Friday, August 28, 2009

July Gardengirl Magazine


Cotton FlowerUrban Sustainable Living
July 2009

Forward this email to a Friend
Dear Patricia,
Check out my profile on Vegetable! I am posting all sorts of cool stuff there, today I posted some pics from my garden.
Click HERE to subscribe to my feed in your RSS reader! To install this widget into your blog or website click here!

Words on Birds and Beneficial creatures in your garden.

Beyond the Garden Gate

New and Recent Video

Viewer Pics

Victory Garden Gateway Drug


Patti Moreno, the Garden Girl

info (at) garden girl tv dot com
Beyond the Garden Gate~ Cynthia McKenna

Growing organic food for the family table is the main goal for my garden. However, when I was planning my garden, I knew I wanted something more. I wanted a garden that could give me space to relax, and beauty beyond the gorgeous vegetables that grow there. I had ideas, and allowed the garden to evolve. Here are some elements I've incorporated this year:

Add Water
Having a birdbath invites birds into your garden. Giving the birds a source for water also calls them in to eat the bugs that are feasting on your vegetables. You can get birdbaths in a variety of shapes and sizes or simply put water in shallow containers in various spots in the garden. Two of my cats like to hang out in the garden and they rely on the birdbaths for their water supply too - or maybe they are just there for the catnip...

Plant Flowers

If your garden is like mine, it seems like every inch of good soil is needed to grow fruit and vegetables. After reading the plans for the White House Garden, I decided to plant some flowers on the front edge of my raised beds, and some climbing flowers along the fence. I planted them because I thought they would add splashes of color to the garden. The bonus is that these flowers attract bees and a wide variety of butterflies to the garden. Flowers I planted include: Coral Honeysuckle, Purple Passion Vine, Sunflowers, Hollyhocks, Marigolds, Portulaca, Ageratum, and Zinnias.

Don't remove that plant just yet...

Let a few of your lettuces and herbs stay in the garden after they have bolted. When a plant "bolts" it puts out the flowers that will help produce seeds. Generally, once a plant bolts, all the energy is going into the flowers and the quality of the edible leaves goes down quite a bit - so most gardeners pull them out. I decided to keep my Italian Parsley, Sweet Basil, and a few lettuces like Arugula and Chicory after they started flowering. I have been amazed at the number of bees that are attracted to these plants in particular. I like to imagine the homey they are making tastes incredible with al the rich and spicy flavors.

A Place to Rest

Gardening is a lot of fun, but can be hard work too. Having a place to take a break is really helpful. Add a small bench or chair, and maybe a table to hold your day's harvest, gloves, clippers or a cold cup of water. I've enjoyed having my morning coffee in the garden, listening to the birds and taking in the beauty of the plants.

Cynthia McKenna is a writer, gardener, Episcopal Priest, and psychotherapist in the Texas Hill Country. You can learn more about her at her website: or visit her blog:
Buy Patti Moreno's DVD at Olive Barn, featuring hours of never before seen video, only $19.99 plus shipping and handling.
"Patti excels at providing real solutions to real problems that gardeners everywhere face. Her organic approaches show that success is achievable and compatible with the demands of real life." Steve Aitken- Managing Editor Fine Gardening Magazine

"Patti Moreno's passion gets you fired up to grow and eat the organic way, and then she shows you how in simple steps that transform aspiration into a garden of earthly delights. Best of all, Patti's videos make the process of learning and doing pure fun." Scott Meyer- Managing Editor Organic Gardening Magazine

Garden Girl TV
Recent Video
Live on the Web


Featured Video
Container Gardening: Drip Irrigation
I've been container gardening for years and now I have drip irrigation. Watch the video and see how I set it up.

The latest installment of the Square foot gardening series. Please click to watch.

Don't know what it is? Watch the video and find out about this age old gardening technique updated for the 21st Century.
Video Update:
Here is my Three Sisters Garden Bed today! This is a great beginner Garden! Please watch my video and try it!

USL Reader Pics

Michelle LeBrun from Rhode Island sent in these Fantastic Pics of her new backyard:

Great stuff Michelle!
If you have pics or Video to contribute send it to info (at) gardengirltv (dot)com

Expert Advice! Patti Moreno, nationally known as the Garden Girl, provides how-to help on growing heirloom tomatoes and other vintage vegetables. She also offers sage advice on organic/sustainable practices for going green in your garden.

