xxxxxxxxxThe Many Uses of Epsom Salt

Today, Epsom salt has become an almost forgotten folk remedy — something that might crop up among the creased and yellowing pages of a farmer’s almanac. Sure, you can still find it on pharmacy shelves just about anywhere, but what the heck is this stuff, and what is it used for? These days, most people regard it as a medicinal soak for things like sore feet or insect bites. And, yes, it works wonders for both, but that is only the beginning. This multipurpose miracle salt can help cultivate internal and external well being, and it is also a great go-to ingredient for happy gardens and houseplants.

What is it? • Unrelated to table salt, Epsom salt (also known as magnesium sulfate) was originally discovered in mineral waters bubbling from a spring at Epsom in Surrey, England. It is a crystallized mineral compound of magnesium and sulfur — both essential to human wellness — that is naturally present in seawater and brine pools.

Health and beauty booster • Many people’s diets today are deficient in magnesium and sulfates, minerals that can be hard to come by when processed foods dominate grocery stores and restaurants. Enter Epsom salt. Magnesium and sulfates are absorbed right through the skin when we soak in a bath of Epsom salt, and so while we’re luxuriating in a warm tub, our bodies are benefiting from a boost in circulatory health and nerve function, as well as a reduction in muscle pain and inflammation. Not to mention, Epsom salt is a natural emollient for our skin. Unlike other salts, it leaves the skin feeling soft and silky rather than dry. Here are a few ways to take advantage:

Soothing soak • Add 2 cups of Epsom salt to your bath to soak sore muscles, soothe bug bites, speed the healing of bruises and help remove splinters.

Foot bath • Add 1 cup of Epsom salt to a basin of warm water as a balm for aching feet.

Skin scrub • Rub a handful of Epsom salt over wet skin for deep cleansing and smoother skin. Rinse and pat dry.

Bath crystals • Mix 2 cups of Epsom salt with a few drops of essential oil to create custom bath crystals. Store in an airtight container.

Laxative • Yes! It can even help with occasional constipation. (Follow directions provided by a pharmacy.)

Green garden ingredient • Did you know that Epsom salt can be used as a natural fertilizer? It is most commonly applied to potted plants, or to magnesium-hungry crops like potatoes, roses, tomatoes and peppers. The advantage of using magnesium sulfate over other magnesium soil amendments (such as dolomitic lime) is its high solubility — it melts right into the soil. Here’s how to use it:

Houseplants • 2 tablespoons per gallon of water; feed plants monthly.

Tomatoes • 1 tablespoon per foot of plant height per plant; apply every 2 weeks.

Roses • 1 tablespoon per foot of plant height per plant; apply every 2 weeks. Also scratch 1/2 cup into soil at base to encourage flowering canes and healthy new basal cane growth. Spray with Epsom salt solution weekly to discourage pests.

Shrubs (evergreens, azaleas, rhododendron) • 1 tablespoon per 9 square feet. Apply over root zone every 2 to 4 weeks.

Lawns • Apply 3 pounds for every 1,250 square feet with a spreader or dilute in water and apply with a sprayer.

Trees • Apply 2 tablespoons per 9 square feet. Apply over the root zone 3 times per year.

Garden startup • Sprinkle 1 cup per 100 square feet. Mix into soil before planting.

MaryJane Butters is the editor of MaryJanesFarm magazine. E-mail her at everydayorganic@maryjanesfarm.com.
Copyright 2010 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


xxxxxxx12 alternative uses for coffee filters

By Lori Bongiorno

I was surprised to come across several articles with long lists of alternative uses for coffee filters. I'd never really considered them for anything more than making coffee, and even then I know that choosing a reusable filter or making coffee in a French press is one way to stop throwing money away and cut back on waste.

I have to admit, though, that there are some very good reasons to keep a box of coffee filters on hand. They can come in handy in a number of situations and ultimately save you money since coffee filters are less expensive than other options.

Here are some of the most interesting and practical uses for coffee filters that I've come across.

1. Clean windows and mirrors. Coffee filters are lint-free so they don't leave behind any residue.

2. Save a bottle of wine. Broke the cork? No problem. Just place a filter over a pitcher and carefully pour the wine into it.

3. Line flower pots. Place a filter at the bottom of the pot to prevent soil from leaking out of the drainage hole.

4. Protect china and non-stick cookware. Place a coffee filter between dishes or pans when storing or packing.

5. Wipe off smudges. In a pinch, you can use to clean eyeglasses, camera lenses, televisions, and computer monitors.

6. Keep your microwave clean. Prevent splatters by covering dishes or bowls in the microwave with coffee filters. Using another plate is your best bet, but filters are a good alternative to plastic wrap. And you can easily reuse them a few times.

7. Make a bouquet garni. Tie up bay leaves, parsley, or other herbs in a coffee filter. Drop it in your stew or soup pot, and easily remove it when you're done cooking. Recipes often suggest cheesecloth for this process, but a coffee filter is an easy-to-find alternative.

8. Diffuse the flash on your camera. Place a coffee filter over your flash to soften the brightness. You can also try putting coffee filters over lights or lamps to lessen the harshness of direct light when taking indoor photos.

9. Make sachets. Tie lavender or other dried flowers and herbs in a coffee filter to make great-smelling bundles you can store in drawers and closets.

10. Use for sewing projects. Coffee filters make a great backing for embroidering or appliqueing soft fabrics.

11. Make tea bags. Wrap loose tea in a filter and tie with a string.

12. Use for storage. Wrap Christmas ornaments and other rarely used fragile items before packing away.

Environmental journalist Lori Bongiorno shares green-living tips and product reviews with Yahoo! Green's users. Send Lori a question or suggestion for potential use in a future column. Her book, Green Greener Greenest: A Practical Guide to Making Eco-smart Choices a Part of Your Life is available on Yahoo! Shopping and Amazon.com.


11-22 Oven Roasted Asparagus with Mint Dressing

For roasted asparagus:

1 bunch of fresh asparagus, with woody stems trimmed
3-4 thin slices of lemon
olive oil
salt and pepper

For dressing:
1-2 sprigs of spearmint (or 10-15 spearmint leaves), chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, minced finely
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a baking sheet, place the asparagus and coat with a generous amount of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with the lemon slices. Bake in the oven until the asparagus becomes tender - about 15-20 minutes.

While the asparagus is in the oven, combine the minced garlic, chopped mint leaves, lemon zest, lemon juice and olive oil in a bowl. Whisk together and add salt and pepper to taste.

When the asparagus tender, remove from the oven and allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes. Then spoon the dressing over the asparagus and serve.

11-22 Vegetable Pot Pie

2 carrots, small cubes
2 potatoes, small cubes
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
2 leeks, finely chopped
2 stalks of young garlic, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup cauliflower, small pieces
4-5 sugar snap peas, rough chopped

2-3 sprigs of thyme
1 pinch of herbs de Provence
1 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 sheet puff pastry, at room temperature
2 tbsp cheddar cheese
1 tbsp Parmesan cheese
1 cup vegetable stock or water
1 cup half and half
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a ovenproof casserole dish.

In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter and olive oil. Add the leeks and garlic, and saute until they become translucent. Next add the carrots and potatoes, and saute for 3-5 minutes until they start to become tender. Add the remaining vegetables, the thyme leaves (without the actual stems), and herbs de Provence.

Saute for 4-5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir. Next, add the stock and half & half. Let the vegetable mixture simmer. The flour will help to thicken the sauce. Add the Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Pour the mixture into the casserole. Top with a sheet of puff pastry cut to size. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top. Bake until the puff pastry rises and the vegetable mixture bubbles. This could take anywhere from 25-45 minutes, depending on the thickness and temperature of the puff pastry sheet.

