Grow Y’own Fall/Winter Newsletter 2015

October 1, 2014


   The Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta is over! The  Farmer’s Market is loaded with fruits and veggies waiting to be canned. I’ll be undertaking my traditional all-Sunday canning of 10 different kinds of hot peppers, with carrots, onions, garlic, and fresh oregano, with Tahitian lime vinegar and Sicilian lemon olive oil! Nothing better to reach for in mid-Winter when the winds are whipping about outside, the snow is flying, and our bodies are begging for some internal heat.

   It’s the start of October, and already the weather is forecasting cool temps and possibly some good moisture. Its time to get your Fall/Winter gardens going, set up your heat systems, and order your Winter covers (please don’t wait till the last minute!). We are ready and available to come over and clean out your bed(s), mix in some good Winter fertilizers, plant more if necessary, repair any faulty covers, and get you snugged up for the cooler months ahead. You can call anytime to 466-0393 or 490-1849 for appointments. If you live out of the Santa Fe area, I am always available for free consultation and information at either This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or  by phone. If this is your first Winter growing experience, then I want to make it as productive as possible. If you’ve done this before, then maybe I can help make it a better growing season for you.

   When the temps hit 42 or below, its time to put on   your Winter covers at night. During the day, as it   warms up, you can fold the cover back up on itself ½ way, and clip it. Then in the evening, just unclip , pull it down, and tie it off. This way, you don’t have to take it all the way off, and have it blowing around, and possibly catching in the cholla or rose bushes! Its also a good idea to get your heat system set up, if that’s what you choose to do. Replacing the bulb, or adding a 10”ceramic pot, with an EZ Heat 38 plug, and a new bulb and line setup, allows you to be ready if the temps decide to take a sudden dive. If your covers need repair, we can do those for you, or, if they’re minor, you can use the black Gorilla tape to mend them yourselves. Either way, it’s a good way to get extra mileage out of your covers, and carry you through the Winter.

   As far as your drip system and automatic timer is concerned, when the temps start to hit freezing, its time to take your Orbit timer (or one that you may have installed) off, and put it away for the Winter. The timer(s) have chambers inside that are filled with water, and if they freeze, the timer will explode or implode. Not good either way. So take it off, and get ready to water by hand till early Spring. You can always connect the pipe that runs to your bed, and turn it on manually for the same amount of time that you’ve been watering. As Fall and Winter get on, you will water less and less. Possibly once a month.

The best way to check for water necessity, is to stick your finger into the soil down about 1-1-1/2” inches. If its moist, don’t water. If the plants look like they need a little lift, water a little bit. Just don’t soak out the environment inside your bed. Its like a terrarium,and will be very water conserving and hold the moisture adequately. If the temps stay above freezing, then continue to use your automatic drip till the temps drop to close to 32.

   Again, if you live in the Santa Fe area, Agua Fria Nursery has tons of starts- chards, kales, arugulas, lettuces, spinach, orange mint Chinese cabbage, sorrel,broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, herbs, and more. You can also buy Age Old Grow fertilizer products, Yum Yum winterizing mix, Maxfield’s potting mix to refresh the aeration of your soil, or anything else you may need to create a better growing environment inside your bed.

   During the daytime, you can still leave your Summer covers clipped ½ way open, or leave your screened ends open, for better bed aeration. It is advisable to put them down at night, especially if you don’t have your Winter covers on. This gives your plants a chance to get some extra warmth before the sun rises the next day.

   If you’re set up on drip systems, then be ready to disconnect your timers if the temps are going to freeze at night. They have chambers inside of them, which are filled with water, and will explode if frozen. You can also disconnect your water line attachment to your bed, and reattach it and the faucet end if you want to manually water.

   If your plants are looking a bit peaked or worn out, then put in some fresh starts now. Seeding can be dicey, but every year its different, so be adventurous and try what you want. Beets and carrots will take longer to come up, then if planted mid-Summer and growing strong. You can definitely put in onion sets, garlic, shallots, leeks, or any starts.

   BUGS, and we’re not talkin’ bunny. Sometimes in the Fall, aphids will appear as small white sticks, and then develop into green, oval adults. They usually are first seen down in the center of plants. Spray your plants off with a light spray of water and knock as many as you can off. Pepper and other organic sprays may be used to control them, but the problem is you don’t get under and around all the leaves. I’ve found that ladybugs, or lacewing larvae are much more effective for control. In Santa Fe, you can get these at Agua Fria Nursery. Follow the instructions, or advice from the folks there, and you should get rid of the little buggers within a few days. The lacewings are voracious! If you live out of area, you can get both beneficials online from Amazon.

Keeping your covers clipped ½ way open or more, will allow better air flow, which will have a decided effect on all bugs. This applies any time of the year, but obviously more in the warmer months.

    Tell your friends, family, or others about Grow Y’own, and get a 15% discount on any services or products the next time around for yourself(selves) if they order! We especially love to work with schools, shelters, community housing, and restaurants , and give them the opportunity to grow their own fresh, organic, healthy, and free food supplies.

   In closing, its been a wonderful, fulfilling, and empowering 6 years for Grow Y’own. We now have over 1000 units in 30 states and Canada, having just added Georgia, Alabama, and Florida. People everywhere are learning about sustainability and the joys and benefits of growing. May this movement continue for all our sakes,and may your families look back upon your beginning efforts, and know that you did the best and right things for them!

   Enjoy the beautiful Fall colors wherever you live, and stay warm and well fed this Winter season.

Grow On!