Just a taste of what's inside.
Here, you'll find expert, how-to help for growing lots of your garden favorites. Enjoy the satisfaction from seeing your crops go from the garden patch to dinner plate:

Strawberries all summer long , Pumpkins good enough to eat, Tasty muskmelons and sweet carrots, Edible flowers to sparkle up a salad and simple recipes, too! A Lasting Reference! Grow, Vol. 2 is definitely a "keeper" because it's packed with invaluable help home gardeners will go back to season after season:
how to prune tomatoes
keeping your harvest fresh
attracting good bugs
keep out the biggest pests: deer
and much, much more...
Business gets a Green Kick in the Pants

Dirt Diva July 2009

Two years ago, TerraCycle, a company that sells worm poop fertilizer in a recycled soda bottle, deservedly earned the "Sparkly Green Tiara Award" bestowed by The Dirt DIVA Royal Horticultural Society. Worm Poop! Yup, you read that right. Worm poop in a bottle. Now that's American ingenuity. This year, Tom Szaky, CEO of the company has written a book entitled Revolution in a Bottle, (Penguin Group) which outlines the tumultuous path his company has endured to redefine green business.

Opening with a chapter titled Up to My Neck, the author recounts his days in a Princeton University dorm room where he and his friend Jon Beyer witnessed a classmate feeding food scraps to a box of worms. The worms were fed in exchange for their castings, which are loaded with abundant nutrients to support plant health and growth. The next summer Szaky, Beyer and pals took all of the Princeton Dining Services waste and processed them in their prototype 'Worm Gin.' "Things quickly went from bad to worse," laments Szaky. Clogging wood chipper, brewed sludge, police arrest for stealing garbage, maggot breeding, working in the rain at night at the dumpster amongst rancid odors, and employees who puked & quit on the spot. But by the end of the summer, they had miraculously perfected their processing and found their first investor.

TerraCycle was named one of the 100 most innovative companies by Red Herring magazine and has been awarded the Environmental Stewardship Award from Home Depot Canada. In 2006, an Inc. magazine cover story called TerraCycle "The coolest little Startup in America." Though it started out bottling worm poop fertilizer, TerraCycle today is aiming to consistently churn out new 'upcycled' products by transforming garbage into viable goods, and make boatloads of money. Amen. According to the book, Americans generate about one ton of garbage each year per person or 250 million tons together. So much waste has been tossed into the oceans that there's an accumulation of floating plastics the size of Texas slowly drifting in the Pacific. "Why can't everything be made from waste?" asks Szaky. "I'm looking at waste as an entirely modern, man-made idea. I stopped viewing garbage as garbage and instead slowly started to see it as a commodity." Szaky argues that eco-friendly businesses have to match the prices of their mainstream competition. Most consumers are eager to "buy green" but not if it costs too much.

Revolution in a Bottle is just the right amount of entertainment, education and even suspense, to keep you reading on, even if it's just to see how Szaky's going to keep the company afloat when he's down to his last 500 dollars in the bank and being sued for millions from a giant competitor. A chapter is given to "" The Lawsuit actually helped to give TerraCycle enormous publicity, especially to consumers who had no idea who they were before, including yours truly. What was the lawsuit about? Scott's accused TerraCycle of copying their packaging too closely. Most savvy gardeners don't like a big, chemical fertilizer company targeting a small eco-company so Worm Poop sales went up. (Yay!) "What is amazing, though, is that in the course of bouncing back you may discover strengths you didn't know you had," says Szaky. "I can say with some confidence now that if Scott's hadn't sued us, we wouldn't be doing as well as we are."

The company keeps its overhead low by bottling their products in recycled bottles collected by schools, organization and churches who then receive a donation (visit www.terracycle and by furnishing it's Trenton, New Jersey offices with free office furniture on the way to the dump. They also regularly hire free graffiti artists to paint the TerraCycle factory.
In April 2009, National Geographic launched a new reality series called 'Garbage Moguls.' It follows Szaky and his colleagues, documentary style, as they approach multi-national corporations such as Wal-Mart with kites made of recycled cookie wrappers or OfficeMax with computer bags made from billboards.

