Welcome to my Sustainable Urban Garden

My garden is a work in progress, always growing and changing within itself.

My gardens include many herbal beds, raised vegetable beds, raised "citrus heights" citrus tree bed, berry beds, fruit trees, grape arbor, rose beds and many perennial flower beds with annuals too. My greenhouse is still in the transformation stage,
as well as some planting areas.
Enjoy your journey through my gardens, I do!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Late Fall Harvests!

This is a late October/November harvest basket with lots of ripe tomatoes, tomatillos, eggplant, onions, zucchini, and even more of every type of pepper (from bell, anaheim, jalapeno, cayenne and everything in between.

This next picture shows more fruits and vegetables in our fall harvest. Basil was also still going strong.

This is also the time for harvesting Evening Primrose seed pods. Then the process of separating the seeds from the seed pods. A pinch of seeds a day is good as an alternative to taking commercial and intensively processed Evening Primrose oil. The seeds really don't have much taste, yet I think they taste good.

Also, this is the last of the fennel seed harvest for the year. Soon after this harvest the rain and strong winds strip the last of the seeds to the ground. A pinch of fennel after a meal is helpful for good digestion and also tastes refreshing. A nice ending to a great meal.

There is a real richness in fall harvests. The completion of so many life cycles are coming to fruition. Nature is showing her strength by making changes on many invigorating levels. It is a stimulating time of the year for many of us.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


I love my dandelions. Many are in my postage-stamp sized lawn. Many around the edges of several flower beds. I pick them and feed them to my cat and dog. They like it and it is good for them. Dandelions have wonderful healing qualities. I use dandelions in several herbal preparations I make.

Here is a nice video about all the things that dandelions have to offer.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Worm Composting - Fine Gardening Video

Worm Composting

Worm castings can be even better than compost for you plants. I use it as an inoculant in my gardens. Wonderful stuff.

Click the link below to view video. Click your browser back arrow to return to this blog.

Worm Composting - Fine Gardening Video

Turn your kitchen scraps into nutrient-rich compos twith Jodie Colon
Length: 2:43

Vermicompost, or worm castings, are surprisingly simple to make. Give your worms a dark, cozy home with plenty of food, moisture, oxygen, and a comfortable temperature and you'll be rewarded with piles and piles of worm manure.
In this video, Jodie Colon of the New York Botanical Garden, demonstrates how to make a worm bin.
Shot by: Daryl Beyers; Edited by: Cari Delahanty

Friday, November 06, 2009

From the South Lawn, a Sweet smell of Honey

First just a small White House Vegetable Garden.
Now the White House Garden is beginning to expand
into an even better example of sustainable urban gardening.
A key to a sustainable garden is an emphasis on diversity.

This is a fun Multimedia Audio Slide Show by the New York Times.
Click on the photo to jump to the New York Times page so you can play this show.

At the end of the show click on your browser's back arrow button twice
to return to this blog page. Enjoy!

by Viktor Koen
Audio Slide Show

Friday, October 30, 2009

Pale Blue Dot

Wow! My words cannot do this justice.
Listen to Carl Sagan's words.

Pale Blue Dot
Source: www.youtube.com

This is taken from the book. Having him read to you is something else. Enough said. Take a listen and share this video. It is your moral duty.

Making a Strong Case for the Environment - The Future of this Planet

The Girl Who Silenced The World For 5 Minutes

She addressed a UN Meeting on the issue of the environment.
I was so moved the first time I heard her speech and everytime since.

We need more than ever to learn and be inspired by the bravery and emotional maturity of this girl. She literally moved the world with her speech.

Probably the most representative of all environmental speeches.
Watch it.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Buried Treasures

Our plant friends provide us with the best nutrition!

Energy Times - Health, Vitamins, Supplements and Nutrition

Source: http://www.energytimes.com/

Health Magazine, Vitamins, Supplements and Nutrition

This is just a reminder of all the good things that are so very easy to grow in our own back or front yards. There is no reason that anyone should go hungry if they have a piece of land to provide such wonderful gifts!

It is time to plant that fall garden. I have 5 six-packs of lettuce to plant, bok choy, and broccoli.