Serve hot.

Note: You could add pretty much any vegetable you have on hand. Just ensure that everything is chopped to roughly the same size.

11-22 Kale and Barley Soup

1 bunch kale, stems removed and roughly chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
5-6 cremini or baby Bella mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
1 bay leaf
1 pinch herbs de Provence
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup barley
plenty of vegetable stock or water
salt and pepper

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute till they become translucent. Add the mushrooms and saute for a few minutes until they brown. Next stir in the kale. Add the bay leaf, herbs de Provence and the fresh thyme (minus the stems). Wash the barley in some warm water, drain, and add the barley. Add more than enough stock to cover the veggies and barley. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pot and let simmer for 25-45 minutes until the barley is cooked. (If you have quick cooking barley, it will become ready in 20-25 minutes. Otherwise, it might take up to 45 minutes or so.)

Serve with crusty bread. Enjoy!

xxxxxxxxxxxLearn how to be safe when canning your own foods & more about BPA-free canning lids

Bottom line: Here's the solution:


Here's the problem with BPA canning lids:


My wife and I belong to a CSA. We are getting some cucumbers that I would like to try and pickle. My wife says the lids to the classic mason jars have BPA in them. Do you know how much of a concern this is in the context of canning? Is this a recent development? Are there alternatives to mason jars?



She's right about the classic mason jar's connection to BPA. The glass jars themselves do not have BPA. It's the lids -- or more accurately, the lid linings. What a pickle! You want to can, not get can-cer!

BPA, the abbreviation for bisphenol A, is a synthetic estrogen used to make some plastics hard and as a resin in can linings so they don't rust. BPA also shows up in odd places like non-metal dental fillings, the thermal paper used for cash register receipts, medical devices, baby bottles, some plastic water bottles, and food containers. It's been in use for several decades. But it is definitely something you want to avoid. Even trace exposure can disrupt your endocrine system and create all kinds of health problems, including cancer, adult-onset diabetes, and obesity.

But here's the problem: it isn't easy to avoid BPA. The Centers for Disease Control found that 93 percent of Americans tested have BPA in their bodies. Canned food may be the primary source of exposure. So if you're going the extra mile to can your own food, Teak, it would be nice to go the extra, extra mile to be free from BPA.

I spoke to Dr. Anila Jacob, Senior Scientist and the resident physician at the Environmental Working Group, about ways to avoid BPA when you're canning.

"We know BPA leaches when it comes in contact with the food," she said. "One thing you can do is try not to fill the jar all the way up to the top, but that's hard because when you move it, it's going to shake."

The safest solution is BPA-free lids. And they're out there. Jacobs recommends calling lid manufacturers to check; most have a 1-800 number for concerned consumers like yourself. You might also take Jacobs' advice and drop the Food and Drug Administration a line requesting that they ban BPA. "The more the FDA hears about it, the more likely they are to take action," she said. For safer options, go to link at the top of the page.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxCheck out this video about Lisa. She and I think very similar...


SherylXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXLisa and I have very similar beliefs and passions... check it out.


11-22 Carla Hansen's Pickled Beets - SUPER delicious!

Select small, young beets, cook until tender, dip into cold water. Peel off skins.

Make the following syrup:

2 cups sugar
2 cups water or beet juice
2 cups strong vinegar
1 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon allspice
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Pour over beets and boil 10 minutes. Pack into sterilized quart jars and seal at once.

USU Extension service says to process 40 minutes in a water bath. You will have to decide how many beets you have as to how many batches of syrup you make. Be sure to stir it altogether good and then bottle. The spices all go to the bottom of the jar so I shake them up good before I open them. This recipe is from an old Kerr book. USU Ext. would have you put more vinegar in them too, but it would ruin them and I haven`t ever had any trouble with them and they keep for years. Enjoy! If your beets are big, just cut them up. I put them in a big pan when they are cooked and make enough syrup to put over them so it looks like it would fit in the quarts.

11-22 Char Grilled tuna with oregano oil and beautifully dressed peas and broad beans

by Jamie Oliver

Serves 4

The simplicity and flavor of this summer dish are fantastic. Buy your tuna steaks about ½ inch thick rather than going for massive inch-thick ones. That way they cook quickly, giving you a juicy, silky steak that hasn’t had a chance to dry out. If you can’t get hold of tuna, then shark and swordfish are reasonably good steak-like alternatives.

ingredients for the oregano oil

• a small bunch of fresh oregano or marjoram, leaves picked
• sea salt
• juice of 1 lemon
• best-quality extra virgin olive oil
• 4 handfuls of podded peas
• 2 handfuls of podded broad beans
• 150ml/5½fl oz best-quality extra virgin olive oil
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• a small bunch of fresh mint, leaves picked
• juice of 1 lemon
• 4 7 oz sustainably sourced tuna steaks, cut ½ inch thick

To make your oregano oil, pound the oregano with a good pinch of sea salt in a pestle and mortar until you have a paste. Add the lemon juice and 8 tablespoons of olive oil and stir until you have a good drizzling consistency.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add your peas and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, then remove them with a slotted spoon or sieve. Add the broad beans to the pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, depending on their size. Drain and leave to cool, then pinch the skins off any big beans (you can leave the skin on any small or medium ones).

To dress the peas and beans you want the same balance of acid and oil as you would have in a salad dressing. So, put the olive oil and a good pinch of salt and pepper into a large bowl. Chop up most of the mint and throw it in, add the peas and beans and mix everything around. Add lemon juice to taste. You can serve the dressed peas and beans hot or at room temperature.

Heat a griddle pan or barbecue until hot, season your tuna steaks with salt and pepper and pat with some of the oregano oil. Place in the pan and sear for 1 to 2 minutes on each side. Personally I like to keep my tuna a little pink in the middle as this tastes much nicer, but if you’re going to cook it through please don’t nuke it.

Tear the tuna into 2 or 3 pieces and toss in a large bowl with the rest of the oregano oil. This will give you a lovely combination of flavors. Serve the fish immediately, with the peas and broad beans, scattered with the rest of the mint leaves.

PS Sometimes I love to throw random delicate greens like baby spinach, watercress, even rocket, in with the broad beans for 30 seconds before you drain them. The combination of peppery irony greens, creamy broad beans and sweet little peas makes the veg taste even better.


SherylXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXHerb demonstration

Salad dressing from Janet Clark (Homespun restaurant in Leeds, Utah)

Herb tools and taste test: stevia, various salts and pepper (pepper mill from la cuisine/France), zester, various sizes of bottles of herbs, kitchen shears

Food samples:

Tomatoes with fresh basil (ingredients: pre-sliced, tomatoes, mozzarella, salt, sugar, pepper, olive oil, red wine vinegar, fresh basil)

Fresh salad greens from yard plus dressing

When growing an Herb Garden

Plant it in a place that is easy to get to and convenient

Containers need to be easy to reach and pinch the herbs

Many herbs will take over and need to be thinned i.e. sage, etc. They can end up woody and unattractive.

Do's and Don'ts:

Too many herbs may make you crazy. Less is more when it comes to herbs.

One idea: Create two rectangle pots just outside your kitchen door.

Grow only the culinary herbs you use on a frequent basis.

basil – three plants plus a new one


parsley – curly and flat




mint – in a small confining container…. Make sure you like the mint you plant – less partial to spearmint (canal mint) love peppermint

sorrel – bright lemon taste

Herbs and spices are what elevate foods and cooking.

About a cookbook: "If you got one good recipe from a cookbook, it was worth the purchase of the book".

Where to get your Dried Herbs: Penzey’s (penzey.com)
So much cheaper thru this website.

Why buy at Penzey's? Cost savings and much fresher than store purchased herbs where you don’t know how long sitting in warehouse.