The few critics of TerraCycle are concerned that the company is helping large polluting corporations to receive publicity and advertising space even though they're still selling unhealthy foods laden with high fructose corn syrup that support factory farms and have a history of recklessly littering the world with their non-recyclable packaging. Some of these multinational companies have actually lobbied against environmentally sound business practices in the past. Aren't we supposed to be stickin-it-to-the-Man?! The good new is that many of the businesses that TerraCycle collaborates with such as Honest Tea, Bear Naked and Stonyfield Farm are responsible companies who actually care that kids eat safe, healthy food and that the air, water and soil isn't contaminated. Imagine that?
TerraCycle products can be found in Home Depot, Lowes, Target, Office Max and Urban Outfitters or online at If you see TerraCycle fertilizer hidden in the back of the gardening department, as I did at my local Target store, ask the manager to display them at the front, so gardeners know there are safe alternatives to the big, fat tubs of chemical fertilizers that deplete the soil and pollute the entire zip code by leaching into local creeks.

Revolution in a Bottle is an inspiring and honest story that will give you hope for creating a more sustainable world. Get yourself a copy of the book along with a bottle of TerraCycle Worm Poop.
Step One: Attach TerraCycle recycled soda bottle to hose and fertilize your yard.
Step Two: Lay back on lounge chair with a Mojito and Szaky's book.
Step Three: Be grateful that planetary restoration is emerging.
Step Four: Pet a worm.

Visit Annie at
I just got my yarn back from the mini mill. I was so excited. I've been waiting for it for 7 months to get back from the mini mill. It is just beautiful. The yarn is a combination of pygora fiber from year's worth of shaving my goats, , (click here to see me shaving them)tussah silk, and merino wool. I split the run into two separate lots. One is blended with 50% plum merino wool and the other is blended with 50% grey merino wool. The plum blended yarn looks more like a navy and the gray blended yarn looks more like a champagne color. I waited for so long that I'm at a loss for what I should make. I just purchased the French Girl Knits book where there are beautiful patterns. I'm officially a decent ragalan sweater maker and I love making one piece shrugs. I welcome suggestions on my message board. Please post any links to great pattern ideas and I'll keep you posted.

I also have a limited amount available for you to purchase. There are two colors: Plum &Champagne. 10, 200yard skeins available in each color.
$65per skein, 2 skeins for $100

It is a worsted weight yarn.
Best used with size 10 knitting needles.
The gague is 4-5 stitches per inch.
30% Pygora fiber from my goats
20% Tussah silk
50% Merino Wool
For questions or to purchase via paypal email me. info (at) gardengirltv dot com
Click to see a video of my fiber arriving from the mini mill.
Words on Birds...
By Frederick J. Dunn

Predators, prey, dangerous or friendly, how to deal with visitors to your hen yard...

As the deadline drew near for this month's E-zine, my eyes and ears were open as I gave considerable thought to what I should be writing about.

As I went out with a bucket to feed my Australian Emus, there arose a raucous ruckus in the nearby freshly hayed field... "Cheee-cheee-cheeeeee!!!" for those familiar, this is the ear drum altering alert of the African Guineas. Being a dutiful poultry keeper, I investigate and there it is... poor thing! A small red fox is being dutifully routed by my guineas... snatching up my digital camera, I run out into the field to snap some shots of this common event. You know, because seeing is believing? It's one thing to say that guineas are the first alert system on any poultry operation, it's another to see it. So, I submit my photo of the sad little fox making a dash home with no chicken dinner and with some nut dashing across the field with his camera to boot!

First line of defense for your birds is of course, well constructed housing. In my case, there is no protected run, as all my birds are free ranging. In more restricted areas, you'll have a run or portable coop for your birds during the day. High chicken wire sides and bird netting on top are adequate to curb birds of prey and rascally dogs in your neighborhood. At night, all poultry should be in a locked and secure roosting area, winter or summer, this is a must. Most predators visit at night, just at sunset and prior to sunrise. Leave no food nor scraps around that would attract predators to a free meal. It's best to feed your birds inside their enclosures, as they are also vulnerable when gathered at feeders.
Elevate your buildings off the ground. A coop constructed on stilts or a truss such as decks are built on, will prevent the habitation of mice and rats. Elevated structures also provide shelter for hens to run under in the case of a storm or high speed fly by, by a Red Tailed Hawk!

