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.