Going to Baltimore? Go to the harbor – McCormick and Shilling spices – smell the cinnamon aroma. Sorry, no tours.

How to store them: Glass jars, varying sizes, FREEZE your herbs. split an order with others. Best to store in air tight container. Never plastic; glass is best. Can order glass jars from Penzy’s

Discuss some favorite spices and how use them

Fresh ground nutmeg – different smell and taste (use nutmeg grater)

Grind spices in coffee grinder

current catalog

20 year old herbs of my mother – No comparison in aroma.

Identify 20-25 fresh and dried herbs (mystery)

Door prize to individual who identifies correctly the most herbs

Marion Searle

June 2010

Our Garden Motto....

Everyone doing just a little bit of work, results in a very big beautiful garden!


xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxGarden Harvest Distribution

We have Harvest Days often—usually once a week during the main harvest season, and sometimes more often depending on what produce is ripe. You will be notified in advance of when they will be, and RSVP is required. You will receive a share of produce from all of the gardens.

To participate, just RSVP at least an hour in advance to the Garden Supervisor of the Garden you typically work at (or, for no-labor members, the one nearest you). Then, have one member of your household show up at the designated time. (Bring grocery bags when you come; if you forget, we’ll have some you can use.)

How do we determine how much each household receives?

We allow everyone who shows up on Harvest Days an opportunity to receive an equal share of the harvest, but we let you determine when you have as much as you want.

The process goes like this: All of the harvest is laid out in a way so everyone can easily see what there is. The Garden Supervisor counts how many households are present and calculates how much each household can take during the first round so there will be enough for multiple rounds. The supervisor then gives each household a chance to step forward and take the allowed portion for that round. When all have received their first portion, the supervisor determines the portion for the next round and gives each household a chance to come up and take that portion. When you have as much as you need or want, you can pass on taking more. No one gets extra until everyone is satisfied with the amount they have received.

What if some households have put in more work than others?

Each working membership requires the same amount of work during the year, and members may join at different times of the year. Therefore, the amount you receive at any particular Harvest Day is not determined based on how much work you have done so far. Each household is allowed an equal chance to receive produce.

What if I can’t come at the time you schedule the harvest?

We try to schedule harvest days at various times to accommodate people’s varied scheduled. If you can’t come to one, you can either wait until the next one or send someone else from your household to pick up your share.

Note: When picking harvest, they're not picking for just them. We don't divide it at that time.


11-22 Arugula and Fava Bean Crostini

1 cup shelled fresh fava beans (1 1/4 pounds in pods) or shelled fresh or frozen edamame (soybeans; 3/4 pounds in pods)

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided, plus additional for drizzling

1 1/2 cups packed arugula (1 1/2 ounces), divided

3 tablespoons grated Pecorino Toscano or Parmigiano-Reggiano

1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 baguette

1 garlic clove, halved crosswise

16 mint leaves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook fava beans in boiling water, uncovered, until tender, 3 to 4 minutes, then drain and transfer to an ice bath to stop cooking. Gently peel off skins (if using edamame, don't peel).

Pulse fava beans in a food processor until very coarsely chopped, then transfer half of mixture to a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup oil, 1/2 cup arugula, cheese, lemon zest and juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper to favas in processor and purée until smooth. Add to bowl. Coarsely chop remaining cup arugula and gently fold into fava-bean mixture.

Cut 16 diagonal slices (1/3 inch thick) from baguette and put in on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with remaining tablespoon oil. Bake until pale golden and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Rub with cut side of garlic.

Spoon fava-bean mixture onto baguette toasts, then drizzle with oil and top with mint.

Servings » 8

Source » by Kay Chun, Gourmet magazine, 2009

xxxxxxxxxxxIn Season: Fava Beans

Spring produce has entered the market. This week, look for: Fava beans.

What are they? » Also known as broad beans, favas are legumes native to north Africa and southwest Asia. They're popular throughout the world, though usually in their dry form as their peak season usually lasts just a few weeks. People who take MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitors) should avoid eating favas as they contain high levels of tyramine.

How to use » Shell the beans from their leathery pods, discarding the pods. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and blanch the beans for 4 minutes. Strain the beans into an ice bath to stop them from cooking. Gently peel the skins from the beans and use as desired.

Look for » If you can find them, look for pods that are leathery, firm and without blemishes. Check for pods that contain large beans.

Storage » Fava beans are highly perishable. Store them in the refrigerator for up to three days.

E-mail: food@sltrib.com.


11-22 Fava Beans Recipes

Fava Bean & Tomato Salad


20 tomatoes
1 pound fresh fava beans
1/4 pound finest prosciutto
1/4 pound gruyere
3 tablespoons fruity olive oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
pinch sea salt


Set a pot of water, with a pinch of salt, to boil. Put a bowl of ice water in the sink. As the water is coming to a boil, shuck the fava beans. How to do this? Snap and extract. There should be three or four beans per pod. (Be sure to feel the inside of the pod, which is as soft as dryer lint.) When the water has come to a boil, plop all the shucked fava beans into the pan and let them bob there in the boiling water for thirty seconds. After that, immediately drain them and plunge the fava beans in the ice water to stop cooking. After a moment, take them out and let them chill in the refrigerator for a few moments.

Once cool enough to handle, remove the skin from individual beans by peeling it off. Fava beans are kind of a pain to prep....but they pay off in flavor.

Meanwhile, slice the grape tomatoes in halves, lengthwise. Cut the gruyere into small squares, about the same size as the fava beans. Make up a simple vinaigrette, by combining the olive oil, white vinegar, salt, and pepper. Toss everything together, with the fava beans, then thread small slivers of the prosciutto in among the beans, tomatoes, and cheese. Eat with the small sigh of spring.

Grilled Fava Bean

Serves: 4


2 pounds Fresh Fava Bean Pods


Spray whole fava bean pods with cooking spray. Place pods directly on hot grill of BBQ. Turn fava pods frequently until pods char and begin to burst open (about 7 to 10 minutes). Remove from grill and cool pods for 10 minutes. Remove fava beans from pod and peel beans by pinching one end of the bean to pop bright green fava bean from it's waxy shell. Grilled fava beans are delicious served as an appetizer with slices of Parmesan cheese.

Rigatoni with Fava Beans and Artichokes
Source: Adrieene Meier, Ocean Mist Farms


3 Ocean Mist Artichoke hearts and bottoms cubed
1 cup (5 ounces) blanched shelled fava beans
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup vegetable broth or water
1 yellow onion finely chopped
1 carrot finely chopped
1 cup spinach leaves coarsely chopped
One 28 ounce can plum tomatoes (drained)
1 pound rigatoni pasta (cooked)
2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
grated Parmesan cheese.


In large frying pan over medium-high heat warm olive oil.
Add carrot and onion and cook until tender, about 7 minutes.
Add artichokes, fava beans, spinach, broth, salt and pepper.
Cook until heated through.
Stir in tomatoes and simmer about 15 minutes.
Add cooked drained rigatoni to sauce and gently toss.
Plate and top pasta with shaved parmesan cheese.

Sauteed Fava Beans


boiling water
tap water
2 lbs fresh fava beans, in the pod (yields about 1 1/2 to 2 cups shelled beans)
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced, to taste
salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste


First, shell the beans from the fava pods.
In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil, then add salt – the amount depends on how much water you have, but it should be very salty, like seawater.
In a bowl, combine ice and tap water to make ice water; set aside.
Add the shelled beans to the boiling water and let cook for about 3 minutes, then remove from saucepan and immediately plunge into the ice water to halt the cooking.
Let the beans cool, then peel the outer skin from each of them.
Over medium heat in a skillet, melt together the butter and olive oil, then add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
Add the peeled fava beans and sauté for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until they are done to your preference.
Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper, serve, and enjoy!