Guineas are a good line of defense, as they fearlessly chase off the dreaded squirrels, dear, stealthy cats, and as of 20 minutes ago around here... a fox. Unfortunately, they also spread the alarm when they see the paper boy, or a new car, or you walk out of a side door to sip coffee in the morning sun! Thus, the well earned reputation as the noisiest barnyard residents. In trade, they eat every imaginable bug without ceasing.

This leads to my last subject of the month... some perceive snakes as pests, or threats to their chickens. The dreaded "egg eaters", chick snatchers, "hen stranglers"... now I understand that it's very easy to give a snake a thwack and appear the hero of the neighborhood. I ask that you consider something broader... think upon what sort of snakes are actually in your area? Are they truly a threat to your live stock.... To YOU?!

Unless you live in Egypt or Australia, chances are most snakes in your part of the country are helpful rather than detrimental. Consider if you will, the common garter snake (there are many sub-species), it eats slugs, worms, tiny amphibians and other creepy crawlers that most want eradicated. They do not eat warm blooded anything and cannot swallow a chicken egg. So, if you choose to be a meanie, then do what you will, I say save the snakes! In closing, I leave you with an image of the little brown or also known as the decay's snake... it was under a water bucket and I decided to photograph it for your viewing pleasure... it's fat with slug supper, garnished with a worm or two. I picked it up and parked it neatly on this moss... please focus on real pests and let nature benefit us with species already in place designed to do so.

As always,


Video From Lylah Ledner and Pics from Peter Raymond
Another Garden Kid makes a meal fresh from the Garden!
Peter Raymond's inspiring home:

A Rainbow of Carrots

This 5000 year old root crop did not start out as the lovely orange we know today. There were many colors: white, yellow, red, green, purple, and black. Orange was nowhere in the picture. The Egyptians had purple carrots, and these were traded and sold across the Arabian trade routes. With the Asians, Arabians and Africans in possession of their newly acquired purple root, the carrot took on the multitude of hues. The Romans knew the carrot as purple or white. The Africans knew it as purple or yellow along with Afghanistan, Pakistan and northern Iran.

It was these carrots that the Moors brought to Europe during the 12th century. Another hundred years saw the carrot in France and Germany. The purple, white and yellow carrots were imported into the European countries and they grew a green, red and black. During the 15th century, the taproot made it to the shores of England.

It may surprise you to know that the carrot did not make it's orange debut until a mutated strain of the yellow carrot came to the Dutch who cross-bred it with red varieties to create an orange specimen in honor of the royal House of Orange. Thus creating the sweet and very orange variety that we know and munch down on today.

Growing carrots can be a snap with a couple of considerations. The first is to realize that they are from a sandy region of the planet and grow easily in sandy, rock free soil rather than regular soil. While carrots can grow in regular soil, sandy soil will yield better and straighter root crops. And the young seedlings are rather weak and will need an easy surface to break through. Traditionally, they are planted with radishes for this reason, but there are other methods to ensure that they are able to get through. My favorite is to trench the sandy soil and then place my seeds. I cover them with peat moss, and the seedlings have no problem sprouting without the aid of radishes.

There are many different types of carrots, but these have been broken down into groups based on how deep they will grow. Imperators are carrots that grow thin and up to 10 inches long. Danvers can grow up to 7 inches long, have thicker tops, strong flavor and are also thin. Nantes grow up to 6 inches long, are rounder and sweeter in flavor. Chantenay grow 5 to 6 inches long and are wider. Amsterdam grow to 3 inches and are small and thin. Paris Market carrots are the smallest, getting only to about 1 ½ inches in diameter.

Direct sow in full sun, they do not transplant well. They tolerate cold, so plant carrots a couple of weeks before the last frost. They can be planted again in the fall. Thin to 3 to 4 inches apart after the seedlings reach about 3 inches high. Carrots will mature, after an up to 2 week germination period, in 50 to 70 days, the longer harvest can be held off, the better they will taste, but wait too long and carrots can come out woody. Baby carrots can be harvested in as little as 10 weeks. Harvest when they are at their full color but still tender. A tip for harvesting, gently press the carrot down into the soil, then pull straight up so as to not break the root off. For stubborn roots, loosen the soil with a garden fork and then remove.

