Archive for Community Gardening

2011 Seed Orders

I just wanted to share what we’ll be growing in the garden this year. All of our seeds are heirloom, untreated, and sustainable seeds.

Bountiful Gardens Seed Order 2011

VBE-2328 Pinto Beans
VBE-2420 Envy (Edamame Soy Bean)
VBE-2465 Early Wonder Tall Top (Beet)
VBR-2540 Di Cicco (Broccoli)
VCA-2750 Primo (Cabbage)
VCA-2980 Shin Kuroda (Carrots)
VCO-3315 Anasazi (Corn)
VEG-3499 Black Beauty (Eggplant)
VKA-3910 Lacinato (Kale)
VLE-4200 Jericho (Romaine)
VLE-4110 Amish Speckled Butterhead
MBO-6240 Bolt Resistant Lettuce Mix
VON-4627 Valencia (Yellow Onion)
VON-4589 Mill Creek Red (Onion)
VON-4540 Chives
VOK-4500 Clemson Spineless (Okra)
VPE-4790 Alderman Pole (Peas)
VPE-4885 Habanero Peppers
VPE-4900 Jalapeno, Early
VBR-2580 Spring Raab (Broccoli)
VCH-3135 Fordhook Giant (Swiss Chard)
VPE- 4950 Yolo Wonder Bell (Red Bell Pepper)
MSW-6440 Sweet Bell Mix
VPU-5015 Winter Luxury (Pumpkins)
VSQ-5370 Crookneck, Early Summer Yellow (Squash)
VSQ-5410 Black Beauty (Zucchini)
VSQ-5440 Butternut, Waltman
VTO-5860 Pearson (Tomato)
VTO-5780 Brandywine (Tomato)
VTO-5842 Mortgage Lifter (Tomato)
VTO-5911 Verde (Tomato)
FSP-8610 Butterfly Mix
FSP-8600 Beneficial Insect Mix
HBA-7920 Sweet (Basil)
FCA-8660 Orange (Calendula)
HCH-8020 Chamomile
HCI-8060 Cilantro
HMI-8280 Mint
HSA-8350 Culinary (Sage)
HSA-8360 White Sage
HTH-8450 Thyme
FMA-8775 Lemon Gem (Marigold)
FSU-8875 Sunflower Mix

Baker Creek Seed Order 2011

CR111 Chatenay (Carrots)
CR112 Cosmic Purple (Carrots)
CU157 Solly Beiler (Pickling Cucumbers)
HPP102 Serrano Tampequino (Hot Peppers) ❤
TP101 Cherokee Purple (Tomato)
HB119 Echinacea, Purpuea (Flower)
HB126 Dill-Bouquet (Herb)

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::Fall Festival 2010::

Just Food, in collaboration with Just Hollywood and the Hollywood Seventh-day Adventist Church, produced the first annual Fall Festival on Sunday. We had such a great time in a transformed space. The church has allowed justHollywood and justFood to build a community garden in their backlot which at one point was additional parking and has since been storage space, a sandlot, and the largest kitty litter box in Hollywood. With the help of some friends of mine, we were able to clean out the lot and redesign the space to host apple bobbing, a pie eating contest, a barbecue feast, face painting, and a campfire.

It was such a great first event for our nonprofit and so may people came out to support the new garden space. The youngest attendee was 1 and the oldest was much older. What a great event to start the consecration of the garden.

Below are some pictures taken by a friend of mine at the festival. Enjoy!

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Transplanting

As I glance upon the transition I made from California to Maryland, to Jersey, and now back to California, the hardest of these adjustments came as the one I least expected. I thought moving home would be smooth and simple, something I was used to and I had missed. I remember laboring over the decision to move. I had a wonderful house to live in with a greenhouse and farm in my backyard. I had an incredible housemate and friend, I had all my junior farmers that worked in Eve’s Garden with me daily. I had two awesome cats, great neighbors, and weather that I loved. I had finally experienced all four seasons, and what a miraculous experience that was. I had a good job, I loved the kids I nannied and I still find myself talking about those two rascals quite often. Last year, when I was diagnosed with stage one cancer and shortly after, my father had a heart attack, it really had me reevaluate being such a long ways away from home. It wasn’t until October that I finally made the decision to leap. What a long leap that was, nearly 2,800 miles worth of leap. I thought it was going to be easy. I thought wrong.

