Tag Archives: gardening

Saturday Night at the Strathcona Community Garden | kalegrower

Gardening inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes but here’s one I hadn’t thought of…a community garden.

Community gardens are gifts.

Gardening is good for body and soul.

I know they are big in England and there are some here in the United States but I’ve never seen one, visited one or lived near one.

Blogger Chrystal’s post on the Strathcona Community Garden shows how peaceful and beautiful these places can be.

Located in Vancouver, British Columbia, this verdant community garden opened my eyes to the joys of so-called “city farming” — places to grow food and friendships.

Do you participate in a community garden?  Live near one?  Please share your thoughts on this growing trend of shared space and shared gardens..

Saturday Night at the Strathcona Community Garden | kalegrower.

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Avoid GMO Food – GROW YOUR OWN!

Lettuce, spinach and onions growing in raised truck bed.

Cool weather and cool raised bed of a 55 Chevy truck making for happy lettuce, spinach and onions.

Organic gardening is the easiest, best way to avoid all the GMO foods currently on the market – estimated to be 80% of US food chain.

I know – I wrote the book on just how easy it is to get going and get growing.  And I share tips and tricks on how to raise just about every possible vegetable and fruit you can find in the store (well, no kiwi, avocado or olives – too cold here).

Now, another doctor adds his voice to the growing chorus of educated, intelligent people who just don’t want to eat “frankenfood” that is definitely affecting our health and our children’s health.

Grow lettuce. Try blueberries – in pots or the yard.  20110628_0377

Heirloom tomatoes growing up happy with just sunshine and epsom salts!

Heirloom tomatoes on the vine in my backyard just weeks away from picking!

Add tomatoes and peppers.  And start being sure where your food has been and who it’s been hanging out with.

Share your ideas, your recipes and your success stories with other gardeners – just step out onto your patio or into your yard and start down the path to healthy food, health eating and healthy lives.  It is…oh so easy!

Margaret Roach Holds Open House

If you live anywhere near Margaret Roach’s New York home, you should sign up for her open house in May.

Roach, who has written three books including ” A Way to Garden, I Shall Have Some Peace There and Backyard Parables, was also the leading garden writer for 25 years at Martha Stewart Living.

She hosts  a public-radio show and, on rare occasions, opens her 2.3 acre spread in the Hudson Valley to experts and visitors for a day of delightful learning and sharing of all things gardening.

But what’s really wonderful about this accomplished woman is how very human she is, how real and how willing she is to share mistakes, secrets and her special gardening friends.

Her open houses fill up fast so visit her site and sign up if you can go.  Then share what you see, learn and love about visiting with this extraordinary author, gardener and fellow human being.

What is landscaping? – ArtyPlantz

I love this essay; I love the underlying thought and philosophy it is base on.  What is landscaping? – ArtyPlantz.

Looking out my kitchen window at my back yard, I have never thought of what’s

ArtyPlantz changed landscaping for me.

Back yards are more than landscaping; they are healing places.

growing out there as anything more than either a means to an end or “mine.”

Blueberries, blackberries, apple, pear and cherry trees live side by side with vegetable and herb beds.  Flowers grow around all of them.

 

This morning and every morning, hereafter, because of this essay, what I see will be forever changed.

With the rising sun, I will begin to look at my back yard as a bit of heaven on earth, a place where the wonders of nature – sun, rain, seeds, wind, all conspire to create a healing place full of plants, full of wonder.

I believe I will begin to understand that I am just the caretaker of this bit of heaven…not the creator of it.  And I know I will feel the richness, the peace and the joy that sprouts in this bit of land even more deeply now, thanks to ArtyPlantz.

ArtyPlantz is a group of people working hard to “grow” love for plants and trees in their homeland.  As described on their website, this group is located, “In the heart of The Garden City of Bangalore, we are located in R T Nagar, just a few minutes away from Mekhri Circle, Palace Grounds.”

Perhaps, someday, I will visit their little bit of heaven but even without traveling half way around the world, I feel as though I have touched and been touched by this amazing group.

NOTE:  ArtyPlantz is a member of the LinkedIn group – Grow Girls Grow Organic.  For more posts like this one or to share your ideas, tips and thoughts, please join our organic gardening group and help us change the world!

Growing Season Begins! Tips for Getting Ready

It’s time!

The weather is relenting; the cold retreating.  Birds are singing and trees are putting on their Spring buds.  It’s gardening season and I have some tips for you on how to make the most of the next two months.

Outside, it’s cool weather crop planting time in Zone 6A or 6B or whatever USDA is calling it now.  For me, that means putting in lettuce seeds in the old truck bed and sowing beet seeds.  I’ll keep both watered by hand (a hose would still freeze solid) for the next 2 to 3 weeks while their hard hulls soften, crack and start to reach for the sun.

Inside, I’ve transplanted the baby kale to small pots and given them a quick feed. IMG_2189They’ve been moved out of the basement to join the lettuce I started inside and I’m now hardening them off.  Both are starting to go outside for quick visits with the sun and the wind.

Meanwhile, back in the basement, the tomato and pepper seeds I started in cells just got transplanted into cow pots (which I got online at a great price).

Seedling tomatoes and sweet peppers

Transplanted tomatoes will live in the basement until early May.

Sweet Italian Pepper Transplants

These babies will stay in the basement, growing, being fanned and fed, until the first week of May when they will take their place in my office and begin their hardening off process.

