Category Archives: gardening

RAWsome Tip Tuesday: Not Too Early to Pick Summer CSA.

What? With all of this ***SNOW*** outside it seems like picking your summer veggie share is month away. The truth is that your local farms start accepting applications for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares now so they can plan for seeds and planting.

Even in the snow your farmers are planning for summer!

Many of the established CSA’s that also offer fresh eggs, flowers, jams and honey fill up fast, so now is the time to do your research. How? Ask friends, call up local farms or search on their websites, ask the local health food stores or Google CSA Portland, Maine (or your town).

Why is a CSA better than just heading to the grocery store? You are supporting local farmers (who really have one of the toughest jobs!), getting super fresh food that has traveled minimum distance to get to your plate, you get to try new foods, you can sometimes take your kids to the farm to help pick the goodies!

Sometimes the kids can go help harvest!

Many will offer single shares or an option to split a share if you don’t see yourself eating crates of produce each week. You can usually get a discount if you pick up directly at the farm instead of getting delivery or if you offer to be a drop-off site. You can even encourage your co-workers or members of a book, knitting or running club to all join and share in the healthy benefits!

Even though I grow a lot of my summer veggies, I really look forward to the greens, herbs and flowers from the farm. Plus I juice so much I can always use the extras for sauces and canning.

Here is a great site that offers more info on CSA’s: http://www.localharvest.org/csa/

Watermelon Wednesday: Sustainability Fair at St. Joe’s

Tomorrow at St. Joseph’s College (278 White’s Bridge Road, Standish, ME) there is a wonderful Sustainability Fair on the Alfond Lawn from 11-2pm. Experts on green living will be presenting their goods–everything from raising honeybees to the benefits of owning a hybrid car.

There will be a lunch highlighting the local harvest with organic salads, veggies beverages and more–many of the produce has been grown on campus and from farms within a close radius.

For more information and directions,

visit http://www.sjcme.edu/content/fall-sustainability-festival-and-eat-local-lunch.

Estabrooks Greenhouse’s Scarborough and Kennebunk locations are closing for the season next week and all of their perennials, bushes and trees are 50% off!! I was there last week and stocked up on gorgeous plants and they still have tons of stuff.

Get Stocked up on Your Favorite Plants

 

Fall is a great time to plant and saves you time and money in the Spring. Get your kids excited by letting them pick out some pretty plants and get dirty this weekend!

Wicked Smaht Monday: Edible Landscaping by Rosalind Creasy

This year was the first in which I planted strawberries. I knew nothing about them, so plunked them down next to my broccoli, thinking the colors would go nicely together. As beginners luck would have it, we had succulent berries all summer and  they are still flowering despite plummeting temps at night. What I just realized today, as I went to clip some broccoli for dinner, was that the strawberry vines have arched and replanted themselves all over the bed. Which is certainly very cool (and saves me money on buying new plants next year) but not quite what I want in a garden that is already filled with herbs and veggies.

Strawberries are very good at staying abundant!

It did give me an idea, however. Next spring, what if I planted them in a large bare spot in the yard and let them act as delicious ground cover?

Was that an option? I was happy to have reason to pick up my newly acquired book, Edible Landscaping by Rosalind Creasy.

If you want to literally garden outside of the box, this book is a must read. Rosalind can show you–no matter if you are a beginner with a tiny scrap of yard or a green thumb with rolling acres–how to give your produce a second job. Sure your rhubarb looks great when you harvest it into a cobbler–but in the months leading up to dessert, those giant leaves can be stunning as a border plant.

http://www.rosalindcreasy.com/growing-rhubarb-in-an-edible-landscape/

Thai chilies add pops of color around a lamp post; rows of lettuces guide you to your mailbox; flowering chives are pretty in pink against a rock wall; fragrant basil cascades next to an entryway; well-placed pots of tomatoes serve as a little snack shacks as you walk…seriously, would you ever leave?

Your entire yard can be delicious and beautiful!

Imagine what your yard can be if you grow food beyond the raised bed in the corner! Planting for beauty and food is a kind way to garden. There is less waste since you can reap the yummy benefits throughout the season rather than just throwing out flowering annuals after they die.

