Jun 072013
 

by Avis Licht

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I love carrots fresh from the garden, but I also have had some real problems growing them.  I get the beds beautifully prepared, raked and ready to go.  Sow the seed, water the bed, watch it germinate and bam! the next day the seedlings are all gone. What in the world?!?

Overnight, small and voracious insects come out and devour my delicate seedlings. Earwigs, sow bugs, snails and slugs are all culprits.  After several seasons of failure, I decided to grow my carrots in containers, where the little buggers can’t get them. Sure enough I have had incredible success.  Not only do the seeds germinate, but growing in potting soil, the carrots come out perfectly formed and absolutely delicious.

Purple Cosmic Carrots

Purple Cosmic Carrots

The pots I used are called Smart Pots.  They are made from fabric that is strong, light weight and come in many sizes.  It is perfect for  folks who don’t have place to store containers when not in use.  They fold up, last for years and create excellent growing conditions for your plants. You can buy them here at discounted prices: Smart Pots.

Baby carrots from Smart Pot

Baby carrots from Smart Pot

 

 

 

 

 

 

I tried some different kinds of carrots this year including, Cosmic Purple, which you can see is a lovely purple, Chantenay Red Core and Shin Kiroda, a baby Japanese variety with short 3″ -5″ carrots, just right for a container. I use only organic potting mix which you can get here: Organic Potting Soil.

You can buy organic vegetable seed packets from Seed Savers Exchange here: Organic Vegetable Seeds.

Be sure to give your carrots plenty of sun, at least 6 hours a day.Carrots need constant moisture – don’t let them dry out, but also, don’t drown them.

Children will love to eat these baby carrots, they are sweet and just the right size.

 

Oct 062011
 

The Edible Landscape

Edible landscaping is the type of garden design I’ve been doing for 35 years.   With landscaping ideas based on the principals of organic, sustainable and beautiful, I will pass on my hard earned lessons to those who are ready for the edible journey. Scroll down the page for all the entries, or go to Click on a topic on the right and choose a category to read. I write about landscape design, ornamental and edible plants, tools, gardening books, critter control and more.

To get an update when I write a new post be sure to subscribe by filling in the subscription widget in the right hand column.

Be sure to comment and ask questions.  I’ll be glad to get back to you.

Yours in the joy of gardening,

Avis

Sep 152011
 
Heirloom tomatoes

Amazing Heirloom tomatoes at the Expo in Santa Rosa

On Tuesday, September13, I went to the Heirloom Exposition in Santa Rosa, California. It was truly amazing.  There were many vendors from seed companies, tool companies, produce, nurseries, irrigation, master gardeners, farms, gardens, restaurants. And everyone there was interested in healthy, organic food.  The ripple of movement towards healthy food is becoming a tidal wave.

The keynote speakers were Jeffrey Smith from the Institute of Responsible Technology, talking about genetically  modified foods and the dangers they pose to human health and the environment, Alice Waters, the pioneer of the local food movement and the Edible School  Yard, and Dr. Vandana Shiva from India, who founded the movement to protect the diversity and integrity of living resources, especially native seeds.

Heirloom gourds

A mountain of gourds at the Expo defies description

Seed Savers Exchange defines heirloom seeds and plants as follows:

The genetic diversity of the world’s food crops is eroding at an unprecedented and accelerating rate. The vegetables and fruits currently being lost are the result of thousands of years of adaptation and selection in diverse ecological niches around the world. Each variety is genetically unique and has developed resistance to the diseases and pests with which it evolved. Plant breeders use the old varieties to breed resistance into modern crops that are constantly being attacked by rapidly evolving diseases and pests. Without these infusions of genetic diversity, food production is at risk from epidemics and infestations.

This is just the tip of the heirloom iceberg. How we grow plants, what we grow, how we take seed, how we harvest, sell and preserve this food is all part of the big picture of growing healthy, safe food, that is good for all living beings and good for the earth.

The simple act of planting food in your own home garden is an important step you can take to make a difference in your lives and your children’s lives. Choosing what to plant and how we take care of our gardens is up to each one of us.

Over the next few days I’ll be telling you about the wonderful seed companies, tool companies and more that I found there.  Just know, that you’re on the cutting edge.

Herbs in box

Herbs in box

Even a small wooden planter box can supply you with healthy, delicious herbs for the season. Start small and keep on going.

Jul 122011
 
mulched garden

 

The Edible Backyard

The Edible Landscape

Edible landscaping is the type of garden design I’ve been doing for 35 years.  I’ve been gardening and designing gardens for all those years.  And boy do I have stories.  With landscaping ideas based on the principals of organic, sustainable and beautiful, I will pass on my hard earned lessons to those who are ready for the edible journey.

I will share garden tips, favorite plants, and how to easily and simply design and implement your own bountiful garden.

Some of you may be wondering “What in the world IS edible landscaping?” It is combining the best of both worlds of gardening and landscape design.  It is a way for you to get deep satisfaction out of growing healthy, tasty foods for you and your family AND make your yard look beautiful.

Bright and Beautiful- the Sunflower

I take the elements of good landscape design and infiltrate them with plants that we can harvest year round. The trick is putting the right plant in the right place.  Of course, we know that not all plants are created equal and some are more beautiful than others and some are just too darn good not to plant.  I will teach you how to skillfully incorporate those plants that look good with those that provide great food, but are too homely to be seen front and center.

A healthy plant is a beautiful plant.  We’ll be talking about how to keep all your plants healthy and productive, using simple organic methods.  But it’s still good to remember to always plant a little extra for the birds and others that come to the table to taste.

Who can resist a ripe strawberry?

What I will do with this blog is set out in a straight forward and simple way, how to help you move forward with your plans to turn your own yard into a beautiful and productive paradise.

 

 

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