The Guild Report:   
What You Need to Know Before Winter    

November 2013 
In This Issue
Point of View
A Dry Winter - What it Means
Smog Eating Pavement
Quick Links

Point of View
Employee Owner

Jennifer Gonzales

"I really enjoy working with the people in the office.  Mike Davidson, my boss is great.  He has been supportive around my school schedule.  My job involves answering phones, fielding requests, doing timecards, vacation requests and entering a lot of data!." 

Jennifer is our newest employee. Along with her work schedule is also a student at Berkeley City College.       

Perennials are ready for late fall planting

These are hearty perennials that you can plant now.
(Before frost though)
Salvia Leucantha above
Lantana below

Gardeners' Guild Our Planet
See the video on our sustainable program!

Up until it started raining last week I was seriously worried about the lack of precipitation in our state.  I did a little digging (research) and learned it is not raining anywhere on the west coast except for Washington, and a little in Southern California.

We don't know what this winter holds for us in terms of rain.  Will it be enough for our hungry reservoirs?  Will we need to start rationing?  There are only some vague predictions.  But, it is looking dry - so this month's newsletter has some tips on saving water this winter.

Also this month - weeds.  Do have you a problem with Oxalis?  It's epidemic in some bay area gardens.  Below are some tips on controlling this tenacious weed.  Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet for its eradication, but if you start now you have a better chance of its elimination.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

All the best,
Gardeners' Guild Inc.
Dry Winter - What it Means for You  
Normally during this time of year irrigation systems get turned off.  Between November and February is when we receive over half of our annual rainfall.  But, due to a persistent high pressure system we've had minimal precipitation.  Because our 2013-2014 year may again be below average, water agencies like the SFPUC are asking the public to conserve their water use.

BAWSCA (Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency) recommends the following irrigation tips:


Turn watering times down

Turn system off completely on cool or wet days
Water only during early morning or at night
Plant shrubs and flowers that take little or no water
Water only once a week  


What to keep in mind during a dry winter:

  • Make sure your flowers, perennials, turf and any shallow-rooted plants are hydrated.   
  • Your micro-climate will determine how much watering is necessary.
  • Sun and wind exposure will dry out plants
  • Know your soil type.  Example: clay soil will hold more water.  Sandy soil has good drainage but poor water holding and nutrient capacities.   However you can amend sandy soil with organic matter to improve its water retention. 
Is this weed growing in your garden?    
It's called Oxalis stricta, or Common Woodsorrel.

This nasty invader is hard to control.  It may take a few seasons to see results.  I have seen over the last  couple of months in areas of my garden that have gotten new plantings and regular water. 

This is the best time to start getting rid of it.  You want to do this before the Oxalis goes to seed. By spring getting rid of is is much more difficult.

Here are some methods for getting rid of it. 

Diligent and thorough weeding
That means digging deeply enough to get at the stem and root.  Some people state that repeated removal below the point of leaf attachment this time of year can eventually kill it. 

Sheet mulching
Cardboard and newspaper (6-10 sheets thick) is also recommended.  This material is effective at blocking light and suppressing the weeds.  Then put mulch over the material.

If the above two don't work experts suggest trying this.  You need to wait till the sunniest time of the year.  The idea is to encourage as many sees/bulbs to germinate and start to grow.  Then add fertilizer and water; cover the entire area securely with clear plastic to bake them out of existence.  This takes one to two months.  You could, to be on the safe side, do sheet mulching on top of that.

A note about herbicides and chemical solutions:  Roundup has gotten mixed reviews as to its effectiveness.  There is also a products called Oxalis X.  The ingredient is Ammonium Thiosulfate. We don't have any reviews on this product, however.

How well do you know mushrooms?  
Mushrooms, well...actually Fungi may be able to clean our environment!

Heard on KQED:

Lukas Wick, of the Helmholtz Center for the Environment in Germany, and his colleagues think it may be able to help clean contaminated soil.  Fungi can eat metals, medicines and ingredients in plastic.  They can process a steady stream of pollutants.

For more information