Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Keeping your ponds Eco-friendly clean...

Pix taken February 2008
Pond was originally built as a swimming pond July 2007

After all these years of trial & error we've learned that ponds don't really need any chemicals to keep their water clear & clean. Having plenty aquatic plants help maintain a balanced eco-system...

This is what's currently growing in ours :)
  1. Hyacinths
  2. Duckweed
  3. Anacharis
  4. Water Lillies
  5. + Fish
Pix taken a few days ago...

And for those of you who are looking for aquatic plants, contact us! We have an overwhelming amount right now!

Be well :)
Namaste :)

What Soil do we use and how do we Amend soil?

Our vegetables are grown in raised beds and when we first put them in 3 years ago we used a mixture of Rich Black Soil from the Tujunga Canyons, Super Soil ~ Potting Soil (Brown Bag), Super Soil ~ Enriched Planting Compost (Purple Bag) as a base, several bags of worm castings, and also added plenty of our very own home compost.

Three years later we've learned how to imitate rich organic soil with the following recipe:

Bucket Size
  1. 1/2 Bucket Super Soil ~ Potting Soil (Brown Bag)
  2. 1/2 Bucket Home Compost
  3. 2 Handfuls of Worm Castings
  4. 1 Handful of Bloodmeal (yucky but certainly necessary!)
  5. 1 Handful of Bonemeal (once again yucky but really good for the veggies)
  6. MIX VERY WELL :) Use your hands :) its much more fun that way :)
We live on top of a sandstone hill and there are plenty of small areas that we grow directly into the soil. We use a mixture of compost, worm castings, and mulch to amend those parts.

There you have it, not too difficult, eh? If you guys have any special questions, don't be shy and simply ask :) Those of you who we have had a pleasure to talk to or meet know that Eric and I love to teach you guys our gardening methods :)

Special thanks to Aaron & Dawn for inquiring about the soil :) (Aaron how's your garden doing?)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Gardener Celebrities at Novella's Speaking Engagement

What a Great Evening!

Talk about a room full of Urban/Eco-Conscious/Farmers/Master Gardeners/Vegans/Homesteaders and Novice Edible Gardeners. Listening to Novella and her wacky stories about her squat Farm, the animals she grows to eat and her tiny apartment in Ghost Town Oakland California was certainly uplifting and inspirational :) Thanks Novella for being soooo real & humble :) Now I'm really going to have a good reason to have Bingwa take me to Ghost Town while we're visiting Mama & Papa up in Bay Area :) I'd love to visit all her animals and edible garden :)

Side note: Novella was not able to make it to our garden this time around... her flight was delayed :( Hoping next time she's in LA, we'll have the honor to have her :)

Fun Fact: I've worked very closely with high profile celebrities for 15yrs, and rarely have gotten star struck. But tonight was like attending a Gardener Blogger Celebrities Meeting :) It was great being surrounded by all these Gardener Stars :) All of these people are being the change they want to see in the WORLD....
Here's a few that were in attendance...

Yvonne Savio & Novella Carpenter

Yvonne Savio & her Awesome Husband! She is my idol and also the best Mother Master Gardener a Gurl could ever have! She's super famous in the world of Gardening! All you got to do is Google her name and see how much she's contributed to the Los Angeles County Community; don't forget to sign up to get on her e-list. She's filled with great tips and resources :)
UCCE Cooperative Master Gardener Program

Adriana Martinez from Anarchy In The Garden was also in attendance :) A very intelligent lady with a punk edge! Nice eh? Picture a Punk Rock Chic playing in BLACK raised garden beds! (Hey Adriana! Lets compare what our veggies look like after you play hard core punk and I play classical/mediative music. Lets share the results with Yvonne :) :) If you happen to be in the Long Beach area on August 1st, be sure to stop by and say hello to her at the Grand Opening Wringley Village Community Garden where she has tirelessly help to open.

