Home Grown New Mexico’s ‘Kitchen Garden & Coop Tour’!

I’m on the Board of Directors of Home Grown New Mexico organization and we are putting on our main fundraiser this Sunday, July 27 from 9 am – 2 pm. Please come out and support us, you won’t be disappointed! I just went by all 5 houses this week and they are totally inspiring! Here is the post from our website.

FINALWEB 2014 HGNM KItchen Garden Tour

IT’S HERE! The print version of the 2014 Kitchen Garden Tour addresses and map

Just print it out and come out for the tour. Read on for more info on how to purchase tickets and the homes on the tour!

Our 4th Annual Kitchen Garden and Coop Tour is on Sunday, July 27  from 9 am – 2 pm.  Come get inspired for your own gardens! See five of Santa Fe’s most inspirational gardens.  Pick up ideas that you can use at your place or just enjoy these beautiful edible and functional landscapes.

‘The 5 properties on the tour this year will feature many gardening ideas—beautiful vegetable gardens, backyard chicken coops, beehives, composting, greywater systems, hoophouses, a neighborhood community farm, permaculture sites, edible landscapes and rainwater harvesting systems.’
Excerpts from: Edible Magazine, our premiere sponsor

 Tickets are $25 this year and children under 12 are free.

*Tickets can be purchased 2 ways:
1-Pre-purchase tickets online here.
2-Purchase on day of tour at homes. Cash or checks accepted at each house and credit cards accepted at house #1 only.

HERE ARE THE ADDRESSES FOR THE 5 SPECIAL PROPERTIES ON THE TOUR:

1. Linda and Jim Archibald- 1105 Caminito Alegre
This Casa Solana home features chicken coops, fruit trees, large raised vegetable gardens, perennial and annual flowerbeds.

2. Jesus and Charlotte Rivera – 405 Salazar Place
Tune-Up Café’s owners, Jesus and Charlotte Rivera’s home features raised vegetable gardens, fruit trees, herbs and greywater systems. Charlotte’s goal is to use greywater only for watering all her gardens.

3. Reese Baker – 2053 Camino Lado
The RainCatcher’s owner, Reese Baker’s home incorporates many Permaculture designs. His mature gardens will amaze and inspire all. His edible landscaping includes fruit trees, berries, edible bushes and vegetables. He has chickens, a fishpond and passive water harvesting systems including Zuni bowls, rainwater catchment and greywater systems that channel water to the fruit trees and pond. This site is a great example of what can be done on a small city lot!

4. Poki Pottin/Gaia Gardens – 2255 Paseo de los Chamisos
Poki who started Gaia gardens is known from the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market where he sells his vegetables. This is a phenomenal property that is a neighborhood community farm based on biodynamic principles. The farm features many vegetable gardens, chickens, composting systems, hoophouses and even has ducks! Poki will have lots of  plant starts for sale if you still need some.

5. Jeremiah Kidd – 29 Hidden Valley Road
San Isidro Permaculture’s owner, property in the foothills of the Sangre De Cristos showcases permaculture designs in keeping with our arid high desert. His property features edible landscaping, erosion control installations, grey and blackwater systems, rainwater catchment and a hoophouse. His edible landscaping includes berries, grapes, fruit and nut trees and many other exotic edible plants.

Master Gardeners and the homeowners will be present to answer questions at each site. Don’t miss this exciting Kitchen Garden & Coop tour in Santa Fe this year!

Other contributing sponsors for the tour are: Joes’ Diner, Osuna Nursery and Whole Foods

2 exciting classes this weekend!

I’m involved with teaching 2 classes this weekend that should be terrific! Read on!

If you’d like to come to either or both,  please RSVP  at 505-983-9706 so I know how many ingredients to buy for the Jam class and number of handouts to run out for both classes. We won’t be confirming your RSVP- just know you’re in! Come to one or both!

FIRST CLASS

rain-barrelSaturday, July 19
Creating a Rain Barrel and Learn About Rain Catchment
Learn how to make your own rain barrel and learn all about rain catchment
Time: 10 am-1 pm
Instructor: Amanda Bramble/Jannine Cabossel
Location: Milagro Community Garden (Rodeo Road and Legacy behind church)
Presented with Milagro Community Garden at milagrogarden@yahoo.com
RSVP to 505-983-9706 or email: homegrownnewmexico1@gmail.com

Learn how to make your own rain barrel with this hands-on workshop. Amanda will cover the basic elements of rain collection systems including sizing and sitting your tank as well as keeping the water clean. We will also discuss accessories like tank gauges, first flush systems, and filters for DIY systems. Jannine will demonstrate making a rain barrel out of a 55 gallon drum. Amanda Bramble is the director of Ampersand Sustainable Learning Center in Cerrillos, NM (www.ampersandproject.org).

Class is free but we have a suggested $10 donation or become a 2014 Member for $35 and the following free: classes, potlucks and one ticket to the big tour on July 27th.

 

THE SECOND CLASS

jam photoSunday, July 20
‘Jamming Jam Class’
Jam Making Class
Time: 10am-1pm
Instructors: Jannine Cabossel/Duskin Jasper
Location: Whole Food’s Community Room (St. Francis location)
RSVP to 505-983-9706 or email: homegrownnewmexico1@gmail.com
(You will not be contacted back, we just need to know how many are coming for printing handouts and how much ingredients/jars to bring.)

In this preservation class, you will learn how to make and process jams with available seasonal fruit. The twist on this jam session is our emphasis will be on adding unusual ingredients to make unique artisan jams. We will hand out recipes. We will also go over basic canning processes. You’ll get a jar of jam to take home! Come jam with us!

