At a personal and at the community level we are all looking for ways to thrive in tough times. It is surely a struggle our families and our friends. So much change, so much uncertainty even as we hear the economy is improving…. It is not improving for many of us. This is a list of my favorite books to help you get way beyond survival. We can dream bigger dreams while recognizing our interdependence. There is a new vision emerging…join us! Read this list and become engaged and hopeful again.
We are ready.
Check out the rest of my Pinterest boards here. Pinterest is a wonderful tool for the visual thinkers among us. Grab and account and be inspired!
Share this list with your friends and let me know where you find your inspiration!
What makes you more resilient? We have all become so much stronger in these last few years!
I have shut the blog down (kinda) to protest the SOPA and PIPA bills in Congress.
For more information on why these are crappy pieces of legislation read up on the SOPA STRIKE page.
Here’s what your tweet should look
I nominate @hyperlocavore for a #ShortyAward in #food because (fill in your reason!)
The rules say you have to have been a member of twitter before the contest began. So please note that.
Note: Posted as a guest post at the most awesome chicken site run by my friend Orren Fox. Please visit Happy Chickens Lay Healthy Eggs to satisfy your poultry keeping curiosity! Orren is raising chickens and honey bees. He’s thirteen years old but, he’s my teacher when it comes to happy chickens! Love his tagline: “There’s a Fox in the henhouse!” Read his blog! You like pizza, right? Here’s a cool project for you and your buds and BFFs to take on this Spring – a pizza garden! There may be no more spaghetti trees left in the world but, you can grow a pizza…kind of! There are a few things you guys need to know before starting a new garden, so let’s start this right. Great gardens depend on gardeners who know what zone they live in and what kind of soil they have. We all live in different zones. A zone is about the kind of weather you have, how early fall frost comes and how late you might get a killing frost in spring. Where I live, it’s not a good idea to plant until after Memorial Day. If you plant too early you may lose all your baby plants to a bad night of frost! That is a huge drag so figure this out before you start planning your pizza garden. Find your hardiness zone then come back here…
OK got it? Write that down in your garden notebook! It will be important when you are finding seeds. Keeping a garden notebook is useful to you if you keep gardening. You can use it to remember what works best where you live. Now let’s learn how to test your soil type. You can start seeds inside way before that though. It’s a good idea to get a jump on the season and have strong teenager plants who can handle the summer much better than the babies. There are three main types of soil: clay, sand and loam. So go to the area in your yard where you want to plant your pizza garden. Dig down about 2 inches and grab a handful of soil. Try to roll that hand full into a ball.
- If you have sandy soil you won’t be able to form a ball at all, it will just fall apart.
- If you can make a ball about the size of a big grape you have clay soil.
- If your ball holds together a bit but, is kind of crumbly and comes apart when you stop squeezing it’s loam soil.
Here’s a way to fix most soil types – but this fix takes months so you need to plan in advance. Sometimes you need to add a little bit of this or a little bit of that to make the soil ready for planting. If you don’t have a lot of time do some research on sustainable and organic methods to correct your soil type. OK, there’s no such thing as a pepperoni bush and most of you don’t have your own cow to milk to get your mozzerella. But you can grow most of the veggies that make it taste so crazy good! So what do you need to grow in a pizza garden? Let’s make a list:
- the alliums: onion and garlic
- herbs: parsley, oregano and basil
- bell peppers
Sounds very doable! Garlic is important and onions as well, even if you don’t like them on top, they make the sauce sweet. When you sauté onions they “caramelize“ which is a fancy way of saying they become a sugar. When sugar is heated up but not burned it turns to “caramel,” which is what those chewy candies actually are – cooked sugar!
Onions and garlic are the more complicated part of the garden. Usually people plant most onion and garlic “sets” in the fall of the previous year, so it’s a little late for 2010. Mushrooms are a whole other project. NEVER pick them from your yard. They can be poisonous! Here are some onions you can grow from seed in some zones: Italian Red Onions (Flat of Italy) or Ringmaster Onions (Great for onion rings too!) Plant them about four feet or more from your tomatoes and herbs. For now you might want to just pick up garlic at the store, unless your parents already know how to grow it. For next year, make a note you will want to find a good seller for garlic “sets,” and plant them in October. You might want to find an organic seed grower that is close to you. Try Local Harvest for seed sellers near your zip code. Most of the links for seeds here are from Botanical Interest.
