Nine Palms Ranch Research Report, 2006
Lead: Joan Kendig
The goal of the project was to evaluate several varieties of fall-planted broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower for taste, appearance and productivity. The varieties were chosen for unusual colors or growth habit, and were compared to a standard variety of each kind. They included seven kinds of cauliflower, six of broccoli, and four of cabbage. Six individuals of each variety were planted.
Two raised beds, numbered plots 5 and 12, were used. They were cultivated with the small rototiller. As they had been allowed to dry out for some time weeds were not a problem. Osmocote and green sand were added.
Seeds were planted in 4" pots August 23, 2005, and the pots treated with fish emulsion. A few required reseeding on August 30 or September 6. Osmocote added to pots September 6. Growth in the pots was vigorous. Transplanting was carried out between September 23 and October 4, with approximately 2' spacing between plants.
In plot 5, a raised bed running approximately south to north:
Fourth Year - December, 2009
In 2009, the Sunnyvale Teaching and Demonstration Garden completed its fourth summer in its garden space at Sunnyvale’s Charles Street Community Gardens.We continued our popular series of free gardening classes in the garden and continued to grow seasonally appropriate, organically grown vegetables and ornamentals in our demonstration beds.
This year our monthly free public classes covered topics ranging from the design and use of drip irrigation systems to garden bed preparation and planting vegetable seedlings to ways to renovate an aging home landscape. We taught seven of our classes outdoors in the community gardens’ growing circle meeting space. These classes were followed by rounds in our garden where class participants could see examples of what was taught in class, try their hands at techniques taught or learn about ways our project gardeners were meeting various gardening challenges. Two classes were taught in the Sunnyvale Public Library. Overall, 432 gardeners attended our nine project classes.
The McClellan Ranch Community Gardens are bounded by oak woodland and riparian habitat. Gardeners have challenges to successfully grow crops. The alluvial soil is extremely fertile. However, vagaries in the microclimate occur because of its location at the base of a canyon. Wildlife abound, especially gophers, squirrels, rats, and rabbits. Deer are often present in the park but the garden perimeter is fenced to keep them out.
Our garden plot was surrounded by other garden plots before the realignment of the gardens and the 4H facilities to accommodate a new hiking and biking trail. The surrounding plots insulated ours from major pest damage. Now the south and west sides of our plot are bordered by 4H livestock enclosures. This provides easy access to garden pests which attributed to the 2008 crop failure.
The goal this year was to plant a variety of soy beans (edamame) that local gardeners could grow in their home gardens or in their community garden plots. We could then have a tasting so the public could determine which varieties suited their specific palate.
In 2004, members of the University of California Master Gardener McClellan Ranch project team completed a very successful summer vegetable trial in Cupertino that focused on eggplants. Forty different varieties of eggplants from all around the world were grown for the research project. Varieties for the trial were selected to represent the breadth of color, shape, and growth habit available to the home gardener.
Plant characteristics along with pest and disease problems were observed and recorded. In addition, as the eggplants were harvested, elapsed days between seeding and germination and days to maturity of each variety were recorded. The harvest yield in ounces/pounds, number of fruit, and the size of the fruit were also tracked.
A public field day was held in September where people toured the garden and tasted the different varieties of eggplants. The rating sheets from the field day were used to pick the top ten varieties of eggplants based on flavor and texture. When selecting which eggplant varieties to grow, home gardeners can consult these tasting results as well as the plant characteristics and pest and disease information.
Nine Palms Ranch Trial, 2008Lead: Carole Reek
Team members: Carol Halloran, Suna Herder, Nella Henninger, Helen Murray, Jeanie Sunseri, Sandra Tamm
Fourteen varieties of cucumbers were compared for flavor and production. Stallion White and Japanese Climbing ranked top in flavor. Marketmore 76 was top in production.
This was a trial to compare the production and taste of 14 varieties of cucumbers. The cucumbers were grown on a 35 foot long arbor. This arbor is 7 feet tall and 41/2 feet wide. The arbor is divided into 7 five foot sections on each side. 14 varieties of cucumbers were selected.
Between May 16th and May 23rd the area around the arbor was cleared. Sweet peas were pulled up and the area was cleared of weeds, debris and sweet pea leavings. The area was watered well and spread with a heavy dressing of alfalfa pellets. The pellets were spread and dug in by hand on May 20th. On May 23rd, the area was dug in again and watered. The area was ready to plant.
Seeding and transplanting
On May 27th, after much discussion, we decided that cucumber seeds germinated easily so we would seed directly in the soil. In each of the 14 5-foot sections, we planted one type of cucumber seed. We planted on both sides of the wire in their section. Seven seeds were planted on each side, with the plan of thinning after they germinated. We alternated cucumbers with obvious differences. For example: a white cucumber next to a green cucumber, so as to tell them apart more easily as they started to produce. After the planting was finished, the area was topdressed with about one inch of Garrods horse compost and the area was watered well.
Nine Palms Ranch Trial, 2008Leads: Betsy Fischer and Gil Patrick
Team members: Many Nine Palms Ranch volunteers
Peaches & Cream corn was reliably productive over an extended harvest period.
In 2007 we planted four varieties of corn with different maturation times, but they all matured within a week of each other anyhow, not two to three weeks apart as predicted. So this year we planted three varieties of corn at three and a half week intervals to see if we could get corn to mature at different times over the summer. We also tried four different winter cover crops to improve the soil and see if there were differences in a variety grown in the different cover crop areas.
We used three varieties of sweet corn (Latin name, Zea mays). They were standard, not super sweet varieties. Silver Queen is white, Jubilee is yellow and Peaches and Cream is bi-color. See the chart below.
Nine Palms Ranch Trial, 2007
Leads: Betsy Fischer and Gil Patrick
Team members: Carole Reek and Suna Herder
Under challenging weather conditions, Silver Queen and Peaches & Cream ranked highest among the four corns tested. Golden Bantam is not recommended.
We compared four varieties of sweet corn (Zea mays) to determine the best production and taste. All the varieties were standard corn, not super sweet. Silver Queen is white corn, Golden Bantam and Jubilee are yellow, and Peaches and Cream is bi-color.