Note: in choosing your fava beans, get the pods that are firm and fresh looking.

Note 2: once you've made these basic fava beans, you can add other delicious items such as caramelized onions or fennel, chunky fresh tomatoes, and/or a bit of chopped proscuitto.


xxxxxxxxxxxMore about the Holladay Gardens....

Right now, during the first part of June we are in a transition mode from the cool weather into the warmer weather and we need to make some adjustments.

Holladay is the MOST demanding gardens of all of our 5 garden locations, since it has been going on since Jan. 27 of this year.

Planted in the Holladay Gardens as on June 3, 2010:

8 kinds of lettuce
fava beans
giant sunflowers
a wide variety of flowers

And soon we'll have corn and beans


xxxxxxxxxxxxxGarden locations

Holladay Gardens
2836 E Casto Lane (5060 So.), Holladay UT 84117

Holladay gardens were our first Community Gardens and now consist of 2 private backyards but only one address is listed. When you work in the Holladay gardens you'll become very familiar with both properties, which are only 5 houses away from each other. We identify the Holladay gardens with two names: “Sheryl’s Garden" and "Susan’s Garden". Members always come to Sheryl's Garden first unless otherwise specified.

Sheryl's Garden
On our 2000 sq. foot garden property, this is where it all began three years ago, as a community garden. This is "Home Base" for our Holladay Gardens, since we have more than one location in Holladay. Our family of six have called this property "home" for the past 27 years.

Before our family owned this land in 1983, it belonged to my grandparents since 1955. My grandfather was a fruit farmer and loved growing a wide variety of fruit trees. Because of his love for farming, our garden soil is still extremely rich in nutrients. This is a similar story for all of our five private, backyard garden locations. We are extremely blessed to have rich soil in EVERY location we garden in. I believe my grandparents would be pleased with me to see what I have done to their land.

Sheryl's Garden is currently called the "Lettuce Plantation" since it includes an abundance of least 8 different kinds of lettuce, arugula, strawberries, flowers, cabbage, spinach, peas, garlic, fava beans, carrots, and beets.

We have worked very hard in this garden since January 27, 2010.

This is not the "kid friendly" garden like our other "kid friendly" gardens we enjoy. Even though you'll see some fun toys in my backyard i.e. slackline, fire pit, four large trampolines and eleven kayaks, these items are off limits when coming to work in my garden. However, you can join my other groups that I offer.

Gardening and Outdoor Adventure/Recreation are my two passions in life. I am an adventure guide and enjoy taking groups kayaking, hiking, skiing, camping, snowshoeing and cooking dutch oven dinners. I teach Multi-Sport Exercise Classes in my backyard which involve hula hoops, trampolines and slacklines. Register to receive invites to these activities at: www.liveandthrive.com.

Sheryl's Garden also features a 500 square foot, vertical garden AND shows off our hydroponic, vertical, strawberry garden patch grown in rain gutters! If that isn't enough, our latest addition is our new, 1200 sq. foot, cold-frame greenhouse which will allow us to grow food year-round!

Susan's Garden
This is our second season in this 5000 sq foot garden. Everything grows abundantly here! We call it the “Pea Plantation” since 1000 ft. of peas are growing vertically on fences. Besides a ton of delicious peas, you'll find squash, giant sunflowers, tomatoes, peppers, apples, grapes, pears, rhubarb, carrots, onions, chives, garlic, strawberries, beets, broccoli, etc.

Taylorsville Garden
1300 W. 6255 So., Taylorsville, UT 84123

Taylorsville was added to our group in 2010 and is our only “irrigation” garden. The 5400 sq. foot garden features fruit trees as well as an abundance of corn, tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, pumpkins, squash and a lot more! It wins the prize in two areas: 1) The most “kid-friendly” garden and 2) our largest garden. With a spacious fenced-in, grassy field next to the garden, children are able to play while members work.

South Jordan Garden
11131 So. 2865 W., South Jordan, UT 84095

The beautiful Mt. Timpanogos is what you’ll see in the background when you work in our 5000 sq. foot garden in South Jordan. It not only offers fruit trees but a wide variety of fruit trees and vegetables i.e. strawberries, squash, corn, tomatoes, peppers, basil, cucumbers, etc. This garden was added to our group in 2010.

Riverton Garden
13250 S 1830 W Riverton, UT 84065

Riverton is the most recent garden to be planted. The 2000 sq ft. garden area offers a variety of fruit trees as well as a wide variety of veggies. It's also a great place for children to play in the large backyard full of soft green grass and a fenced in area, next to our garden space.

Draper Garden
11662 S. Willow Wood. Dr., Draper, UT 84020

It is 1250 sq. feet. Access from 700 East to Meadow Wood (11700 S.). A variety of plants are going in on June 19. Enter the property on the north side.


More about the Taylorsville Garden and how it works....

Holly Martin is overseeing the Taylorsville Garden.

The work and schedule information will always be posted in an email. Once you know WHAT the current work is for the garden and HOW to do it, you can work alone OR work with the group.

I communicate almost on a daily basis with those who oversee each garden. They tell me who is working in the gardens. If you work in any of the gardens, just let me know. Everyone keeps track of their own hours.

xxxxxxxxxxxTo learn more about Gardening, go to this place!

This is a favorite place of mine to learn a lot about gardens: The Conservation Garden Park at Jordan Valley. You'll learn a lot about how to be water-wise and still have an amazing garden and beautiful landscaped yard. They are located at 8200 So. 1300 West. Look for them on the EAST side of the street.


xxxxxxxxxxxBEST place in town to get ALL of your plants - veggies, flowers, herbs....

Anyone who knows much about buying quality plants in the spring for the best price, knows about
Lambert Floral
They are located at 3900 South Redwood Road (on the WEST side). The parking lot is always full and they never advertise since everyone just knows where to go. When you go there, before going in, look on the NORTH side of the main building for a HIGH TUNNEL Greenhouse. This is similar to mine except it is open on both sides and it's a half circle. My High Tunnel Greenhouse is a Gothic Style.

Lambert Floral is only open for a few months out of the year and then they close again until next spring so at least go see what we're talking about. I'll buy some of my plants there this year then hopefully by next year I will be growing all of my plants in our greenhouse.


The above photo is our Waterfall Garden - in Holladay

If you've taken the Garden Tour, you'll recognize that this is the garden we have our two square foot gardens planted. It's also the garden we get a lot of plums and big, delicious blackberries! YUM!!! You'll love this garden when you take the Garden Tour in Holladay.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxComposting 101 at this website!




xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxCommunity Gardens in SLC - learn the difference between my Garden Group and the one on this video

Community Gardens are popping up everywhere but they can be quite different on how they are set up and run, which is a good thing, since there is something for everyone.

Watch this video on a local community garden group.

My Community Garden Group is set up quite different than the one on the video.

Here are a few benefits of working in my community garden group:

1. We have NO waiting lists. Since we have up to 2 1/2 acres to garden in this year, we are always looking for people who want to work in the gardens and enjoy the fruits of their labors!

2. We don't sell plots to individuals. Everyone works together on whatever needs to be done in our gardens. You can work for 30 minutes or 2 hours. You pick whatever days you want to work. Choose to work in a garden closest to home if you like, since we have 4 gardens in the Salt Lake valley. RSVP is required before coming - even if it's 10 minutes before you arrive.

3. You receive harvest from the entire 2 1/2 acres and not just from your own individual plot. You can work whenever you like, including skipping a month or two if necessary and when you come back to work, all the gardens have continued to progress, even without your help.