It took me about three months to fully adjust to being in my new yet old surroundings. Everything and everyone had changed, including myself. It seemed to me that not only did things and people change physically, but biologically, emotionally, spiritually, everything I had once known and called home had evolved, as I did. Things were not the same. I was uncomfortable. I wrestled with making the right decision. I tried to go back. I did go back in my head. Transplanting was one of the hardest things I have ever done.

What does this have to do with community gardening? As I notice those around me in the garden, the people that have rented plots, I realize that many of these people, my neighbors, have transplanted from native lands. Whether it be Russia, Armenia, Mexico, El Salvador, Columbia, Guatemala, Austria, New Zealand, or Zimbabwe, my neighbors are in a foreign land. They come to the garden with hearts full of the weight of their immigrant life. Yet they come. We share, we smile, we commune over various foods and stories of farms in their native lands. Guermillo likes to speak of his family in Honduras and the tropical farming he did there. He has a banana tree in his plot. Stephan talks of the frost and indoor growing he and his family would do in Germany. Stephan and his wife Tatiyana have tomatoes and all sorts of herbs growing in their plot.

Last month I planted some vegetables from the Solanaceae family in little containers with a woman named Lucy. She’s a neighbor of mine in Hollywood whose loves to garden. This week, the peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes were large enough to transplant into the community garden. I wonder if it is as shocking for plants to move from the only place they’ve known to a different land of different soil. I suppose this is why we must “shock” the plants by overwatering before we transplant them. In general, I think transplanting is a difficult process, but like the tomatoes and peppers, Stephan, Guermillo, and I have managed to find a way, to find peace, and to thrive among our surroundings.

Someone once told me, home is where my toothbrush is. I am beginning to learn that home is where I make it. So if you haven’t already transplanted your seedlings, begin that this week. Never transplant or water in the heat of the day. Your plants will thank you later for it.

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Solanaceae

Solanacea is pronounced sol-an-a-sea-a. It is an agricultural family of various flowering plants, much of what I plant in the summer months. This family includes species like jimson weed, paprika, chili peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, deadly nightshade, tobacco, and petunia plants. The solanaceae family is ethnobotanical which means it is extensively utilized by humans. It’s interesting to note that as much as we use this family of plants in our daily diets, it is often rich in alkaloids whose toxicity ranges from mildly irritating to fatal in small quantities. Most of what we eat, mainly tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, and chili peppers are only mildly acidic. If you eat these in large quantities then you may find yourself overwhelmed with stomach and digestive problems. Nonetheless, these tend to be some of my favorite summer crops to grow in the garden.

There’s nothing like homegrown tomatoes! Just click on the link and see what John Denver has to say about homegrown tomatoes. “there’s only 2 things that money can’t buy, well that’s true love and homegrown tomatoes.” Heirloom tomatoes are my absolute favorite and make good salsas and guacamoles for dipping. Heirloom simply means the genetic code is saved with the seed and is passed from plant to plant like we would pass along an heirloom piece of jewelry. Heirloom vegetables have become an important part of our garden code because many of the plants today are GMO’d (genetically modified) to forget their biological codes. Why would companies do this? I recommend a little research on your own here but I’d pay a visit to this website: Organic Consumers Association. Heirloom tomatoes just taste better!

So get to planting and I’ll see you in the garden!