Lacking for inspiration? This book is filled with gorgeous, color pictures of edible landscapes from all different zones. Even the smallest yard (she has tips on how to maximize tiny areas and how to plant to make it feel larger) will turn into your personal farmer’s market. She did an experiment with 100 square feet and harvested over 77 lbs of produce in one season! On her website, Rosalind lists recommended plantings for each zone, so it takes the guesswork out if you have no idea what will work well in your area.

What an amazing project to share with your children. Turning their surroundings into an edible paradise is something they will be so excited to show-off when friends visit. The whole Southern side of our house is what I call the Pancake Garden–blueberries and raspberries twist and turn under a pear tree. Kids love running out there and picking their toppings as the griddle heats up.

Which brings me back to the Strawberry Question. As you see above, Rosalind loves planting the colorful gems in containers and allows them to dazzle without taking over the poor broccoli!

To learn more about Edible Landscaping and Rosalind, visit her site at http://www.rosalindcreasy.com. She is a true RAWK STAR for showing us that Mother Nature is really the best gardener!

Rosalind Shows You How to Turn Your Yard into Your Own Farmer's Market

Labor Day RAWKS on this Wicked Smaht Monday

Labor Day celebrates all of our contributions and achievements as Americans in the work force and it marks the end of summer and the start of the school year … Happy Labor Day to you!  :-)  On this beautiful Labor Day I would like to say thank you for letting us do what we love for “work.”  It is such a gift to be able to share the joy of raw & living foods with the world & we look forward to lots of exciting things to come.

I know we all work hard and make wonderful contributions to the places we call home and beyond, but today I thought I would honor our farmers, the men and women who grow the rawmazing food that nourish our bodies and minds so that we can live our best lives.

Maggie recently shared a book with me called Farm Together NOW and it is a beautiful book that shares stories from our nation’s farms, the people that run them and the land that they work.  The message is simple … enjoy community, get back to basics and shift our food movement to one of sustainability and whole foods living.  The book is filled with interviews with different farmers and organizations, farm facts and stunning photographs and info that tell a story about different people and places.

One farm that stands out is “Nuestras Raíces” in Holyoke, Massachusetts.  This farm has 10 community gardens a 30 acre of farm which is home to a farmer-training program that they offer.  It also has a cafe.  Nuestras Raíces creates community, a place for learning, pride and food for its people, & that is a beautiful thing!  You can check out their website at www.nuestras-raices.com .

Another group that jumped out at me was “City Slicker Farms” in Oakland, California.  Located within a part of the city that has little to offer when it comes to fresh produce, this organization farms leafy greens and root vegetables and inspires folks from the community to start their own backyard gardens.  They help 75 backyard gardeners set up their own garden each year which is totally RAWsome! Check them out at www.cityslickerfarms.org.

Every farmer and organization featured in this book has something special to share and it is worth taking some time to get to know some of these folks that are doing extraordinary things with a simple concept that begins with planting seeds.  RAWK ON!

THANK YOU, FARMERS, for all you give us!

Watermelon Wednesday: Garden Bound

We are on “Staycation” this week. Sadly, most of that chalks up to “cleaning out garage” and “not sleeping in.”

Yesterday, however, we snuck away from sweeping the attic and went to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay. Talk about an amazing place to take the kids (or just yourself!)

Acres of beautiful flowers, ponds and sculptures serve to inspire, calm and soothe the soul. There is a river rock Labyrinth where you can walk barefooted upon warm rock while you meditate to the sounds of a waterfall (I didn’t want to leave!).

Hours Float by When Surrounded by Flowers

The Alfond Children’s Garden is alive with interactive energy: Kids can water the blueberry bushes, make fairy houses, climb in a bear cave and run through a giant tree house. There are cottages based on favorite stories such as Peter Rabbit and a grass maze.

