12 Apr

How are your seedlings doing?

Hello students and fellow gardeners!

I thought I would check in to see how your seedlings are doing since our class! The weather has certainly been lovely, and the sun has been shining bright so your babies should have started to grow. If you planted large seeds like cucumbers, they should have popped up in 7 to 10 days. Smaller seeds like tomatoes and peppers always take a little longer, and herbs are typically very slow. Watering is always a challenge depending on the air temperature and whether they are in direct sun or under lights. You don’t want them to dry out, but you also don’t want them to drown. Once up, you can begin fertilizing with a weak dose of fish emulsion. I use 1 tbsp per gallon of water every week until transplanting out into your pots or garden. You can either water into the soil or spray onto the plant (foliar feeding).

I am planning on offering another class on transplanting and direct seeding into your garden sometime in the latter part of May, but will wait to see what the weather is going to do to confirm dates. Let me know If you think that would be of interest and helpful to you.

Have you started any new seeds? This is a photo of peppers that I started on March 9th. By early June they should bed ready to be transplanted out. Now is a good time to start cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, lettuce, spinach, chard and kale. All of these can be transplanted out into the gardens when it is still cool, as long as it doesn’t freeze. It’s also not too late to plant potatoes. Seed potatoes are available now at all of the garden centers. You don’t have to grow them in the ground if you don’t want to. They grow great in large whiskey barrels or wire cages.

I would love to hear from you regarding your seedlings; I want you to really fall in love with gardening and growing good food! That means you must have fun and be successful in your process. I am here to help, so call or email with your questions.

Some of you may not have the time or space to grow enough food for you and your family or may only want to grow a few tomatoes and herbs. That is just fine, too! Just being outside playing in the dirt and watching the magic happen can be such a joy. It’s the ultimate stress buster!

Don’t forget that you can always sign up for my CSA to supplement what you are already growing for this summer season. I am taking applications now and still have plenty of room for new subscribers. You can visit my website to see the information on how it works and also the registration form. I would also appreciate any referrals that you can send my way. I have a passion for educating others on the importance of sustainability in building strong communities. I can only continue my work with your help and support.

Please drop me an email or give me a call to let me know how you are progressing with your garden planning and your veggie starts. I would love to hear from you and offer help whenever you need it.

08 Apr

Garden News – April 2013

A CSA is a food distribution model where you receive a portion of the farm’s harvest each week during the summer. The weekly allotment of produce is called a share. CSA programs benefit consumers and producers. Consumers receive fresh produce grown by a local farmer. The farmer or farm organization receives stable income and a set of partners who share in the risk and rewards of farming. The CSA consumer receives more food in a bountiful season and less food when there are challenging growing conditions.

A share typically i002ncludes a selection of organically grown vegetables including beans, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, Swiss chard, eggplant, cauliflower, cucumbers, kale, lettuce, onions, peas, peppers, spinach, squash (summer & winter), tomatoes, and more.  In addition, your share will often include fresh herbs.

We plant successive plantings of the most important crops so there is always a nice selection of veggies & herbs.  Depending on the week and what is producing well at the time, sometimes the baskets are full to overflowing and sometimes they are not so full.  That is the beauty of living in season!  There may be additional crops which we will offer as extras.

Factored into the cost of a CSA share are the things which have no value in the industrial agricultural model; things like air and water quality, sustainable farming practices, working with nature rather than against it, and sustainability for farm families and rural communities.  By joining with a local farmer with a desire to produce responsible food for your family you are helping to move us in the direction of a sustainable food system.

If you would like to be a part of the 2013 CSA at Kate’s Garden,  fill out our Registration Form.

17 Mar

What’s New with Kate?

It seems that major change is in the air. Have you have been feeling it too? The world around us is going a little crazy.  We are being asked to step up and become active participants in LIFE!   Complacency can no longer be the norm.    I know that I can have a positive impact on my life and my community  when I join with others who have similar values and passions.  This is how we grow strong communities.   The very systems that we rely on are failing us.  Take, for instance, our food!  It has been everywhere in the news of late how obesity is becoming more prevalent…especially in our children.  The health ramifications are quite evident.  This is why I do what I do….grow vital, healthy food!  It’s labor intensive, but I have this undeniable passion to provide my community with healthy food options for their families.  This is what I can do.  What can you do?  What are you passionate about? Step up to the plate.   Share your gifts!

That being said, I have been looking for ways to simplify my business AND produce a stable income. My accountant tells me that I can no longer do what I do and not get paid!  I wear many hats!  The garden has always been the center of everything that I do.  The medicinal properties of the herbs that are grown here are extracted into oils and tinctures that are then added to my skin care and wellness product lines.  I am continuing to increase the number of shares offered through my CSA.  I just taught a class on Seed Starting in my greenhouse last weekend and I also consult with the Housing Authority on their Community Gardens.  Whew!  Last year I was lucky enough to find and hire Barbara, the Garden Goddess, who helps me grow the food for the CSA.  She and I are a couple of “grey hairs”, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the lush and productive garden we had last year.  We both know how to work!  It’s so rewarding being able to work along side of someone who loves gardening as much as me!

Greens! In March!

Greens! In March!

The greenhouse has been planted with a  new crop of lettuce, arugula, spinach, and other greens that are almost ready to harvest.  I am experimenting to see how they do.  Greenhouses are notoriously famous for bugs like aphids, so I will have to keep a close eye on things.  I will let you know how things go.  I have never grown in a greenhouse before, so I have lots to learn.  The spinach that I planted last fall in the outside window boxes is growing quite well.   I will have an early crop to sell.

The information on the 2013  CSA garden share membership is available here http://scentsofbalance.com/kates-garden/csa/  You can also go to the Kate’s Garden tab on my website and click on CSA in the drop down menu.  I hope you will be able to join us this year.  Eating local, organic, garden fresh produce is becoming more and more important to our health and vitality  and  at the same time helps  build a strong business community.

The gardens produced a bounty of scrumptious heirloom and open pollinated crops last year, even though we were in drought with grasshoppers galore!  This year I will be growing some new cauliflower crops; a beautiful heirloom Italian Purple, and Cheddar, which is a hybrid and buttery yellow/orange in color.  It is supposed to be higher in vitamin A.  I had great success with the French Haricot Vert green beans last season.  So this year I am planting a trio of them….green, purple and yellow.  Of all of the winter squash I planted last year, I had several favorites and some not so much!  Winter  squash take up lots of room, so I am limiting this years planting to just 4 types.scallion seedlings  Delicata, Sweet Meat, Butternut and Marina de Chioggia.  The best pie pumpkin harvested was the heirloom French Galeaux de Parisienne.  I was really disappointed in the small Baby Pan’s, so won’t be planting them again.  Do you have some favorite varieties of vegetables?  Let me know what they are, and I might be able to grow them this year.  It is not too  late to order some more seed.

I am also growing extra vegetable starts for those of you who would like to plant a few veggies at home and don’t want to bother starting seeds or rely on what is available at the garden centers.  I hope to have a nice selection of  tomatoes and peppers, along with herbs.  Let me know ahead of time  if you think you might want some for  your patio pots or garden.

That’s it for now.  Keep in touch!