Wednesday, February 23, 2011

SA Youth's community gardening program receives $1,000 grant

SA Youth, a local nonprofit after-school program, is the proud recipient of the UnitedHealth HEROES service-learning grant for $1,000. The money will be used to initiate a community gardening program that will encourage the community to participate in outdoor activities, and help combat obesity and diabetes by teaching healthy lifestyle habits.
The community gardening program will involve creating and maintaining several gardens around the community. Members will create three garden sections at the Cooper Learning Center and four gardens at SA Youth's Community Learning Centers, including: a community vegetable garden open to residents in the neighborhood; a Texas Natives and Butterfly Garden which will serve as a teaching tool displaying information about native plants; and a learning garden for the students to practice their gardening techniques and to use as a tool to teach the community.
"Community gardens specifically address the issue of childhood obesity by supporting healthy food choices among adults and children, and enhances the communities access to fresh fruits and vegetables," said Cynthia Le Monds, CEO of SA Youth. "The garden will promote physical activity and emphasize the importance of caring for the environment, while staying out of trouble."
In the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the public is encouraged to join SA Youth for the grand opening of the Dan Cook Dream Garden from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., Jan. 21, at 1215 W. Poplar.

Moorit Software Releases iVeggieGarden: A Unique Mobile Vegetable Gardening App

BRIMFIELD, Mass., Jan. 25, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Moorit Software, LLC, has released version 1.1 of iVeggieGarden, a comprehensive, feature-rich vegetable gardening app for the iPhone(R) and iPod touch(R). The app was designed and built on a small farm, to help vegetable gardeners of all experience levels get more out of their gardens. iVeggieGarden is available for purchase on the App Store(SM), the company announced today.
(Logo: )
"iVeggieGarden is unique because we have a real passion for growing vegetables, and the app is based on our own firsthand experience. Part of the problem with some other gardening applications on the market is that they were developed by companies that produce video games," said Leslie Sturgeon, owner of Moorit Software, LLC. "My husband and I have a small sustainable vegetable farm in Central Massachusetts, and we sell our produce at three local farmers' markets. I also work full-time as a software developer, so I've combined our farming expertise with my technical skills in developing this app."
Key features include a catalog of over 500 vegetable varieties; complete growing info for all vegetable types; planting dates by climate zone; pest and disease info including sustainable control tips; a shopping list; integrated online shopping for seeds; purchase tracking; garden planning; tracking of key dates, notes, and photos for each variety in your garden; a glossary; powerful filters, and more.
iVeggieGarden also has the advantage of being perfectly portable. You can bring it out into your garden and take notes and photos on the spot, bring it to your local garden center to help you decide on seed purchases, or take it on a flight and read about new varieties to grow.
iVeggieGarden has already seen sales across the US and in countries as diverse as South Africa, Australia, and Croatia. An iPad(TM)-optimized version and an Android version of the app are planned for later this year.
About Moorit Software, LLC
Established in 2010, Moorit Software, LLC, ( is a small company dedicated to the design and development of mobile applications targeting the vegetable gardening community.
Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod touch, and iTunes are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and in other countries. iPad is a trademark of Apple, Inc. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.

Garden Style

I went on a garden tour where the owner had created a cairn. Not only was this stack of rocks a conversation piece, it added a sense of mystery to the garden.
Your garden style is your personal signature. Take something unique to you and your environment, and be creative. I have seen some very creative recycled objects used as focal points during my garden travels.
Old bathtubs, sinks, bowling balls and even shoes can be used.
If you look around your house you can find something to turn into an interesting focal point. The best advice is to experiment and have fun.
Whether you've always wanted a Grecian urn to add that classic flair, or a gazing ball to reflect the sky and colourful plants, the possibilities are endless. Have fun.
how to
Paint terracotta pots
CHALKY white paint and natural stripes can add a crisp, clean look to terracotta pots.
Masking tape in varying widths
Terracotta pots with saucers
Soft cloths
Soft paint brush
1 Old pots will need a good scrub with warm, soapy water before you begin. Once they're clean, place them in the sun to dry. New pots tend to accumulate dust and a few scrapes during the packing and display process. Give them a good wipe with a soft, dry cloth to dislodge loose dust, then finish with a damp cloth to remove any marks. Leave to dry.
2Decide where you want the natural terracotta stripes to be placed, then measure down from the rim, or up from the base, and make guide marks with a pencil around the circumference of the pot. Apply the masking tape, using the pencil marks as a guide. Smooth the tape down firmly, paying particular attention to any creases. Use an eraser to remove the pencil marks.
3 To achieve a soft, semi-translucent look, you need to water down the paint. Mix two parts paint with one part water and stir well to combine. Use a soft brush to apply the paint; you'll get a better finish if your brushstrokes follow the circumference of the pot rather than brushing vertically up and down. Paint the outer rim of the saucer. Leave to dry.
4 Once the paint is completely dry, carefully remove the tape. If there are any bleeds where the paint has seeped into the creases in the tape, remove them by gently scraping the area with a sharp blade. Use a damp cloth to wipe over the marks. The pot is now ready for planting.

