Friday, August 10, 2012

TDN Newsletter:August 10th, 2012

Two Dog Organic Nursery
August 10th, 2012
Epic Summer Newsletter with Videos!! 
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Dear Gardening Friends,   
It's been nearly 2 months since our last Newsletter, and so much has been going on, I barely know where to start!


First and foremost, though, I want to give a huge hug of gratitude to my sweet hubby, Alex, who has been "holding down the fort" so much lately!!! Right after Joaquin returned to Buenos Aires, I was able to get away to my beloved Encinitas for 11 (yes, eleven, rhymes with heaven!!!) days of hot yoga, salads and sleep! Boy, did I need it after the Spring we had! Business was up another 18%, and I really don't know what we'd have done without Joaquin here. And more recently, my dearest Mama has been in the hospital, and once again Alex took charge of everything so I  could be with her. I am so lucky to be married to the world's greatest husband!     

So, Gracias con todo mi corazon, Amor! 
Sydney, Don Ernesto, & Alex taking care of business!! 
A Remarkable Visit   


Shortly after our last Newsletter, we were delighted to find that a mother Hummingbird had built her nest in the arbor just outside our front door! Alex was able to get some amazing photos of her, and then of her and the 2 babies!! They weren't with us long before they all flew away, but it was so rare and special... I mean, when do you ever see THREE hummingbirds sitting still in one place?? A friend told us that a group of hummingbirds is called a "Charm", which couldn't be more appropriate! 



After 2 ½ years, we held our final EarthBox Planting Class on June 11th. Thanks to Audrey (who drove all the way from Westlake Village!) and Cari (who drove from about 3 blocks away!) for making it fun. I've really enjoyed teaching them, so it was also a little bittersweet. We'll still offer Classes for groups of 4 or more by special request, though, so, if you've got a wedding party, birthday, or some other special event to celebrate, give us a call! 

~June 20th~     
Strawberry Girl at Summer Solstice
Strawberry Girl at Summer Soltice
We had so much fun at this Sale, we've decided to hold it every year on the Summer Solstice! It was a perfect day with a steady stream of gardening folk who bought lots of plants, trees, berries, soils and products. Jake & Lalo got lots of love, especially from the many kids who came, and they ate it up!


This makes a total of 4 Sales/Open Houses we will hold at the Nursery throughout the year, each corresponding with the right time to get your new seasonal crops going (and then fill in with those "second rounds"):

  • Spring Kick-Off in March
  • Summer Solstice in June
  • Fall Kick-Off in October
  • Holiday in December 
... And since fuel costs and other pressures on the L.A. Food Bank means they can no longer pick up food donations that total less than 300 pounds, we've decided that only the Spring Kick-Off will be combined with a Food Drive. This is our biggest event, so let's stock up and really support the Food Bank next March!


We trust you all enjoyed your 4th of July, and we want to also say "Belated Happy Anniversary" to our dear friends at the La Canada Flintridge Farmers Market, whose date corresponds with the national holiday. 3 years of fun, learning, and watching your kids grow up has made that 4:30 wake-up call a bit easier to bear! Thank you for your loyalty and friendship...Here's to many more fruitful seasons together!!


...and a special Congratulations to those customers who work at JPL and were part of the amazing Mars Rover project! Just incredible! ...oh, so much brain power in La Canada!!!


A few weeks ago, our ace assistant, Sydney, and I had the opportunity to visit with friend and mentor, Yvonne Savio in her wondrous Pasadena garden. Unfortunately, our plan to shoot a lovely "garden tour and shop talk" video was thwarted by the weather: that day it was at least 100 degrees, and we were trying to film on our iPhones, which kept shutting off because of the heat. So while we won't win any awards for the final video, we decided to share it anyway. We've spoken of Yvonne so many times, and the amazing work she does with the University of California Master Gardeners and the L.A. Victory Garden Initiative, we thought you'd enjoy "meeting" her.

A Garden Chat with Master Gardner's Program Manager Yvonne Savio
A Garden Chat with Master Gardner's Program Manager Yvonne Savio

 Part of our visit included Two Dog donating around 20 flats of plants to her worthy projects. After our "garden sauna", we went for lunch at the wonderful Le Grand Orange CafĂ© in historic downtown Pasadena and cooled off! Thanks, Yvonne for a fun day!!


Oh, and while we were visiting, Yvonne clipped some branches from her incredible 6' Lemon Verbena and gave them to me to root. So far, some, but not all, are taking. The smell of that beautiful, leafy bush was just heavenly...sort of reminded me of Lemon Life Savers!

