6-04-09 Summer’s Right Around the Corner

In This Issue:

  1. June in the Garden
  2. Marrakesh House
  3. Gardenerd Tip of the Month: Worm Castings
  4. Product of the Month: Gardenerd Baseball Cap

1. June in the Garden

With the arrival of summer, promise is in the air.  As gardenerds, we dream of ripe tomatoes on the vine, and we cross our fingers that those new varieties we’re trying out this year will grow and flourish.  June is a celebration of hope.

Here in Southern California, we’re starting to harvest our summer crops (don’t worry Northern climates – you’ll have your revenge in August when we’re starring at spent crops and arid soil).  I made a vegetable soup this week with eggplant, patty pan squash, yellow crookneck squash, parsnips, green beans and collard greens from the garden.  The fresh flavors resurrected that long-forgotten summer palette, and now I’m dying for Caprese salads, Eggplant Parmagiana and other Italian favorites with ingredients from the garden.

In this issue, I’ll share one of my favorite fertilizers, introduce you to a project we’ve been working on for the past year, and get you ready for Father’s Day with flair.  Enjoy this transition from spring to summer and get ready to reap the benefits of your hard work.

Happy Gardening,


2. Marrakesh House

When Chris Paine, director of Who Killed the Electric Car? hired Gardenerd.com to design and install his vegetable garden, we knew it was going to be part of a very special project.  This weekend that project will finally be complete and the  Marrakesh House will celebrate its Grand Opening.

What we did:

We took a fenced in area covered with ivy and ice plant and designed modern-style raised beds to feed the household residence for years to come.  We’ve planted 3 seasons of crops in the past year and will harvest between $1,500 – $2000 worth of produce over that period.

The house is chock full of “green” elements: solar panels, recycled materials, energy efficient construction, etc.  If you live in the Los Angeles area,  you can get your chance to see this incredible house and our fabulous garden (if we do say so ourselves) on Saturday, June 6, 2009 at the Grand Opening Party.  Visit the Marrakesh House website for more information.  Tickets for the event can be obtained here.   Hope to see you there!

3. Gardenerd Tip of the Month: Worm Castings

Let’s be up front here.  “Castings” is just a nice way of saying “poop”.  But whether you cringe or not, don’t let the idea keep you from using the best fertilizer around.  Worm castings are concentrated compost, gardener’s gold, fabulous food for your plants.  Vegetables and flowers alike benefit from these nuggets of nutrition.

The best thing about worm castings is that you can easily buy them at nurseries or you can make up a batch yourself.  Be it a Rubbermaid bin or a Worm Condo, you can house worms in a cozy, cool place using shredded newspaper or Coir as bedding.  Add kitchen scraps (except for onions, citrus and potato peels – they don’t like those) in one corner each week, and they’ll feast upon your garbage. Harvest your castings and use them in your garden in a number of ways:

Top Dress – sprinkle a layer around plants and scratch it into the first couple inches of soil.  It’s a great all purpose fertilizer!

Solve Plant Problems – got Chlorosis (yellow leaves with green veins), white fly, or just plain sad plants? Worm castings can help.  Spread a few inches of compost mixed with worm castings to boost plant health and overall performance.

Worm Tea – Your worm bin will generate liquid that is called Worm Tea.  Dilute 1 part of the liquid with 10 parts water and either foliar feed or water your plants with it.  Since plants take in nutrients through their leaves as well as their roots, you can’t go wrong!  Just make sure to dilute it – it’s strong stuff!

4. Product of the Month: Gardenerd Baseba