Friday, October 28, 2011

TDN Newsletter: October 28th, 2011

Two Dog Organic Nursery
October 28th, 2011
Happy Halloween!!
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Dear Gardening Friends,

It's finally beginning to feel like Fall, and this year, Angelenos are gardening more than ever! It's been fun, and it's been busy, busy! The season got underway with our Annual Fall Kick-Off Sale & Food Drive benefiting the L.A. Regional Food Bank. We had a good turn-out, sold loads of plants & products, collected around 160 lbs of food donations, and Alex and I donated $150 from the days sales.

Many thanks to everyone who attended! We love this way of starting a season!

BHHS Garden & Chef Derrick Spears
Once again, the Beverly Hills High School came to Two Dog Nursery for the seedlings for their organic garden, which is planted and maintained by the students of the Culinary Arts Program (photos to follow in the next Newsletter). Head Chef this year is Derrick Spears; he's an avid gardener himself and is having a great time with the kids! He provided this yummy-sounding Recipe for Braised Leeks, which we've included here:
Braised Leeks Recipe
2 stalks of leeks Med. Diced
1/4 c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 c. of Shallots Miced
2 cloves of Garlic Mined
2 C. Water

1. Start with Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a medium sized saute pan. Heat until the oil starts "swimming" in the pan (i.e. little waves).
2. Add garlic, shallots, leeks; sweat until soft, no color. Add water and braise for 2 minutes on low heat.
3. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

Braised leeks are great to use as toppings on chicken, beef, and they can also be added to soups--or you could make a Leek & Potato Pie! Have fun and enjoy the simplicity of the leeks!

Speaking of Leeks...

Don't miss the chance to get your whole "Allium Family" planted NOW. We'll only have the organic transplants for 2-3 more weeks. This year's varieties include: American Flag Leeks, Walla Walla & Stockton Early Yellow Onions, and Red Torpedo & Crimson Red Onions.
We also have 3 varieties of Organic Seed Garlic as well as both French Red Shallots and Dutch Yellow Shallots. It's amazing to grow these outstanding and important crops! Once you do, you'll never want to go back to store-bought, and with proper planting calculations and storage, you may never need to!

The Alliums are easy to grow, and we've written basic How-To Guides for all of them, which are now on our website. Go to the new "Helpful Guides" button for info on the alliums, plus Growing Organic Potatoes, Blueberry Planting Instructions, the Burpee Planting Chart, Planting the EarthBox, etc. We're trying to save paper (and trees!) by no longer printing these for distribution at the Farmers Markets.

Another big thing that happened this month was our Organic Recertification Inspection by CCOF, which, happily, we passed with flying colors! Yay! It's always daunting...the inspection of the paperwork, bookkeeping, seed storage & records, sowing charts with lot numbers & quantities, growing ground inspection & plant signage, etc. Takes most of the day, but it's great to have it accomplished for another year!

EarthBox Planting Classes...
...continue year-round on alternating Mondays. Come join us for one, and enjoy your own Kale, Broccoli, Lettuces, Peas, etc. See the whole Class Schedule here:

Celebrating One Year!!
It's nearly Halloween, and that means we've reached our First Anniversary as vendors in the Westlake Village Farmers Market! We've had a lot of fun...many of our customers were brand-new gardeners and they've been quick to embrace the EarthBox and Smart Pots...and the beautiful EarthBox Stand, which keeps the harvest out of "rabbit range"!
Many thanks, Westlakers!! Here are some of our regular Sunday Gardening Friends
Our Westlake friend Jeanne, sent this link recently to a beautiful video which captures the miracle of pollination...bees, birds, bats, and butterflies! Have a look:
The beauty of pollination
The Beauty of Pollination

Dashiell's Pumpkin :-)

And since it is Halloween, it's time for the final chapter of "Dashiell's Pumpkin". You may remember that one of our customers, Lisa Shelley, gave us the idea to carve the name of our dear little next door neighbor into the one and only Big Max pumpkin we had in our garden. We carved it with him, and the pumpkin did very well...growing to 12 lbs...,and then we got the news that Dashiell and his family were moving to New York! Just before they left, we had a little pumpkin-harvesting ceremony, packed it up in a sturdy box, and sent it -and them- off with our love. Dashiell's Dad emailed to say they'd arrived just fine, and that the pumpkin had made its "New York debut". We already miss them so much; I miss the little "brrriing, brrriing" of his bike bell and him coming over to pick cherry tomatoes and help with the watering.

They were truly wonderful neighbors, and their dog, Gatsby, was our boys' best friend, so I know they are mourning a bit, too. Anyway, we wish them much happiness in their new home and share with you now these photos taken by Sara, Dashiell's Mom...enjoy!
That's it for now. As always, dear friends, thank you for your support...happy gardening, and Happy Halloween!

Jo Anne, Alex, Jake & Lalo
Gatsby, Lalo, & Jake