We've never had a Spring quite like this one...maybe it was Prop 37 or the Monsanto Protection Act,
but something caused a "shift" this Spring. There seems to be a greater
awareness and sense of urgency to begin gardening, or to greatly expand
the gardening and backyard orcharding already being done. I think it's a
natural instinct to just want to get ones hands in the soil when the
world seems so uncertain and unsettling.
A few days ago, our ace assistant, Sydney, forwarded this great article about Gardening and Depression.
It's fun to watch as the purple colors faded to green and cream as the water heated up. They were delicious!
One morning recently, I was pulling up
to our house...
...and stopped to take a long look at our "Front Yard Container Farm"... the Jacarandas, the Bougainvillea, the Corn, the towering Tomatoes, bountiful Blueberries and wandering Squash vines... it all looked so pretty, and I was grateful for this work.
The first time I planted Speckled Butter Beans (my first "Dry Bean"),
I was struck by the awesomeness of growing something that could last
for years. Seeing them in their canning jar patiently waiting to become
dinner is an amazing thing. Winter Squashes give me that same feeling (not years, but certainly many months!) And Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Onions & Garlic also
keep for many months if cured and stored properly. Info on growing and
keeping these easy crops can be found in our website's "Helpful Guides." So this year, we're growing Black Beans and LOTS of Winter Squash. Two nights ago we ate our final Butternut Squash
from 2012, and it was amazing. We hope to grow a big harvest and then
"keep" them in our guest bedroom where it's cool and slightly dark (our
faux root cellar!)
Our Glass Gem Corn
is growing like mad. It's taller than me right now. I have never grown a
popcorn variety before, and I'm completely amazed at how
"multi-branched" it is! Wondering if there was a possibility of all the
branches producing corn, I wrote to Native Seed/SEARCH to inquire about
these extra stalks, and here's what they wrote:
"Many traditional varieties of corn produce abundant
tillers like your Glass Gem. Most tillers will produce ears allowing
you to get 5-7 ears off of one plant. This characteristic has been bred
out of conventional corn varieties because it makes it harder to
mechanically harvest. Some farmers believe that pulling the tillers will
help the ears on the main stalk produce better, which may be the case
if you have dense planting and there is high competition for water and
nutrients. But the bushy effect can also be beneficial if you're in an
area prone to high winds and damaging storms."
So that's 24 plants...5-7 ears per plant...maybe 100 kernels (seeds)
per ear...Wow! I guess it's safe to say that we will be selling Glass Gem Seedlings
next year!! We'll save the most colorful ones and pop the rest! This
is so exciting, and oh, isn't the word "tillers" a wonderful word?? I
shop for Summer favorites, tour our home based Nursery, enjoy some
Lemonade, and meet Jake & Lalo and our excellent assistants. Plants,
Trees, Soils and Products will be well stocked for the day. We'll be
open from 10am until 5pm...we hope you can make it!
And remember - if you want Pumpkins by Halloween, you should plant them by the end of June!!
of the most rewarding parts of our work is seeing those customers who
were initially terrified they'd "kill everything", and embarrassed by
their lack of knowledge, becoming confident, happy full-on gardeners!!
They're always excited to whip out their iPhones and show us photos of
their latest harvests, beaming with pride as if the plants were their
Here are just a few of photos emailed to us recently:
ABOVE: Susan (from Westlake) and her first EarthBox
ABOVE: Lydia's first harvest of Greens for the season
ABOVE: Sarah's first EarthBox Tomatoes
your garden the talk of the neighborhood? Are you proud of your
harvest? Are you addicted to EarthBox gardening? Did you get your plants