Garden, Plant, Cook!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Earth Day April 22, 2009 - Some Thoughts and Ideas

Dear Folks,

Earth Day presents an opportunity for various organizations, both charitable and for-profit, to give you the consumer, worker, family member, and citizen opportunities to make things better for yourself and others.

With that basis in mind I have some things to pass on and a new "Party" to suggest.

FIRST, MOTHER EARTH NEWS (Ogden Publications) has launched a new site for those seeking "green jobs" - how neat is that idea!

"Despite the current recession, there are more green job opportunities now than ever before, including hot careers in wind power, HVAC, environmental engineering, transportation, facilities retrofitting and more. You can find the opportunity you want today at"

Since they are just getting started, I would not be deterred if you do not see something in your local or field of interest. It is free to post your resume on the site.

RECYCLE Reminders:

Any carbon or soy based ink on the paper you print on your home computers — don't use the color stuff, only black and white, -- can be shredded and added to the compost pile as part of the ‘brown' stuff. (Compost: 50/50 green and brown - green examples are vegetable and fruit parings, non-seeding weeds and grass (non-seeding) clippings, - brown examples are dried leaves, twigs, egg shells, tea bags, coffee grounds, and printer paper, white paper plates (non- coated), towels and napkins - as long as there is no grease or meat attached. All this breaks down into usable garden fertilizer in 3-12 months depending on how small the components are.)

. . .

Got old clothes that are too torn to re-use? Recycle into strips for rag rugs or one of the neatest uses I've read about in a long time - ‘yarn' for knitting, crocheting or weaving. Cloth (preferable natural like cotton, linen, or wool, but the synthetics will work too) is cut into thin strips, for producing very fine textured whatevers.

For the idea behind turning rags into fine knitting or weaving visit the New Mexico Women's Foundation.

In the current issue of MaryJanes Farm magazine ( the tip for making the ‘yarn' when using t-shirt material is to make a small half inch slit at one end of each piece of material and pull the next one through to make long pieces of yarn — the technique is similar to putting two rubber bands together.

. . .

Do you like to pass on meals or leftovers from gatherings to family and neighbors? And would you like an alternative to paper and plastic? How about visiting the local Goodwill or similar thrift store and find pyrex glass pie plates or plain dishes — like white — to keep handy as the leftover carriers?

I like the pyrex glass pie plates (or Corning casseroles) because the neighbor can just pop the thing in the microwave and reheat without trying to use another bowl or plate.

I read the tip by a chef who keeps Thrift store dishes for leftovers and decided the pie plates made better carriers — they have sides!

We and our neighbors like to do the old fashioned courtesy of returning a meal or leftover dish with something in it, so the dishes get reused over and over again.


I want to start a GARDEN PARTY. I would like it to be all about gardening, cooking the bounty and sharing it. It should be non-political in that it crosses all beliefs and cultures. Because our climate allows us to grow, and use most of the food items which can be grown anywhere else in the nation or world, this is a great place, not to mention a important time, for the sharing of food at its source — your backyard, and your neighborhood. The benefits will expand beyond your and your neighbors needs and into the greater community.

So I've created a new concept -- a "Progressive Community Garden" where you do not have to have 10 acres in one spot.

I've mentioned before the idea that you do NOT have to grow all of it in your own backyard. Gather with your neighbors to, particularly in small lot neighborhoods, and divide up the produce you would all like to grow. A "Progressive Community Garden" is one where Mary grows tomatoes, Eric does eggplant, Juan is a wizzard with hot peppers, and Jennifer knows to grow the sweet peppers at the end of the block so they do not cross with the hot one's Juan is growing.

Don't forget to make sure to include the children. The 3 "Rs" may be necessary to financially succeed in life, but the big "G", I believe, is necessary to enjoy life and be a good friend to all.

Each neighbor grows 1 or a few of the things you all like. At each harvest time you gather and have a harvesting festival, share the bounty and recipes, and don't forget to save seeds! If you have an abundance of harvest you can share it with a senior or crisis center or food bank.

We got into canning last year and if your "progressive community garden" is a huge success, one of the way to preserve the bounty is to can it and it is a great project to do as a group.

If your neighborhood garden is doing better than you expect, consider "adopting" a service organization, have a fun raiser and donate the proceeds to your adopted group.

Individually, or as a ‘community' you can even take your over-abundance and go to one of the local farmers markets and sell your home-grown-truck-garden produce!

I will make you a deal folks, if you organize your neighborhood block to grow your own progressive community garden, I will come out and spend an afternoon with you all, going over what and where you can grow things. A 5-6 hour consultation and I will do it for free, and maybe even throw in some seeds! Any takers? Email to info at herbs2u dot net.

(Note: I do have to limit this to the valley area, and we will have to do it after the end of May, as I will be continuing caretaking until then with my relative who is having heart surgery.)

I'm suggesting the basic symbol for the GARDEN PARTY will be the graphic at the top of this post, but I'm going to look for something which also shows people sharing:

American is great, and we can still follow some examples of economy and self-sufficiency and community by following the practices of small villages around the world where most every piece of unused ground has vegetables or herbs growing in it

And finally if you are a black-thumb gardener (we can fix that, you know, but we can deal with that later), you can still participate in the progressive community garden. Offer to purchase seeds (preferable) or plants, you can still compost even if you do not garden, you or your children can weed or even help harvesting (some fruits and vegetables have to be harvested delicately). Find a way to be part of your neighborhood's progressive community garden, all will benefit, I truly believe.

I will have to come up with a slogan for the Garden Party - I will cogitate on that for a while, but if you have any ideas, I would love to ‘hear' them.


Remember to adjust your watering schedule as needed for the hot weather coming. Use that moisture meter to check soil moisture. Some wilting of leaves in the afternoon hot sun is normal, as plants such as tomatoes do this to retain moisture. Check soil moisture in the early morning or evening for accurate reading.

Have a wonderful time in the garden this spring!

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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