Carrots have their share of problems, too. Make sure to keep soil constantly moist as dry spells and then heavy rains tend to make the crop crack. Twisted and forked roots can be a problem if soil is rocky, clay or high in nitrogen. Flea beetles, vegetable weevil, carrot root fly, armyworms, parsley worms, yellow wooly bear, vegetable leaf miners, leaf-hoppers, thrips and other pest can be controlled with organic pesticides, beneficial nematodes and row covers. Mulch exposed shoulders to prevent greening and bitterness.

Store carrots in a plastic bag in the vegetable crisper in your refrigerator. Make sure to store away from apples and other ethylene gas emitters that can turn carrots bitter.
By Dana Wright

Buy Patti Moreno's DVD at Olive Barn, featuring hours of never before seen video, only $19.99 plus shipping and handling.
"Patti excels at providing real solutions to real problems that gardeners everywhere face. Her organic approaches show that success is achievable and compatible with the demands of real life." Steve Aitken- Managing Editor Fine Gardening Magazine

"Patti Moreno's passion gets you fired up to grow and eat the organic way, and then she shows you how in simple steps that transform aspiration into a garden of earthly delights. Best of all, Patti's videos make the process of learning and doing pure fun." Scott Meyer- Managing Editor Organic Gardening Magazine

The Victory Garden...Gardening's "Gateway Drug"?

by Mark Highland
I started gardening when I was 5, helping my grandmother in her garden. Growing my own food became so appealing in college that I started back up where I left off all those years ago. Flash forward to today, where gardening is an integral part of life. Our garden serves as a stage to entertain guests, appreciate nature, exercise, and grow food!

Each year we plant our row crops in different patterns, to slow water run-off and look cool. Love that balance of practicality and creativity. Carrot, beet, radish, and turnip all planted with a line of potting soil on top to remember where they were lovingly nestled, for watering later. This year our beets bolted before the lettuce was 6" tall...but our carrots look great! It has been a cool spring in the Mid-Atlantic, eggplants, peppers, melon, and tomatoes all holding their own...but one variety of cherry tomato, "Sun Sugar", is shaping up to be 8' x 4' since it was already 3' x 3' by June 10th this year.

Small, warm-season veggies like peppers benefit from a protective covering in early spring when night temps still dip into the 40's. Cutting the bottom off a one-gallon water jug gets you a free mini-greenhouse to cover small plants at night.

Our veggie garden is not big enough to house our herb collection, so we have to sprinkle them into the landscape. Most culinary herbs are planted within a few steps of the back porch, for quick trips from kitchen to garden for necessary aromatics. We encourage plants like parsley to go to seed, but let natural seedlings come up where they may have landed, editing when necessary. The infinite variation of baby seedlings gives you something to look forward to as the next generation grows up, and expresses genes that change the plant's color, leaf shape or pattern, fragrance, disease resistance, or any number of characteristics. Some seeds germinate the next season, while others take a couple years to germinate and grow. Coolest random seedlings so far, a red flat-leafed lettuce that now has cool looking ruffles, and a parsley with abundant thin foliage that looks more like grass than parsley.

Some plants are not so good from seed, such as hybrids. All plants have names. When a plant is different from all others of the same species, it has a specific name, a named cultivar, like "Yellow Brandywine" or "Tim's Black Ruffles" heirloom tomatoes. Without going into genetics, simply put, most heirloom plants can be saved for seed, if you do a little work. The purity of maintaining the named cultivar, requires crossing it with two of the same plants. You've likely noticed cross-pollinated peppers before. Ever grown hot peppers next to sweet peppers and wondered why your red bell peppers are kind of spicy? Cross pollination. Serious seed savers pollinate plants by hand, and then protect the pollinated flowers from other pollen, to preserve the pure named cultivar. Thank goodness for the seed savers out there! Baker Creek Seeds and Seed Savers Exchange are but 2 of the many seed companies out there saving and producing seeds for the homestead grower in all of us.

Turning over earth to produce food and beauty provides a sense of fulfillment like no other. Each victory garden claims victory for your kitchen and lessens the load on our global food system. If everybody did a little, it would add up to be a lot! How interesting would it be if everyone spent a few hours gardening each day?! We would have a nation of people exercising outside, lowering their blood pressure, experiencing nature, increasing our collective sustainability, gaining appreciation of where food comes from, and working to improve our environment. Bring on summer. V is for Victory.

Monday, August 10, 2009