Friday, August 19, 2011

TDN Newsletter: August 19th, 2011

Two Dog Organic Nursery

August 19th, 2011

The Thrill of Victory!!

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Dear Gardening Friends,

We hope this finds you and your gardens well and happy! We're busy as always here and are excited to report some fun Garden Victories:

First, Corn

Jo Anne in her first organic garden in 1975

Many of you have heard me lament my failed attempts at growing good corn... My mother grew up on a corn farm in Indiana (hence our corn logo), and my great wish has been to have success in our own garden. Here's a photo of me in my first organic (in-ground) garden in 1975 - look at that sad corn I'm standing next to!! My grandmother (the farmer) visited me there and laughed out loud when she saw it, admonishing me to always plant in blocks of "10 x 10".

So, after two EarthBox corn failures, due to rats and insufficient sunlight, we've finally had success! This year, I planted 12 seedlings each of the Bon Jour and Silver Queen varieties in two EarthBoxes and put them right out on the front yard in full sun. So, it seems the "Fourth time's the charm"... they are so delicious (I was proud & happy to share some with my Mom!!), and my plan is to plant twice the amount next year!

The gardener's motto:

Never say die!

Karen, Matthew, Me, & The Boys, & The Corn!

Even the little ear has it's "arms" up in victory!!! :-)


After one successful round of Red Potatoes (harvested in January), followed by two totally failed crops, we've finally once again got it right! My conclusion is that the Winter and Very Early Spring plantings received too much rain and cold and perhaps just rotted. My plan is to continue trying to grow them year-round to see if that's the case. The two Smart Pots of potatoes which I planted with Fausto (when Alex's family was here in June) are really flourishing, so my theory could be correct...we'll see. But it really is fun to have potatoes again (and the neatest part is that we're harvesting the "offspring" of my first successful Reds!)

TOMATOES continue to be wonderful, and I planted the final 2 (for a total of 30) about 2 weeks many varieties to try! We love getting your "Garden Reports"! Please do let us know which varieties were your faves, because before you know it, I'll be compiling the 2012 Heirloom Tomato List! The Roof Top Trial Garden has been really bountiful this's a photo of one recent 16 pound haul...

Nature is so abundant!

A closer look...

I'll post our favorites a little later, but an early contender for "best of the season" is the little cherry tomato called "Gajo de Melon"...oh my gosh, so fruity and sweet... I already ordered 6 packets of seed for next year!!

Speaking of the Roof Top Garden...

Our certifier, CCOF, recently ran this article in their quarterly magazine, Certified Organic, about our Cover Crop Experiment. We believe the cover crop was well worth the effort, and we plan to repeat it again this Winter. Please let us know if you would like to purchase Cool Season Cover Crop Seed (by the pound), and we'll include your order with our own.

Click here to read the article on Two Dog Nursery in CCOF's quarterly magazine "Certified Organic"

on page 10!

Green Beans...

...stole my heart again this year, and I just planted our final 2 EarthBoxes of them, for a total of 6!! We're now eating the ones Fausto and I planted, and he's very excited to receive photo updates on his Mom's facebook page! This doesn't count the EarthBox of Speckled Butter Beans I'm growing for my Mom. They have been really successful and prolific! Just yesterday I took her a 2 lb. harvest, and there's still lots more to go. Here's a nice photo of the harvest in one of my beloved Aunt Martha's gathering baskets.

Many thanks once again to Bobbi Jo Lathan for the seeds!

Click here to go to Bobbi Jo Lathan's Website!!


With short "days to harvest", there's still time for Beans, Persian Cukes, and Summer Squash; we'll have limited amounts of these at the Markets for the next few weeks. I also just planted one more Persian and one final Zephyr Squash in our garden! It's hard to let go of Summer!

Also available once again are Sequoia Strawberries! These, too, are in very limited supply, so don't miss them if you're a strawberry fan!

And Lettuce, Lettuce, Lettuce! The warmer weather hasn't deterred us one bit, and we'll continue with at least the 8 varieties which have shown heat tolerance.


Include all the Semi-Dwarf Citrus: Blood Orange, Meyer Lemon, Lime, Rio Red Grapefruit, etc., Sub-Tropicals such as Pineapple Guava, Fig, and Pomegranates, Snow Queen Nectarines and as always, we continue with the fabulous Blueberries!

Planting Classes:

Our Special Parent/Kid Planting Classes were lots of fun, and we plan to offer them again next Summer!

We'll post our 4th Quarter Planting Class Schedule on the website soon, along with our entire Fall/Winter crop line up!

Looking Forward:

September is going to be very busy here as we ramp up for Cool Season Crops! We're going to a Garden Product Convention in Las Vegas for 2 days to do product & soil buying for next year, and we'll also be attending the National Heirloom Expo in Sonoma (which coincides with our 20th wedding anniversary...awww).

Click here to go to the website for the National Heirloom Expo!

We're very excited about the Expo as we will get to see, taste, and purchase seeds for all kinds of fantastic heirloom varieties for next Spring (while meeting the lovely seed producers I buy from), plus we'll see great documentaries, get to know all kinds of Heritage Livestock, and hear amazing speakers like Alice Waters, Amy Goldman, Gary Ibsen and Dr. Vandana Shiva! Promise to take lots of photos...

Our Fall/Winter seedlings (which I've just begun sowing) will begin appearing at the Market in mid-September, and will build to our biggest line up ever: Broccoli, Cabbages, Cauliflower, Peas, Spinach, Root Crops, Artichokes, Kale, Chard, Beets, etc.!! Along with most of last year's varieties, we're adding lots of yummy new ones such as Fava Beans, Cheddar Cauliflower, Celery, Celeriac, Kohlrabi, Turnips, Rutabagas, Shiso, and Wild Arugula.

We've also already ordered our Seed Organic Garlic (3 varieties this year), Shallots, and Onion & Leek Seedlings!! We've been really enjoying our garlic harvest and plan to grow a lot more next year! All of these, and the Root Crops, too, do so well in Smart Pots!!



Stay tuned for more info on our upcoming FALL KICK OFF & FOOD DRIVE (benefiting the L.A. Food Bank)!!! Mark your calendars and start collecting canned goods! It's going to be great!!!


That's it for now, except this one last item.... many thanks to our dear customer, Lisa Shelly who gave me this idea: You may remember my mentioning we're growing a Big Max Pumpkin for the 3 year old next door... Lisa told me how to ever-so-gently carve his name in it and watch it expand as it grows! He was with us when I did this, and he checks on it regularly!! He can't wait to have it for Halloween. It's something you can do on Winter Squashes, also!!

Thanks as always, and we'll see you soon!

Jo Anne, Alex, & The Boys (Jake & Lalo)