Friday, April 20, 2012

TDN: April 20th, 2012

Two Dog Organic Nursery
April 20th, 2012
Spring Events!
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Dear Gardening Friends,


These are such busy days, and the Spring weather has been unpredictable at best! I haven't written since before our Spring Sale & Food Drive, so I thought I'd give a little report: In spite of the ferocious rain & wind, many, many customers braved the weather to attend. Alex, Joaquin and Don Ernesto put up tents and tarps which helped, but it was still pretty rough.  

  They brought nearly 300 lbs of food donations, and together we raised $478.96 in cash donations!!!

The Farmers Markets have been a blur... Spring Fever takes hold!  
We're sowing seeds as fast as we can, and it still seems there's always something we're "out" of...BASIL, for example! But finally, we'll have all our basil varieties this weekend at the Markets! Yay for basil!  
                            Lemon Basil                             Purple Petra Basil                         Genovese Basil

Here's my new motto:
"People always garden MORE, not less!"

We see the growth (no pun intended) with every season, and there are no signs of anything slowing the contrary, as more and more people discover the absolute joy of growing their own food, we're just going to have to find a way to keep up!

"Switching Over" to Spring... 
We've also been busy getting our 25 EarthBoxes and 25 Smart Pots "switched over" to Spring crops. Much of it is done, with help from Alex and Joaquin, but I still have corn, butternut and hot peppers to more Leeks! And more Beans! Can't wait to grow and taste fresh PINTOS! To the right is a photo of our first Leeks and below is a recipe from our friend Laura Eversz at the Larchmont Chronicle (who have been so good to us!) for an amazing sounding Leek & Potato Soup. I'll be trying this very soon!  

Leek and Potato Soup
-4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
-4 medium leeks, white and pale green parts only, coarsely chopped  
-2 cloves garlic
-4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
-6 cups chicken broth
-1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
-1 bay leaf
-1 packed cup coarsely chopped fresh spinach leaves
-Salt and Pepper, to taste
                                                                    -12 Borage Blossoms
1. In a large pot, heat the butter over medium-low heat. Add the leeks and garlic and cook, stirring, until the leeks are tender, about 15 minutes.

2. Add  the potatoes and cook another 5 minutes. Add the broth, nutmeg, and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaf.  

3. With an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth and creamy. Add the spinach leaves and pulse to blend.  

4. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with several BORAGE BLOSSOMS. Serve hot.  

Rooftop Garden & Cover Crop...

Next Wednesday we'll plant our annual Tomato Taste Test Garden on the roof of the warehouse; we turned under the cover crop two weeks ago, so it should be broken down by then. It's amazing how fast it happens! We'll be planting all 17 new varieties, plus 3 old favorites.
Because we really want Joaquin to enjoy some homegrown tomatoes before he goes home on July 4th, we planted Early Annie & Legend very early in the season; they are two of the three  Determinates we're growing, which means they'll produce a large crop all at once. He's been such an amazing help in the Nursery (and at the Markets), he deserves to enjoy the fruits of his labors!    

         Early Annie                                Sweet Tangerine                                  Legend           

~The 2012 Los Angeles Garden Tour & Party~

We were very happy to have been invited back to the Getty House again this year for the fabulous Los Angeles Garden Tour & Party put on by the Windsor Square-Hancock Park Historical Society. Master Gardener Myrna Gintel leads the production of this first-class event which raises loads of money of local "greening" projects. Once again, we'll be the sole vendor, and we'll donate 20% of our sales to the Society. 
KTLA reporter previews Los Angeles Garden Tour 2011 
KTLA reporter previews
Los Angeles Garden Tour 2011

This year's recipients will be Fire Station #52 and #61 (right in our neighborhood!); Myrna had the brilliant idea to create vegetable gardens at these two stations. We love the idea...these good folks are known to be excellent cooks (with hopefully, time on their hands), so why not? The stations will also be re-landscaped in front, and additional funds will go to "greening" the median at West 6th St. & Norton.

Ticket sales for this event have already exceeded last year's, but I know one can still purchase online or at the door. Event includes a self-guided tour of 6 gorgeous private gardens in the beautiful Hancock Park & Windsor Square area of L.A., a talk by arborist Darren Butler, a light supper and silent auction. The Getty House, the official residence of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, is the perfect setting!

Whole Foods Markets is one of the event sponsors, and today they gave us a big stack of brown handled grocery bags, which, as you all know, are the perfect mode of transport for traveling tomato plants, so we thank them for their generosity!  

And not to worry...

...we'll still be in the Westlake Village Farmers Market this Sunday, too... Joaquin and I will be at the Getty House, while Alex and our friend, Juan will be at Westlake Village.
Keyhole Garden - How to make an African style raised bed
Keyhole Garden - How to make an
African style raised bed

Things being as busy as they are, we decided not to participate in the L.A. GardenShow at the Arboretum, but we did donate lots of plants to Shawn Maestretti & the UCLA Extension Student Chapter of American Society of Landscape Architects, who are creating an exciting "Keyhole Garden" for the event. It runs May 4th thru 6th if you can make it.

Just some variety notes:

         Silver Queen                  Kabocha                      Long Island Cheese                   Sugar Baby

Corn, Winter Squash, Melons and Pumpkins  will debut at the Markets this weekend! And in May, we're expecting to have Raspberries and Blackberries again. Also in May, we'll be receiving a VERY LIMITED quantity of Certified Organic Beauregard Sweet Potato "slips" which we'll pot up in our standard 4" pots. If you are interested, please let us know! They will sell out fast. 

             Misty Blueberry                                Raspberries                              Beauregard Sweet Potato 
I think that's it for now. We'll see you soon, and thanks, as always!!

Jo Anne, Alex, Joaquin, Jake & Lalo