Thursday, April 30, 2009

Nasturtiums from our garden

Nasturtiums are gorgeous and easy to grow flowers. All leaves and petals of the flower are edible. The petals look lovely atop a fresh salad, adding color and elegance with a peppery flavor. (Sunset Magazine wrote about this too.) We chose Nasturtiums for planting because it is child-friendly, not poisonous. The seeds look like tiny raisins, and they prefer poor soil, no fertilizer. Great for growing in rocky dry Clayton soil.

All local garden centers sell Nasturtiums: Navlet's, K-mart, Target, Walmart, Home Depot, Rite-Aid, Long's Drugs, Orchard Supply Hardware. Though I did find some unique varieties, vanilla buttercream and mahogany colored from Renee's Garden Seeds, I found Renee's Garden Seeds at OSH on Monument, and at Long's Drugs on Treat Blvd.

Check out Sunset Magazine. There are 28 articles written about growing and eating nasturtiums. Some gorgeous photography. I could read all day...but I must go garden!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Oscar The Grouch, Lemon Lady Collects Oranges Too!

Pacific Coast Farmers' Market Association

There are several farmers' market associations in our area. Pacific Coast brings the Concord market to Todos Santos Square on Tuesdays, (in the summer also Thursdays.) Their website is packed with great information too!

Contra Costa Certified Farmers' Markets

CCCFM - Contra Costa Certified Farmers Markets

I've always enjoyed shopping our local farmers' markets. This is where Ava and I spent many summer days last year. The farmers are genuinely cheerful to visit and chat with us - even letting Ava pick strawberries right off the fruit stand!
I remember many favorite farms from last year. Can't wait to try the Alhambra Valley Pears again. Isn't it pear season yet?

Today we shopped the Walnut Creek market and bought a lovely heirloom Japanese Black Trifele Tomato seedling from Swank Farms. How exciting! I can't wait to see what it grows to be. Pleasant Hill Certified Farmers Market opens this Saturday. That's a super fun place for kids, with the fountains in the City Center park. I hope I don't forget to bring Ava's rubber duckies!
Today was another successful fruit collecting day. Bonnie donated a box of oranges from her tree and lots of clay pots for my seedling project! Walnut Creek Market farmer, Santiago donated a large box of Cuties, which I'll deliver to food pantries tomorrow. It was a good day, people have been very warm and kind. Thank you Bonnie and Santiago.
Oh, today Ava flew her first kite in the park, with Daddy's help of course. Dorie flew above the trees, high in the sky. A milestone to a very fun-filled day!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Seedling Donation Project Seeking Volunteers

I'm growing seedlings for donation to several community gardens in Concord. Combining efforts with another compassionate volunteer who has "adopted" a low-income area where children and families dream of a bountiful summer harvest. To date, we've delivered spinach, yellow crookneck squash, green zucchini, green beans, radishes, tomatoes, peppers, and peas. The garden is fully growing.
Also trying to start a brand new Garden Club at the Salvation Army in Concord. Hoping to share seedlings for donation. Perhaps families that may otherwise never be introduced to gardening can delight in the simple pleasure of watching a tomato grow ripe on the vine, or a green bean glisten in the hot summer sun. For those without ground, any vegetable can be grown in the right sized container.

Last week, a wonderful family in Concord purchased seedlings for this project. Another volunteer is growing over a hundred seedlings! The community has been very gracious in opening their hearts to Help Feed The Hungry and Grow a Garden. If a person is interested in volunteering, I can deliver seed growing trays, soil and seeds. I can pick them up when they are ready for transplant.

This is a non-profit venture I embarked upon for the joy of helping others, combining my interest in health/nutrition, seed collecting and eating home-grown fruits and vegetables.

Become inspired. Stop by a local garden center, grocery or drug store. Almost everywhere sells seeds this time of year. Find a few you like and maybe purchase a package just for the fun of growing. Either way, I can share seeds with you too. I'll donate the seed growing containers, and we'll grow a garden. Cool beans! :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Portable salad bowl - Oriental Greens

Fruit Tree Planting and Gardening Grants

These grants are not exclusive only to schools. Other community organizations could easily qualify for either. Churches, non-profits, a public area with land, food bank, city park? Ideas to plan for the future.

1. The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation (FTPF) is a unique nonprofit charity dedicated to planting edible, fruitful trees and plants to benefit needy populations and improve the surrounding air, soil, and water.

Other Bay Area groups have received tree plantings from this organization. You can search their website and read city by city.
2. Gardening GRANTS available.

Other Bay Area groups have received gardening grants from this organization. You can search their website and read city by city.

Thank You Clayton Navlet's for donating containers for my volunteer garden!

Store Hours:
8:30 AM - 5:30 PM Pacific Standard Time (early November to early March)
8:30 AM - 6:30 PM Daylight Saving Time (early March to early November)
Concord: 1555 Kirker Pass Road, Concord, CA 94521-3225 (925) 681-0550
Danville: 800 Camino Ramon, Danville, CA 94526-4254 (925) 837-9144
Martinez: 6740 Alhambra Avenue, Martinez, CA 94553-6202 (925) 935-9125
Pleasant Hill: 2895 Contra Costa Boulevard, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523-4219 (925) 939-9000

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Katie Grace Groebner, our sweet friend

Katie Grace Groebner's Caring Bridge webpage:CaringBridge. Free Websites That Support And Connect Loved Ones During Critical Illness.

Clayton Girl in need of heart/lung transplant inspires community:

December 2, 2008 article on

November 3, 2008 on - article about Katie Grace:

History of Katie Grace's diagnosis, authored by her Mom, Kathy Groebner

Minnesota Newspaper article, April 2008