I also have a sack each of very healthy large onions and leeks from Peaceful Valley Farm to get into the ground. Oh, they smell sooooooooo good!

It is also time to plant potatoes. I have a lot - and I mean a LOT of sprouted potatoes ready to go.

I had a bunch of sweet potato starts and I planted them almost 2 weeks ago, before our 3" of rain. I know it is late to plant them, but we will see what they do; or if they do.

Well, it is time to steam some veggies for dinner tonight. What I have to steam are: leeks and garlic (of course! - the basis of everything great), broccoli, zucchini squash, carrots, eggplant, bell and anaheim peppers, and maybe one hot pepper, and maybe tomatoes and tomatillas. Over short grain brown rice, and a little pepperjack cheese sauce poured on top - well it makes my mouth water. It will warm your body. So very satisfying on a cold fall evening.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fall is here!

Today was the first day that has really felt like fall.
What a wonderful day.
Now if I could just clone today's weather!

The garden is still providing overwhelming amounts of tomatoes, zucchini, beans, onions, leeks, eggplant, tomatillos, herbs, and all sorts of peppers!

The grapes are still hanging thick from their trellis and the blackberries are still turning black. The raspberries are between crops now and the figs are just finishing up. The black elderberries are still hanging from their limbs and the rosehips are turning orange and red on many different plants.

Yet, with all this bounty, it is weighing on my mind that I have not started fall veggie seeds yet.

What should I grow this fall?
Well, of course, lettuce, spinach, green onions, swiss chard, potatoes and broccoli. Oh, and I must not forget peas. In fact I have one plant that volunteered about 2-3 weeks ago. Fresh raw peas from the garden are a delicacy that everyone should experience.

It is late I know, but I have a lot of sweet potato starts with a nice set of roots which will go into the garden this week. Yes, it is late, but if they don't develop fully in a few months, then they will be ready in early spring.

Then I am thinking about growing brussels sprouts again.
Oh, the choices are many!

In the ornamental arena, I am including more native plants into my landscape. Native plants strengthen and build diverse beneficials in the garden.

This is all part of sustainable gardening.

Monday, August 24, 2009

All is well!

I am well aware of the effects of pesticides and herbicides on the land and all the life on this land.

Last year and a couple years before that, my neighbors had two chemical lawn care companies (Chemlawn and Scott's) come and spray chemicals weekly and even bi-weekly. What was especially disheartening was that both companies would spray during high winds (14mph sustained winds with gusts up to 25 and sometimes 35mph). I would have the heads-up that they were doing this because I would be knocked out by the smell coming into my house on the second story level. These same neighbors also had and still do have a chemical company come and spray poisons all around their home.

Small blessings, the neighbors do not have the two lawn care companies anymore. They came once this year, but I think that was the end of their contract. So, my roses in the front yard are beginning to have green leaves (instead of a brown-green color) and are starting to have typical growth and leaf shape again. But the most exciting part is that I have honey bees, bumble bees and other native bees of all sizes and shapes. I have seen lots of butterflies, ladybugs and praying mantis this summer and moths that are really pretty too. The birds are plentiful and life is just buzzing all around in a harmonious manner. My vegetables are full of flowers and the fruit is plentiful. My fig tree is loaded with huge figs and the Thompson Seedless grape is heavy with huge bunches of ripening fruit. All is well on my sustainable piece of land!

This is the trailer to a movie called "A Chemical Reaction." This is a documentary about making change for our future. One small step for mankind, one huge step for this earth!

I think they are entering the documentary in film festivals first before national release. It would be fun to go to a film festival again, but also it would be great to see this film come to my town and for all of us to get to see it. If change can take place in one town and spread to several others, it can spread all across North America and eventually the world. This is an important step in saving the health of this whole planet.

And now I am off to pour some compost tea on a few of my flower and vegetable beds. It is a glorious day with temperatures in the mid 80's!

Oh, life is beautiful!

Monday, August 17, 2009

A pretty good summer!

Considering the fact that my gardens have been pretty much on their own for two months, it has been a good summer.

