Garden, Plant, Cook!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Some Great Information Resources and A Couple of Neat Ideas!

Dear Folks,

This is kind of a potpourri of some great information and ideas I have recently come across or which was sent to me.

First up is the great make-a-head salad idea I've seen several times and wanted to share with you in case you have not seen it.

Salad in a Jar!

These will keep for 5-7 days in the frig if you start with very fresh ingredients.  The concept is to keep the dressing away from the more delicate items like tomatoes and leaf greens.

So put any dressing in the bottom of any size jar (pictured is a quart jar).  Next add the sturdier veggies like carrots, celery, radish, peppers, then tomatoes, onions etc. and last the greens.  When you want to have salad up-end the jar on a plate or in a bowl and the dressing "dresses" the salad on the way out.

Another tip for making a head -- I frequently keep chopped onion, celery, carrots, radishes or bell peppers, each in their own jar.  This way it can be a fast soup prep, or one of the things we like a lot is to use tablespoons of one or more as a garnish for hot foods like stews or soups.  The cool fresh crunch with the soft texture of the hot food is a great contrast and adds extra flavor.  Like adding the last bit of basil etc enhances the final flavor foods.

 . . .

Next up I wanted to share the current newsletter from the Urban Farm with you.  You can sign up to get your own copy and enjoy all the great articles and ideas.  Greg Peterson and company have created a great resource for those wanting to more into backyard gardening, chicken raising, etc.  Make sure you check out the Urban Farm app for iPad or iPhone if you have those devices.  A series of ebooks is available through the app and more will be added. (Disclaimer: I am working on a book with Greg which may be added to the app later.)

Urban Farm 

. . .

Another farmers market is coming to the valley, this time in Tempe.  Cindy Gentry, who helped guide the Phoenix Downtown Market is working together with a lot of folks to bring this new market.  It will be held Sundays beginning March 2nd at and 'under' the bridge at Mill Avenue.

"This market is located at the north end of the Mill Avenue Bridge, under the 202 Bridge (just south of the Marquee Theater parking lot and adjacent to the City of Tempe boat storage area at 620 N. Mill."

Their facebook page

. . .

Permaculture and sustainability are not just current buzzwords, but real practices which seek to either maintain a healthy growing environment, or to reclaim and then manage areas for food and wildlife benefit.

Geoff Lawton is one of the masters of the concepts and has some incredibly inspiring information to share.  He teaches courses, including one online.

One of the 'permies' over at the Valley Permaculture Alliance, Jennifer Wadsworth, put together an outstanding collection of short videos by Geoff to give you a real idea of his work.

Geoff Lawton videos

. . .

Speaking of the VPA, so many of the most well-known names of backyard gardening and sustainability like Greg Peterson are part of the group which became VPA because they had a passion to 'grow by example' and then teach.

Membership in the VPA is free, you get to check out forum topics and attend classes on subjects near and dear to the hearts of those who want to grow more easily in the desert garden, or learn how to raise chickens, etc.

Consider joining in the fun sharing of information.  I may be considered and expert in edible landscaping in the desert, but I am constantly learning new things via the VPA.

Valley Permaculture Alliance

Oh and on the subject of chickens -- legislation is now in the State legislature to give single family home-owners the right to raise a few hens.   A bill was introduced into the Senate and passed, and is now on the way to the House.  This bill would give those who want to raise a few chickens in their back yard the right to do so, by limiting what cities and municipalities can regulate.  This would not apply to HOAs.  It is truly aimed at those towns which block a family being able to raise a few hens to help feed their families.  Recently some towns like Chandler repeatedly blocked this 'property right', while it is okay to have dogs which bark constantly.  All cities would still have the right to regulate nusiance issues.  This is about responsible owners of chickens to have more control over their food.

Check out the group page on "home grown freedom" facebook for information about SB1151.

Besides calling your reps etc. have you heard about "Arizona Voices"?

This new 'service' allows you to register and voice your preferences to your representatives on issues meaningful to you.

Check it out here.

I am in the process of doing this myself.  For a long time I thought our Senators and Representatives should have a way for their citizens to 'vote' on things as various bills and ideas are considered, kind of an electronic Town Hall.  Maybe this Arizona Voices service will finally provide it.  We will see.

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Free Seed Share - February 21st!

Dear Folks,

The next free seed share is this Friday.
Mesa Community Farmers' Market
Center & University
(Just south of University on the East side of the street)

Friday, Feb 21st – 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

How It Works:
Choose:    Any seeds we have – small envelopes will be available with pens to select and mark what you want to take home.

Bring:     Any seeds you harvested.  Share any organic or heirloom seeds you purchased.  Focus on edible seed varieties.

What:    No -  GMOs - if you are unsure if the seeds you have are GMO, please just bring yourself to choose seeds available.

Why:    Grow some of your own food, help “your economy,” and share with friends and family.

You Do Not Need To Bring Seeds to participate.

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

Monday, February 17, 2014

Free Shipping Offer on My Books

Dear Folks,

Just getting back in the 'groove' from a long trip, and my publisher is offering free mail shipping (or 50% of  ground), good through the end of the day February 21st.

You can combine your order for any books not just mine on the publisher's site.

Here is the offer - you enter the code after selecting your books:

Random Acts of Kindness are everywhere these days. Sometimes it's fun to do something nice for someone for no reason at all.

This week we're giving you Free Mail Shipping or 50% off Ground Shipping. Use it on your next order, or share with your friends for your own Random Act of Kindness!

Use code: KINDNESS14 and you'll save big on shipping.  Hurry! This deal ends February 21st at 11:59pm.

The link to my book page:

The books are also available as ebooks.

Here is a peak of our 'lawn' right now.  We do not plant a winter lawn, instead I sow and encourage reseeding of, Johnny Jump-Ups!


-- Catherine, The Herb Lady