11-20-09 Thanksgiving Harvest

In this issue:

  1. November in the Garden
  2. New things at Gardenerd.com
  3. Gardenerd Tip of the Month: Growing Compost Crops
  4. Gardenerd Product of the Month: Gift Certificates

1. November in the Garden

It seems like the holiday season has come upon us like a flash flood rather than like a slow trickle down the calendar flume of life this year. I’ve heard it said that time goes by faster as you get older, but this is ridiculous! The weather has turned crisp and the fall garden has taken off. All the brassicas are looking happy as can be. Kohlrabi plants are fattening up into bulbs, broccoli is starting to show signs of heading up, and we’ve already harvested the first batch of kale for Maggie’s Raw Kale Salad (from the Esalen Cookbook) and Kale Chips. Yum!

We’ve been enjoying homegrown salads while the peas are starting to climb their trellises. Almost all the parsnips, carrots and beets have established their presence, and we’ve harvested a few radishes already. The garlic is poking through the soil, and although the spinach is having a tough time getting started this year, the other salad greens (mache, arugula and Osaka Purple Mustard greens) are ripe for picking. Admittedly, we went a little overboard and planted three times as much Swiss chard as in previous years. Let’s just say we couldn’t get enough of it last year.

Whether your garden is closing down or just getting started for fall/winter, there’s still plenty to do — after all, those seed catalogs have just started showing up in the mail. Read below for all the latest news about the New Gardenerd.com, new holiday gift items and more.

Happy Gardening,


2. New Things at Gardenerd.com

There’s a new family member on the navigation bar of the website (the broccoli icon – we call her the librarian), as well as some new features at Gardenerd.com. Still the same great website, just easier to find what you’re looking for:

We’ve revamped the site to include more information about our design and consulting services.

There’s also a Gallery of photos from recent organic vegetable garden installations with testimonials from students and clients.

The Latest News now has its own page about classes, events and products.

You’ll also find two new products: The 2010 Spring Seed Collection and the Gardenerd Hand Care Kit. We’ve partnered with Soaptopia (the world’s best soap makers here in Los Angeles) to create a wonderfully rich exfoliating bar soap and luxurious hand-healing cream for all us gardenerds. Give your hands the gift of “clean and soft” this holiday season. Click the links for more details.

3. Gardenerd Tip of the Month – Growing Compost Crops

Conventional agriculture loses top soil at a staggering rate. For every pound of conventionally-grown food we eat, we lose 8-12 pounds of top soil. Organic agriculture is better, but not by much — 3-5 pounds lost for every pound of organically grown food we eat. What to do? Grow more top soil!

You can help reverse this loss by dedicating a section of your garden to growing compost crops each year, and winter is the best time to do it. Plant fava beans or other legumes, winter wheat, vetch, clover, peas or tall grasses. Cut them down when one third of the flowers open and put them in your compost bin. They will provide bio-mass (brown or green material) for your compost, which means more soil amendments and nutrients for your garden soil in the coming spring.

Read more about growing compost crops in How to Grow More Vegetables by John Jeavons.

4. Gardenerd Product of the Month – Gift Certificates

It’s holiday gift giving time! (Feel free to forward this to your significant other.) Are you wracking your brain to figure out what to get the gardenerd in your life? Give them the gift of garden guidance. A gift certificate for an in-person or online consultation will help get your spring garden off to a great start. Gift certificates can also be used toward gardening classes, like Spring Garden Planning Workshops or the Gardenerd Organic Gardening Series. Choose your amount and we’ll send you a lovely gift certificate in a bright colored envelope. One size fits all!

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