Onions is a challenging crop in which to achieve good weed control. They are planted in high density configurations that preclude the effective use of cultivation. Cultural practices such as locating plantings in fields have low weed populations, as well...
Happy New Year! It’s too cold in Tulelake for field work, so I’m busy summarizing 2013 research results. Today I posted a progress report on the Intermountain Research and Extension Center (IREC) website summarizing results for our...
Weed control in onions can be challenging. Onions have various challenges that make weed control difficult. They grow slowly early in the crop cycle and never achieve a good competitive crop canopy to suppress weeds. Also, given the high density...
Onion Weed Control Materials and Timing
Davis Wednesday afternoon farmers' market can be quiet in December, so what better time to learn a little about what's going on back at the farms? Every farmer I talked with today had delicious treats to sell and a story to tell. Here are a few:
Did you know that Gridley is the kiwi capital of America? There used to be a kiwi festival and a kiwi queen, but that all got too expensive for Gridley's kiwi farmers quite a few years ago, Frank Stenzel reports. He's getting ready to start pruning his 14 acres of kiwi vines next week; pruning will take a crew of 12 about two weeks. After pruning, each of the 25 or 30 canes on each kiwi vine will need to be tied to a trellis, very much like grape vines, to be ready for next year's growth.
The fuzzy green fruit for sale today from Stenzel's Kiwi Farm was harvested late in October and has been held in cold storage at 32 degrees since then. The fruit will last about six months stored this way, allowing Stenzel to bring out what he needs, grade it by size, let it ripen a little, but sell it while it's still firm. When you bring your kiwis home, let them ripen three or four days more for the best flavor.
Now that the weather is getting colder, the older chickens at Annette Jones' Islote Farms in Esparto have started molting. For a few weeks, they will lose feathers and stop laying eggs. But Jones isn't worried; in fact, she planned for this. Younger hens are picking up the slack because they hatched later in springtime and are just starting to lay eggs in December and January. The older hens can take their much needed break while the youngsters get busy. The fresh eggs from the younger hens are available at the market today in small and medium sizes. When springtime comes, all the birds will be laying again and eggs will be plentiful.
On Federico Toledo's Toledo Farm in Lodi, his son, brother, brother-in-law and other family members are busy planting this month - cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, beets, cilantro, carrots, onions and curly parsley. What they're planting now will be at the farmers markets in March, April and May, if the weather cooperates. The 20 long rows of onions going in now will yield green onions in February and March, full-size fresh onions in April and May, and then dry onions in June and July. Today's market table has stories too: The last red tomatoes of the year are for sale today; they were picked green in November and ripened with a heater. The winter squash was actually grown in summer and harvested in August - it gets sweeter over the months and keeps well in winter. The persimmons, grapefruit, lemons and apples were all fresh-picked by the farm family.
All the rice has been harvested now at Robin Harlan's Bullfrog Farms in Winters, and the 3,000 hives of Bullfrog Bees are getting pollen patties to make it through the winter since there aren't enough blossoms to keep them fed without help this time of year. There's time now for bottling the honey; it's been stored in big stainless steel barrels since the Harlans harvested it in the summer. Bullfrog Farms grows more than 200 acres of almond trees which start blooming in January, so the bees will have blossoms very soon to pollinate and pollen to gather for more honey. After working in the Bullfrog orchards, they'll go to Blue Diamond almond orchards, and then to orange groves in Winters. Local honey is the sweet result of these hard-working bees.
Todd Evans works at certified organic Mount Moriah Farms in Clements. Today he's selling crisp Fuji and Pink Lady apples. Up until two days ago, Evans, farm owner Steve Smit, and a couple of other guys were harvesting apples. Now they're getting ready to prune all the trees, which will take the four of them about a month. The apples should last in storage until about May, just long enough for the cherries to be ready.
Give it a try - visit your local winter farmers market and learn some new stories!
To find farmers' markets in your community, visit the UC small farm program's California Agriculture Tourism Directory.
Californians can take advantage of our abundant sunshine and temperate climate in order to grow fruit and vegetables they can truly call their own. Gardening has some very obvious rewards, giving gardeners the freshest fruits, vegetables and herbs possible. If you are a cook, adding a garden to your backyard will pay dividends all year long.
Typical suburban backyard vegetable garden. Raised beds, compost boxes and a trellis for climbing plants are visible. Large amount of fencing requires planning for proper sun exposure during the growing season.
In order to get the greatest benefit of this fantastic produce, make sure you tailor your garden to your own needs. No reason to raise a beautiful crop of broccoli or swiss chard if your family won't eat it! Tomatillos may be seen as specialty crop for some, but an important part of the garden for others. Plant what you will eat, so you will eat what you plant.
These onions came from a garden tailored to the cook's tastes. Onions and garlic are prevalent in the garden, as are zucchini, tomatoes, tomatillos and herbs.
As well as growing crops you will eat, think of the potential for storage for your produce. Handled correctly, both onions and garlic are receptive to long term storage. Tomatoes can be canned, herbs can be dried. Other crops like cantaloupe, honeydew, zucchini and corn are best eaten fresh. Plan your garden accordingly.
Growing your own vegetables gives you ownership of your own food system. These bulbs of garlic were pulled up while still young, providing a milder and more subtle flavor. Young potatoes, baby carrots and squash flowers are all available to the home gardener.
Getting your hands dirty in the garden is great- but at the end of the day, you need to eat. Cooking a fantastic dish starts with great ingredients. When those ingredients come from your own garden, things just seem to taste a bit better.
Onions, garlic and seasonal produce picked just before preparing a meal. Herbs include basil, rosemary, thyme, parsley and oregano. Herbs can be placed all throughout the garden as an attractive filler between vegetables or flowers.
Roasted Chicken and Onions (A good way to use a lot of onions!)
6-8 chicken thighs. Bone-in, skin removed.
4 large onions yellow or red - sliced 1/4-1/2" wide
3 garlic cloves - minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon paprikaThe following herbs to taste
- recommend approximately 1/3 cup of combined chopped herbs, pick what is fresh and available in your garden.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Dust chicken with paprika
- In a roasting pan, casserole dish or dutch oven toss all ingredients in order to coat chicken and onions with oil and herbs
- Bake dish uncovered for 25 minutes, toss all ingredients again, and bake until done- approximately 25 minutes more. Ensure juices run clear when chicken is pierced with knife or fork.
Use extra onions to cover rice or vegetables.
Roasted chicken served with stir-fried garden vegetables (zucchini, chard, onions and herbs) and seasoned with fresh herbs from the garden, topped with roasted onions.