Friday, November 18, 2011

Ransacked the garden this morning

Mustard greens, Arugula (so peppery it almost hurts), Kale, Radicchio and a beautiful round green called Tsatoi that my kids can't get enough of!  There is NOTHING like fresh greens straight form the garden. They literally bounce with vibrancy.  I've been throwing the smaller greens in soups and salads and, per Andrea's suggestion,  lightly tossing the kale and mustards in salt, pepper and a little olive oil and roasting them into chips. YUM.

The cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli are starting to form and we still have lots of eggplant and beets on their way.  All are welcome to enjoy the harvest.  Just send me an email and I'll hook you up!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Beautiful morning in the Garden with new neighbors Wendy, Luke and Baby Elizabeth joining us to water. We figured out how to winterize when the need comes and installed a compost bin. Now all we need are greens, coffee grounds and a few worms! Email or if you want to help with composting or if you want to check out the many many plants that are thriving in our little oasis in Rollingwood.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fresh Basil

Just harvested a bunch this morning.  Let me know if you would like some.
Garden is looking so happy!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Yeah Rain & Scouts!

So excited to hear Austin got close to 2.5" over the weekend!  Cistern is already half full.
The neighborhood Boy Scout troop came out last week and got their hands dirty planting spinach, chard, lettuce, leeks and strawberries.  They will earn their nutrition pin tending their plot in the garden.
Here's an article on another great garden project started by a Utah Girl Scout who discovered 1 in 7 children in her state were hungry.  She decided the best answer was to grow food and raised thousands of dollars to start a community garden.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Fall Planting and Individual Plot Opportunity

Hello Garden Brothers & Sisters,
We had a great Saturday prepping the beds and getting the first Broccoli, Cauliflower and Brussel Sprouts in the ground.  A chef friend contributed a trashcan load of kitchen greens and coffee grounds for our Composter, so we are on our way to creating our own, nutrient-rich soil to add to the beds.  Thanks to Abigail for the delicious home-made lavender-infused italian soda!

In our discussions and observations about the first planting season, it seems we had been very good in making sure the plants were tended to by a point person who watered and tended all the beds on a particular day.  The problem was, that unless we created an event, like a planting or harvest day, no one really got to hang out in the garden together, share tasks and garden tips and create community, which is really what this is all about.

So we are shaking it up a bit and sectioning off the beds into 4'x4' plots that will be planted and tended by any resident wanting to get involved.  More similar to a community garden, but still communal in its share of harvest for the community.  This way, we hope to get more non-structured traffic in the garden and spend more time gardening as a community.  If you're too busy to manage a plot, but want to participate with your kids or friends, we can hook you up with a point person that will teach you about their individual plot and get you involved in watering and planting.

We have several groups interested in taking plots; Boy & Girl Scouts, Neighborhood Groups.  Please contact  if you and/or your group are interested in participating in the next phase of the garden!

Ruth and Anne re-string square foot grid
Paxton and Justin did a great job of watering and digging!

As Justin and Colin were leaving, they spied a friendly little garter snake on it's way through the park.  Speaking of snakes, many children have been asking what our rubber snakes name is?  I vote for Serpentina, any other suggestions? 
Shade cloth and pines needles were added to help sun exposure and moisture retention.  Apparently pine needles have a lot of acid which is a good additive for our alkali clay soil.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Fall planting next Sat., garden update and photos!

Come join us for the start of Fall Planting Saturday, Sept.17th 10am-12pm.

I know, I know, it's ACL!  but the good bands don't start until later and we hope you'll bring your kids, family and friends to celebrate our community coming together to grow things.  Brunch goodies welcome!

We spent this weekend cleaning up the beds, preparing the soil, creating shade structures, swapping  garden advice and visiting with neighbors and park-goers.  Could not think of a better way to spend a solemn anniversary; working together towards something connective and good.

At one point a little girl and her brother came into the garden.  She, a very precocious 6 yr. old, began with lots of questions about the plants, cistern and rubber snake, then proceeded to share her theories on gardening.  Her younger brother stood there silent.  Collin asked her if he was her brother.  She said yes, then asked Collin if I was his "garden sister"?  We looked at each other and both said "yes!"  I have been trying to come up with a name to call us and I think I've got it!

So, Garden Brothers and Sisters, thank you for helping create our little neighborhood oasis.  It's been a long hot summer, but rain is coming and with your help the garden will be green in no time.

Check out the photos page updated with our first growing season.  It's amazing to look back and see how much we've accomplished :)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Fall Planting Planning Meeting and Citizen Gardener Classes

Hard to believe, but Fall Gardening is possible.  I know, it's taken some convincing for me too, but with the help of our trusted permaculture mentors, Dick Pierce and Kirby Fry, I'm convinced we can do this!

Please come to the Fall Planting Planning meeting to get involved.

Wednesday, Aug. 31st, 6:30 pm at the Garden

We will discuss fall planting dates, events and garden layout.

Also, Dick Pierce has recommended the Citizen Gardener program as a learning tool for our group.

I have signed up, hope you will too!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Saturday's Harvest

There was a small but lovely group of gardeners, wanna-be gardeners (me), families and council members that came to the garden to wrap-up of our first growing season.  We marveled at the still-growing bounty this tiny garden continues to turn out.  The melons and cucumbers are on fire, so it was decided with the help of our dearly beloved pemaculture expert,  Kirby Fry, to let those and any other happily producing plants to continue happily producing with minimal water from our still half-full cistern.  We'll be watering 3 days per week through the summer, please contact me if you'd like to help out.