So where does all that red sauce come from? The lycopene in tomatoes makes them red, and it’s also really good for you. It’s the same stuff that makes carrots orange, and watermelons pink. But it’s not in cherries. It helps your cells repair themselves and keeps your eyes strong. Growing tomatoes is pretty easy and they taste SO much better than the ones you get at the store. There are three types of tomatoes: slicing tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and paste tomatoes. Paste tomatoes are the kind you use to make thick yummy spaghetti and pizza sauce. So here are the top paste tomatoes. San Marzanos are from Italy the home of spaghetti and pizza! Amish Paste tomatoes will also work. If you can’t find either of those look for a “paste” type tomato that grows in your hardiness zone.
OK onto the herbs, herbs are a big part of making pizza so tasty. You’ll want to grow oregano, parsley and basil. The best oregano for pizza is a variety called “True Greek Oregano.” It’s a perennial which means it comes back every year if you live in zones 4-9. Basil is an awesome annual. Annuals need to be planted with new seed every year. You can use it in the sauce or on top of the pizza in big whole leafs.
The classic real Italian style pizza is just mozzarella, big basil leaves, tomato slices or small cherry tomatoes and a little olive oil. A green pizza sauce called “pesto” is made with tons of fresh basil a little olive oil and a cup or so of roasted pine nuts. We grow a lot of basil every year and freeze tons of basil pesto sauce. Just put a ton of basil and a little olive oil in a blender or food processor and blend it up, then put it in small containers in the freezer. Tastes like summer in the middle of winter! YUM!
There are a ton of basil types to grow but, for pizza, you really want one of these types: Genovese or Italian Leaf Basil. Growing tomatoes and basil close together is a classic “companion planting” combo. Basil and tomatoes kind of love each other. Maybe it’s a just a serious crush. Who knows really? They are happiest when they are hanging out together. Plant three basil plants for every one tomato plant. Don’t tell basil but, parsley likes tomatoes too! You can plant this in between to your tomato plants, as well. We just hope it’s doesn’t make basil jealous! There are a few kinds of parsley. One kind usually ends up on the side of the plate to make it pretty and the other kind is the stuff that tastes so good. Parsley also is a good breath freshener so if ever Uncle “Bad Breath” Bob needs a bit of something to make their breath sweeter, you can sneak him a sprig of parsley without telling them “Hey Dude, you really need a breath mint.” – because that’s pretty rude.
Bell Peppers are a controversial topic. Some kids love them. Some kids hate them. They are easy to grow and love a hot climate. Fire roasted red bell peppers are delish on pizza. The peppers caramelize like the onions and garlic do and become very sweet! Try that technique ONLY with your parents close by. If you live in a hot place by the sea you may be able to grow an olive tree and make your own olive oil. That’s kind of a long time to wait for pizza though!
Here are some more links to help get you growing! Seed List (Follow link then scroll down – seeds are low on these pages) San Marzanos Tomato Amish Paste Tomato Cherry Rainbow Mix Seed Oregano True Greek Seed Genovese and Italian Leaf Basil Italian Flat Parsley Italian Red Onions Ringmaster Onions
UPDATE: Hyperlocavore.com is no longer in service.
No yard? No problem. Visit hyperlocavore.com a yard sharing community. We work to hook neighbors and friends up in yard sharing groups – makes gardening more fun and less expensive! We’re here to help you get going. Join us. It’s free. Then send an invite out to your friends (with your parents permission of course!) on the site and set up a pizza garden group! You can even post blogs, pictures and videos to show off your pizza garden project! Happy Digging! Liz McLellan hyperlocavore.com a yard sharing community because everyone love a homegrown tomato!
Yardsharing (or yard sharing, garden sharing, land sharing or roof sharing) is a new idea and a new way to develop community resilience. Set to be a huge trend in 2010, people are looking for ways to save money, eat better and get their kids active again.
