Produce Basket(s)

Good afternoon everyone! I just dropped off a basket on the picnic table with a little sign attached. If you have any spare produce, herbs, lettuce, seeds, etc, leave them in the basket. And if you’re looking to get extra produce, take anything in the basket home with you (just leave the basket there please!)

Also, on the picnic table seats I left a bunch of spare wicker baskets that are free to take home. I got them from a ‘freecycler’ knowing that they’d make great garden produce baskets for you all. Just leave the big on one the table for community use (it has the sign attached to it).

Enjoy!

Sunset Magazine “Celebration Weekend” in Menlo Park

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Sunset Magazine’s annual “Celebration Weekend” is happening May 31 and June 1 (Saturday and Sunday) this year. I haven’t gone before, but I’m going this year :)

General admission for 1 day is $20 (along with other pricing options)

There are all sorts of vendors, demos, and experts to talk to. They also have different event stages with all sorts of interesting things happening. Most of them are free, and a few cost extra (noted below).

  • The cooking stage has all sorts of demonstrations with celebrity chefs, food editors, etc.
  • There’s a weber grilling class that costs $35 extra, with class sizes no larger than 27 people.
  • The outdoor & gardening stage speakers cover things like “The New Front Lawn,” The King and Queen of Succulents,” or find out what’s in the Sunset Test Garden this year.
  • The travel stage covers things from Campfire cooking to weekend getaways.
  • For kids (and adults too!) you can paint a terracotta garden pot
  • Wine & Craft Beer seminars are $15 extra

Rare & Heirloom seedlings for you this year!

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Get rare heirloom plants!

The community garden needs a bit of love! Many of the plots are falling apart, the tools are bare-bones, and hose nozzles keep breaking. The city isn’t able to provide us with many extras since they are on a budget too (they aren’t able to provide us with compost or extra wood to fix the plots). We don’t have a source of revenue or funds at our disposal, so I’d like to start an annual seedling fundraiser.

Instead of getting plants from Home Depot, or even a local nursery this year, consider buying the extra seedlings I’m growing. The varieties I have aren’t even found at nurseries! I’ve separated the plants into 2 sections: vegetables that I’ve grown in the past and did well, and new varieties that I am trying this year.

I will use the money that I raise to put it back into the garden. From tools to repair materials and more. The plants will cost $5 each. I’ll accept payment when I deliver the plants sometime in April.

Leave a comment with the plants you’re interested in so I make sure to set aside the varieties you want.  I plan to open this seedling sale to the public as well, but I want to give first pick to my fellow gardeners.

 

Tomatoes that I’ve grown in the past and would recommend!

Each year I grow a few favorites and try all sorts of new ones. And each year I pick the best ones and add them to my ‘grow it again’ list. Below are 4 tomato varieties that I grow each year, these are my tried and true keepers.

Hawaiian pineapple tomato from Tomatofest#1 Favorite! Hawaiian Pineapple

These tomatoes have the best flavor of all the ones I’ve grown so far. Last year, they averaged 1 lb each and I got 25-35 tomatoes on each plant. They take a bit more time to ripen, but are well worth the weight.

 

 

Sasha Altai#2 Favorite! Sasha Altai

These tomatoes always produce well throughout the season, last year I got 115 tomatoes off one plant (3 oz each on average). Organic gardening magazine listed it as one of the top 10 best early producing tomatoes in the world! I would tend to agree, they have a great flavor with a meaty flesh. Another outstanding Russian variety from the mountains (which do very well in our climate).

Sweet Pea CurrantSweet Pea Currant

These tiny tomatoes are adorable. They are literally the size of peas, so they are really fun for salads (especially when guests come over).

 

 

Nicholayev yellow cherryNicholayev Yellow Cherry

Another Russian variety that performs well. These sweet, tasty tomatoes ripen early and produce all season long.

 

 

 New tomatoes to try this year:

I always try new tomatoes, and a lot of them! It’s the only way to find new varieties to add to the ‘grow it again’ list. Below are the ones I am trying this year.

principe borghesePrincipe Borghese – best variety for sun-dried tomatoes

70-75 days. The seeds are authentic, imported from Italy and are famous for sun drying. Small 1-2 oz. grape-shaped fruit are very dry and have few seeds. They have a rich tomato taste that is wonderful for sauces.