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Cinco de Mayo

Last year I celebrated Cinco de Mayo in the garden by roasting corn in our outdoor oven and planting corn in the community garden. It was a great experience. This year, I planted tomatoes and bell peppers with a woman named Lucy behind the fellowship hall on our church property. Lucy is a woman that loves gardening, she doesn’t work but she attends neighborhood counsel meetings, and is very particular about certain things. She seems at times distant but get her talking about dogs or gardens and you’ll be in for a long, methodical conversation.

Cinco de Mayo is often thought of by Americans as the independence day of Mexico. It is actually a holiday which commemorates the victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. It is not a popular Mexican holiday and is mostly celebrated in the state of Puebla and in the United States.

One of my favorite staple Mexican food is salsa. So this year, while Lucy and I planted heirloom tomato seeds, we talked about different recipes for salsa. Here is one of the recipes we discussed:

Traditional Salsa

Ingredients: 2 lbs. of heirloom tomatoes; 1 medium red onion; 1 cup cilantro; 1 jalapeno; 1 tsp of salt to taste.

Finely chop the tomato after coring and set into a colander to drain. Mince the onion into small pieces. Chop the cilatro into very small pieces. If you want the salsa to have a kick, leave the seeds of the jalapeno, if not, remove and dice the jalapeno into fine pieces. Start by adding the tomatoes into a bowl, add salt and stir. Now use half the jalapeno, cilatro, and onion then test. Use the rest of the ingredients only to build the flavor and then let it sit. The tomatoes may produce more juice which you can drain off before you serve. Enjoy!

Thanks for celebrating with us. Stay tuned for info on our nonprofit organization, justHollywood. We are awaiting our Articles of Incorporation from the state.

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Arrival of the Artichokes

This week, the first few artichoke heads began to grow to an edible size. I enjoy artichokes. The plants are tall, the blossoms are beautiful and unique and unlike any other vegetable I’ve seen. We have huge artichoke plants along the fence line of our community garden and the plants are communal.

Artichokes are perennial thistles that originated in North Africa. They are known to grow wild there today. Wild artichoke!

If not cooked immediately, placing them in water lightly acidulated with vinegar or lemon juice prevents the brown discoloration which occurs from the chlorophyll oxidation. Did you know that artichokes can be used to make tea as well?

The Benefits:

The majority of the cynarin found in artichoke is located in the pulp of the leaves, though dried leaves and/or stems of artichoke also contain Cynara which are used to increase bile production. Cynarin, an active constituent in Cynara, causes an increased bile flow. This diuretic vegetable is of nutritional value because of its exhibiting aid to digestion, strengthening of the liver function, gall bladder function, and raising of HDL/LDL ratio. This reduces cholesterol levels, which diminishes the risk for arteriosclerosis and coronary heart disease. Aqueous extracts from artichoke leaves have also shown to reduce cholesterol by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase and having a hypolipidemic influence, lowering blood cholesterol.

The artichoke, if you let it grow beyond harvest point, will produce a beautiful purple wild flower. I suggest allowing at least one to blossom. I promise the sacrifice of one artichoke is worth its beauty.

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(ReD) fruits

About a month ago or more, Sophie, age 6, requested that we begin planting strawberries. So I planted some in March and a month later, we have our first fruits. Strawberries are one of my favorite fruits. You’ve never tasted a strawberry until you’ve picked one off the vine. I love using strawberries in fruit pies, milkshakes, ice cream, jams and spreads, salads, juices and preserves.

The garden strawberry was first cultivated in Brittany, France which was a combination of the Virginia strawberry and the Chilean strawberry.

I love the strawberry because it requires harvesting by hand and a good gardener gets up close and personal with her produce. Soon, I’ll invite Sophie back to the garden to harvest these fruits.

This week we also had an  abundant harvest of our radishes. We first planted these in mid-Feburary and have been harvesting them over the past several weeks.  This week we had a radish so big it resembled a beet and it was just as purple. It was almost twice as big as the other radishes.

What other red fruits and veggies will come from our garden this year? We have a few heirloom tomato seedlings growing as well as red bell peppers. What’s growing in your garden?

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