An Alameda Garden: February 2011

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Don't Kill Dandelions, Just Use Force

There's a very interesting article in the New York Times about forcing dandelion roots to produce fresh, tender greens indoors for winter salads. It never occurred to me that dandelion roots could be treated just the same as spring bulbs, but that's the gist. The roots should be dug up in fall, refrigerated, then given light and water to stimulate new growth. It's a novel idea for those of you who are cursed with dandelion-free gardens. As for myself, I could harvest a few dandelion greens fresh from my garden right now--no forcing necessary. An unweeded garden does have its bonuses, I suppose.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Revolutionary Yardscape: An Alameda Author's Recycled Landscape

Last year at the SF Flower & Garden Show I attended a seminar by Matthew Levesque on using repurposed and recycled materials in the garden. I was truly impressed with the clever and creative designs that Levesque employed to make his Alameda garden unique, inviting, and urban-industrial chic.

So I was thrilled to find that his ideas and insights into using salvage in the landscape had been packaged in a new book, The Revolutionary Yardscape, published by Timber Press. Unlike so many landscape design books, this is more than just pretty pictures. Levesque packs the book with lots of discussion on finding sources for materials, the tools you should have on hand to work with various materials, cutting difficult materials, and making non-toxic finishes to create various patinas.

Levesque's book is not so much step-by-step instructions as it is a walk-through of the processes that he went through to create the various projects in his garden. He shows how viewing materials in new ways, or letting your mind slip past the obvious uses for items into new possibilities, is the key to creating these one-of-a-kind landscapes. After an evening poring over The Revolutionary Yardscape, I'm starting to imagine all kinds of ideas for repurposing some items that I have stashed in my shed and I plan on trying out some of Levesque's patina finishes on them.

If you'd like to meet the author and see some of his repurposed creations, he's giving a presentation on his revolutionary yardscape ideas at the Alameda Main Library on Sunday, March 13 at 2 p.m. He's also giving two seminars at this year's SF Flower & Garden Show. He'll be talking about making garden-ready finishes for wood, metal, and masonry on Saturday, March 26 at 1:30 and about the revolutionary landscape on Sunday, March 27 at 5:00 p.m.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Discount Tickets to Pacific Orchid Expo with Groupon

For the next day and a half, Groupon is offering a half-price deal on tickets to the Pacific Orchid Exposition, presented by the San Francisco Orchid Society at Fort Mason on Sunday, March 6. You can get two general admission adult tickets for $14 (a $28 value if purchased at the door).

The Pacific Orchid Expo is a fun event that will make you dizzy with the amount and variety of orchids on display. It's an excellent opportunity to talk to the professionals and the serious hobbyists who know all there is to know about orchid-growing. Check out my post from last year's Expo for a taste of what you'll find there.

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Saturday, February 05, 2011

Save on Hida Tools for the Garden with Groupon

For a very limited time (about 13 hours as of this posting time) you can get $20 worth of Hida Tools for only $10. Serious gardeners lust after Hida Tools. Their pruning saws and other tools for the garden (or for the home, if you're so inclined) are really top of the line so it's a good investment that you'll be using for years. Use this referral link to get the deal. But you'll have to act fast!

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Friday, February 04, 2011

Greenland Gardener Raised Garden and Planting Kits--Win an Almost Instant Vegetable Garden Free!

It's time to get serious about planning this year's vegetable gardens and to that end, I want to pass on to readers the chance to win what seems like a pretty cool garden product. If you've ever considered putting in a raised garden bed in your yard but thought building it seemed like too much work (hey, that sounds like me!), this Greenland Gardener Raised Garden Kit could make you very happy. The kit includes four 40-inch side pieces made of composite plastic, four corner connectors, and four stacking clip that you put together to create a raised bed that will give you about 3 1/2 square feet of planting space. Assembly takes less than 5 minutes. Fill that with 7 cubic feet of potting soil (not included in the kit) and you're ready to plant.

If that sounds nice and easy, then you're really going to love the next part. To make the planting part even easier, you can use the Greenland Gardener Planting Kit. Each planting kit includes:
  • Salsa garden seeds: tomatillo, jalapeno pepper, basil, cilantro, parsley, serrano pepper, onions, and tomato.
  • Vegetable garden seeds: cucumber, eggplant, crookneck squash, bush beans, yellow tomato, sweet bell pepper, red tomato and zucchini.
  • Planting mat diagrams for the vegetable and salsa gardens that double as weed control. These are apparently made of landscape cloth that has the diagrams printed right on them, showing how many of each seed goes where. (How idiot-proof can it get, right?)
  • 10 fabric pins to hold down the planting mat.
  • Planting instructions.
With both these kits, you'll be able to get a productive veggie garden underway in hardly any time at all. One lucky winner will get a chance to try these two kits for free (a combined $58 value). To enter, just leave a comment about what vegetables you're planning on planting this year. Be sure to include your e-mail address so I can notify you if you win. The deadline is Thursday, February 10th at midnight. I'll announce the winner on Friday, February 11th.

UPDATED 2/11/11:  The winner of the raised bed and planting kits is The Alchemist! Thanks to all who participated!

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