Friday, March 29, 2013

TDN Newsletter: 3-29-13

Two Dog Organic Nursery 

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Dear Gardening Friends,

Spring is finally here, and we're busier than ever before with a season opening that took us by storm (and by surprise!) Our idea of offering "Pre-Orders" before the Spring Kick-Off Sale & Food Drive proved to be a good one...some 50 pre-orders came in steadily once we announced the line-up of this year's Heirloom Tomato varieties; our patio was filled to capacity!

Since many people picked up before the Sale weekend, our driveway was not the usual mob scene it has been in past years. (We were happy as we were running on very little sleep all that week.) We actually had time to talk with folks and not be in a frenzy! We'll definitely do it this way again next year.

~ The Food Drive Results ~

...were great! We collected 385 pounds of food donations, and a cash collection total of $750!  

It was a fun weekend, and this is my favorite photo from the event, taken early Saturday morning...

Thanks again to all who participated and made our  
Annual Spring Kick-Off a success! 

Rebuilding Inventory!
We're working day and night to restore our inventory levels on everything  after the Sale. Last weekend, being the first time we brought Tomatoes to the Markets, was also a wipe-out - we had 27 tomatoes left on the tables at  
La Canada Saturday after the dust settled!!

This weekend we promise to have:

Persian Cukes



Summer Squash 

We'll also have (in limited supply) these great herbs this weekend:


Summer Savory 

Sweet Marjoram 

Perennial Basil 

And next up will be Corn, Melons, Winter Squash & Okra!



TWO Ways to get  
YOU involved!

1.) Cherry Tomato Challenge!


       SunSugar                                                           Sun Gold 

During my Tomato research, I came across a variety called "SunSugar". It was the top pick by Sunset Magazine, edging out the beloved "Sun Gold"!! According to our seed source, SunSugar really took off after that article, so I bought one pack of seeds.

We've grown 6 seedlings of SunSugar which will be ready to plant out in about 2 weeks; we'll plant one out with a Sun Gold in the same EarthBox. I'll plant the same for my Mom, and we've found 2 other customers who will do the same trial.  

So we need 2 more volunteers to grow both and  
REPORT their findings.

We want to know: which was your favorite of the two and WHY: Flavor? Production? Plant Size? Disease Resistance? They don't have to be grown in an EarthBox...just be sure you can grow both of them in the same environment and location (a large-enough raised bed for example, or identical containers, placed side by side) and be sure to take notes and photos!

The SunSugar will be free to whoever wants to join in!

Just give us a call: 323-422-3835.  
We'll post the results & photos in a Fall Newsletter!

...and a CONTEST!

Many of you probably saw the photos of this incredibly rare and beautiful variety of popcorn called "Glass Gem" going around on Facebook last year. I did, and after some research, I put us on the waiting list (along with about 7,000 others) with the Native Seeds/SEARCH group, and 3 weeks ago we got an email saying we could finally purchase it!

I am so excited to grow this special corn (and again I wonder at what my corn-farming grandparents would think : "Multi-colored, translucent popcorn grown in EarthBoxes, out in the front yard! What's she doing now??")

Each person on the Waiting List was allowed to only purchase ONE packet with approximately 50 seeds. We plan to fill two EarthBoxes with it, which means we have enough for ONE other customer to do the same. But we wondered, WHO SHOULD IT BE??

...So we decided to hold a contest...If you are interested in receiving four FREE 6-packs of Glass Gem Corn Seedlings, please email us your 30-second video stating why YOU should win them. You'll grow the corn out, practicing the method of Hand-Pollination to ensure variety purity (linked instructions here), and take lots of photographs along the way! Once harvested, we encourage you to save some seeds for yourself and to share with someone next year.

We think this whole experience would be most appreciated in a School (or large Community) Garden where a number of children can experience this amazing expression of Mother Nature's infinite imagination! The Days to Harvest is roughly 110, so remember, we're looking at sometime in mid-July for the please don't enter if you plan to be on vacation at that time.

Don't delay... The DEADLINE for entries is: 

Friday, April 19th!!
Shoot your best and email it to

The seeds were sown today and will be ready to plant out in 3-4 weeks. We'll announce the Winner in our next Newsletter (and include the winning video entry.) Later in the Summer we'll post photos of your process & harvest and of our own, too! Good luck!!!

All Glass Gem Corn photos shown here are copyrighted by Greg Schoen and used with his gracious permission.

Tomato Tragedy?