3. The more often you come, the more you learn about ALL aspects of growing a garden. Because we have different types of gardens i.e. vertical, square foot, waterfall, large irrigation gardens, small drip line gardens, flower gardens, hoophouses, etc. you receive valuable experience working in all types of gardens.

4. Everyone is on the honor code, but we ask each member to work at least 25 hours over the 8 month season, which isn't much considering how much harvest you receive during that time.

5. In addition to working together as a team, we offer a variety of mini classes that teach our members about seeds, preserving the harvest, growing seeds indoors, learning how to prune, working in greenhouses, hoophouses and high tunnels, working with a variety of soils, learning how to grow veggies, herbs, flowers, etc.

6. We have several Master Gardeners in our group! Besides learning from them you will work next to many skilled gardeners who can answer questions you have.

7. Work close to home. Even though we have 4 garden locations in the Salt Lake valley (South Jordan, Riverton, Holladay and Taylorsville)you can work close to home and bring your children to help do the work.

8. Work anytime during the week, except for Sunday. This is the only day we don't work in any of the gardens. All of our properties belong to private homeowners. An RSVP is required when working in our gardens so we know who is there and we make sure that everyone is working efficiently.

9. Cost to be part of my group: $50/household for the entire garden season.

10. We provide tools, expertise, land, water, etc. You help us provide the labor!

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxWhat do my vegetables need to grow?

Growing plants is a mystery to some. Good gardeners learn to separate fact from fiction and quickly learn that gardening is both art and science. They spend time with their plants, learning to determine their needs and growing conditions. For them, gardening offers tasty rewards.

Plants have several basic needs. They need light, the proper growing temperatures, nutrients and water. Plants make their own food, hormones and vitamins. As a gardener, your task is to provide for the needs of your plants to help them grow well.

Light is critical to carry on growth through photosynthesis. Most vegetables need at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. If your growing area does not provide this light, move the garden or grow leafy vegetables, such as lettuce, that do not produce a fruit.

Vegetables are divided into two groups — cool-season and warm-season types. Cool-season plants will tolerate a light frost; warm-season types will not take freezing temperatures. Always plant the seeds or transplants according to what they will tolerate.

Although plants make their own food, they must have the right nutrients. Understanding what nutrients a plant needs and how best to apply them is essential to growing a good garden.

Water is critical for all plants, especially in our high mountain deserts. Water is a critical component to make plant food and also provides the needed internal support, cooling, and movement of nutrients throughout the plants.


How do I learn how to garden?

I hear this question more frequently as I answer questions, teach classes and visit people.

The popularity of growing your own food has re-emerged for many reasons.

For some, it is economic, as they want to stretch their hard-earned dollars. Others want to have the freshest and tastiest vegetables possible.

Still others want to grow food using fewer pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Others are following religious counsel to learn to be more self-sufficient and store their excess produce for use in times of need.

Many of the health problems facing this nation could be reduced by eating more fresh fruits and vegetables from your garden. Helping others learn to grow their own food gets them outside and active.

You should never forget the health benefits of working in the garden — enjoying the physical exercise from working outside and also the mental relaxation from working the soil, seeing plants grow and enjoying some of God's gifts to mankind.

Gardening is a great family activity. For me, learning to garden was a gift from my parents. My father farmed and taught me many things, but my mother's time and temperament were more suited to the tender vegetable seedlings in our garden.

She patiently taught me how to plant, nurture, water and fertilize the plants. She taught me to hoe to the end of the row to remove the weeds.

She also taught me how to harvest and then preserve the fruits of my labors which we enjoyed eating throughout the year.

Today, many people, particularly the younger generation, did not have a mother who taught them about gardening. This column is for them.


xxxxxxxxxxHealthy Soil is the Key to a Successful Garden.

Healthy Soil is the Key to a Successful Garden. How do you know if your soil is healthy? Here are some guidelines: Healthy Soil:

• High Organic Matter
• Good nutrient Levels
• Good drainage
• Workable
• Holds some moisture

The best way to improve soil is to add organic matter.

Types of Organic Matter you can use:

Soil Pep
Aged Manure
Compost from different places
Grass clippings

For more information on soil preparation and composting click on the following links:






More about "how many hours you need to work in our gardens"

We need a lot of help in each of our gardens this year. Identify which of our garden locations is closest to you and plan to work in that one, if you like.

However, I would strongly recommend at your earliest convenience, that you visit OR better yet, work in each of our four garden locations at least once, so you see what each one looks like and where much of the food will be coming from that you eat.

We recommend that all garden members, who want PLENTY of food, put in a minimum of 25 hours of work in our gardens between now and the end of November,(that averages out to be 3 - 4 hours/month) OR you can put in the bulk of your time in the spring, summer or fall or whatever. We need help during the entire garden season so you can decide what works best for you.

The bottom line: The more you come, the more you learn about all types of gardening (square foot, vertical, large gardens, small gardens, shady gardens, sunny gardens, greenhouses, etc.) AND the more food you get.

If you put in more than 25 hours, we will love you forever!! With 2.5 acres of land this year, we need a lot of help, but just do what works for you. We're flexible!


For a healthy diet, your meals should contain these portions

For a healthy diet, according to Dr. Oz, your meals should contain the following portions:

1/2 of your meal should contain fruits and vegetables
1/4 of your meal should contain lean proteins (meats, legumes, dairy and/or whole grains make complete proteins so you don't have to eat any type of meat.)
1/4 of your meal should contain whole grains

Where does everything come from - teaching children about Agriculture


Seeds: Heirloom, hybrid, buying in bulk, how to store, etc. Watch for an upcoming workshop all about SEEDS!

Watch for a mini SEED workshop coming soon. Learn about heirloom vegetable seeds, how to harvest seeds, hybrid and non-hybrid seeds, how to store seeds, how and where to buy in bulk, and why seeds are so important in the first place. Check out gourmetseed.com, also on ebay, do a search and you'll find 7 pages of heirloom seeds (mostly tomatoes).

We have some "seed experts" in our garden group. Learn who you can turn to for specific questions about seeds.

Learn more about seeds in any of these VALUABLE articles from Utah State Extension Service:






How to create a vertical fence using tomato cages.

I'll be posting photos of how we are using tomato cages to help with our vertical fencing. It's important to use whatever materials you have and since I have 150 tomato cages, I thought I would put them to use until I plant our tomatoes in May. They are working out well!

Composting - learn about the Eco-Composter

Click here to watch this video and learn more about the Eco-composter, available at Costco for $149, after a $50 rebate. This has a 71 gallon capacity


Dehydrating your harvest


xxxxxxxxxxxxxThe Amazing Cucumber!

If this is true, all I can say is, "What a Vegetable?"
The Amazing Cucumber

This information was in The New York Times several weeks ago as part of their "Spotlight on the Home" series that highlighted creative and fanciful ways to solve common problems.

1. Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day, just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.

2. Feeling tired in the afternoon, put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber. Cucumbers are a good source of B Vitamins and Carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours.

3. Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower? Try rubbing a cucumber slice along the mirror, it will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.

4. Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds? Place a few slices in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area.

5. Looking for a fast and easy way to remove cellulite before going out or to the pool? Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumbers along your problem area for a few minutes, the phytochemicals in the cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite. Works great on wrinkles too!!!

6. Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache? Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache!!

7. Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge? Cucumbers have been used for centuries and often used by European trappers, traders and explorers for quick meals to thwart off starvation.

8. Have an important meeting or job interview and you realize that you don't have enough time to polish your shoes? Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe, its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.

9. Out of WD 40 and need to fix a squeaky hinge? Take a cucumber slice and rub it along the problematic hinge, and voila, the squeak is gone!

