Raised Bed Gardening Blog

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SFCC Garden Project

The Santa Fe Community College Culinary Arts Department project is racing to an exciting close, and planting day is 3 days from now on Wednesday. The 800 or so starts, which we transplanted into cedar flats from plastic 4 packs, are flourishing and ready to go in. A documentary film has been in the works since we broke ground, and the crew will be on hand Wednesday to capture the excitement with students from the Visual Arts, Culinary Arts, Sustainable Ag departments, as well as faculty members and administration individuals. All in all, a wonderful opportunity to showcase Grow Y'own and how it can help folks grow year round, and a grand collaboration with the college and the creative group which has put this project together. 

Fall Newsletter 2012

   Its September 24th, the nights are dipping into the low 40's, the days are still warming up into the 80's, they are getting shortere, and darker, and time to plant for the Fall and Winter is NOW!

   When the nights are going to be in the low 40's and 30's, its time to get out and start putting on your Winter covers, over your Summer covers, at least for the nights. This will give your plants and young starts a chance to acclimate to the changing conditions, and have a better time of it when the sun rises later in the mornings. 

   Tomatoes, peppers, and basil are going to be the first things to start showing the stress of the cold temps. If freezing is in the forecast, I would harvest these three plants, and be joyous in the bounty. Its been a long, hot growing season, and although tomatoes and peppers came on late, there's no sense in losing what you've got. 

   Its time to cut back the kales and chards, and give the younger sprouts a chance to develop. If there are no younger sprouts showing, then let the mature plants keep going, and plant some new fresh starts  that have gotten through the first 2-3 weeks of propagation, and are ready to take off with the Fall season. Agua Fria Nursery in Santa Fe has most of the starts that you will need and want, and LOTS of them! If you can't find what you need at AFN, then Juaquin Lawrence also has loads of organic starts that he can supply you with. His # is 505 699-5444. 

   You can also start to cut back on watering, as the plants need less due to lower, sustained highs, and lesser periods of daytime heat. Every other day for the time being is normal, and your plants will enjoy the chance to dry out a little bit. 

   I just put in more arugula and lettuces, chards and kales, kohlrabis and dwarf Chinese cabbages, as well as replanting radishes. All my herbs- oregano, marjoram, parslies, sage, tarragon, chives, lemon balm, and thyme are going strong, and will once again be full going into and through the Winter.

   So Grow On! Grow Healthy! Grow Local! And Continue to Grow Y'own!!

Ken 

Santa Fe Community College Documentary

Grow Y'own has begun an exciting project for the Santa Fe Community College's Culinary Arts Department. We've built 16- 4x12 units, that will be put up on block- satisfying ADA requirements, and installed in a courtyard area for all to enjoy. In the process, we'll be making a documentary, showing the steps for setting up a sustainability project, so that other colleges, universities, and elementary schools can use it as a primer, and also for obtaining grant funding. Please contact Grow Y'own if you'd like your institution to be part of a similar project, or if you need more information. 

Fall planting

Change has come to Northern New Mexico in the forms of long rains and cooler temps. Its time to 'weed' out your Grow Y'own beds and plant for Fall and Winter. Some of the things I'm putting in are laccinato, red bor, and white Russian kales, rhubarb and bright lights chards, Marshall, freckles, sassy salad mix, Cherokee Summer crisp, 4 seasons marvel, and Italianischer lettuces, spinach, arugula, and cilantro. I just boxed and bagged lots of lovage, celery, sorrel, mint, sage, oregano, basil, and red apples from my trees, and took them to Kitchen Angels Food Depot and St. Elizabeth's shelter in Santa  Fe. Please do the same in your areas, and give healthy, 'live' food to those that need it the most!

Veggies for Healthy Hair

Dark leafy greens- swiss chard, kale, and spinach, are great sources of Vitamins A and C, which the body needs to produce Sebum. Sebum is a natural conditioner for your hair. Beans and legumes are also good sources of protein which help promote hair growth. They also contain iron, zinc, and biotin. Brittle hair is partially a result of biotin deficiencies. Include these vegies with some salmon- which is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, and you have a wonderful answer for a healthy scalp! With the heat of summer upon us, our hair takes the abuse, being on top. So wear some type of hat or covering, eat those dark leafy greens, and revive those locks!