Master Gardener's Program Manager Yvonne Savio gives advice about propagating Lemon Verbena
Master Gardener's Program Manager
Yvonne Savio gives advice about propagating
Lemon Verbena

And then coincidentally, SPEAKING OF LEMON VERBENA....  

I cannot tell you the number of requests we've had for this plant! Popular uses for this Perennial native of Chile & Argentina are: Lemon Verbena Ice Cream, Sorbet, Pound Cake, and Drop Cookies...and of course, Cocktails and Tea! Watch for RECIPES in our next Newsletter!


We've had such a great season so far with literally hundreds of tomatoes from the Roof Top Trial Garden which have been shared with friends, family, neighbors and employees! Some of our favorites have been: Aussie, Pink Berkeley Tie-Dye, Lancaster County Big Pink, Japanese Black Trifele, Radiator Charlie's Mortgage Lifter, Sunset's Red Horizon, Super Snow White, Black from Tula, Aunt Ruby's German Green, Black Cherry, Kellogg's Breakfast, Julia Child and Mr. Stripey.

Please let us know your faves! I'm always very open to suggestions; there are hundreds (and in some cases, thousands) of everything, and paring down any veggie choices is always hard. We've also been asking you to send photos from your garden, and here are a few we received recently....thanks!!

Have one to submit? E-mail us at  



One of our customers requested I grow a couple Mr. Stripeys for her this year; we hadn't had much luck with it, so it wasn't on this year's roster, but, being that it was my beloved Aunt Martha's favorite tomato, I said "yes", and grew one for us as well. I decided to experiment by growing it "solo" in an EarthBox to give it every possible opportunity to wow me. And boy, did it!! We ended up with 22 huge, gorgeous Beefsteak fruits that were delicious! So, from now on, I plan to grow our larger fruited tomato varieties by themselves in EarthBoxes... I think perhaps 2 big Heirloom varieties just might be too much for one Box...cherries and small-fruited varieties, OK, but the big guys will all go solo next year!
Farewell Joaquin!

Shortly after the Hummingbird Family departed, our nephew, Joaquin, returned to Buenos Aires to continue his studies in International Relations...I hope he's using his English!! Having him here was a Godsend because, as I mentioned before, it was a crazy busy Spring. He was a really fast-learner and always full of joy. When he left, we sent him with a veritable Seed Library to share with family and friends: 21 varieties of Heirloom Tomatoes, my two favorite Beans (Spanish Musica and Royal Burgundy), and Persian Cucumber seeds. Of course it's the dead of Winter there now, but Spring is around the corner, so we look forward to "Southern Hemisphere Garden Reports" from him in the near future!


Folks are already asking when we'll have Broccoli and Chard... well, the final line-up for Fall has been decided (a little early this year, as our wonderful web guy, Jeff, is leaving for an extended vacation in Europe soon), and I'm sorting out a date for the Annual Fall Kick-Off Sale here at the Home Nursery. In order to have as many crops ready as possible, we're considering October 7th or 14th , but many things will be available the Markets well before that date. We'll offer at least 14 new varieties this year!


It's not easy getting folks to switch to Fall when their Summer garden is still "kinda producing." And for some lucky ones who have lots of space, or as with us, lots of containers, there really is time for a few more things: more beans, another tomato for Fall fruits, more lettuce or a last-minute Butternut or Pumpkin. But remember, Fall/Winter really only runs for about 5 months before its Tomato time again! So, if you can make room, don't delay, and you'll be able to enjoy a couple rounds of Cool Season wonders, like Broccoli and Cauliflower, Snow Peas and Root Crops. I follow the Burpee Planting Guide, which can be found on our really helps in figuring out what grows when:


I've also already ordered all the Allium Family: Garlic (which we plant in October), Shallots, Onions and Leeks; we'll be offering Elephant Garlic for the first time this year. These should be available in early October. We will have a "pre-order-only sale" on Asparagus Crowns like we did last year, and also perhaps an opportunity to purchase Rhubarb Crowns. Potatoes will continue being available, and don't forget: we have "Helpful Guides" about growing these crops on our website.

Well, that's about it for now. I apologize to those who follow us on facebook that I haven't been posting much; it's just not been possible lately, but I will get back to it, promise. Thanks as always for your kind support; we do appreciate your friendship and business!!

Happy Harvests,
Jo Anne, Alex, Jake and Lalo

P.S. Yay, we've gone over 1,000 subscribers to our Newsletter!! Thank you!