10. Stressed out and don't have time for massage, facial or visit to the spa? Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a boiling pot of water, the chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber will react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown to reduce stress in new mothers and college students during final exams.

11. Just finished a business lunch and realize you don't have gum or mints? Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath, the phytochemcials will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.

12. Looking for a 'green' way to clean your faucets, sinks or stainless steel? Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean, not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back the shine, but it won't leave streaks and won't harm your fingers or fingernails while you clean.

13. Using a pen and made a mistake? Take the outside of the cucumber and slowly use it to erase the pen writing, also works great on crayons and markers that the kids have used to decorate the walls!!


People's Market Seed Swap, Sat. Jan 30. We got a lot of great seeds!

People's Market Seed Swap is this Saturday, Jan. 30, 6 - 9 p.m. at the Unity Center. It is at 900 W. and California Avenue (1300 So.) We will have heirloom seeds from the Slow Food Ark for exchange. I am trying to get as many members of our group to go to this and get seeds. I'll give you seeds to swap if you can come to my home before then and pick them up. I'll make a list of seeds that we still need before the 6 pm Seed Swap time. Let me know if you can attend this Seed Swap.

Get to know this non-profit organization: SlowFood.org. They let us know about events like this.

The big change for 2010 Garden Year....

No more emphasis on 25 hours of work in the Garden. Now the only requirement is to pay $50 to join our garden group, then come and get food often. If you don't come, you won't get any food. It's as simple as that. It all depends on how much fresh, local, organic, delicious food you want. We hope you will come often and help us and reap all the delicious benefits!


Starting and growing vegetable seeds indoors - More info and reasons why we do this


xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxStarting Bedding Plants Indoors Can Be Tricky

My personal thoughts: If I were doing this with no experience or help from anyone, I would be very intimidated to do this but we do have experience with this and whether or not all of our seeds turn into beautiful plants, it's a good to learn these valuable skills and gain personal experience doing this.

By Dennis Hinkamp

Avid gardeners going through withdrawal this time of year can often be found engrossed in seed catalogs and mumbling about starting flower gardens indoors.

Starting gardens indoors requires a great deal of work and time, which is why most people leave growing bedding plants to greenhouses and nurseries, says Jerry Goodspeed, Utah State University Extension horticulturist. Still, there are many reasons one might decide to start growing bedding plants indoors. By growing bedding plants its possible to grow varieties that may not be grown by local growers.

He says most seeds can be started (germinated) in a warm, dark location. They need a very light potting soil. Starter soil mixes can be purchased from the local nurseries. Some people put their seed flats on top of a furnace or freezer. This helps warm the soil to promote good germination. Be sure to read the seed package label in order to provide optimal germination requirements, and never over-water the seeds. Once the seeds germinate and the plants start to appear, they will need as much light as possible.

"Starting bedding plants indoors requires either a solarium, small greenhouse, or a room equipped with growing lights," Goodspeed says. "Lighting is the major obstacle for most people who are growing bedding plants because windows usually don't provide enough light to allow for proper growth and development of bedding plants."

If a greenhouse or atrium is unavailable, he says grow lights or good flourescent lights can be used. Keep the lights about 4 to 6 inches above the plants. They will need 16 to 18 hours of exposure a day.

Small plants also need to be fertilized, Goodspeed says. Apply a water-soluble fertilizer during each watering. It should be diluted to prevent excess salt build up and wasted fertilizer. Watch the plants as they grow. Their appearance can be a signal when they are lacking fertilizer.

"Let the plants grow until their second set of true leaves begin to emerge," he explains. "If they are getting enough light, this will occur before they are a couple of inches tall. Once the plants have reached this size, they can be transplanted. If only a few seeds were germinated in a larger container, they may remain in the same container and not be transplanted."

If the plants are crowded, Goodspeed suggests transplanting them into a larger container with good drainage and enough room for the roots to grow. They can stay in this container until they are ready to be placed outdoors. Keep supplying fertilizer and adequate water to keep the plants healthy. The light should still be within 4 inches of the plants if it is artificial.

"These are simplified directions for growing your own bedding plants," Goodspeed says. "There are diseases and insects to also worry about and unforeseen mistakes. Anyone interested in raising their own bedding plants should allow at least a year to gain a little experience. Start small and acquire the necessary skills on a few plants."

Read the seed labels and know how many weeks are required before they can be planted outdoors in the spring. Do not start plants too early or they might take over the house, he warns. Bedding plants grown too large in the house will not necessarily mean larger plants in the yard. Some do not transplant well if they get too big.

SherylXXXXXXXXXXXXXXOrganic Vegetable Seed Starting

2 recommended catalogs:

Gardens Alive
Peaceful Valley Farm and Garden Supply

Why start your own seeds? Four great reasons:
More varieties
Assured organic

Take care with seedlings; they never fully recover from damage due to wind, cold or lack of water - check seedlings daily.

Keep careful records - variety planted where and source of seeds.

Start your seeds indoors under lights

Two 4 ft. shop lights using 2 ordinary fluorescent bulbs will light 2 flats of plants.
Hang shop lights side by side on chains
Set flats end to end under the lights
use ordinary fluorescent bulbs; incandescent lights are too hot.
Adjust lights 2 - 4" above the leaves
16 - 18 of light or direct sun daily
Plants never fully recover from inadequate light as aseedling
Temperature 50 - 65 degrees
Start cool-loving plants first (lettuce, cabbage, bokchoi, cauliflower, kohlrabi)
When you can get the soil temperature to about 70 degrees start warm season plants i.e. peppers, eggplant, basil)


We already have a harvest in January - carrots that we planted last August and September.

It looks like we are growing plastic! Here's what we did Thursday and Friday, Jan 28 & 29, 2010

How to make a mini seedling greenhouse


How to make organic planting pots using old newspapers


xxxxxxxxxxxxGrow a Great Garden Anywhere! Just Control the 6 Laws of Plant Growth

Jim Kennard is a master gardner and has traveled around the world teaching gardening. He grows a garden on the west side of Hogle Zoo. His wife conducted a chorale I sang in about 8 years ago. He is amazing.

Grow a Great Garden Anywhere! Just Control the 6 Laws of Plant Growth
By Jim Kennard

Why grow a vegetable garden? Because the Prophet told us to!

But he hasn’t told us HOW to do it, and therein lies the challenge. Most of us never learned the gardening lessons our grandparents took for granted, and our children often think produce “grows” in the grocery store.

Let’s cut right to the chase and learn what it takes to grow a healthy, sustainable and highly productive garden. If you will learn to harness the laws of plant growth I discuss below you can have a great garden in any soil – or in no soil – in almost any climate, and without any soil amendments. You’ll discover that soil and climate differences are NOT major problems.

The method of gardening that we teach is sometimes called “The Poor Man’s Hydroponic Method” – and for good reason. Hydroponic growers are able to consistently control all elements of the growing process, and therefore get maximum yields – the best produce as much as 330 TONS per acre!

However, in order to do that hydroponic growers must invest about $1,000,000 per acre in buildings and equipment, and in addition they have very high labor costs.

Your garden yields can approach the hydroponic growers with an investment that is a tiny fraction of the typical hydroponic grower’s.

That’s why the label “The Poor Man’s Hydroponic Method” fits – anyone can do it with very little cost. And some call this method “The best of organic” also! You’ll learn why as we go along.

You’ll learn to control the 6 basic physical conditions necessary for healthy plant growth. By borrowing hydroponic growers’ principles and procedures, and adapting them to the small family gardener, we increase both the quantity and the quality of our garden yields MANY times as compared to traditional methods.

I. The most important factor to control is LIGHT – for reasons that should be obvious. Light is life! And nowhere is it more obvious than in the world of plants, where 95% of the structure is the result of that marvelous miracle called photosynthesis.