The attendees took home basil, chard, eggplants, edamame and peppers.  And we picked and tasted a very strange "Stars and Moon" gourd which was a cross between a cucumber and a melon.  Good for facials or perhaps a cocktail? 

We pulled out the squash that never quite took, we think, due to overwatering.  Something to pay attention to in the next season and sprinkled buckwheat seeds in the beds to promote nitrogen production.  

Barry helped put together a small composter where all the cleared-out produce and melon rinds will decompose and give us yummy nutrient-rich soil for the next growing season.

All-in-all it's been a great first run.  I have so enjoyed the opportunity to meet neighbors and work together towards a common goal.  I truly hope it's been a positive experience for everyone.  Thank you so much for your participation and support.  I look forward to cooler fall gardening with you all!

Cole and his friend Butternut

Kirby, his daughter, Ananda inspect garden with Abigail

Garden Maidens-Laila, Abigail and Shanti

Garden Nymph-Ananda

The big green alien is captured!

Boys had a full on photo shoot, I edited

Paxton and Alien

Callum the Cute

The moment of truth?

A brave and bewildered Jordan tries the Stars and Moon melon

Kirby, Jordan and Barry christen the composter

The Harvest

Me and Ananda posing for M.S. Living

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

There's a saying in the square foot gardening book...

I'm happy to share, but this is getting ridiculous.  Last week I noticed our beautiful vine-ripening tomatoes hanging, half-eaten and bleeding like something out of a horror movie.  They seem to be feeding a family of birds, mice, rabbit, squirrels something with sharp claws or maybe a beak.  

So on Sunday I enlisted, meaning paid, my teenage son, Ray and his buddy, Riley to come out to the garden and help me create a barrier between our fruit and their fangs.  We ran steel cable from the tops of the trellis down to the foot of the beds and draped netting held down with upholstery tacks.  

Stephanie and Nico joined in on the fun.  

Not the most professional execution, but I was out at the garden this evening and apart from a few pecks on a outward lying tomato, it seems to be holding.

Any other ideas for keeping critters away from the garden?  

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Our first CUCUMBER!

I have tried to grow cucumbers in my own garden for 2 years.  The vines shoot up and the cutest little micro-cucumbers begin to form, I get super excited, thinking of the tzatziki and crunchy salads we'll be enjoying soon, only to find a day or two later, the fruit is shriveled and with it my culinary dreams.

This started happening in the community garden.  I believe it has something to do with pollination?, (Kirby and Dick, feel free to chime in with an educated explanation), but today I found the most beautiful 4-5"cuc on it's way to edibility!  The trellis is working great, supporting beans, cucumber vines and our very large and productive tomato plants.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Full disclosure

Took a stroll out to the garden last night after a long day.  It was dusk and the wind was blowing and as usual, could feel my blood pressure drop as I passed through the playground and headed towards our green little sanctuary.

The beans are climbing with a vengeance up the bamboo teepees.  There's several varieties of tomatoes that so far, the squirrels are leaving alone, and the peppers and eggplant are ready for the picking.  Speaking of picking, I was marveling at our apple-sized cantaloupes and thought I'd just give mother nature a hand and turn one so it wouldn't get an unsightly "bedsore" and was surprised to see that the fruit was not attached to the vine.    I went to the next plant and realized that just the tiniest movement of the fruit separated the second one as well.   I'm so sorry!  I'm a bull in a baby cantaloupe nursery.

Anyone want to come over friday night for cantaloupe mojitos???

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday Garden Celebration

Thanks to everyone who came out to enjoy our delicious garden.  We had a great turn out with lots of yummy treats from our neighborhood chefs, Marissa Mireau and Abigail King (rabbit + hat) and wine tasting from Brett Framel's vineyard.

Taste of the Garden Menu:

Herbed olive oil
Chard pesto
Baba Ghanoush
Black olive tapenade
Caprese kebobs
Watermelon, feta, mint kebobs
Zucchini muffins
Watermelon agua fresca
Hibiscus tea

Here is the recipe for the pesto.  Feel free to post or request recipes from today's offerings on the forum.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Things I learned on our first Community Work Day in the Garden

1) The Romans got nothin’ on us.
Turns out the thunder and rain that had me nervous about moving a large metal object through a wide open field, was not an issue for our fearless construction gurus, Kirby Fry and Jason Haddock. Anne Turner, Paul Crocker, Jerry Fleming, Don Harris and the lovely Ananda (Kirby’s daughter), did a fine job navigating our 2500 gallon cistern through the tight path of the playground despite the cold blustery morning.

2) Not everyone checks their emails hourly, THANK GOD!
Cause there was lots to do before the 2pm delayed work day.  We had fenceposts to set, raised beds to build, dirt and mulch to haul.  Luckily the bad weather passed and we got to it.  By the afternoon we had a full crew of big kids, little kids, dogs, curious park-goers, neighbors all pitching in and excited about growing things.

3) Rollingwood is full of hardworking, generous humans.

Thanks so much for the love and effort you poured into this garden. We are on our way to something amazing.