NOTE:  I used to harden plants off haphazardly.  Dangerous! The seedlings you worked and worried over will quickly die if they are not properly introduced to the great outdoors – an hour a day for 2 days, 2 to 3 hours a day for 2 to 3 days, 8 hours a day for 3 days and only then (and only if it’s not hailing or very windy) do they get their first overnight!

DOUBLE NOTE:  I also used to hurry and plant my babies by May 7th or 8th. Frequently, the ground was too cold for warm weather crops like tomatoes and peppers and they simply stopped growing for a couple of weeks (or forever in some cases).  Putting plants in the ground too early can be deadly so give the soil a chance to warm while you get your plants ready for the great outdoors.

If you don’t want to start bedding plants from seed and you happen to live in Amish country or near some old, established nurseries, go check out their plants. Maple Shade Nursery in Kirkwood, PA is Amish run and you can watch the women tease baby plants apart and re-pot them right at the register.

In the Spring, I can get an early fix just by visiting and strolling through their greenhouses.   I supplement my seedlings with theirs and I buy herb plants from them like my Bay “bush”.

Bay plant, bay leaves, Amish nursery

“Bayby” is a bay plant I picked up at an Amish nursery 5 years ago.

“Bay-by” was in a 3 inch pot when I bought her but now, 5 years later, she graces my desk with her splendid inch wide trunk, stands a foot high and provides me with fresh, tasty bay leaves for my soups and stews.

I simply bring her in during the winter then set her out on the patio for late Spring, Summer and early Fall.

FYI – the reason I avoid big box stores when it comes to getting bedding plants is because I have NO idea where the seed came from (I want organic and no GMO) or what they’ve been fed.

Want to learn more about organic gardening?  Want to see just how easy it is to grow your own, healthy and organic food.  Take a look at my Kindle book – Grow So Easy; Organic Gardening for the Rest of Us.

Gardening Means Living The Good Life

The approach of Spring always makes me thing about all the reasons I garden.  There are obvious ones:

  1. Gardening can mean the difference between eating, at all or eating well.
  2. Gardening saves money! No big investment is required.  You
    Found bed spring makes a free trellis for my cucumbers.

    Cukes growing up an old inner spring I found.

    probably own most of the tools you might need and you can get the rest on Craigslist — cheap!

  3. Gardening lets you choose what you grow and harvest instead of relying on what large-scale growers can grow quickly and cheaply so, heirlooms are always on the list at my house and so are some weird, wonderful and different veggies.
  4. Gardening can mean eating healthy fruits and vegetables that are NOT loaded with pesticides and fungicides and overtly and covertly changing your body’s ability to fight off chronic illnesses like diabetes, kidney and liver disease and even dental caries.

Then there are the reasons that only other gardeners might know:

  1. Visiting the garden early in the morning to pull weeds or maybe plant some more seeds, listening to birds waking up and calling to each other, watching mist swirl away — clouds returning to heaven — puts you a little closer to the center of the Universe than anything else can.
  2. Watching seeds sprout and plants grow, seeing the first fruit set and harvesting leaves of fresh kale or spinach or baby lettuce are all tender moments which every gardener savours, every time these moments occur.
  3. Sitting at your desk, closing your eyes, seeing your garden and feeling the peace you find there helps to let go of all the anger and sorrow that our long, stressful, work days can sometimes bring.
  4. Running home, ripping off your shoes and socks and standing, barefoot, in soil warmed by the sun literally grounds you.
  5. Celebrating life — gardening is a celebration of life — all kinds, all shapes, all sizes and all colors brings such deep joy.

Gardening is also a small but significant step on the road to saving ourselves and our planet.  If everyone in every community joined in – grew their own, shopped local, thought about the environment EVERY time they bought, used or tossed out, we could work together to help save this planet, our home which we sail through space on.

Why do you garden?

When I Walk Quietly in the Morning Garden | The Hungry Gap

I cannot write this morning.  I’m still recovering and my brain cells need to be dusted off by warm air and sunshine.  But Rick Visser can write.  And he does write about topics close to my heart.

Here he posts a brief entry, an ode almost, to life at a cellular level.  And he reminds me of an essay I wrote years ago for our local paper, The Philadelphia Inquirer, on why I garden.

Mr. Visser goes first.  When I Walk Quietly in the Morning Garden | The Hungry Gap.

And now, me.

The ground may be covered in snow but my sap still rises when I open the mail box sand see the first seed catalog nestled inside.  It means it’s time to plan my garden, gather materials and seeds and descend to the basement to start growing my crops.

How do I end up knee deep in dirt, every summer?

Gardening was my Mom’s legacy.  It was in the earth of the dozen gardens she grew that she taught me about living and dying and being reborn.

Gardening roots me.  It grounds me in beauty and order and chaos.

It is easy to see infinity when you're surrounded by it.

It is easy to see infinity when you are surrounded by it.

Sometimes, when I am sitting on the moist earth, the sun just beginning to rise and my dogs lying by my side, I swear I can see infinity.

It is the same feeling I had when I held my first grandchild.

There, in that tiny child, I saw years and lifetimes and generations marching out before me, stacked deep and deeper behind me.  The sensation was overwhelming.

In that instant, I could see my daughter, my mother, her mother and her mother before her and I knew I was holding a moment in time — never before beheld, never to come again.

In both moments, the garden and the grandchild, the veil lifts.  I feel timeless, part of the past, present and future and I feel hope.  If you garden, you feel it too.