Using just the three basic elements carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen they get from the air, plants create CARB-O-HYDRATES.

Number one in importance is providing maximum sunlight – for as long as possible. In the far North plants grow like crazy in the summer with 18 to 20 hours of sunlight!

Therefore you must AVOID planting where there is shade – from trees, houses, walls, shrubs, etc. Even tall vegetable plants will shade others, unless you plant tall varieties to the North or East of short ones.

Any fruit-bearing plant must have direct sunlight for at least 6 hours per day, and 10 hours is much better. A plant can even shade itself more than is healthy! Therefore remove sucker stems from climbing plants, and prune excess leaves, to allow light everywhere and increase crop yields.

II. The second element to control is TEMPERATURE. Plants thrive in a rather narrow temperature range, and this is especially true when they first germinate. Sustained temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit are essential for fast germination and high germination rates. Even 10 degrees colder will greatly increase the germination time and reduce the number of plants.

If your garden is too small to justify or accommodate a greenhouse, start your plants on a heating pad in your house. Somewhere warm is essential. No light is needed until after germination.

Even after germination young plants need favorable temperatures to thrive. In early spring this may require some protection – and sometimes even a little supplemental heat – whether in the greenhouse or in the garden.

Covering your plants with plastic helps warm the soil and eliminate cold winds, and on cold nights even the heat from a couple of light bulbs can be enough to prevent freezing. In this way – by covering your plants and protecting from frost – you can extend your growing season by up to 4 weeks in both Spring and Fall.

Covering large mature crops with arched PVC frames can allow you to grow plants clear into December in temperate climates. Building and using T-Frames is a great way to do this and to multiply your yields in a small space. Email jim@growfood.com for a simple set of instructions.

III. The third element to control is AIR. Remember that plants receive carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen from the air. However, they access those things mainly through their roots.

Therefore, good drainage is necessary. Why? Because roots get oxygen, etc. from the air, not the water, and soil that is soaked with or covered with water drives out the soil air, so a plant left standing with its roots under water can drown in a fairly short time.

So, to insure your plant roots receive the soil-air they must have, never plant in a low spot with poor drainage. We solve the drainage problem by RAISING the planting area of our soil-beds slightly higher than the surrounding aisles.

IV. The fourth element to control is WATER. It obviously should be clean, and it MUST be non-toxic. Any concentration of harmful elements, such as chemicals from a nearby industrial plant, can quickly kill your plants.

How much and how often do you need to water? Understand that a plant is a continuous water pipe, from the tip of the smallest root to the top of the highest leaf. And a plant is over 80% water!

Water should therefore always be available to the plant roots. The soil should be moist but not completely wet. One inch daily is sufficient.

In addition to being slightly raised – your soil-beds should be level. This avoids the loss of water, plus your seeds, small plants, and fertilizers are not washed out and lost.

Do not plant until your beds are level. Much grief is avoided by following the procedures accurately.
Level beds also ensure uniform distribution of water and natural mineral nutrients to all plants’ roots.

Even when watering almost every day you will conserve water, using about half that of traditional methods. This is because you will only water the root-zone of the plants, which is only about 17% of the garden area. This way no water is lost to run-off, nor wasted in the aisles.

Never water your garden by sprinkling – for at east 3 reasons:
1. Sprinkling encourages weed growth in the aisles and on the ridges.
2. It wastes a great deal of water through evaporation as well.
3. It promotes diseases, which thrive in a moist environment.

On a hot day evaporation wastes up to ½ of the water when sprinkling is used. And even more than that is wasted on the aisles and ridges. Sprinklers may be needed for lawns, but they have no place in the vegetable garden!

Surrounding your planting area with four-inch-high ridges accomplishes several things:
1. It defines the bed aesthetically,
2. affords some protection to small seedling plants,
3. and keeps the water and fertilizers in the root zone of the plants.

Automating your watering will greatly increase the pleasure you receive from your garden. It also makes watering easier, faster, and more efficient! Many beds can be watered at the same time. One hundred 30’-long beds at my garden near Utah’s Hogle Zoo are watered in less than 60 minutes.

Simple illustrated plans for automating your watering system are available free online at http://foodforeveryone.org. The main water pipe should be as large as your water source. Use threaded connections – not glued! And use 200 PSI pipe rather than schedule 40 for watering.

V. The fifth element to control in your garden is your plants’ FOOD. Besides the 3 elements plants receive free from the air there are 13 other elements that plants must have for food.

Most people know about the 3 MAJOR nutrients, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, or N, P, & K. However, 3 SECONDARY elements are used almost as much by plants as phosphorus, and these are calcium, sulfur, and magnesium.

In addition there are MICRO-nutrients, also called trace elements because plants use only small amounts of them. They include zinc, boron, manganese, iron, copper, chloride, and molybdenum.

Plants require feeding in two ways, with two separate natural mineral nutrient mixes. They are called the Pre-Plant Mix and the Weekly Feed Mix, indicating how they are used.

People in the Mountain West can get these complete balanced plant foods pre-mixed as Mittleider Magic. But wherever you live simply get micro-nutrients from the website at www.growfood.com and mix with NPK and Epsom Salt according to instructions to have the complete balanced nutrients.

Unless materials are water-soluble plants can’t get or use them. They receive their nourishment as water-soluble minerals through their roots.

WATER SOLUBLE is the key! Dirt often has most or all the minerals in it, but they are usually NOT water soluble – therefore they are not available to your plants.

How are the methods I’m describing “The Best of Organic”? The nutritional value of manure and compost are unknown. We know what plants need and we supply exactly that – in balanced amounts using USDA-approved natural minerals that come from ground-up rocks.

And we supply small amounts weekly throughout the growing season – just as they are needed. THAT is how we’re “the best of organic.”

VI. The sixth and final element you must control is COMPETITION. Competition from weeds, bugs, and animals is usually fierce and constant. And diseases are very difficult to control, and sometimes almost impossible to eliminate after they get established.

One of the first requirements of a good garden is to eliminate all weeds! Success STARTS with a weed-free garden! Don’t expect a great finish if your beginning is sloppy. You must remove both annual and perennial weeds, including the roots, rhizomes, and runners. And after planting you must KEEP UP the weeding! People often ask what the secret is to our weed-free gardens. It’s E & O Weeding – early and often! Get those weeds out as soon as they show up!

How do you eliminate bugs from your garden? Cultural practices that greatly reduce your risk again include weeding. Maintaining a weed-free DRY perimeter, aisles, weed-free beds, and keeping the garden free of mulch or other ground coverings will go a long way toward eliminating bugs.
Rather than providing bug hotels throughout your garden, make them walk the Sahara Desert to get to lunch or dinner. Most won’t make it! Because of the above cultural practices, and growing healthy, fast-growing plants, we rarely have to resort to pesticides or herbicides.

You must take positive and sometimes aggressive steps to control and eliminate animal pests. Those steps may include fencing, traps, baits, and/or netting.

Disease is the last thing you need to control, but not the least. It’s recently been discovered that healthy plants naturally resist disease. In addition to minimizing bugs, a dry periphery and aisles are inhospitable environments for diseases. Disease thrives in moist conditions. Therefore keep everything possible dry. The best disease control is PREVENTION.

Pruning plants reduces moist conditions diseases love, and provides light and air to ripen tasty fruit. Remove leaves touching the ground, and prune those that are touching adjacent plants.
Follow this recipe accurately and consistently and you’ll have a great garden in any soil, in any climate.
Jim Kennard, President – Food For Everyone Foundation www.foodforeveryone.org

How to build a mini hoophouse


SherylXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXHow to Build a Hoophouse...





xxxxxxxxxxxxxxWhat is a Community Garden?

