Raised Bed Gardening Blog

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Save the Bees!

SAVE THE BEES! Plant edible flowers this Spring for you and the Bees! ONLY use natural pesticides and fertilizers. Set up bee 'baths' and nesting boxes. They feast on cosmos, echinacea, snap dragons, foxgloves, and hosta in the Summer. Ask the folks at Agua Fria Nursery here in Santa Fe about their bee-utiful choices to help the bees!

International Grow Y'own growth!

Last week, I received a request from Quito, Ecuador for help with growing food at a new spa. We decided that since it was too expensive to ship the wooden beds, that I would supply them with measurements, they would build the beds, and we would ship them the covers. So off they go to Quito. I've also had requests from Sweden, China, Hong Kong, Germany, Australia, and France. Maybe its in the air, but Grow Y'own and the idea of growing food locally is sweeping the planet. We're still far behind many countries which have this as their daily regiment, and have been doing it for centuries. We're catchin' up! Soon beds in schools, at restaurants, shelters, community housing, youth centers, and in most home will be a common thing. The carbon footprint dissolves, and we are left with a much cleaner and healthier planet!

The Zen of Growing Food

There are poignant, inspirational moments that we experience in our lifetimes. Ones that stay with us forever. Being at the passing of a friend or relative. Watching someone sing a song from their heart and soul. Witnessing the huge, emotional drama of a birth. Seeing the seeds that we have sown sprout forth and grow into food that will continuously nourish us through hungry times, and keep us healthy, and strong. Growing food is one of those longevity moments. Eating it, is the sustenance that sustains and enlivens. We should all do more of that. We should do it every day. It should be as ritualistic as breathing, or watching a beautiful sunset. We should do it, because that transformative experience will stay with us, forever.

Santa Fe Girl's School

Last night I attended the Santa Fe Girl's School Annual Dinner and Auction to benefit the Tuition fund. I gave a Grow Y'own raised bed and cover, and Donna Nash from A Woman's Touch gave the soil mix and amendments, which were auctioned off and created a nice fund for the girls. Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan stood up against the Taliban for education of young girls, and changed the world. I'm sure the bright young girls that spoke last night will carry on that tradition. Thank you to the SFGS for allowing me to be part of that inspiring evening!

Springtime Exposure of Beds

Its Early Spring here in NM, and time to be opening up your covers daily, folding them back up upon themselves, clipping them, and letting the good beneficial bugs in- parasitic wasps, ladybugs, lacewings, praying mantis- and even birds. They'll eat any bad bugs, especially aphids. This is the time when with both covers on it becomes an innoculation chamber in there, like Thailand! Those plants don't want to be closed up in there any more than you want to be in a closet with your clothes on in the middle of Summer! So aerate, aerate, aerate, and it will greatly lessen your chances of infestations, and those Winter greens will love the air and sunshine and really take off. At night, you can still lock everything down to protect from critters. 

Community Housing Food Production

Food production for community housing. A wonderful and economical way to share the cost, the work, the maintenance, and the abundance of fresh, organic, healthy, and FREE food! One of our installations of 10 beds in NM ran on the rental of the beds by the year to different families for a very nominal rate. At the end of the period, they could either renew their 'lease' or pass it on. There was enough food coming out of the beds for many more than the rentors to appreciate and use. Come together, right now, over FOOD!!

Artichoke Cenederli with Prosciutto, Fresh mint, and Olive Tapenade

For a quick and easy mid-week pasta dish, try the delicious Artichoke Cenederli recipe in the recipes section!

California Drought

The drought in California is scary and severe. Farmers drilling wells into the acquifers that will ultimately deplete them for the sake of continuance. Its time somebody figured out how to extract sea water and make it useful for irrigation. With this period of climate change, it is not going to be by natural means that they get enough water to keep crops alive. And if California food production slows to a trickle, its going to put a tremendous financial strain on where we get our food from and how much its going to cost. Better to start growing your own wherever you live, and be ready for the 'hit' should it come sooner than later!

Symphony of the Soil

Filmed on 4 continents, Symphony of the Soil is an intriguing presentation that highlights possibilities of healthy soil creating healthy plants creating healthy humans living on a healthy planet. The film also examines our human relationship with soil, the use and misuse of soil in agriculture, deforestation and development, and the latest scientific research on soil's key role in ameliorating the most challenging environmental problems of our time. A must see for any gardener!

Eggplant

Two weeks spent in Sicily over a year ago, and every day we ate eggplant. Eggplant parmigiana, caponata, rolled and stuffed with ricotta or in a tomato sauce, grilled in a garlic sauce, on pizzas, and so many more ways. A native to India, eggplant contain an alkaloid thought to aggravate gout and arthritis, but at the same time, they have much nutritional value, including phytonutrients for fighting free radicals. Tonight we're making it dipped in an egg/panko/parmesan mixture, and lightly fried in olive oil, before layering it into a casserole with mozzarella and ricotta cheeses, arugula, and fire roasted tomatoes. Add a nice Nero d'Avola to this and a crisp, fresh salad right out of our Grow Y'own, and it becomes a meal to remember on a snowy night with a blazing fire! Salute!