pick it up for you and that you have paid your dues for this year.

...our June meeting will be held in Livermore at the Rec. Center on East Ave. as school will be out for the summer so Alisal School will not be available to us.

...if you bring catalogs or magazines to share on the freebie table, please be sure to take any leftovers home with you so we don't add to the cleanup waste. Everyone has been doing a great job of cleaning up around their seats and I think the agenda on the screen is working out well.

...don't forget to check on the website - www.LAVGC.org - for the latest information on activities and pictures. We also now have a Member's Only page that contains the roster and videos of recent speakers at our regular club meetings. Members may email the Co-Presidents to obtain the Id and password.

...The Alameda Co. Master Gardeners will be presenting a workshop on Saturday, November 12 on "How to Make Compost". The presentation will be at the Master Gardener Demo Garden at 10:00 am. The demo garden is located in the Martinelli Center at 7535 Greenville Rd. in Livermore. Our very own Erica Dedon will be doing the presentation.

...Long time garden club member available for house/plant/pet sitting. Lots of experience and references. Available for 2-3 weeks at a time. Alamo, Danville, San Ramon, Dublin, Pleasanton areas. Would stay overnight. Reasonable rate. See the LAVGC Yearbook for Olivia Cox's contact information.

...Holiday gift idea! Kim Billingsley is offering our daffodil logo in full color embroidered on a shirt, jacket, sweatshirt, for cost! You bring her your choice of clothing article. A smaller logo for the chest is just $10 and the larger back logo is $15. Get her your clothing item, and the appropriate payment (exact change please). This might make a great gift for a garden club friend. See the LAVGC Yearbook for Kim's contact information.

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November noodlings.................in the garden

...well we certainly got our first rain of the season! And then some! Hope you had more time than I did in the subsequent week while the soil was nice and damp to do any digging, planting and dividing that you needed to do. It's best not to walk on the wet beds, but you can use boards to spread out the pressure or else do the digging from paths.

...last month I talked about fertilizer and what the 3 numbers and letters meant on containers and of course I got it wrong. The N is for nitrogen and it does green up the plant and the K (third number) is potassium and an all-around nutrient but the second P is for Phosphorus, not potash, and it is what encourages blooms on plants! I was right on two out of 3! But I apologize for the misinformation!

...and Fall has certainly started to fall......at least around my house. The trees are so wonderfully colorful before they shed their glory. We watered our street trees with recycled water this summer and fall and they are looking better and turning color before dropping their leaves more this year than they have in the last few years. In recent years the leaves have just sort of dried up and fallen off and don't color up much. The leaves make great mulch quickly if you can run them through a lawn mower but will eventually go to compost even if you can't. Maybe with the exception of magnolia leaves - those things stay around forever! If you use the leaves as mulch, be sure they are not touching the trunks or stems of plants as this can cause rot, especially in the winter months with Mediterranean and native plants. If the leaves are large be sure they are not forming a solid mat that will cause water to just run off and never get down to the soil.

...I got the succulent craze even before it was trendy in the last couple years because I needed something that would survive when we were gone for four months over the summer. So when I bought them I always made sure they were not too frost tender since I don't move them around when it gets cold. This summer I learned that I need to know if they can tolerate our summers too. You think succulents love hot but the truth is that's right when the "hot" is 85 degrees but many aren't so happy at 95+. Now in the fall I need to be sure I pick the fallen tree leaves off of them so that they don't retain moisture on the top middle of the plant. The fallen leaves are a great mulch under most garden beds and pots but not so much if there are succulents there.

...now's is a good time to be poking those sweet pea seeds in the ground. Protect tender new growth from the birds and munching insects but next spring you'll have glorious, fragrant blooms. You can put nasturtium seeds in too - both are the size of dried peas so are easy to just push into damp soil with your finger. Other good things to plant now for winter color are pansies, calendulas, Iceland poppies, fairy primroses and violas. I find freesia bulbs also give fragrant blooms in early spring and come back year after year. You can just shove these in with your finger too.

...I have visited several public gardens lately and have been surprised at how little they are maintained! Makes me appreciate our work at the Sensory Garden, Hansen Park, and Camp Arroyo. I think City and park budgets have almost eliminated gardeners that know anything about plants and just have people that mow and blow. After design and installation we need to remind them that plants need knowledgeable attention periodically.

...it's not too early to start thinking of holiday gifts for gardening friends and relatives. One good idea that keeps on giving throughout the year is a membership in a local horticultural organization or a subscription to a gardening magazine. The Botanical gardens (Tilden, U.C. and San Francisco) are priceless repositories of our plant specimens and deserve a lot of support, and membership means free access to these treasures.

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