Sometimes, tragedy strikes and a tomato plant gets broken off right at the soil line. Don't panic! When this happens to us, we simply put the upper part into a water bottle filled with a solution of Great Big Tomatoes and roots!! We love this product and use it to water-in every seed we sow. It's excellent as a soil drench, a foliar spray, and handy to just pour a half-cup right into an EarthBox watering tube!

Often the remaining stub of a plant will re-grow itself, too!  
How determined Nature is!!

The Garden Party!

For the 3rd year in a row, Two Dog Nursery has been invited to participate in the wonderful Los Angeles Garden Party & Tour given by the Windsor Square-Hancock Park Historical Society. We'll be selling our Organic Seedlings, Blueberries, Fruit Trees and lots of Products once again at the lovely Getty House (official residence of the Mayor of Los Angeles).


Guests will tour 6 Private Residential Gardens in the Windsor Square-Hancock Park neighborhoods and enjoy a light lunch in the Getty House garden. There will be a lecture on Urban Farming and a demo on Wall Gardens. There will also be a Boutique for purchasing special items, and the event will honor Councilman Tom Labonge!

This event always raises an impressive amount of money, and this year, proceeds will be used for "greening" L.A. High School at Olympic & Rimpau Blvds and Third Street Elementary School at 3rd & June Streets.

We hope you can join us on  
EARTH DAY, April 21st for this fun event!

For more info and to purchase tickets online, go to:  

or call 213-243-8182 with questions.

Time to Chop, Turn & Plant!


The Roof Top Cover Crop is all flowered-out and ready to chop down. We'll turn under as much of the beautiful "green manure" as will fit in each container, and the rest will come home to our compost bin. In about 2 weeks it will have broken down, and the soil will be ready for us to plant ALL the New Varieties!



NRDC Competition Results:

Well, since the big NRDC 40th Anniversary shindig is NEXT Thursday in San Francisco, I guess it's safe to assume Two Dog did not win this year. I'd been holding out hope, but oh well, we'll try again next year. We want very much to go solar and to install a water filtration system at the Nursery, so we'll have to figure out another way. Meanwhile, to those folks who sent such nice Letters of Recommendation on our behalf, our heartfelt thanks!

Cabbage Consolation...  

It did make me feel better to go out to the "Front Yard Container Farm" and harvest this gorgeous Mammoth Red Rocks Cabbage!     

A friend of ours makes the most delicious slaw with
 just these 3
Olive Oil
Lemon Juice

It's so light and fresh with juice from our  
35 year-old Meyer Lemon tree!

Well friends, that's it for now. We'll see you this weekend at the Markets!
Don't forget to let us know if you want to help us "Trial" the SunSugar vs. Sun Gold, and do send in your video entries for the Glass Gem Corn Competition!!

Thanks as always, and Happy Harvests,
Jo Anne, Alex, Jake & Lalo

P.S. Fruit Trees (link to tree page) are selling like mad! Some fun varieties coming with us this weekend:



P.S.S. We're hoping to catch a glimpse of our favorite Easter Bunny, Nutmeg, in Westlake Village this Sunday!!

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And share our page with your like-minded friends!!

The Story Behind Glass Gem Corn

The Story of Glass Gem Corn

 Like many heirloom treasures, Glass Gem corn has a name, a place, and a story. Its origin traces back to Carl Barnes, a part-Cherokee farmer living in Oklahoma. Barnes had an uncanny knack for corn breeding. More specifically, he excelled at selecting and saving seed from those cobs that exhibited vivid, translucent colors. Exactly how long Barnes worked on Glass Gem-how many successive seasons he carefully chose, saved, and replanted these special seeds-is unknown. But after many years, his painstaking efforts created a wondrous corn cultivar that has now captivated thousands of people around the world.

Approaching the end of his life, Barnes bestowed his precious seed collection to Greg Schoen, his corn-breeding protégé. The weighty responsibility of protecting these seeds was not lost on Schoen. While in the process of moving in 2010, he sought out a place to store a sampling of the collection to ensure its safekeeping. Schoen passed on several unique corn varieties to fellow seedsman Bill McDorman, who was owner at the time of Seeds Trust, a small family seed company then located in central Arizona. (Today, Bill McDorman is Executive Director of Native Seeds/SEARCH.) Curious about the oddly named Glass Gems, he planted a handful of seeds in his garden. The spectacular plants that emerged took him by surprise. "I was blown away," McDorman recalls. "No one had ever seen corn like this before."

All Glass Gem Corn photos shown here are copyrighted by Greg Schoen and used with his gracious permission.