Yard sharing has a long list of advantages. Let’s assume you are already sold on the idea and you looking to get started. How do you begin it in a way that makes your success much more likely?
Creating community where you are will help you weather tough times but, community doesn’t just fall into place on it’s own. Real community building needs to start with clear intention, anticipation of issues and, especially with a garden, some basic planning.
How do you build a group that gets along?
- Pick you growing partners with the same attention you would any relationship but, know it only has to last a season if it turns out you haven’t found the right mix of folks.
- Start with a party not with a meeting.
- For a long-term group have seasonal parties to mark the year. Planning party on the winter solstice and harvest party in September.
- Gather resources you already have. Create a garden book share to start.
- Set realistic boundaries (garden hours, rules for broken items, distribution of produce)
- Involve all ages.
- Remember novice gardeners don’t always have immediate bountiful success.
- Take bad weather in stride. Some seasons are just bad.
- Set up a kitty for garden expenses and put a cap on it.(Some folks can really get crazy with those catalogs!)
- There’s no need to spend lots of money to get started. Don’t make it expensive to “buy in”
- Take a ‘resourcefulness vow.’ Have all members agree to try to solve issues the least expensive most resourceful way.
- Make it possible for people to exchange hours for financial commitment.
- Know that critters will occasionally get to things.
- Conflict is inevitable. Anticipate it and resolve it openly!
- Respect people’s time and property.
- Be ready to let someone know when it’s not working for you. Don’t blame ‘yard sharing.’
- Be fair. Share failure and triumph.
- If you are the landowner don’t treat people like “hired help.” They are your partners.
- Agree on growing methods and principles before breaking ground.
- If you have concerns about liability issues get a copy of The Sharing Solution by Nolo Press.
And a bonus!
Remember why you are doing it and enjoy every second of eating the scrumptious bounty from your efforts!
Join hyperlocavore today – We are here to help you get started with yard sharing, neighborhood produce exchanges, seed sharing and, much more!
We have some more tips and fliers you can download on the site to help get your communities growing together!
We have started a crowd funding project with kickstarter.com! Kickstarter allows folks to give projects they like – a kickstart! It’s a wonderful resource for innovative projects, artists, musicians or anyone with a compelling idea!
We have until the end of March 2010 to reach our goal. If we don’t gather enough pledges to cover or exceed our goal we don’t get anything. You can help by sharing this link with folks with a note about why you think the project is worthwhile. You can also pledge some money. Any amount helps!
If you are a blogger you know sometimes the well runs dry. Skribit is a great little site that lets your loyal readers suggest topics for you to cover. I took skribit out for a trial run last year and loved it. The interface is straight forward and plugs nicely into most platforms.
The relationship between a blogger and readers is what keeps blogging juicy. Skribit works because it keeps that relationship two way. I want very much to serve the folks that take the time to read what I write.
Let me know how I can serve you better!
As gardeners of all stripes will tell you, winter is the planning season. Stuck inside, with little chance to get your hands dirty, it is the perfect time to pause and reflect. What will your garden be? Who will you bring into the project? What are your hopes? How will you get the resources together? What will you plant? What worked last year and what did not? There is a lot to think about, and when the days get short and the night long – dreaming is the best thing to be doing, because come spring you will be very busy.
1. Start Finding Partners NOW. It can take a while to work out agreements and plan for a substantial garden. The sooner you start the more successful you will be at finding the right folks and planning for your yardshare. Call your friends who live in apartments or your grandmother who knows a thing or two about growing food in your area…Make it a family affair, or a way to gather some folks you don’t get to see often enough. Or bring up a yard sharing project at your house of worship. Perhaps your faith community would be interested in growing fresh food for the hungry this spring? It pays to start now. Healthy groups and good agreements take time to develop!
2. Start it off with a party! Once you have found some people you would like to garden with, have a potluck party and celebrate your new community! Getting to know people over a shared meal and music sets the proper tone for real community. It above all should be fun and light. Save the substantial discussions for another day. Light candles to brighten the winter dark, play some good music, talk about your dreams for the garden or gardens and break bread together because this is the beginning of something wonderful!
