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Posts Tagged: peppers

Master Gardeners at the Erickson Ranch

The Master Gardeners have had a presence at the Erickson Ranch and Dahlia Farm for many years. We have gone to “the Ranch” as many as 3 to 5 times each growing season. We provide a support table with pest notes, compost information, copies of ‘Seeds for Thought’, and info related to the theme of the event.  

During the August event, the focus was on tomatoes, so we provided handouts about growing tomatoes, the vegetable planting guide by Dr. Robert Norris, and a page of the assorted tomato diseases and pests with photos. We had many clients with questions about their gardens and heard their stories about tomato successes and tomato failures. We answered questions and made suggestions for next year.

In September at the “all About Peppers” event, we provided the same support table but added info on planting peppers. We listened as people asked us how to get rid of white flies, tomato horn worms, and mildew on their plants.

Saturday was the last event for 2013 and the focus was on pumpkins. There were pumpkins to purchase, pumpkins to carve, and wagon rides out to the pumpkin patch. The Master Gardeners had the support table full of the usual information and added Halloween masks for the kids and instructions on how to build your own scarecrow. The families came in groups including grandparents, parents with babies in strollers and young children. The Erickson’s had their produce, flowers and jams for sale. The Charlie Wade Blues Band entertained the crowds. Nick, the BBQ man was cooking across the blacktop from Angelina’s biscotti table. Lucas was selling home grown plants while Cindy was making crafts with kids (headbands with fresh flowers being a favorite). Suisun Wildlife Rescue Center had an assortment of birds and reptiles on display. Under a white tent, children were carving pumpkins letting their creative juices flow. It was an entertainment extravaganza. And the best part of all was the six MG’s who volunteered in two shifts and were able to educate the crowds and enjoy the day! A real win-win!

Erickson Ranch entry. (photos by Sharon Rico)
Erickson Ranch entry. (photos by Sharon Rico)

Pumpkins.
Pumpkins.

Carving up pumpkins.
Carving up pumpkins.

Posted on Thursday, October 31, 2013 at 8:20 AM
Tags: dahlias (3), Erickson Ranch (1), events (1), Fairfield (6), peppers (4), pumpkins (5), tomatoes (28)

Inter-planting Fruit Trees With Veggies

Yes, you can have it all in a relatively small back yard space:  Fruit trees and veggies.  Our “mini orchard” is on an oblong plot that’s about 25x15’, a sunny plot that came with the house we bought last summer.   In that space there are 3 dwarf plums (Prunus spp.), 2 apricots (P. armeniaca), 3 cherry trees (P. avium), 2 peach trees (P. persica), and an apple (Malus domestica), all of unknown varieties.  Our fruit trees are about 5 or 6 year old mostly dwarfs (I think), and if not, they got dwarfed anyway by my pruning saw and loppers last December, when I pruned both for shape and fruit production.  My rule of thumb with fruit trees is that if it is higher than I can reach, it gets lopped off.  This permits easy picking of the fruit and avoids the need for ladders.  The pruning and thinning of the foliage, which I do about once per month (see photos) also allows more nutrients to get to the fruit, besides giving those veggies planted in between their 6-8 hours of sun.

The veggies we have include 6 tomato plants (Solanum lycopersicum) in cages, 2 clumps of squashes (Curcurbita pepo), Japanese eggplant (Solanum melongena), bell peppers (Capsicum annuum), a lemon cucumber (Cucumis sativus), 3 hollyhocks (Alcea setosa), and 2 sunflowers (Helianthus annuus).  The tomatoes have been so productive we have to give the surplus to neighbors and friends.  The eggplant and peppers have been slower to mature but nonetheless very tasty in stir-fries, especially with added portabella mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus) and fresh chard (Beta vulgaris), the chard grown in one of our raised beds in another location of the yard.

And so, another example of when less (space) is more (more intensively gardened).

UC Davis has a publication called The California Backyard Orchard, which you may find useful for tips on pruning, both in the dormant season in during the spring and summer months.  See homeorchard.ucdavis.edu.

Apricot. (photos by Bud Veliquette)
Apricot. (photos by Bud Veliquette)

Apple tree, peppers and tomatoes.
Apple tree, peppers and tomatoes.

IMG 1082
IMG 1082

Vine-ripening tomatoes.
Vine-ripening tomatoes.

Posted on Monday, July 22, 2013 at 10:58 AM
Tags: apples (6), chard (1), fruit trees (2), interplanting (1), mushrooms (4), peppers (4), tomatoes (28), veggies (1)

Fresno takes another stab at agritourism

This weekend, agriculture, food and entertainment converge in Fresno when the city launches what organizers hope will be an annual Chili Pepper Festival, according to an article in the Fresno Bee.

The Fresno festival joins a host of agricultural festivals around the state, notably the Gilroy Garlic Festival, the Selma Raisin Festival, the Kingsburg Watermelon Festival, the Castroville Artichoke Festival and the Stockton Asparagus Festival. A chili pepper festival is particularly appropriate for Fresno, the Bee article said, since hot food and hot weather can be cleverly combined in a community that has its own namesake hot chili pepper.

The Fresno chili pepper is hotter than a jalapeño, savory and the centerpiece of Saturday's event. Usually red, but sometimes yellow and green, the name includes several varieties, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor Manual Jimenez told Bee reporter Bethany Clough. Some varieties grow upward, with their skinny ends pointing toward the sky, Jimenez said.

Wikipedia reports that, because the Fresno chili is riper and redder than the jalapeño, it has more vitamin C. Fresno chilis are an excellent source of B vitamins, and contain significant amounts of iron, thiamin, niacin, magnesium and riboflavin. They are low in calories, fat and sodium.

Many small-scale growers include chilis as part of their vegetable production systems. A few years ago, Jimenez planted more than 200 varieties in plots at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center and invited farmers to observe for themselves which ones they might want to cultivate.

Chili peppers pointing skyward.
Chili peppers pointing skyward.

Posted on Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 9:17 AM
Tags: chili peppers (1), Manuel Jimenez (11), peppers (4)

About Those Pickled Peppers

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Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers;A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked;If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,Where's the...

Foraging Honey Bee
Foraging Honey Bee

A HONEY BEE sips nectar from the flower of a pepper plant. Without the pollination services of the honey bee, there would be no peppers. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Packing Pollen
Packing Pollen

PACKING POLLEN, a honey bee forages in a pepper plant. Peppers are among the vegetables planted in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven at UC Davis. The grand opening celebration is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 11. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Friday, August 20, 2010 at 8:29 PM
 
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