December 16, 2012
Still shopping for gifts for your favorite gardeners? While cooking and garden books are great for some, donations fit the bill for others, and apps are ideal for techies. There’s nothing like a little something sparkly to make a gardener’s holiday a little brighter! So, we’ve put together a few of our favorite ideas that really shine to help you get your gardeners gifted just right!
- Classy & Glassy! Glass Gardens NW offers an array of gorgeous glass art for the home and garden. You’ve got until Monday December 17, 2012 to place orders to be delivered by Chrismas day. For under $20 (plus shipping, tax and such), you can send a beautiful tree ornament or glass float. Or, up your order a bit more for a piece of gorgeous garden art that will really wow your gardening loved ones.
- Wearable flowers & sparkly snowflakes: Fancy Dirt Forge offers some amazing enameled flowers that bloom beautifully in pierced ears. And for as little as $25 (plus shipping, tax & all that jazz), you can order up beaded ornaments to shimmer on the tree.
- Sweets for your Sweet:
Get out of a sticky situation with a sweet gift made by some of the hardest working gardeners out there – honey from the bees! Contact Ballard Bee Company to order up anything from simple jars dripping with golden goodness to specialty glass vessels filled with seasonal reserve sweetness or even creamed honey perfect for toast. Or, if your gardener is local to Seattle, order a gift certificate good toward hive supplies & beekeeping consulting services.
- Gift of Learning: Our shameless reminder that giving the gift of garden coaching is a great way to help your favorite gardener shine in their own horty spaces. We’re still taking holiday orders for a few days & then we’re off on vacation until 2013, so get in touch soon!
Stay tuned for more gift ideas later this week. We’ll be adding more app gift ideas and reviews in a day or so. Great thing about apps — you can order them absolutely last minute and still have a great gift to give anytime!
(Full disclosure: Garden Mentors® has received no compensation for this post. Garden Mentors® has received samples and review materials from some of the businesses mentioned, but no direct gifts, review materials or compensation has been paid for this post. We just really like this stuff & often give these products as gifts to our friends & loved ones.)
August 07, 2012
My friend and garden coaching client Brad recently shared this great method for fruit fly control. Brad’s an inspiring guy to work with. He raises chickens in his back yard and has urban honeybees at home and in several other locations around town. (Be on the lookout for the ‘Honey Hole’ brand of urban honey soon!) He grew Loofah in Seattle, which was a new one on me. (Brad, can I have one?) He even roasts his own coffee, and it’s delicious. Too, Brad’s paper goods company, Guided Products, manufactures American-made, unique, recycled paper products. Really, Brad’s an innovator, and I’m glad to learn from him! And, did I mention he’s hilarious too?
Brad recommends: “Grab a glass or jar, piece of clear cling wrap, rubber band and piece of ripe fruit. Drop fruit in jar. Tightly pull down clear wrap around the top of vessel. Wrap rubber band around rim of vessel. With a pen, poke several small holes through the top of the cling wrap that the fly can barely get in. Leave in your fruit fly area. They will get in but have trouble getting out. When I see several in there, I put in the freezer to kill them and set it back out again.”
I just chopped up a peach to go with my homemade yogurt for breakfast. I realized that a bit of fruit stayed stuck to the pit. That would be the perfect piece of fruit to use for this job — otherwise, it’s headed straight for the compost heap. Fortunately, I don’t have fruit flies this season — yet. The time will come, I’m sure.
Want other ideas to control fruit flies? There’s always the option of setting out a small dish of vinegar to attract them & drown them. Or, consider these ideas too:
December 27, 2011
Following the gluttony of endless holiday partying, my body starts to respond in all sorts of frightening ways to the unusually large inputs of sugar, fat, caffeine and alcohol. Sure, we tell ourselves all those “bad-for-you-foods” don’t count during the holidays, but right after the season-of-too-much-cheer, everything counts (including the stuff we said didn’t count as we stuffed our pie holes with that totally unnecessary third slice of pie — for breakfast — topped with both whipping cream & ice cream…and maybe a dollop of marscapone since it was in the fridge…and a handful of Chex Mix from the container next to the pie plate…oh, and perhaps a couple of sausages…and heck, why not an eggnog latte with lots of rum to wash it all down?).
Without fail, it begins the moment the fancy china has been washed and packed away. Flabby formation begin to build near the hips. Salty bloats threaten to dislodge rings. Sugary crashes bring on the blues. Caffeine withdrawals promise pounding noggins. And dehydrated skin leaves us wondering why we ever thought that third (or fourth or fifth) martini was a good idea. Let’s face it. This kind of eating can’t go on forever.
So, if you’re feeling bloated, coated in sugar, dipped and fat fresh from the fryer. And, if you’re ready to set aside the holiday junk, consider these simple recipes to lighten up your meals and refresh your body!