 

Blue Berries tomatoNEW & RARE! Blue Berries

Here’s a new, small cherry variety from Brad Gates, Wild Boar Farms. Brad Gates is known as “the tomato guy” in the bay area, having grown over a thousand varieties. “These tomatoes are very dark purple color, which means it’s super-rich in anthocyanins. Unripe, the fruits are a glowing amethyst purple. At maturity they turn deep red where the fruit was shaded; the areas that received intense sunshine are a purple so deep it’s almost black! The flavor is intensely fruity, and sugar-sweet!” Plants are very productive, yielding all season.

Large barred boar tomatoLarge Barred Boar

Another tomato from Brad Gates. This tomato grows fairly stocky and not as tall as most indeterminate varieties. Flattened beefsteak fruit are pink-brown with metallic green stripes and weigh 8-12 ounces. Very meaty pink flesh is very flavorful. One reviewer described the taste as sweet with an acidic finish.

Cour di bue Cour di Bue – Original Italian sauce tomato

These heart-shaped beefsteak type tomatoes are very meaty with few seeds. That makes them a great tomato for sauces, soups, salsas and more. One reviewer says she grows these in the Pacific Northwest and said she got her first tomato on July 8, when most of her tomatoes aren’t ready until August.

 Anana's NoireAnanas Noire

This unusual variety was developerd by a Belgium horticulturist.The multi-colored fruit (green, yellow and purple) weight about 1 – 1.5 lbs each with a heavy yield. The flavor is said to be smoky with a hint of citrus (however, reviewers were split on the flavor, some said it was amazing, other’s didn’t pick up on the smokiness and citrus).

King of SiberiaKing of Siberia

Russian varieties do very well in our cooler-summer climate. This is one of the best varieties according to Baker’s Creek Heirloom Seed company. It has a sweet, balanced, creamy flesh with few seeds.

 

Orange strawberryOrange Strawberry

Their flavor is “robust, complex and surprisingly tart for an orange variety.” They are meaty with few seeds and have one of the most perfect heart shapes of any tomato variety. The meaty flesh makes it a great sauce variety.

 

RiesentraubeTomato Riesentraube

The name means “giant bunch of grapes” in German. Massive yields of 1oz fruits. It’s said to be the most popular small tomato among seed collectors, as many enjoy the rich, full flavor most cherry varieties are missing.

 

San Marzano Heirloom Variety

A great sauce tomato with meaty flesh and few seeds. Heavy yields. A common heirloom tomato.

 

Tender Gem ZucchiniSummer squash: tender gem

50 days. Easy to pick, almost spineless. Huge yield and performs well under stressful conditions.

 

 

 

Golden ZucchiniSummer squash: golden zucchini

Golden zucchini that grow 7-8 inches and set all summer long.

 

 

 

Flowers:

Mammoth SunflowerMammoth Sunflower

I’ve grown these before and they are huge (about 10 feet tall). The heads are about 10 inches across and produce great seeds for eating (if the birds don’t get them first!)

 

Ms. Mars sunflowerMs. Mars sunflower

Dark red to lavender petals. Grows 20-30 inches tall and blooms in summer.

 

 

 

 

Skyscraper sunflowerSkyscraper sunflower

They grow up to 12 feet tall with a bunch of flowers per stalk. Each flower is about 14 inches across.

 

 

 

Evening SunEvening Sun Sunflower

These have a mahogany color, a great fall-colored sunflower. Up to 6 feet tall.

 

 

 

Tall Orange SunTall Orange Sun Sunflower

Is this not the most adorable sunflower ever? Grows 5-6 feet tall.

Blue-eye daisiesBlue-eyed daisies

A mix of lavender, pink and white daisies with blue centers. Grow 12-18 inches tall.

 

 

 

 

HERBS!

I have a lot of herb seeds. If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll make sure to grow some extras.