Published: May 11, 2009, 12:00 am
Revised: May 11, 2009, 8:41 pm
Author(s): Matthew H Wallace
Source: Utah Community Gardening Network
Topics: Community Gardens

A community garden is a piece of land shared by friends and neighbors for growing vegetables and flowers, and providing opportunities for positive social interactions and recreation. It may be sandwiched between two buildings, on the outskirts of a city, in an apartment building courtyard, on hospital grounds, alongside railroad tracks, or even in your own backyard.

Community gardens can take on diverse forms. Designated land can be divided up among neighbors for personal use or developed into school gardens where subjects including biology, environmental science, and mathematics can be taught and explored in the garden environment. Other community gardens have been used for growing food for food pantries, educational and training workshops, youth gardening programs, and integrated into senior centers and churches. A garden’s theme and program possibilities are virtually endless and should be the focus of the envisioning stage.

Benefits of a Community Garden:

* Community building tool--create opportunities for neighbors to work together.
* Grow fresh, nutritious produce in urban areas for the community or food banks.
* Clean up and use vacant and unsightly lots.
* Provide safe learning space for children and adults.
* Reduce crime and vandalism.
* Preserve urban green space.
* Economic empowerment provide income opportunities.
* Reduce city heat from streets and parking lots.
* Enable positive human-earth connections and the cultivation of environmental stewardship.
* Reduce stress and improve mental health of community members.
* Beautify and enrich neighborhoods and enhance their sense of identity.
* Provide opportunities for inter-generational and cross-cultural connections.

How does a Community Garden Operate?

Just as the settings for community gardens vary, so do the ways for making them work. The key to success is to create a system for decision-making and responsibility-sharing that works for you and your garden. A governance system that involves all members of the garden and interested community members in maintaining and organizing garden operations will support long-term success. Typical garden committees will address concerns about: general maintenance, garden celebrations, community relations, garden fees, rules for the garden, and the initial and long-term planning for the garden (see later sections).

What are Challenges that Community Gardens Face?

Some of the most common challenges that community gardens face include; Finding and securing land; Long-term viability due to loss of land to development; Lack of community interest; Theft and vandalism; Finding resources in an urban environment; and Fundraising

Source: Utah Community Gardens Network. Adapted by UCGN from "How to Start a Community Garden" Handbook by Brian Emerson .


xxxxxxxxxxxxxLots of good food!

When joining our garden group, you'll receive an abundance of produce from ALL of our garden properties, not just from one small plot.
There are no individual plots in our garden. When you help us in the gardens, you help whereever you are needed that day. If you can't come for a few weeks to help us, the garden continues to progress, almost magically! Garden members keep coming and moving the work along! It's very exciting to see how a group of individuals working together with a common goal, can make such a huge difference!

We offer more than just working in the gardens...

In addition to working in the gardens, we teach classes and share info, recipes and photos. You'll find this info in our Garden Blog. It includes tips and ideas on what to do with the harvest, including creative ways to use it and preserve it i.e. drying, freezing, canning, making freezer jams, salsa, etc.

No gardening experience is required.

We provide the land, water, tools, seeds, plants, management, tutoring, mentors, instruction and expert gardeners to work with. You help provide the labor. If you do have resources, talents, skills, experience, etc. that you are willing to share with us, we welcome them!

Benefits of joining our Garden Group

BENEFITS include:

* An ABUNDANCE of delicious, local, organic produce throughout the year
* Meet and work with other like-minded individuals
* Learn valuable gardening skills during all four seasons in Utah
* Learn the art of "preserving the harvest" through drying, canning, freezing, juicing, etc.
* Receive MANY recipes and tips on how to cook with produce from the gardens.

NOTE: Unlike some Garden Groups, once you have paid your $50 and become a working member of our Garden Group, the food is FREE throughout the entire 2010 year!


Come and work in our Gardens often and get plenty of valuable "hands on" gardening expereince.

Its a great place for students to get hands-on learning about plants and other related subjects.

xxxxxxxThe scoop on slugs and snails...

Slugs and snails can be a real problem for many gardeners. You never get rid of them, you just control them. NEVERsmash a snail. They often have eggs inside their shell and snails are not he's or she's, but "its."

They often carry up to 100 eggs, and so smashing one helps launch dozens more! They also like cool, moist places to hide like under dead grass, leaves, brush, or mulch that is piled up near the garden.

Getting rid of these snail and slug breeding areas will help keep the population down. For more info and a great link from the USU Extension article on slugs and snails, go to: http://extension.usu.edu/saltlake/htm/faq/faq_q=260"


Potato bugs are usually not a problem. Slugs, snails, earwigs, aphids and thrips are.

Seed Swap - Everyone help us acquire MORE seeds if you are able to attend.


Winter Gardening: More tips on what to be doing in January



xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxLooking back on the 2009 Garden Season....

What a wild ride it was for me! 2009 was the first year I organized a Garden Group on a large scale, with approximately 130 garden members joining us throughout the year. New people joined us in the fall, which I was so grateful for, since the gardens were as demanding then as they were in the spring.

There are different jobs throughout the garden season and they all seem to be demanding.

Some people may think that this is a great way to earn a fast buck. I know they have never gardened before. I hope to have earned at least 5 cents/hour!

Even with all the hundreds of hours that each of you have donated, which has been TRULY appreciated, it's still a lot of hard work and effort.

What can you compare it to? Any mother who has a newborn baby knows how many hours around the clock are required to care for that child. Since I am the mother of four beautiful grown children, I can relate. The gardens this year have been like having another baby. I've canceled vacations and other plans so I could stay and care for this big baby!!

Am I going to do it again next year? YES!! But with some minor changes. We will have automatic sprinklers in place in 2 of our gardens. That will cost some serious money but it will save us hundreds of hours worrying about the watering.

We're not done yet! We still have plenty to do for the entire month of October.

I do want to thank EVERYONE in our garden group, young and old, who has donated even ONE hour to help us with this giant project.

The harvest season has been amazing! Next year I want to try and motivate more people to join in the great harvest! I'll teach more food preservation classes on what to do with this abundant, delicious harvest!

All of the children who have helped us throughout the season, but especially during harvest time, have been fantastic! Every child should be part of a garden experience like this!! They will know how much work goes into the food that they take for granted. I have loved their energy and enthusiasm and I know they will have a greater desire to garden all of their lives.

In the early spring, I was reluctant to have any children involved in garden work since the work in March and April was mostly shredding leaves, tilling the ground, cutting down large tree branches using chain saws, burning branches, etc. As we started planting and especially harvesting, the children were the BEST workers!!

We offer daily garden work schedules Monday - Saturday. If you can't come to any of these, let me know, via email, when you can come and we'll work things out. Many of our garden members found a time they could commit to weekly and would become "regulars" on those days. I hope everyone will make time to do that again next year.

We did have just a few times when "unknown" people were messing with our gardens or taking produce without me knowing about it. I want everyone to get plenty of produce and help with the gardens, but I ask that you check in with me first if you want to come and get anything from the gardens or you want to donate anything to the gardens so we don't have any surprises.

I use ONE lawn care service who donates grass clippings to me. We can not handle any more than that.

Always bring your Green Garden Membership Card with you whenever you come to the gardens. We haven't had any problems this year and I am SO grateful for the calibur of people who have helped us with the gardens! But it is important to be able to identify yourself with your Garden Card, if necessary. Everyone is on the honor system so keep track of the dates and times you work in the gardens on the back of your card.

Thank you SO very much for being part of this large community garden project! We have had SO many compliments on it. We have the endorsement of Mayor Dennis Webb of Holladay. It's all because of your efforts! You are the BEST!

I hope you all join us next year for an even better garden season.