Wednesday, April 25, 2012
I get this comment a lot after a discussion about gardening and growing your own food.
I would like to dispel that myth. You too can have a garden on your apartment patio. It just takes a bit of planning, creativity, muscles, and bribery.
My very first home was a two bedroom condo on the second floor. I had a small patio off my living room that was a bit wider then a washer and dryer placed side by side. How do I know? The closet for my washer and dryer was at one end of the patio.
When I decided to follow a more organic and gluten free diet I really focused on growing my own food. It was far easier to grow my own food then travel 45 minutes to the closet size health food store which carried about 2 pints of strawberries, lots of kale and grassy looking vegetables. As I recall they had more shelves of vitamins and food supplements then actual fresh produce.
What to grow?
There is a lot one can grow on a patio or small balcony. My first suggestion is determine what will grow in the region one lives in and then add 10 degrees. Fencing, small living area, the reflection off the community pool and position of the balcony can raise the temperature of the patio and small balcony. Keep this in mind when planning.
Here is a short list of possible plants to grow.
Sugar baby watermelon
Any small squash or melon
Tomatoes and cherry tomatoes
Onions, chives and garlic
Herbs and spices
Lettuce, cabbage and kale
Broccoli and cauliflower
The list above comes from a blog called Doingwithout.livejournal.com
I am not sure if the blogger is still active but she has some great ideas about living on a budget.
I would also add that I have grown:
Miniature apple tree
Bird and Bee attracting flowers
Roses (especially for the rose hips)
I also discovered companion gardening before I realized it had a name. I also had a small fish pond made from pot so I had the water from that to water specific plants.
When planning think up and not out. I had some hanging trellises but I also got creative with old wood shutters, ribbon, and lots of hanging pots. Many of my herbs were in hanging pots, especially the catnip.
Experiment and be creative.
One of the problems I discovered with having such a huge garden on a second story balcony was drainage. My neighbor below me wasn't thrilled about having so much water drain over the side of my balcony onto his patio.
What evolved was a rather creative solution.
Hot water heaters have huge pans that have drainage plugs. The drainage plugs are the right size to thread white PVC pipe to it for drainage. I placed my largest pots in the pans and then "strung" them together with PVC pipe. The drainage pipe then ran down the side of our building and drained into the gardens below. I discovered that I had to raise the larger pots a bit to let gravity work easier. Smaller pots were taken down and watered inside the larger pots.
Since my washer and dryer were also on the patio I was able to place a faucet split on the washer faucet. I was able to run a small hose from the washer to the larger pots instead of hauling watering cans of water back and forth. I was surprised to find at the Home Depot that there are actually small "patio hoses."
I wanted the patio/balcony to also look pretty but I also knew I would have to haul the large pots up a flight of stairs to the condo. I found at Armstrong Nursery plastic pots that looked ceramic. My large pots were actually these plastic pots. Smaller ceramic pots were then placed as accents around these larger pots.
My balcony/patio was located on the second story of my complex. Of course, there was no natural soil up on the patio/balcony. This meant I had to haul many bags of soil up the flight of stairs and any other supplies I needed. My neighbors were always amused at what I was actually able to get up on the balcony/patio.
Most of my neighbors kept small house plants or one or two decorative plants. There may have been one or two tomato and basil plants. I think I was the only full garden. My very patient neighbor down stairs of me was the first to be bribed with fresh tomatoes, herbs and corn. The garden became a source of entertainment and brought our "court yard" community together. One neighbor was always eager to volunteer to water the garden when I was away for the chance to eat the raspberries.
It took a lot of work to create and maintain, but the end result was so worth the effort. I was sad to leave it and so where the neighbors. When I was packing up to leave I did gift my down stairs neighbor the raspberry plant one of the pots of herbs. He turned out to be an awesome neighbor.
Grow a Garden!
Monday, April 23, 2012
I was about to complain about our crazy weather here in East San Diego County. This weekend was gorgeous with full sun and temperatures ranging from 71 F to 90 F degrees. I am actually sunburned from this weekend. Now, it is rainy and barely 63F degrees.
Google Blogger has revamped, yet again, their Blogger and when I went to post today's post I was transferred to my Dashboard. On my Dashboard is the list of the other Google Bloggers I follow.