3. Read up. Get a copy of The Sharing Solution by Nolo Press. Read it! For those that are more risk averse and have some anxieties about how to share without encountering legal bumps this is the place to start. I am not a lawyer, so I suggest everyone with these sorts ofconcerns consult my favorite legal eagles – Nolo press. Make a list of other books that are useful to your yard share group. Will you use permaculture methods, bio-intensive or no till? Bring everyone up to speed! Tons of great books are available in our hyperlocal Indiebound bookstore or you can create your own little library.
4. Create your online home. Once you have found your yard share group start your private pod on hyperlocavore to share planning, documents, videos, pictures, links and jokes! Teach each other what you know about how to grow in your zone and create a place where new members down the line can catch up on all the ideas and wisdom you’ve gathered. Documenting things will help you evaluate what worked and what did not in terms of what you tried to grow but also in how you chose to organize the project. Imagine the yard share going on for many seasons, plan for success by sharing knowledge from the start.
5. Have an expectations discussion early. Get your worries and how you will address them on the table. Do this online so people can flesh out their concerns, people can respond and agreements can be documented. If things get tense, have another potluck – and work it out over something yummy. Face to face builds real community, online tools can support it but doesn’t substitute for it. Start asking these sorts of questions…When is it OK to be at the home/yard of the host yard – and when is it NOT OK? Will you compost collectively? Is it a strictly organic garden?
6. Involve the Kids. If kids will be part of the garden share, make sure they participate in the planning and expectation setting. If they are involved at the start they are more likely to enjoy participating. Here’s a list of garden activities for kids. Work some kid centered fun into your plan. A garden is one of the best hands on learning experiences a kid can have. If you have any biology geeks in your group – maybe they can hold a lesson now and then?
7. Have a resource gathering. Gather together and make a list of all the things you hope to grow. Research what works for your zone and pull a kitty together and order your seeds and starts. Some heirloom and specialty seed houses run out of stuff before spring. some things like garlic starts go quickly. Take an inventory of who has what tools, seeds, transplants, cuttings and a list of the items you will perhaps need to buy. Plan for storage of tools and make sure people know where everything goes at the end of the day. Make sure people’s time, knowledge, and commitment is valued, money shouldn’t be the only currency you acknowledge. Be aware that many people are coming to the yard share project with a need to save not spend heavily. Get ready to bargain hunt and browse all those spring garage sales. It does not need to be an expensive project.
8. Talk to your neighbors about what you are doing. Introduce them to your new friends. Let them know about hyperlocavore, maybe they want to start their own yard share. Think about how this sort of project can revive the neighborhood.
9. Visit hyperlocavore.com and ask questions of folks that are already yard sharing. Share your ideas and concerns. Maybe someone has already worked through it. The forums are built for just this sort of sharing.
10. Plan for harvest, storage, success and failure. Some things you try will have fantastic results. Other things you try to grow will fail. Set your expectations with this in mind. Will you can or dehydrate the excess? Will you need to plan to purchase some tools for this as well? Will you seed save for swapping next year?
Let me know if this is helpful in the comments – and please add your own suggestions!
Please share this video with any one you know who might be interested in getting yard sharing going in their communities.
I can set you up very quickly! It’s a service your community can have up and running in minutes – for FREE!
twitter me @hyperlocavore
Let’s get growing!
I’m in the process of writing a workbook for yard sharing groups and I could use your input!
The success of any garden share depends entirely on the expectations set by the entire group at the outset of the relationship between the members of the group. Respect of each other’s needs and hopes for the project should be a given.
It’s important to keep the workbook a flexible tool. I am assuming groups will have different needs regarding the formality of their agreements. My question to you is what sort of things would you need to work through in an agreement with your yardsharing members before you felt comfortable forming a working group?
- What needs to be in your agreement?
- What would be a deal breaker?
- What questions would you have for the garden or property owner?
- What questions would you have for the gardeners in the group?
- What questions would you want to work through regarding finances for your group?
- What is important to formalize?
- What is important to keep loose?
These agreements will depend only on what each group sorts through. How can we help make these groups enjoyable and workable for all the people involved?
Thank you in advance for sharing your thoughts!