Gardening and DIY Steal the scene

IF you are trying to create more excitement in your garden, consider adding a focal point to direct the eye to an object or area of interest.
If your planting borders seem like they are missing something, you probably need a scene-stealer.
As the eye sweeps along the bed, it needs a landing spot.
Think of a focal point as punctuation and your plants as words. You need a little punctuation for a sentence to make sense and optimise the flow.
We all strive to create a planting border that floats along with a variety of textures and colours, but it may need a vertical element or a special item to add interest.
These can be dramatic expressions such as a sculpture, or more casual features such as a birdhouse.
Each has its place depending on whether your garden tends to be formal or casual.
As you think of gardens with stunning water features, an architectural tree or interesting sculpture, your eye takes in that information, then travels outward to the other plants and features.
This is a way to transform your garden from ordinary to extraordinary.
For those who admire formal gardens, the classic sundial is the perfect centrepiece.
These instruments were once used to tell the time by the length of the shadow cast by the sun, but today they are simply ornamental features.
What can you use as a focal point? You don't have to break the bank or redesign your entire garden.
One of the simplest things you can do is to place a container planting in a border.
On the formal side, you can add a large, elegant urn, but for the casual garden a container or group of planters can make the area pop with excitement and colour.
As an example: in a shady area with hydrangeas, a bright, blue ceramic pot planted with a red begonia and fern and elevated with stones echoes the blue of the hydrangeas, creating a simple, but elegant, focal point.
When the hydrangeas have finished blooming, the container stays fresh and colourful.
Adding a vertical element, such as a metal or wooden garden pillar, to your bed or border is another easy solution.
As annual and/or perennial vines grow on the pillar, they lead the eye upward. Other vertical structures include a birdhouse on a pole, an arbor or a pergola.
Even stones can make an attractive focal point.
You can use a boulder or boulder grouping, or even larger stones artfully placed in the garden.

The Joy of Family Gardening

The Joy of Family GardeningBy Maria RodaleI learned about flowers from my mother. Her goal was to get the flowers planted before the end of the Indy 500 in late May. Up until her last few years, she was out there every season, pursuing her passion, and getting her hands all dirty and calloused while creating beautiful flower scenes to be enjoyed from every window of the house. From my father, I learned about the magic of soil and a love of farming. He always took us kids to visit farms and farmers, and wax poetic about the incredible complexity of our living soil. Through these visits and his stories, I became a farmer (and through his leniency, I learned to drive a tractor when I was 13-that was trouble!).Both of my grandmothers' gardens taught me how it takes time to make a beautiful landscape. Their homes were surrounded by mature, vibrant gardens, filled with fragrance (oh, the roses!), hidden sculptures, and other surprises-did my mother's mother have a lime tree growing in one protected corner of her yard, or am I dreaming? Childhood days spent growing up in those gardens are some of my most precious memories.My in-laws, Louie and Rita Cinquino, opened a new gardening world to me. In their garden in LeRoy, New York, they raised garlic, tomatoes, basil, and peppers-the Italian cook's essentials. But they didn't just garden; they also wild-gathered bitter mustard greens and any other edibles they could find, like wild cardoons or burdock. No meal in their home was complete unless there was a dish of bitter greens sauteed with garlic and dressed with cheese and olive oil. And cardoon stems, dipped in egg and flour, then sauteed with olive oil and garlic and sprinkled with grated Romano cheese, are the crown jewel of the Cinquinos' dinner table. Today, in our garden, my husband, Lou, plants his father's garlic, and we nurture our own (secret) wild cardoon patch.Happily, Lou's folks are still alive to share their gardening wisdom, but at 89, they are getting too old to garden themselves. But that's what us kids are for now. And why it's important to pass our knowledge on to our own kids! I'm lucky in that all three of my daughters enjoy gardening and cooking from the garden. This year my oldest, who works at the Rodale Institute, helped me put up the tomato sauce and pesto. My teenager planted a "seed tape" that we got from an event in California this year hosted by Nature's Path (thank you, Maria Emmer Aanes!), and the pink and red flowers that grew from it created what is by far the most beautiful section in the vegetable garden. And, well, the little one-it's hard to keep her out of the garden. She comes in, covered in dirt from digging and peppered with tomato seeds from eating our organic tomatoes right from the vine, shouting for me to come look at something she has found-a special rock, or a dead bug. Lou and I feel blessed to have so many great gardeners around us and happy that our kids have picked up the tradition. As we get busier-and older-it's great to have enthusiastic help in the garden, especially if they know what they're doing!