One of my favorites is Plain and Joyful. Check out Tonya's blog here. It is about a family in the wilds of Vermont living out their dream. They are an inspiration to me.
The other day Tonya, the Mom/Blogger of Plain and Joyful posted this sad but thought provoking post. You can read it here.
We have become so de-sensitive from the media and advertisements around us that we tend to miss the subliminal messages in the advertisements. When I was studying Human Behavior a course I took was on advertisements. It is an ugly world that is full of people with little or no conscious. Advertisers purposely play on the heart strings and nerves of the American psyche.
Rudolf Steiner does warn in his anthroposophical philosophy about becoming too materialistic. This question from Tonya really hits home that concern. It is assuring to me to know there are other Mothers with the same beliefs as I do.
Children are our future. They should be raised in love and happiness. They are not burdens!
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Over Spring Break I had the chance to clean and organize the Viking Kiddo's bedrooms. This is a Herculean Task in itself. One of the areas we organized and thinned out was the growing collection of books. Both Viking Kiddos are learning to read so the collection of books have slowly changed from books Mommy and Daddy read to them to books they are reading.
Monday, April 16, 2012
Many of us, including me, signed a petition requesting that the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) label foods that have Genetically Modified Organism (GMO). There have been many rumors and much hype in the news and Social Medias about what the FDA has done with the millions of signatures and comments.
The blog I follow and signed the petitions at is called Just Label It and you can read it from here. Follow the link to add your voice and comments.
Here is the current news from Just Label It.
"After an unprecedented 1.1 million comments delivered to FDA, we’ve had an official response: “…We have not been able to reach a decision on your petition….We hope to be able to complete the review of your petition and respond to your request in the near future.”
· NO COMMENTS have been deleted by FDA
· FDA has the 1.1 million names and is still uploading them
· Because FDA bundles similar comments together on the regulations.gov site, when they have the upload, you will only see listed hundreds of comments. But the FDA acknowledges that these entries contain ALL of the comments and names that have been submitted.
What I find really interesting is that the FDA was extremely quick and efficient when it came to asking companies to label food with food allergies, nuts, and sodium bisulfite but have become incredibly slow on labeling for GMO.
Head over to Just Label it and sign the petition if you haven't already.
Friday, April 13, 2012
It is I, the Anit- Monsanto Mommy!
I grew up in the
A little further digging I discovered that the California State Teacher Retirement and California Public Employment Retirement funds own 519,568 shares ($23 million) in Celanese. That doesn’t sit well with me.
Growing up in the
Now, that Spring has officially arrived many gardeners head to the local gardening center to purchase tomato plants, zucchini, corn and watermelon plants to plant in our gardens. Little do we know Monsanto also owns many seed companies that the big gardener stores sell. Here is a short list.
Beans: Aliconte, Brio, Bronco, Cadillac, Ebro, Etna, Eureka, Festina, Gina, Goldmine, Goldenchild, Labrador, Lynx, Magnum, Matador, Spartacus, Storm, Strike, Stringless Blue Lake 7, Tapia, Tema
Cabbage: Atlantis, Golden
Carrot: Bilbo, Envy, Forto, Juliana, Karina, Koroda PS, Royal Chantenay, Sweetness III
Cauliflower: Cheddar, Minuteman
Cucumber: Babylon, Cool Breeze Imp., Dasher II, Emporator, Eureka, Fanfare HG, Marketmore 76, Mathilde, Moctezuma, Orient Express II, Peal, Poinsett 76, Salad Bush, Sweet Slice, Sweet Success PS, Talladega
Eggplant: Black Beauty, Fairytale, Gretel, Hansel, Lavender Touch, Twinkle, White Lightening