Why? My organic garden was mulched well in the spring and I have had time to keep up with watering mostly.

The other reason, and a very big one IMHO, is that I have insects. I have had many honeybees and other native bees, butterflies, and lots of beneficial helpers. I have seen butterflies that I can't identify, such as a very tiny (1/2") pretty black and tan shaped just like the stealth plane. This guy was in my vegetable garden and also in my frontyard mostly ornamental gardens. In fact, I saw a larger variety today with this stealth shape (1") with two very white distinctive shapes on each wing.

There are lots of birds this year. I have had hummers, mourning doves, lots of small birds, a couple hawks, crows, blue jays as usual, and nesting mocking birds with the juveniles bathing in the saucer of water on the deck and trying to jump from vine to vine in the climbing roses.

I have one young squirrel living on my deck. His mother used to be around, but for the last two-three months it has just been "little one" - his name.

So, as you can see, it has been fun watching the wildlife when I get a chance.

The harvest from the garden has been fun too! Fun to eat! Here is a fruit and veggie basket from last week. This is before the grapes were sweet enough to harvest yet and the grapefruit was a little high for me to reach. The herb in the basket is basil. Oh we love basil.

If you count tomatoes as a fruit. This is something that seems difficult for me to change my mind about - they would still be on my veggie list. But if you do, then this basket includes four types of fruit and four types of vegetables and basil to make everything taste even better!

By the way, I am feeding the neighborhood wildlife with my huge white fig tree. Actually, they are green in color. They are right ontop of the white eggplant in the basket.

The Jalapeno pepper is sitting on the figs and they are all sitting on the zucchini. I did sneak in a few blackberries in the very front of the basket. The raspberries are taking a rest and the blackberries have really come on big-time!

Now the bell peppers are starting to turn red and the tomatoes (mostly indeterminate) are ripening when I need them. The paste tomatoes (mostly determinates) are going to require processing to make sauce and then freezing within a couple weeks. And the lemons, well, I am nearing the end of the onslaught of lemons. I was getting approximately 20-25 lemons a day. Friends were finally saying, I still have plenty when I would offer more.

Since I am done with the "first" EcoLandscape California newsletter that took all of my time for two months, I am finally getting to update the various websites I have and care for and this blog.

And of course I am putting in time in the garden with some much needed maintenance, mainly pruning and volunteer and sucker removal. I am also getting a chance to feed several gardens with some newly brewed compost tea! A wonderful gift from a friend. In fact, I am going to say bye for now and get out there!

Monday, July 06, 2009

The health food wars

Hope you enjoy this 5 minute video. This is probably the most creative youtube video I have ever seen.

Happy July

Wow! was June a mixed bag or what? We had some unseasonal cool weather and then very hot weather near the end of the month. My plants didn't know what to think about it and the newly planted plants were not happy campers at the end of the month. It was wilt city during direct sun.

Yet, with all of these weather changes my plants grew and grew. Today I only had time to deadhead roses and prune back a tiny bit of my wild Wisteria. Well I did make time to harvest tomatoes, onions, raspberries, zucchini, plums, lemons and grapefruit.

Many things are in full bloom and I am thankful for everyday that I hear the buzzing of the bees. My Vitex tree is still electric with their sound. There are native bees flitting about and today I even saw a tiger swallowtail.

The bees are also covering my El Grosso Lavender in the front yard. The lavender is so happy that I will need to harvest it soon.

All another day!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Tour the White House Kitchen Garden with Sam Kass

Finally, we get a good look at the White House garden, and it's looking fantastic. The cooks are using these wonderful organic vegetables and herbs every night. Yum! Yum! Can't wait to see their summer vegetables.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Time Flies When Working in the Garden

For another week now I have spent non-stop in the garden. Well, I have seen clients with my two businesses. But that did not take more than three days away from the garden.

The only reason I have time to blog now is because it has been raining yesterday and all of today so far. We broke a record for the most rain on May 1st since 1905. We got .65 inch yesterday. Actually they had predicted more rain, but there still is today and tomorrow.

