01-08-10 Hopeful Beginnings

In this issue:

  1. January in the Garden
  2. New Classes at Gardenerd.com
  3. Gardenerd Tip of the Month: Freezing Broccoli
  4. Gardenerd Product of the Month: 2010 Spring Seed Collection

1. January in the Garden

Happy New Year! While I think we can agree that 2009 was a difficult year, the general consensus I hear is that people are hopeful for 2010. There are new gardens to plant, seed catalogs to enjoy (see below for our favorites), and opportunities to learn new tricks of the trade.

We’ll be starting the year off with a bang, and if you live in the LA area, you can join us: come see us at the Go Green Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center on January 22-24. Visit us at booth #106. If you do (and mention this newsletter), we’ll give you a free gift and a chance to win an Ultimate Garden Bag.

We’ve been enjoying fresh broccoli (you can lean how to preserve it for leaner times below), kale, chard, parsley, cilantro and peas. We’re putting out a second wave of lettuces that were sprouted indoors, and we recently transplanted our strawberries to new soil. January is off to a great start. We hope you’ll enjoy some time with your garden’s goodies this month.

Happy Gardening,


2. New Classes at Gardenerd.com

Do you need help getting your spring garden going? Don’t know where to start? We can help. The Plan Your Spring Garden Workshop is our most popular class, so we’ve scheduled two of them this winter. Registration is now open for the January and February classes.

Make 2010 the year you start composting. The Gardenerd Composting Workshop will have you recycling your kitchen and garden waste in no time. Join us for a 2-hour hands-on workshop where you’ll learn great techniques for successful home composting. Register here.

And finally, the Organic Gardening 101 course begins at Santa Monica College on Sunday, February 28th. Click here for details and registration through SMC.

3. Gardenerd Tip of the Month – Freezing Broccoli

If you are at all challenged by the concept of succession planting (here, here!), you might be one of the many gardeners who ends up with a bounty of broccoli all at once. While it’s true that these brassicas send out side shoots that can be harvested long after the center head is cut, those center heads all tend to arrive at maturity at the same time. What to do with that much broccoli? Freeze it!

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil
  • Wash and/or soak your broccoli in salted water to clean out any aphids, then rinse
  • Cut broccoli into one to one and a half inch florets
  • Drop broccoli into the boiling water and set the timer for 3 minutes
  • Fill a bowl with ice and water
  • When done (remove with a slotted spoon), quickly plunge broccoli into ice water bath for 3 minutes
  • Spoon into freezer bags and suck out the air with a straw or use a vacuum sealer
  • Date the bag and place in the freezer for future enjoyment.

You can do this all sorts of vegetables, just use equal amounts of time for boiling and the ice water bath.

4. Gardenerd Product of the Month – 2010 Organic Seed Collection

If you get overwhelmed with seed catalogs when trying to plan out your spring garden, you need not look any further than the 2010 Organic Seed Collection. We’ve done the work for you. We’ve chosen 11 great varieties that will bring color, life and good taste to your spring garden. You can read more about it in the recent Gardenerd Blog entry, and order yours in time for spring planting.

If you’d rather create your own collection – here are some of our favorite seed catalogs that feature rare and heirloom varieties. All of these companies make the Safe Seed Pledge, which means that they don’t sell GMO seeds. They help preserve species diversity with every purchase you make:

Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company – You’ll find alien-looking varieties you never thought existed here. It’s great fun!
Abundant Life Seeds– rare and exotic varieties for the home gardener
Wood Prairie Farm – heirloom seed potatoes for a colorful harvest
Seeds of Change – continually bringing back old varieties for your enjoyment

Stay tuned for more tips and tidbits from Gardenerd.com. Happy winter gardening!