Summer 2014: Squash Recipes and Fall Planning!



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Gardening tips, recipes and helpful information you can use!!

Karen’s Corner: Notes from our founder

This August, Urban Plantations celebrated our six year anniversary. I’m very excited to announce that we are finally “leaving home”, so to speak, as we move from our home office to a newly renovated commercial space in North Park. The past few months of hot weather and sweaty bodies crammed into the small studio behind our home has been a real testament to the dedication of our staff – I must take a moment to thank them all for sharing computers, chairs, tools, tape dispensers, staplers, and oxygen. Thanks folks! Our new office space will be shared with good friends and neighbors, Mooch Exterior Designs and North Park Nursery, and we’re strategizing how we can expand our services to compliment the three businesses. The move date is set for September 15th, so stay tuned for more news. Make sure to keep an eye on the corner of Texas and University in North Park as we  “Mooch it UP”! Good Growing to you ~KC

In the Garden

When celebrity chef Marcela Valladolid asked us to help her install her dream Mexican-inspired garden, we were beyond excited. After a lot of careful planning and with the help of our friends at Broyles Landscape, it’s almost finished! We installed a brand new garden of 8 raised beds, an herb garden, citrus, banana, and guava trees, and passion fruit vines. We can’t wait to see all of the new recipes that her new garden inspires!

What’s Sprouting

Congratulations to our Founder, Karen Contreras for being elected Vice President of the San Diego Chapter of Les Dames d’ Escoffier International (LDEI)! LDEI is an organization of women leaders in food, beverage and hospitality whose mission is education and philanthropy. Look for exciting things to come!

What’s Fresh

If you are like us, you are reaping the rewards of all the hard work, sweat, (and maybe some tears), that went into your spring garden. We are in the midst of harvesting our winter squash bounty. In fact, we have harvested over 150 pounds so far from our Campus Pointe farm! But what to do with all of your squash? After putting up your winter stores, if you still have a few squash left for fresh eating, why not try something beyond the simple roasted squash recipe.
 Recipes we like:
 Spiced Spaghetti Squash pancakes
; Spaghetti Squash Fritters with Sriracha Mayonnaise; 
Maple Kabocha cake
; Pumpkin Ricotta Gnocchi
; Butternut Squash Risotto (This is Valerie’s absolute go-to recipe. It is so adaptable! She’s wilted in spinach, kale, and chard for an additional veggie boost.)

Helpful Tips

Planning your fall garden: – Can you believe it? It is time to think about starting seeds for your fall garden! Here are a few sites to help you plan out your garden and get you started. And don’t forget the handy-dandy planting guide that the Master Gardener Association of San Diego puts out for coastal and inland regions around San Diego. Some seeds that you might want to get started right now: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, chard, and kales. Storing and curing winter squash: – There are many ways you can preserve your bounty, from properly curing and storing, canning, freezing, and dehydrating. If you plan on storing your squash for delicious winter meals, it is important to first make sure that they are properly cured. Curing is nothing more than allowing the squash to develop a thick skin which helps prevent molds from forming and moisture from leaving the fruit. The basic idea is to place your squash in a warm, dry place for a few weeks and rotating them periodically to make sure they cure evenly. Taking the time to properly cure your squash will allow you to store them from three to six months – maybe even longer! Here are a couple reference articles to help you get your squash in tip-top form for winter: Storing Pumpkin and Winter Squash at HomeCuring Pumpkins and Winter Squash
Have you seen this insect?  – Bagrada bug is an invasive stink bug from Africa that has been wreaking havoc on mustard family crops since 2008 when it was first discovered in California. It is a suckimg insect with needle-like mouthparts that pierce the plant, allowing it to suck out the plant’s juices. Though they favor winter crops, these little guys are most active during the late summer and fall months. Not much is known about chemical controls, but your best bet is squishing them or vacuuming them. UC Davis Integrated Pest Management has a great reference page on the bagrada bug for more information.