Fern from Life on the Balcony was also there :) I can't wait for us to hang and maybe she could share more container gardening tips with me :) I'm always curious about what other kinds of edibles can be grown in containers :)

Master Gardener and my dear friend Merideth Hackerman from Farmlab was also there! Oooo she's always a good stimulator of the mind & soul! Thank you Merideth for tonight's extra tickets and for always sharing Farmlab's seeds with our communities! You ROCK!!! Hey, I may have to drop by tomorrow's Salon, it sounds interesting :)

My Favorite place in LA besides my garden..

And last but certainly not least... Homegrownevolution's Erik & Kelly were also there :) It was such a pleasure to meet them. Both down to earth with beautiful happy smiles :) I certainly enjoyed the Chicken conversation we were having with Kelly. She glows with positivity. Erik is a lucky guy :)

So there you have it, a night of stimulation, affirmations, and meeting of the minds :)


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Novella Carpenter may visit our Garden today :)

Before her discussion tonight at the Central Library in Downtown, Ms. Novella Carpenter may stop by to take a quick peek of our edible Garden :). I'm jumping up and down like a child filled with excitement :)

Check out her blog: p://ghosttownfarm.wordpress.com/

She is also mentioned in today's Times:


Really looking forward to meeting Novella in person!

Namaste :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

July's Harvest and garden is still pumping out Great Veggies :) YUM!

July 12, 2009
Not a 1lb yet :( But still super good!

July 11, 2009
Finally our onions were ready! These can take a while to grow!

Bingwa made Super Delicious Veg. Lasagna! Def. unforgettable! The taste was amazing!

July 18, 2009
Proud 1lb!

Juicing the grapes was THE BEST GRAPE JUICE WE'VE EVER HAD!

July 21,2009
50% from the Garden ACCOMPLISHED!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Hornworm Caught!!

10 pm and we caught a HUGE 5inch Hornworm!! Hmmm now what to do with him???  He was putting up a really good fight.  I'll be sure to throw him over the hill tomorrow morning :) 

Uploaded from the Mecca

Organic Fertilizer Update

After much debate of whether or not to use manure, we decided to use it in our compost pile :) I wasn't crazy about using it in the first place, but was convinced by the plants and Bingwa that it was time to feed the veggies with a different meal...  I'm still soooo amazed on how quickly the compost has decomposed and how much darker & healthier it looks :)  
~Note: Never add Manure directly into your soil!  It will burn your plants :(

Our buddy Talia was also cool enough to barter some 
Mycorrhizae for some baby veggie plants :) We've been adding it to our veggie transplants and they are super happy.  Heard its a bit expensive, so if you're on a budget go with making your own compost and adding manure.

And since we were up to experimenting and mad about feeding the hungry veggies & fruit trees...  I decided to purchase some worm tea from my buddy Lora Hall at the Highland Park Farmer's Market.
~Note: Always do one part tea to 10 parts of water and of course give it a good stir! (just in case you were wondering)
~Personal Journal Note: Worm Tea was added to the Orchard on 7/1/09.  They are looking soooo healthy and the peach leaf curl is somewhat controlled.  Believe Peach Leaf Curl had to do with humid nights.  Last few days have finally heated up!  Yee-Pee Summer Days are Finally here :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Vegan Raw Sushi Recipe :) Super Simple!!

Yep! You guessed right, we also strive to eat 50% Raw Vegan Organic Whole Foods :)  Its simply the best tasting and filling meals we've had :) Plus it keeps us super healthy and vibrant :)  (Tx JeffyPoo for asking for some recipes! I'll be sure to post several in your honor!)
What you'll need for one roll :)
1/2 Avocado
Lemon Juice (few drops)
Swiss Chard (2 small leafs with stems)
Celery (1 stem, thinly sliced)
Cherry Tomatoes (5 li'l ones)
Garlic Chives
Liquid Amino Acids (Soy Sauce Substitution)

Slice thin layers of Avacado...
Chop up Basil...