  • Basil
  • Stevia
  • Oregano
  • Cilantro

 

Transplant on Saturday, April 27

Saturday should be a perfect day for transplanting! It’s going to be partly cloudy, which is best for transplanting (lets them get used to their new home without the harsh sun). Then it is going to be sunny and 77-80 all week! The plants should be incredibly happy about that :)

If anyone wants a few sunflower seeds, I have plenty to spare. Let me know and I will leave them in a ziploc bag on your plot :)

I’ll be in the garden Saturday afternoon. Maybe I’ll see a few of you there. I have a few spare tomato plants I will bring too, I wanted to share a few. If we don’t meet up, not to worry, I can leave them in their pot in your garden plot.

Want to write a post?

Now that we have a few members on the site, I want to let everyone know that anyone can make a blog post. Well, once I give you the right ‘permissions’ in wordpress. If you haven’t used wordpress before, it’s almost as easy as using Microsoft word :)

Maybe you know how to grow one plant really well and want to share. Maybe you’ve figured out how to grow an herb garden, or perfect a cooking technique. Perhaps you know all about soil, or want to share a local event (like all of the good harvest fests that happen in summer!!).

This is OUR site, not mine. So let me know if you’d like to dabble in writing something. I believe I will need your email to set it up (you can send an email to veronica -at- vtegen dot com) if you don’t want to post it.

Cute Ideas: Seed Envelopes & Plant Markers

I love Pinterest, maybe a little too much! Anyway, I’ve found a few cute garden ideas on Pinterest that I wanted to share.

Seed Envelopes

If you’ve ever started plants from seed, you probably have the problem that I do: each packet has more seeds than I can use. I usually mail the extra to my Mom, but have such a hard time finding a good envelope for each one. Well, thanks to Pinterest, I now have plenty of ways to make seed packets :)

 

Plant Markers

I also have another problem every year: I lose my plant markers over the season. They wash away when I water or get buried in the dirt. This year I plan to fix that – I haven’t decided how, but I did find a ton of cute DIY plant marker projects.

  • Turn rocks into markers
  • Turn twigs into plant markers – you need twigs and a vegetable peeler
  • Brick plant markers would be pretty hard to lose
  • Make your own polymer clay markers

Welcome – Introduce Yourself

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Welcome to the Belmont Community Gardens! Here you can meet your garden-neighbors, ask questions, share tips, and pretty much anything else you’d like to do. We want to bring the Community back to our gardens, and by 2013, I’d love to know who everyone is! Here’s the community garden map.

Bring the Community Back to our Gardens!

After chatting with several people, there are a few ideas for this community. Let us know what interests YOU!

  • Harvest Meet & Greets: meet up at the garden once a week. Trade produce, recipes, tips, you name it.
  • Winter Seed Swap: Most seed packets have more seeds than I can use, and I’d love to coordinate orders and share.
  • Garden Space Planning: Many of you have met Norm, he’s the person that took initiative to add a few more garden plots to the center of the garden area. Let’s not stop there… what can we do with the space by the fence that doesn’t get much light? Perhaps a plot for cutting flower? Everyone can donate seeds, and anyone can cut flower for their home! We could also make it a nice meet & greet area with picnic tables. What would you like?

Start by Introducing Yourself!

Leave a comment below and tell us who you are! Here’s a few suggestions to get you started:

  • What plot do you have?
  • How long have you been gardening?
  • What’s a fun idea for the community to do?
  • What is your top gardening tip, event, or recipe you’d like to share?

Sign up for email updates!

On the right hand side of this page, there’s a box to subscribe to this blog. That means you’ll be automatically notified when there is a new post. It’s VERY handy and not spammy. It’s automatically generated, so it can’t be used to spam you things. You only get it when new things are posted :)

It’s the best way to not miss out on meetups and other things that get posted.

 

Submit Your Garden Pics!

Have you noticed the image at the top of this site changes? Fancy huh! Those are all pictures I’d taken from our community gardens. Leave a comment with a link to your favorite pictures and I’ll upload them too. Get creative! Show off the inside marbling of a slice tomato, a grilled zucchini boat, or a close up of a creepy-crawly hanging around your garden.