Yesterday I spent sometime in the greenhouse replanting some African Violets and today I just came in from the greenhouse starting some new African Violets from the leaves that snapped off in the transplanting. There was water in the greenhouse from a leak, but I have a pile of plastic containers that can be used for mini-greenhouses and they collected the bulk of the water. The floor will dry out. My 5 gal. container under the drain for the huge greenhouse sink/table (was a darkroom sink) is full and the excess is of course ending up on the concrete floor. I am really hoping we can get the polycarbonate siding install this spring/early summer. It will free up a large patio too when it happens.

So, back to the garden. Here is a sweet little color spot under my Crepe Myrtle tree in the front yard.

I have now installed three very large trellis structures along the west side of the front yard. It supports my Brother Cadfael, Cottage Rose, Mme. Alfred Carriere, and an Apple Rose. They are beautiful structures I think. I am pleased with my find. They are handcrafted by a guy in El Dorado Hills, therefore supporting local small businesses.

Here are three pictures of the trellis from left to right as it travels along the side of my property. They are hard to see in the photos, but each of the three sections has three sections with arched tops. I believe they are made of rusted steel. These pictures don't do them justice.

The second photo is of Mme. Alfred Carriere, who was a solid white blush all over with flowers.

The third photo is of Cottage Rose was almost covered with pink blooms. Then we had 35 mph winds for several days and then the rain yesterday and today have eliminated the beautiful show they were displaying.

I have put compost tea on my gardens two and three times for some parts. This all started when I transplanted a three year old Suncrest Peach that hadn't been doing well in its old home in Newcastle. I had been unable to find one anywhere this year for sale. A dear friend found this one for me. Here is a photo of the peach tree, still somewhat in shock.

Gardening is the art that uses flowers and plants as paint, and the soil and sky as canvas. ~ Elizabeth Murray

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Today was Earth Day, and . . .

Early this morning I started off with my hands in the dirt. First I had my gloves on to pull up some volunteers (like mint, blue vervain, a couple weeds). Then off went the gloves to plant a couple bell peppers. One round of watering in the veggie garden and my new fruit tree and herb bed the length of the backyard, a scattering of other watering spots and into the house I went as it started to warm-up to about 90 degrees. These last few days of summer have been a bit much for the beginning of spring here in Sacramento.

A week ago, I planted a Suncrest peach that was dug up from the foothills and donated to me. This weather has not been a friend to the peach tree. It was just too soon for this type of punishment. Many of the leaves are turning bright yellow and all the leaves feel very limp when I touch them. Tomorrow, I plan on spraying compost tea on my new peach tree. Hopefully that will help with this stress. But really, I think the cool breeze that came in tonight is going to be the saving grace in this situation.

Happy Earth Day!!! Bless this earth and all those organisms living on/above and below the earth's surface. I am loving my insects that are gracing my gardens with their activity. May we all live sustainably and in harmony.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Okay Mother Nature! I've had enough WIND!

We have had too many days of wind. Thank goodness the worst of it is over.

I actually lost a few plants in pots that I overlooked during my watering regime.

Twenty-five to thirty-five mile an hour winds does not blend into my type of garden.

Poor Mme. Alfred Carriere, an 1879 old rose, who is a strong climber and tall rambler to 15’ and also in full bloom with large white blush pink flowers. Why? Her branches are spread all over the yard with blooms resting on the lawn. Tying up all of those very long branches will be a 3 hour job. I just purchased a couple trellis structures to help tie her up.

Wednesday, I planted a three year old Suncrest peach tree. I couldn't find one to buy during bare root time, so my friend Vicky enticed her friend to dig this tree out of his yard and donate it to me. The tree had not done well in its old home. In fact I found two small leaves with curly leaf. I soaked the root ball with a strong dose of compost tea and poured some over some of the leaves.

Thursday my new Suncrest peach looked okay. No leaves are hanging. The woodland perennials that I had to dig up so I could plant the peach don't look as perky.

So, Saturday will be the day I plant most of my vegetables. I have the rest of the tomatoes to plant, some of my peppers to plant, my eggplant and many more herbs. I still need to purchase a couple roma heirloom tomatoes. I need to see if my zucchini has sprouted in the greenhouse, because I would like to plant it soon.

