Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Coke Bottle Watering "Globes"

Check out this great article on how to use Coke Bottles as water globes.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Two Books for the To-Read Shelf

I've recently added 2 new books to my "to-read" list.

There is this one, that hits home for me, as I try and save my $5 tomato plant with $100 in organic solutions.
The $64 Tomato: How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune, and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for the Perfect Garden

And then this one...As it turns out...I'm not the first first-time gardener to live in Santa Cruz and write about it. In fact, this lady actually has a book!
From the Ground Up: The Story of a First Garden
Stewart, a young Texan, creates her first garden from scratch in the beach town of Santa Cruz, California. Although the rental bungalow she shares with her husband, Scott, is close enough to the town's boardwalk for its amusement-park aromas and roller-coaster cries to infiltrate the not-so-private space of their house and yard, she rolls up her sleeves anyway and sets about beautifying the neighborhood. Accompanied by her feline pals, Stewart pursues a commendable path, one taken by a flourishing society of green thumbs bent on eradicating weeds and cultivating the soil so that flowers will grow and vegetables will prosper. In an episodic style, she writes of her progress from a novice with little know-how to a developing and altogether enthusiastic gardener intent on enriching a small plot of land. At the close of each chapter, Stewart offers recipes and tips to help ease the way for readers unfamiliar with garden basics. In a first book filled with promise, Stewart tellingly recounts the making of a garden and the essential life lessons the act of gardening so often teaches. Alice Joyce
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Have you read either? Do you have other gardening books to recommend?

Did you know that's how your food grew?

Aptos Community Garden - 7/2/2010

Before I moved to Santa Cruz and started making my road treks back to San Diego through the agricultural communities of the Central Coast, I had no idea what an artichoke plant looked like. I'm not a big fan of artichokes in general, so I didn't have a lot of curiosity about them. (Though recently have found myself addicted to the Artichoke hummus that "The Hummus Guy" sells at the Campbell Farmer's Market on Sundays.) It took a few times driving through my first year up here before I finally asked someone what that funny looking plant all over the side of the freeway was. I should have figured it out myself, driving through Castroville, the Artichoke captial, and seeing signs for the Artichoke festival. While I'm not growing an artichoke plant, we've got quite a few in the garden, and it's neat to finally get an up close look at it. Since I can recall many friends coming to visit me and commenting on the silly looking plant, I thought I'd share it here for those who haven't experienced one before!

Aptos Community Garden - 7/2/2010
(Not my Zucchini)

Before I saw some pictures of someone else's garden last season, I had no idea what a squash plant looked like, I just knew I liked it and bought a lot of it. It was a warm-up veggie for me, as I tried to eat healthier as I got older. Earlier this year when we saw squash blossoms at the Farmer's Market, I couldn't tell you how they grew on the plant however. I've learned a lot in the last few months though. I now can tell you that there are male and female flowers on squash and cucumber plants, and I can identify them by gender at a quick glance. I also now know that zucchini can get HUGE. I even commented on another lady exiting the garden a few weeks ago, thinking no way could mine end up that big - and I ended up with my very own baby bicep! (Zucchini bread, here we come!) It's been neat to walk through the garden and see all the different squash types and how they grow, and how much they produce.

Do you know how your favorite fruits, vegetables and grains grow? Was there something you saw that it took you a while to figure out? Was there something you saw growing that surprised you when you found out what it was? What is something you realize you may not know how it grows?

The Flowers at Aptos Community Garden

I love, love, love the collection of flowers blooming across the garden...Bring the bees baby!

Aptos Community Garden - 7/2/2010

Aptos Community Garden - 7/2/2010

Aptos Community Garden - 7/2/2010

Aptos Community Garden - 7/2/2010

Aptos Community Garden - 6/28/2010

Aptos Community Garden - 6/28/2010

Aptos Community Garden - 6/28/2010

Funny Face Pumpkins

Aptos Community Garden - 7/6/2010

"Are you sure that's not a watermelon?!"

Uhm...I'm pretty sure. After someone questioned me on Facebook about the species of my plant, I started questioning myself and did a little bit of research to confirm I didn't get my tags mixed up. I'm pretty sure watermelon leaves and flowers look a bit different, and this baby is on it's way to being one of FOUR pumpkins making a run for it. There are a couple more that have bloomed that I've pruned back when they didn't look like they could go the distance, and the vines are still growing, so there is lots of hope for more as well.

For right now though, we're just going to focus on the family of four. I think they need names. 3 of them are growing on the same vine, and one is off on it's own on the other side. I'm getting pretty attached to them, and if they are going to eventually have faces anyway, I think I want to give them a little of personality as I cheer on their growing. Any suggestions?