Oh, and for goodness sakes. Get out of those pajamas and go for a walk! You never know — that Lenten Rose or Yuletide Camellia might just be in bloom by now!
(The following article and recipes were originally published 12/3/2010) (more…)
May 27, 2011
Well, Kula has discovered some fun, bad-dog pastimes in her garden: eating honeycomb & larvae, smashing shrubs while making out, breaking & entering, and digging new trenches.
Yep, for such a good girl, she’s got a bad streak in her. Well, maybe it isn’t really being bad. She’s really just doing what dogs do….
As for eating the bee wax…well, Corky cleaned out the bee hives and left the scraped wax on the ground for the bees to forage and recycle. The puppy smelled it, passed into that previously off-limits area and ate a belly full of wax and larvae. And, she paid for it later when it came back out both ends. (Lucky me! I was traveling, so my hubby got to clean that mess up.)
And heck, now that she’d figured out she could get into the beehive area, I’m sure she thought digging a hole for the bees would be a great idea. They do, afterall, love to sip up water from moist soil. What Kula didn’t bargain for was that the bees would converge on her hole while she was digging it, stinging her furiously excavating paws darn good. She came in limping that day, but one antihistamine and a good nap later, and she was rarin’ to go again.
Oh, and those training wheel shrubs I planted a few weeks ago? Well, a few are looking like bloomin’ pink pancakes after Kula decided to sit on them as she stuck her tongue through the fence to make out with her golden lab boyfriend next door. And when he came over to play, well, a few more went splat.
So am I mad? Nah. It’s just what happens in the puppy garden…
May 23, 2011
In most cases I advocate harvesting and eating leafy greens like kale before they begin to flower. Once the plant begins to form flower heads, the stems toughen up and the leaves begin to taste bitter. At that point, they don’t make the best eatin’ for humans. Still, there are reasons to view flowering greens as a good thing.
Bees love to feed from flowering brassicas. And, when they pull nectar and pollen from these flowers they also pollinate them. When this happens, these plants become a source of homegrown seed for your next crops. Yes, open pollination can result in plant diversity for your next crop, but that’s half the fun. Imagine getting some amazing new variety of kale when your red winter and your lacinato varieties get cross pollinated by the bees!
If seed saving isn’t for you, go ahead and pull out the plants. They certainly won’t go to waste. One option is to toss them out to your chickens. Garden fowl love to peck away and munch on leafy greens — even if they’re a little stringy and astringent for your pallet. Don’t have herbivores to feed? Chop up the seedless plants, flowers and all, and mix them into your compost pile.
In my own garden, red winter kale that I planted last fall has now gone to seed. We enjoyed harvesting several meals from the leaves, and now my Ballard Bee Company honeybees are hard at work pollinating the flowers — making seed and honey for me! Once they’re done, I’ll harvest some of the earliest seed to ripen. Then, I’ll pull the plants out, reinvigorate the soil with compost, and plant in my summer tomatoes. Here in Seattle its still too chilly to put out tomatoes, but in a few more weeks — after I get some great kale seed — the timing will be perfect!
February 16, 2011
I’m all a-buzz about Ballard Bee Company founder Corky Luster’s nomination for amdVISIONary of the year in the foodie category for his work with honeybees. Your vote now could make all the difference, so don’t wait!
It’s been nearly a year now since Corky first helped me first integrate two honeybee hives into my home garden. We’ve been through a lot together in that time — prepping the garden for bringing in the hives, hosting filming of Growing a Greener World TV’s episode on honeybees, losing a very special dog we both loved, weathering several swarms, getting stung a few times, observing the honeybee plant preferences, tasting the sweet honey harvest, hosting Meg Coyle of KING5 News for her segment on urban beekeeping & now planning our combined seminar for the 2011 Northwest Flower & Garden Show on urban beekeeping. Without Corky’s good works with the urban bees, it’s unlikely I would have hives in my garden. Fortunately, his passion for beekeeping and dedication to keeping the hives healthy and well fed, means I’ve been able to enjoy hosting them. And, it means I’ve been able to share the experience of having them with readers & viewers of programs like the King5 News segment that follows:
In order for Corky to expand and meet the overwhelming demand for his honeybees, he needs your help. Right now, he can’t keep up with all the demand and urban farmers and gardeners want to enjoy his bees in their garden spaces!
Join me in spreading the word of his nomination and add your vote to his ticket here. When he wins, the prize money will go toward expanding his urban beekeeping operations helping pollinate more gardens in more areas and rebuilding the populations of healthy hives in a climate where the bees have otherwise been in dangerous decline.
Vote here now (& as many times as you’d like)! Oh, and did I mention, voters get entered for some pretty sweet prizes as well. Everyone wins!