Class is free but we have a suggested $10 donation or become a 2014 Member for $35 and the following free: classes, potlucks and one ticket to the big tour on July 27th.

Here they come-FIRST TOMATOES!

 

FIRST TOMATOES 2014

Ok, I have something to confess – I’M TOMATO ADDICT!! I need my fix! Here are the first organic tomatoes of  2014 season. I got 5 Sungold and Black Cherry tomatoes during the last week of June. That is the earliest I have ever gotten tomatoes ready to eat. Sungolds are one of the few hybrid tomatoes I grow because they are soo sweet and Black Cherry tomatoes are an heirloom tomato that is fantastic as well with it’s sweet earthy flavor. I have gotten more little tomatoes since then that are eagerly eaten-sometimes right off the vine – if I can’t wait. I HAVEN’T HAD A TOMATO SINCE LAST OCTOBER! I never eat the ones in the restaurants or buy any from a grocery store-I just patiently wait until my tomatoes get ripe during the tomato season. It’s been about 9 months since I ate a real tomato!

FIRST CAPRESE 2014

Here is a mini Caprese without the basil. Of course I had to go get some fresh mozzarella to go with those first tomatoes! I don’t have any big Italian basil yet to add to my Caprese but gobbled them up with the mozarella and 18 yr old balsamic vinegar and olive oil over them.  The sweetness was divine!

jc baby pic2_FB

 

And to think I HATED tomatoes as a kid – couldn’t stand those slimy seeds! My how things change through the years! Of course all I ever got were those store-bought tasteless tomatoes. It wasn’t until I had a REAL tomato ripened on the vine that I became a tomato addict!

Why else have a vegetable garden in the summer if not for the tomatoes!

Use fencing wire for cages over vegetables

fence cage done

Fence cage covered with row cover for protecting vegetables. Shown with Tom-Tom the great packrat hunter!

The other day some of my followers on my blog asked what was under that row cover that was holding it up and I thought it was a great question. I’d like to say it was my idea but it wasn’t. A friend of mine, Tom (who helped me build the greenhouse) gave me those structures. It’s an ingenious idea.

fence cage ready

fence cage ready to go over vegetables

He took a 5′ tall roll of fencing wire (the holes were 2 inches by 4 inches but the hole size doesn’t really matter) and cut it into pieces that when bent in half would be about 15 inches high. You could make taller ones as well. I use to make hoops from 9 gauge wire but this is easier and supports the row cover better especially if it hails. I use them for low growing vegetables, vegetables that may need some shade, vegetables that I need to protect from insects and for transplants that need to acclimate to our harsh climate when I first put them out. The pokey ends get pushed into the ground. Then you put a piece of row cover over it big enough to cover both sides and the ends. The wind won’t pick up the row cover if you put rocks around the edges of the row cover. If you have longer rows, just over lap the cages to extend them.

closeup of fence cage

Closeup of fence cage covering kale and chard. Drip system in place.

I water with a drip system so I don’t have to get under them that much but they are easy enough to lift up on one side and tip back to get to the plants underneath to water. He originally bought the wire to make his tomato cages but found that you can’t get your hands through the holes to harvest and if you cut out some of the wire to make the holes bigger, the sharp edges shred your hands where you cut the wire so he used the wire this way. He had to move so he gave me the wire structures. What a great gift!

New arbor for veggie garden

new garden arbor

I’m pooped. Yesterday some major changes took place in the vegetable garden. Nick came over to help me renovate the old strawberry patch into something new and hopefully beautiful later this season and for many seasons to come.

We tore out a little over a third of my large strawberry patch and built a new arbor in it that will show off some vines and flowers. The patch was getting old and I needed to thin it out and it was laid out crooked in the garden when I first built it. This always bugged me so since we would be thinning it out anyways, I straightened the bed out. Plus it had spread out beyond it borders and some borage plants were taking over parts of the strawberry bed  and path around it where I had introduced them several years ago. Now borage is a great plant and attracts bees but what I didn’t know is it easily re-seeds itself taking over everything in its path becoming unmanageable. So I plan on planting more borage in areas where I don’t care if it re-seeds.  We made 2 strawberry beds book ending the arbor in the middle and re-did the drip system in each of the beds as well. I plan to plant hyacinth beans and scarlet runner beans up the sides and plant sunflowers and zinnias around each side as well. Hyacinth beans are really beautiful but poisonous to eat but this garden feature wasn’t built to eat but to beautify the garden and add interest. I can see it in my mind’s eye and will show you pictures as the vines grow up it!

Row cover everywhere!

row cover in early summer

My main vegetable garden is basically divided into three sections-Section 1, Section 2 and Section 3-each section being around a 1000 square feet. So as I look at what I call ‘Section 3′, all I see is row cover everywhere! Looks like I laid out my laundry all over the ground but this is temporary. Row cover is used for extending the seasons and for protecting crops.

When I plant new transplants such as eggplants and peppers, I find our winds horrible on them, whipping them around and drying them out-totally stressing the poor little things so I put these mini hoops over them and put row cover on that protecting them from the ferocious winds we’ve had. When I plant seeds, I also cover them with row cover to protect them from the birds and other animals eating the seedlings as the germinate. Birds love bean sprouts, corn sprouts and cucumber sprouts but when I cover them, the birds don’t know what’s going on underneath when they germinate. So the garden looks like hell for a couple of weeks but will save me time and frustration of replanting more seeds later. This year after I planted the corn, bean and cucumber seeds, I put straw around them to help keep the soil moist and since I waited to plant later, an added bonus is the soil is pre-warmed  and the straw will help hold in the moisture when I water.