Hot Pepper: Anaheim TMR 23, Ancho Saint Martin, Big Bomb, Big Chile brand of Sahuaro, Caribbean Red, Cayenne Large Red Thick, Chichen Itza, Chichimeca, Corcel, Garden Salsa SG, Habanero, Holy Mole brand of Salvatierro, Hungarian Yellow Wax Hot, Ixtapa X3R, Lapid, Mariachi brand of Rio de Oro, Mesilla, Milta, Mucho Nacho brand of Grande, Nainari, Serrano del Sol brand of Tuxtlas, Super Chile, Tam Vera Cruz
Lettuce: Braveheart, Conquistador
Melon: Early Dew, Sante Fe, Saturno
Onion: Candy, Cannonball, Century, Red Zeppelin,
Pumpkin: Applachian, Harvest Moon, Jamboree HG,
Squash: Ambassador, Canesi, Clarita, Commander, Dixie, Early Butternut, Gold Rush, Grey Zucchini, Greyzini, Lolita, Papaya Pear, Peter Pan, Portofino, President, Richgreen Hybrid Zucchini, Storr’s Green, Sungreen, Sunny Delight, Taybelle PM
Sweet Corn: Devotion, Fantasia, Merit, Obession, Passion, Temptation
Sweet Pepper: Baron, Bell Boy, Big Bertha PS, Biscayne, Blushing Beauty, Bounty, California Wonder 300, Camelot, Capistrano, Cherry Pick, Chocolate Beauty, Corno Verde, Cubanelle W, Dumpling brand of Pritavit, Early Sunsation, Flexum, Fooled You brand of Dulce, Giant Marconi, Gypsy, Jumper, Key West, King Arthur, North Star, Orange Blaze, Pimiento Elite, Red Knight, Satsuma, Socrates, Super Heavyweight, Sweet Spot
Tomato: Amsterdam, Beefmaster, Betterboy, Big Beef, Burpee’s Big Boy, Caramba, Celebrity, Cupid, Early Girl, Granny Smith, Health Kick, Husky Cherry Red, Jetsetter brand of Jack, Lemon Boy, Margharita, Margo, Marmande VF PS, Marmara, Patio, Phoenix, Poseidon 43, Roma VF, Royesta, Sun Sugar, Super Marzano, Sweet Baby Girl, Tiffany, Tye-Dye, Viva Italia, Yaqui
Note: Not all of the veggie varieties in the above list are Monsanto/Seminis exclusives. Consequently if you spot some of these varieties in the catalog of an heirloom seed-seller, just check with the seller to make sure the seeds were not purchased from Seminis/Monsanto. But if you find these seeds on a rack at a big-box garden center, you have every right to suspect they were purchased from the evil empire.
That’s quite a catalog, huh? No wonder Monsanto paid $1.4 billion in cash to acquire Seminis Seeds. You can see the catalog for yourself on Seminis’s own website.
The list I found a blog by Kevin Lee Jacobs. Check out A Garden for the House and Garden. Inspirations from Kevin Lee Jacobs. Check it out here.
We have all heard of the dangers of eating GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) and that Monsanto is THE largest company of GMO produce. We have all heard that Monsanto products are in Aspartane (Nutra Sweet, Equal), Round Up Herbicide, Genetically Enginnered Soy, Corn and Canola products (these products have Roundup IN the plant) rBGH Dairy (possible Breast cancer and prostate cancer) and Ambien Insomnia Medication.
Monday, April 9, 2012
When I moved to our town 8 years ago the population was less then 10,000 people and the town had 1 working stop light, and one grocery store named Daniels. Daniels was a family run grocery store in the “middle” of town and next door was the “Mom and Pop” pharmacy. The pharmacy was one of those rare places where the Pharmacists knew every little detail about your personal needs, including your first name. Daniels was one of those rare grocery stores where the management knew your name, your children’s names and would even provide 1 on 1 service.
That has all changed in the name of progress. Two years ago SD&GE (San Diego Gas and Electric) decided to build the Sun Rise Power Link and place the core of the power link right down the middle of town. For the last two years the center of our main road through town has been torn apart so the main line can be buried. The result has been the loss of nine businesses, 1 restaurant and Daniel’s grocery store.
In the name of “Progress” our town has acquired the following:
- 4 more stop lights
- Albertson’s Grocery Store
And now Fresh and Easy “Neighborhood” Market store chain
The small town feel we fell in love with is losing that feel.
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Monday, April 2, 2012
EL CAPITAN HIGH SCHOOL
$3,451.00 to $4,390.00 per month, plus great benefits
11 month position
Please apply at www.Edjoin.org by 4/10/2012
To view Administrative Secretary job description: http://tinyurl.com/6vvhphb
OPEN ONLY TO CURRENT PERMANENT CLASSIFIED
GROSSMONT UNION HIGH SCHOOL STAFF