Love this time of year. Just one problem. Sunday is supposed to be 94 degrees. Ugh!

"Gardening has compensations out of all proportions to its goals. It is creation in the pure sense."-Phillis McGinley (1805-1978)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Spring sunshine is back again!

Yea! We got a very good soaking yesterday and especially last night. It was coming down hard for hours and hours. A much needed soaking too. I haven't checked to see how much precipitation we did get during this last storm. All the plants that are planted in the ground are feeling very perky today.

Here is a picture of my O'Henry peach tree that I planted last month and also a Fantasia nectarine tree planted at the same time.

Here is a surprise I found this morning.
Pretty little iris isn't it? It was a nice gift from Mother Nature.

Well, this is all for today. I plan on posting more pictures tomorrow.
Sweet dreams of April flowers from April showers!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

It's Raining!!!

Wow! This rain is perfect to settle in new plantings. I wish I had had time to get all of my new plants into the ground. But the dozen or more will be happy campers. This rain has been a gift from Mother Nature. It will just be tough not working on all outdoor projects for three to four days.

My Lilac is most beautiful this year and smells so heavenly! I can't walk by without getting a full whiff by putting my nose in a thick blossom.

Here are a few highlights of my gardens now -

Soon to be harvested: peas and romaine lettuce.

And this years Shichifukujin Tree Peony is just gorgeous!

This newcomer, Pacific Coast hybrid "Purple and White" Iris is pretty nice too!

Each flower is a soul opening out to nature. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, April 06, 2009

Welcome Life . . . back to my garden

The weather has been marvelous!!! Great for really working in the garden. And work in the garden I have done most days of the last two weeks. It is sooooooooo grounding to work with the plants, soil, earthworms and of course mother nature.

This hens and chicken is feeling spunky with beautiful delicate flowers.

The most exiting thing that I realized today is that the insects are slowly coming back to my gardens. There were several butterflies on my Lilac (in full bloom) yesterday and today. The honey bees and native bees are also showing up again and buzzing around me as I work. It feels so good to share space with them in the garden again. LIFE is coming back to the garden!!!

So, what I now need to do is talk to my neighbors about eliminating the chemical spraying that went on several days a week for most of last summer. That is when all the insects disappeared from my property. It just felt to dead!

"Where flowers bloom so does hope". ~ Lady Bird Johnson

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour is tonight for an hour, between 8:30pm - 9:30pm



WWF is urging the world to VOTE EARTH and reach the target of 1 billion votes, which will be presented to world leaders at the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, 2009.

This meeting will determine official government policies to take action against global warming, which will replace the Kyoto Protocol.

It is the chance for the people of the world to make their voice heard!

If you think that it's worth trying to make a difference for future generations, *please* take a moment to sign up at their site - and place your vote by turning off your lights for just an hour on Saturday, 28th March - 8.30 pm - 9.30 pm.

That's 8.30 pm - 9.30 pm local time - wherever you are on the planet...

To find out more, and sign up, please click below: http://www.earthhour.org/about/

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Edible garden at California's Capitol Park

Sacramento's Capitol Park may have an edible garden too. The details have not come out yet, but this article hit the Sac. Bee today.

Edible garden planned for Capitol Park

Days after first lady Michelle Obama broke ground on a White House garden, California first lady Maria Shriver announced Wednesday she plans to establish an edible garden at Capitol Park in Sacramento.

Shriver plans to grow fruits, vegetables and other edible plants on an 800-square-foot plot east of 13th Street between Capitol Avenue and L Street, said spokesman Francisco Castillo. The space currently holds a flower bed.

"This new garden will bring awareness to children, students and visitors about the important role of food, where it comes from, nutritional value, how it is grown and harvested and ultimately how it reaches the tables of those who need it most," Shriver said in a statement.

Shriver plans to work with the California School Garden Network and chef Alice Waters, who established The Edible Schoolyard organic gardening program at a Berkeley middle school.

