The fall equinox
The equinox is a time of balance, a period of change. The natural rhythms around us are constantly in flux, and as the days begin to get shorter, take time to stop and listen to the earth. We’re not the only organisms that suffer when it’s still dark at 6:30AM…
At nature’s whim: how does the fall equinox affect our plants?
There are two equinoxes throughout our year: one indicating the start of spring and the other demarcating fall.
The equinox occurs when the earth reaches a point in its orbit around the sun in which the equator is aligned with the suns rays, so that all parts of the planet receive roughly the same amount of daylight hours, give or take a few minutes depending on the region.
This year, on September 22, both daytime and nighttime were approximately 12 hours long across the world. Check out this article for more details.
In the Northern hemisphere, the fall equinox marks the point at which our daylight hours begin to shorten, lending less sunlight to our flowering summer crops like tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and sun-loving basil.
Though the daytime temperatures have not changed much, the slight decrease in sunlight time has a drastic impact on the flower and fruit production of these plants.
The trials and tribulations of fall
Cooler nighttime and morning temperatures and the occasional frost can kill blossoms on fruiting trees and plants.
Tomatoes require 6 to 8 hours of good sunlight to flower and produce fruit, and plenty of heat for the fruit to ripen.
The Santa Ana winds
These winds in all their fury have the biggest impact in the fall, when they bring dry heatwaves into the LA basin, which provokes wildfires and gives garden plants a run for their moisture.
An influx of winter pests
While summer creatures like the infamous tomato hornworm begin to burrow underground to cocoon for the cold winter, more moisture and cooler temperatures means snails and slugs take the stage. At the same time, aphid population is at its peak in fall during which the pests reproduce and lay their eggs on perennial plants.
Many insects, like the majestic praying mantis, lay their eggs right before winter, so you’ll see some insects you didn’t see in your summer garden. Don’t forget that many of these insects are friends of the garden!
What to expect from One Gun Ranch
We have planted seeds for beautiful purple cabbages, endives, radicchio and glossy baby lettuces too pretty to eat, beets and carrots of all shapes, sizes and colors, peas, broccoli and cauliflower, kale, onions and leeks, and the tastiest herbs around. Our ginger and turmeric is still swelling in the ground, and our popular greens mixes can be found at multiple restaurants and grocers in the Malibu area (scroll to the bottom for details).
Produce of the week: Spicy peppers
Peppers are members of the capscium plant family, and thus the heat-delivering chemical compound found in every spicy pepper is called capsaicin. Few peppers contain more capsaicin than the notorious ghost pepper, and jalapeños have less capsaicin than cayennes. In its pure form, capsaicin is a yellow liquid, and the heat of any pepper can be identified by the amount of the near-invisible yellow veins that run through its core, where the seeds are stored.
Next time you cut open a jalapeño or spicy pepper, keep an eye out for its spice potential!
Of the all the hot peppers on the scoville scale, we grow a couple of the most popular: jalapeños and cayenne peppers. They’re so vibrantly colored that they look fake.
Fun fact: if you let jalapeños keep ripening on the plant, they’ll turn red, too.
These flavorful peppers will only be available for a couple more months, so get them at PC Greens while they last!