Thursday, July 28, 2011

TDN Newsletter: July 28th, 2011

Two Dog Organic Nursery

July 8th, 2011

2nd Anniversary Newsletter

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Dear Gardening Friends,

We hope you had a happy 4th of July! The date also marked our Second Anniversary in the La Canada Farmers Market. We're so grateful to all our wonderful customers/friends in both Markets, who have really helped build our little business over the last 2 years. It's been (and always is) lots of fun!!


Here are some happy numbers to report at this anniversary:

*Total Two Dog sales have doubled over last year!!

*We're growing 54 varieties of Tomatoes (alone) this season.

*Our Constant Contact list has grown to 662 recipients of our monthly newsletter (in 15 months).

*Our facebook page has 234 "people who like us" (also in 15 months).

*Our website has had more than 7,000 "hits".

*Our EarthBox sales have exploded; we sold 198 in the first 6 months of 2011...Oh, I so remember selling the very first one!

*The EarthBox "mini documentary" has been seen on YouTube over 800 times in the last couple weeks...if you haven't seen it yet, here's the link:

*We're now growing in 22 EarthBoxes in our own garden! (and at least a dozen Smart them, too!).

So, thank you,

thank you

thank you!!

Summer Family Fun...

Also, our Classes continue to grow and broaden in their scope: The BIG NEWS of this issue is that we've scheduled 2 PARENT/KID EARTHBOX PLANTING CLASSES for this Summer! We've had children here many times, but just recently I planted an EarthBox with one of Alex's nephews (5 years old) who, with his family, is visiting us from Argentina for 3 weeks. He is such a natural gardener...focused, excited, careful...and I figured it was time to offer dedicated class dates where a parent can bring a child and share the experience. There's no extra cost, and I think they'll be lots of fun.

SCHOOL'S OUT!, So, please plan a "play date" with your little gardener, and join us on Monday July 11th or Monday, August 15th at noon.

Alex made cute wooden stools for a children's birthday party planting class we held last year, so everyone will be able to reach the EarthBox and participate. And of course, refreshments will be served!

To see the whole Planting Class Schedule Click Here

Summer Abundance...

So, here we are in the full blast of Summer, and our garden is going wild. We're regularly harvesting a myriad of green beans, cucumbers, lettuces (more about that in a minute), cherry tomatoes (with the big ones coming on strong), radishes, squash galore (the Trombettas are a marvel!), and the corn is now taller than both of us! And, with the way the Nursery has expanded to all reaches of the back yard and driveway, this means the garden is mostly right out front! Fortunately our neighbors love it, and we share the bounty with them regularly. Several of them are EarthBox gardeners themselves.

I've spoken with many of you about planting Lettuce late into the Spring/Summer season...normally I don't grow it at this time of the year, but I've been experimenting with "heat tolerant" varieties and have had really good success. We're still growing seedlings for sale at the Markets; I'd love to hear how you are doing with it. Ours is mostly in the sun, with perhaps a little afternoon shade. We've had luck so far with Black Seeded Simpson, Red Lettuce Bowl (which at first was in the shade and attracted Powdery Mildew...once moved, the new growth recovered), Lolla Rossa, and especially Jericho Romaine. Please give me your "Lettuce Report" at the Market or by email ( I'd really appreciate your input!

And of course, we also want to hear all about Your Favorite Tomatoes! Our "Roof Top Trial Garden" is doing well, I'm happy to report. You may remember, we grew a Cool-Season Cover Crop in the same containers last winter to try to refurbish the soil (rather than replace it all); we think we should have used a little extra fertilizer at the planting out stage, but since feeding them 2 weeks ago, they've really sprung into action. We took Alex's family up to the roof this week to have a look and enjoy the view, and the plants are loaded with tomatoes. We're growing all our "New for 2011" varieties up there so we can see if they're worthy of next year's Big's a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it!

Garlic Harvest...

With the same little nephew, Fausto, I harvested our GARLIC from last Fall, and oh, my gosh, what a beautiful crop! Big, fragrant bulbs...both the California Early White (softneck) and Music (hardneck) varieties were successful. Here they are "curing" in the garage; it smells wonderful when I go in there to plant seeds! They'll be ready to clean and trim in about 2 more weeks. When you harvest yours, DON"T wash them off!! Just hang them someplace with good circulation for 3-4 weeks, and then clean them up.

After the garlic harvest, Fausto and I planted 2 more Smart Pots of Organic Potatoes - Banana Fingerlings (which he called "Deditos"..."little fingers" in Spanish) and Yukon Gold. They appeared within 6 days (!!!) and are growing really well. So, after 6 attempts, here's my conclusion on growing potatoes: even though we think of them as "cool-season", I seem to be having better luck with the warmer weather plantings.

Many of our clients (and us, too) had "blight-y" type conditions on their cool-season potato crops, where the vines shriveled up and no potatoes ever formed. Yet my Early Fall and now Late Spring crops seem to be free of that problem. Maybe it was all the rain we had.... But "Never say die" is the Gardener's Motto, no?? It's fun to just keep experimenting, and when you get a successful potato harvest, be sure to save some small ones for the next round. They'll need to pass through a period of "chitting" before their eyes begin to sprout again, but it's worth the wait if you've had good luck before. We still have Organic Seed Potatoes if you want to give it another go.

That's it for well, and as always, happy harvests!!

Jo Anne, Alex, Jake & Lalo (& Fausto :-) )