"It's a project she's thought about for a while," Castillo said.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Little by little, spring garden plans come together

In the class that I just finished teaching, my students planted all of their spring and summer vegetable seeds in little cardboard (recycled) pots. Unfortunately, I only planted seed for my spring vegetables in December and not the warm season vegetables.

In the vegetable garden, we are now growing swiss chard, two kinds of lettuce, spinach, onions, leeks, nasturtium and peas. I have not planted the parsley starts yet. Then there are the two tomato plants that are still in the greenhouse and a backup of lettuce starts.

This is a picture of my grandfather chard, which is either 4 or 4 1/2 years old. I haven't kept count. Notice how thick the main brown stem is. The leaves have always been very tender and have a nice mild flavor. This plant is obviously living the life of a perennial! ;-)

This afternoon I planted a few seeds. I planted bell peppers (from my saved seeds), sweet basil, thyme, scarlet nasturtium (Empress of India), and zucchini.

Well, I am going to have to buy some starters this year. I will probably purchase anaheim peppers and several varieties of chili peppers - cayenne, jalapeno, habanaro, etc. (Talini's nursery will have a nice organic selection). I will have to purchase all of my paste tomatoes and some favorite table tomatoes, since it is so late in the year to start the seed. I should have started them 5-7 weeks before our last frost which is tomorrow (March 23rd). Same for eggplants.

I will need to start carrots and beans from seed soon. Then there are the special vegetable varieties that I don't grow every year. I am not sure yet what they will be, but I am thinking spaghetti squash and pumpkin to start with.

Our little urban farm provides fresh, nutritious, wonderful tasting fruits and vegetables throughout the year. We are eating in harmony with the seasons and savoring the experience.

Right feeding is the biggest single factor in good health - but the food must be right in quality as well as quantity. ~ Organic Gardening -- Rodale Press

Even the White House is planting an organic vegetable garden this spring!

Yes, we have been saying for months now that an organic vegetable garden at the White House would set a good example for the country. We are so pleased that Michelle Obama is starting the garden and Sam Kass, an assistant White House chef will oversee the garden. It demonstrates the importance of fresh, nutritious, good tasting fruits and vegetables that are free from chemicals and are also plentiful and economically available to many Americans where they live. (at their home, community garden or local farmer's market)

Watch this video and see it really beginning.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Life is SPRINGING up everywhere!

This is one time when the actual jump into spring is happening in conjunction with a wonderful change in the weather. Wow! Hang-on, Spring is really really here!!! It is time to get my complete spring/summer garden into full production. As it stands now, I only have four beds growing vegetables. By April 1st I hope to have many more planted.

And I hear that other new gardens are in the planning stages of being developed. Maybe . . .


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Early spring is a time for pruning in my yard this year!

March has been a month spent in the garden pruning and pulling those aggressive Oxalis yellow flowers. It has been a better workout than going to the gym 5 days a week.

I now have three new fruit trees planted in my new fruit tree bed. I purchased an O'Henry peach, a Fantasia nectarine, and a Royal Blenheim apricot at Fowler nursery in Newcastle (up the hill). I am so excited to get these trees planted. I lost my huge apricot this last fall and it broke my heart. I am hoping this new apricot tastes as yummy as my old one did.

The last three years have not included the needed big time pruning on my property - so it is happening this year. The thornless blackberries were cleaned out and look great - ready to produce lots of blackberries. The huge plum tree in my front yard just lost a huge limb yesterday that was encroaching my neighbors drive-way. Wow - there is so much light under that tree now. I was able to severely prune the two roses on the trellis next to the tree too, so I am expecting a fantastic show later this spring. One is a peace climber rose and produces huge blooms.

Now, I have plum flowers in the house to spread their sweetness and bring the promise of spring.

And the pruning story continues . . . . To be continued this week.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

It's January and new life is growing

It has been a week and a half since the I took the pictures for my last blog entry and take a look at the gorgeous growth taking place in my little greenhouse. These pictures were taken tonight with the grow lights going.

This first picture is an overview of my little seed starting area in the greenhouse. You can see the light timer on the right and the heat mat sensor on the right of that. They are essential for making this system work.