Swiss Chard

Swiss chard should be a constant in your Grow Y'own or garden. Its similar to spinach, kale, and collard greens, has a crunchy stalk, and a lengthy nutritional profile. It is an excellent source of vitamins A,K,C,E, magnesium, manganese, potassium, and iron. Its a good choice for lowering cancer risk with its combination of minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber. It is a rich source of vitamin K, which is needed for production of osteocalcin (a protein important in bone and tooth mineralization). White chard is the most tender, but all varietals are delicious, Chard and kale are two of the easiest, most prolific, and longest growing vegetables. We had a chard 'hedge' and kale 'hedge' for over 3 years in our grow bed. Imagine how much money was saved in just chard and kale! You just pick the biggest outer leaves, and the center keeps coming and coming. It needs very little care, and thrives in almost any climate. This one's a complete no-brainer!

Visit our seasonal plantings page to learn more about what to plant in your raised bed.

Planting for Fall/Winter

I've already written about starting your Grow Y'own gardening any month of the year.

A list of things to sow for your Fall/Winter garden would be...

  • Sow in July: Beets, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, kale, parsnips, swiss chard
  • Sow in August: Arugula, cabbage, endive, lettuce, mustard, onions, spinach,turnips
  • Sow in September: Fava beans, carrots, peas, radishes, garlic ...and much, much more!

Learn about cold weather vegetable gardening.

Holy Basil

Basil is one of my favorite herbs. There are so many varieties to choose from and cook with, including Thai, African Blue, Lemon, Genovese, and Holy. The last is very important in India and Ayurvedic medicine. It has a spicy tang and is reminiscent of cloves. It supports heart, joint, vision, and skin health, and promotes optimal breathing. It also may help our natural defenses to counteract stress.  

I like to make up a big batch with garlic, parmesan, pine nuts, salt, pepper, olive oil, and of course, basil. When its ground and mixed up, I pour it into ice cube trays, and put it in the freezer. Then, whenever I want to cook something with pesto, I just pop out the appropriate number of cubes for the dish, and, Ooh Baby! I love it with shrimp and pasta, homemade gnocchi, or as a topping for bruscetta!.

Dr. Andrew Weil's Veggie List

Dr. Andrew Weil has come out with his 10 most favorite-to-stock veggie list, and they are:

  • Onions- for lowering cholesterol and blood pressure
  • Garlic- for boosting the immune system
  • Spinach- but ALWAYS buy organic due to pesticide spraying
  • Cabbage- protects against breast and prostate cancer
  • Sweet Potatoes- boost the immune system
  • Beets- help prevent heart disease
  • Squash- for overall health
  • Tomatoes- contain lycopene- a powerful antioxidant
  • Broccoli- for cancer protective benefits
  • Mushrooms- boosts the immune system

And also check out my blog on Modified Atmospheric Packaging!

See our Raised Bed Gardening Tips.

Food for Shelters

A very cool circle...

Recently, Grow Y'own and a gracious benefactor gave 2 grow beds to a housing project of 8 formerly-homeless older folks from the St. Elizabeth's Shelter, here in Santa Fe. GYO set up, planted vegies and herbs, put in an automatic watering system, and continues to monitor their success. After 3 months, they are not only feeding the housing project, but they are 'giving back' food, almost daily, to the St. E's shelter, and one other organization!   

Anyone interested in funding a similar project here in Santa Fe for other shelters, the Food Depot, impoverished youth, Many Mothers, the Teen Parent Center, Adelante org., schools, other groups, or deserving individuals or families, please contact Ken at GYO and we'll get them set up and growing their own local, healthy, food supply. Blessings, and together we can feed all those who have a hard time feeding themselves, healthy and vital meals!