Liquid Aminos can be purchased at most Health Food Stores.  It taste very similar to soy sauce because its made out of soy beans as well!  We use it on most of our dishes...

Raw Nori isn't as easy to find and can be super expensive...  If you're a 110% Raw Vegan and need the Raw stuff you can find it at erewhon or rawvolution.
Call in advanced one store may have it on sale :)
Wakame can be purchased at Whole Foods.

Lay your nori paper on a flat surface, (make sure to place your veggies closer to one edge of the nori paper!!) add the swiss chard, sliced cherry tomatoes, celery, avocado, chopped basil, slice of onion, sprinkle wakame, add a few drops of lemon juice and liquid amino acids.

Once you have all your ingredients aligned beautifully :)  Its finally time to roll :)  Don't be afraid of the nori & the veggies, pretend that you're about to roll a burrito :)  Okay okay it may take you a few tries, but imagine the future sushi creations you'll be making YUM!!  :)  oh and I almost forgot...  to seal the roll, dab your finger with some lemon juice and run it along the edge.  Hold the roll in place for a few seconds...
And Wala!  You got yourself a very simple Vegan Raw Sushi Roll :)

One of best parts of growing your own food is that we can make these all the time in just a few minutes!  It sure beats cooking an entire meal :)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Compost Time!

Hola and Happy Sunny Wednesday Everyone :)

I love to maintain our compost pile :) Knowing that we're not dumping food scraps or brown wastes into the land fields is def. helping Mother Earth, not to mention our EDIBLE GARDEN :) Its great for Veggies, Trees, and most Plants! So here's the process:

Step 1.
Save all of your fresh green food scraps in a bowl or simply use a bin with a lid. Eggshells and coffee grounds are okay :)
Do not add: diseased plants, cooked fruits/veggies, meats, fats or grease!

Step 2.
Begin with an empty hole.

Step 3.
Throw in your green scraps :)

Step 4.
Cover your scraps with the same amount of browns. Browns are considered: Dead Leaves, wood chips, dried grass, straw, saw dust, or prunings. Be careful not to add those dead weeds in your bin!

Step 5.
Water your bin thoroughly and keep it moist (not wet.) Your done for the day :)

Step 6.
Turning your compost pile :) In my experience, if I turn the compost once a day, we could get compost in a month :) The pix to the right shows two bins, we would love to have three, however, once again no room :( Our compost bins are located on our steep driveway, making it easy for me (with the help of gravity) to turn the more decomposed compost to the lower end of the box :) This system also allows me to continue to add a weekly pile of fresh greens & browns as the compost moves to the lower end :)

Step 7.
Once you notice your food scraps and browns have decomposed to a stage where you don't really recognize whats in the pile... You may want to move the more decomposed stuff into another box, as we do. Don't forget to keep turning your piles, this will help to decompose everything faster :) Oh and water!

Step 8.
Improvise Improvise Improvise :)
Smarty pants Bingwa came up with this easy solution on sifting out the big undecomposed chunks out of our compost. We use the carry trays that are given to us when we leave the nurseries with way too many plants :)

Step 9.
Wala! You got yourself some beautiful rich organic compost in about a month or less! Its super light and SOO ALIVE!! Now its ready to use :) We use compost to amend our soils, lay a nice thick layer in our raised beds, add it to our pots, and even make compost tea!! (Conne I promise next lesson is how to make your own compost Tea!! Pls say hello to your beautiful daughter :)

Pls keep in mind our bins are both in a very shady area. We understand we're suppose to have the bins in the sun, however, we simply don't have the room in the garden (our garden isn't very big at all). So we Improvise and we still get fantastic compost! :)

Tx for reading :)

Milli :)

50% out of the garden!

Striving everyday to eat 50% or more out of the garden! Pix was part of yesterdays lunch ;) yum yum ;)