The clay pot on the left and the blue pot behind are tomato starts. In this photo it is hard to see that the tomatoes are pretty happy campers. They are not on the heat pad but are sitting right next to it. Just the proximity of the heat pad and the overhead fluorescent lights must be giving them what they need. In this picture below it is easy to see the flowers developing on the tomatoes.

I have already planted out one six-pack of lettuce in the garden. I will plant out the six-plant of spinach and another six-pack of lettuce, some parsley and leeks later this next week.

A week ago I took this picture of the peas. They were planted about two weeks before this picture was taken. They look very good and were not bothered by our several freezing nights.

All in all, it is a joy to start your own seed and watch the little plants fight for the light and thrive. Soon, we will be enjoying these vegetables as we get to eat them. I don't know which part of this process is more fun.

There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling. ~ Mirabel Osler

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

More catching up in the garden . . .

This is a picture of the little starts that just have been transplanted. They are not quite standing on their own strength yet. A few of the transplants from earlier in the week are in the back and they are feeling their strength.

There are two varieties of lettuce planted here. There is Batavia Laura lettuce, a rare hardy annual with wavy sweet green leaves. Also, there is Four Seasons lettuce, an incredible tasting red butterhead heirloom that the French introduced before 1885. There is spinach in one of the six-packs in the back on the right. The variety planted is called America spinach. It is a hardy annual introduced in 1952 that is slow-bolting, heat resistant, grows in spring and fall and overwinters with heavy mulch. The parsley is Italian Flat Leafed.

This is one of the lettuce starts that I planted out in a 4x4 raised bed about two weeks ago. Can you tell which variety it is? I have a lot of new babies coming on, so I may have to dedicate a second bed to lettuce.

Now we just need to get our winter rainfall so we don't have terrible drought conditions this summer. Also, I don't want to be hand watering in the middle of winter.

Harvesting should start in two weeks. Since we eat salads many nights a week, it is wonderful to have fresh, healthy, organic lettuce on hand, as well as other greens. It is everyone's right to have fresh and nutritious food to eat. Yet, for many, it is not readily available unless they grow it, shop at organic food stores or farmers markets, or join a CSA and get a box of fresh food weekly. The most economical choice it to grow it yourself and it is also the most rewarding.

"The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself." ~Henry Miller

Monday, January 12, 2009

Catching-up in the garden . . .

I know it has been a very long time since I have even visited my blog. It is time to catch-up. I had a very terrible summer garden year. My neighbor had two chemical companies spraying for weeks and even on very windy days. Many plants developed flowers, but did not fruit.

So, this fall I started a late garden. I have perennial swiss chard going on its fourth year. And then there is the onion bed, some new starts some older. In Nov. I started lettuce, leeks, spinach, swiss chard, and parsley in the greenhouse. The swiss chard did not make it but that is okay as I have two large plants in the garden.

I ended up getting a heat pad timer which has made the new seed propagation successful. I have transplanted the new little lettuce starts into 8 deep six-packs. The lettuce is Four Seasons, an heirloom red butterhead and Batavia Laura, a rare hardy annual-crisphead. They both do well in my garden.

I have planted one six-pack of spinach. I planted one six-pack of Italian flat leaf parsley and the rest are in a 4 in. pot. Tomorrow I will take pictures. It warms my heart to see the little guys doing so well!

I have two tomato plants (small, about a foot tall) going in the greenhouse too. I moved in one of my summer tomatoes that didn't start producing until Oct. in hopes of keeping it going. The problem is that it went through a night or two of freeze before I got Stephen to move the huge heavy pot into the greenhouse and the leaves went limp - it is not going to make it. Too bad as it is an organic grown early girl. The two little plants are from Cindy, my neighbor and I have no idea what they are. They are just an experiment! I have never tried growing tomatoes in the winter.

Oh, I forgot to say that I planted a row of peas in the garden and the little guys look really good. They are not phased by the freezing temps that we have gotten several nights. If planted in the right place they can grow for at least 10 months a year in my garden.

I will continue tomorrow and add photos!

“The past is our definition. We may strive, with good reason, to escape it, or to escape what is bad in it, but we will escape it only by adding something better to it.” ~ Wendell Berry