Kids Love Finding Their Way Home

My favorite part of the Children’s Garden is a huge space called Growing Greens. It is a joint effort with the local YMCA. Eighteen kids ranging from in age from 12-18 are chosen for a year long internship. They plan the garden: What to plant, how to design it and what to do with the harvest. Most of the veggies are sold at the local farmer’s market and the children get to keep a portion of the profits. They have also pressed flowers to make bookmarks to sell. Now that’s RAWSOME!!

It is so enlightening to see young kids take such a hands-on interest in gardening. They learn to respect and protect the earth and that is such an important lesson for them to carry into adulthood.

The Learning Garden: Teaching so Much More Than How to Plant

Your mission for the weekend: VISIT A LOCAL GARDEN SPOT.

If you are in Maine, head up to Boothbay. (Maine Botanical Gardens, Barter’s Island Road, 207-633-4333, www.MaineGardens.org) If not, I am sure you have a botanical or community garden or even a lovely park area where you can sit for an hour and watch the colors, butterflies and inhale gorgeous, scented air.

Share you experience with us on Facebook! http://www.facebook.com/kidsgoneraw 

 

Bees Please!

We Think Bees are RAWSOME!

Love, don’t swat!

Honeybees are critical for the survival of our species. They are much more than the sweet honey makers we know them to be.

Bees pollinate many of your favorite crops such as blueberries, avocados, carrots and cherries. In fact, bees provide pollen for over 80% of fruit, veggie, flower and seed crops. If bees weren’t, well, busy, the majority of fruits and veggies would die out. Then where would we be? Hungry, that’s where!

Don’t harm or kill bees! They aren’t going to attack you. If they land on you it is because you are as sweet as a flower! Stay still and they will fly away for greener pastures.

Instead, be a Bee Lover! Plant bee favorite flowers such as marigolds, dahlias, geraniums or crocuses. Garden in the Koop makes a “Save the Bees” garden box with all of the seeds you need for a lovely tribute to our striped friends. http://inthekoop.com/store/garden-boxes/save-the-bees-garden-box/

Don’t support commercial agriculture whose use of pesticides kill off bee populations–buy your produce from local farmers who also are bee lovers.

And the next time you see a bee doing its important work say, “Thank you!”

Chocolate Nut Chewies & Other Easter Treats

Chewies:

1 cup of raw almonds or cashews

1 cup of pitted medjool dates (soaked in water for 2 hours if they are hard)

1/4 tsp sea salt

1. Place ingredients in a food processor & blend until a crumbly dough ball forms. If a dough ball doesn’t form, add in 1 tsp of water or agave nectar.

2. Pinch off a piece of dough & roll into a ball & then flatten it into an egg shape.

3. Place “egg” on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat until all of the dough has been shaped.

4. Place cookie sheet in freezer & then mix up the pink shredded coconut & chocolate sauce.

Pink Shredded Coconut:

1/4 cup of shredded coconut

1/4- 1/2 tsp beet juice

Place shredded coconut in a small bowl. Grate a little piece of a beet & drop a little beet juice or a beet shred in with the coconut & mix it up until it turns pink. Set aside.

Chocolate:

1/2 cup of liquid/melted coconut oil (melt in a dehydrator or place jar of coconut oil in a bowl of hot water to melt)

1/4 cup of cacao powder

1/4 cup of agave or maple syrup

1. Place ingredients in a small bowl & whisk together until smooth & creamy.

ASSEMBLY: Remove dough “eggs” from the freezer & dip each egg into the bowl of chocolate with a fork or spoon. Place egg back on parchement lined cookie sheet & sprinkle with pink shredded coconut. Repeat until until all eggs have been dipped & place them back in the freezer to set.

If you have any chocolate sauce left over, pour it into chocolate molds or onto some parchment paper, edges folded up, & freeze.

These treats can be stored in the freezer or the fridge.

Enjoy! Yummmmmmmmmm! Recipe by Elizabeth Fraser of Kids Gone Raw & Girl Gone Raw

OTHER EASTER TREAT IDEAS:

Favorite fresh fruit, seeds to plant, garden tools, fruit roll-ups, chocolate nut chewies, trail mix, books, bubbles … you get the idea. They healthier your Easter treats, the happier everyone will be! :-)

Wishing you & your family & lovely weekend!