Gardens to Tables

Fall is time for:

Planting cover crops

Sow cover crops like mustard, clover or peas and then turn them over to add nutrients when it's time to plant your veggies again.

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Garden Poll

What's the best fall garden activity?
A Fleurishing Concept Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

NoFleurish flower barthing says Valentine's Day like flowers. For most that means the store-bought variety but for those who want to add the special touch of creating a bouquet themselves — or, perhaps, learn how to take the flowers from their own gardens and make them into beautiful arrangements, a visit to the new Fleurish flower bar in Brentwood, California, might be in order. The brainchild of Amy Marella, who also owns The Hidden Garden Floral Design and founded Fleurish with Allyson Arons and Alex Frost, Fleurish creates the space and offers the expertise (from tablet tutorials to professional floral designers on hand) to help people create custom bouquets using seasonal flowers. Beginners can start with the FleurKits, which provide a recipe card, vase, fresh flowers and other cuttings and all the tools needed to create a particular seasonal arrangement (below is the one I made from the Winter Solstice kit during my visit last Thursday), while those looking for more instruction might be interested in the beginner and intermediate classes or special workshops offered throughout the year. (Yes, there are Valentine's-themed events all next week.)

Fleurish arrangementThe Fleurish space is also available for private or semi-private group events, ranging from parties for "petite fleurists" (children over 7) to those celebrating birthdays or showers to corporate events. Groups are even free to bring in their own food and drinks at no extra charge.

For most of us, the garden(or farm)-to-table idea conjures thoughts of the herbs, fruits and vegetables we use in our kitchens but the truth is the garden-to-table concept can also be applied to flowers. As we all know, it's important to have flowers in our gardens to provide an environment that keeps the beneficial insects (including the all-important bees) happy but, the truth is, they also keep us happy. I have to admit that nothing brings a smile to my face like seeing fresh blooms in my garden, which range (depending on the season) from roses to poppies to lilies to chrysanthemums to zinnias. So what could be better than bringing that happiness to the table (especially in an arrangement we created ourselves)?

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tips for Balcony Gardeners Print E-mail
Written by Roy Joulos   

Greenbo Purple FlowerboxPlants add a great deal to our quality of life -- from cleaning the air we breathe to keeping us in touch with nature. Fresh, home-grown herbs and vegetables not only taste so much better than supermarket produce, they're convenient, and you know exactly where they came from and what was used, or not used, on them.

While hydroponic and vertical gardening systems have been developed to maximize the yield in small spaces, starting a balcony garden needn't cost much. Start with the right materials and choose plants that are right for your conditions, and you'll soon be eating from the pots on your porch.

Start by planting the right plants for the amount of sunlight you have. Most herbs and vegetables require six to eight hours of direct sunlight a day. So what do you do if you have just one balcony and it doesn't get that much sun? Choose edibles that can take partial sun/shade (three to six hours of sun in the morning or early afternoon) or light shade (two to three hours of direct sun or highly shaded all day).

Partial shade herbs include cilantro and parsley (both prefer cooler weather), dill, bee balm, spearmint and chamomile. Light shade herbs include garlic, chives, peppermint and rosemary. Partial or light shade veggies include lettuce, broccoli, green onion, collards, cabbage, peas, carrots, strawberries, beans and sweet potatoes. Remember that pale-colored surfaces increase the light your plants receive and plants with short-growing seasons usually need the full six to eight hours of light per day.

Spring is a Great Time to Plant Basil Print E-mail
Written by Janine Warner   

Want to get off to a great start as a newbie gardener? Try basil. Not only is it easy to grow, it adds incredible flavor to so many dishes.

Basil plants are happy as long as they have plenty of sun and water (and a little organic fertilizer now and then). You can grow basil almost anywhere -- in backyards, community gardens and even small pots. I have a big garden, but I still like to keep the basil close to the kitchen in big wooden planters on the deck.

Starting as early as March in warmer climates, you can find basil at nurseries, farmer's markets, and most places that sell gardening supplies and plants.

Growing Lavender Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Alii Kula LavenderThe Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm knows their stuff when it comes to growing lavender. Located in the cool hills of Kula in Maui’s Upcountry area, the farm has approximately 55,000 lavender plants in 45 different varieties. Here are some of their tips on growing lavender.  

Lavender requires few things to grow well. It likes full sun, needs very little water and is drought tolerant. Lavender likes porous soil preferably on a slope so that the roots do not sit in water.

Lavender likes to be planted facing south - west. Lavender does not require a lot of fertilizer. During the summer, when the temperature goes up and rainfall is less, plants are watered by hand. When growing for maximum essential oil content, the lavender must be given a warm sunny position. Mixing sand with the soil also improves the quality of the plant growth, due to the increased drainage potential.


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