We’re up for a Shorty Award! Please take a minute to vote!

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.

Thanks guys!

Liz<

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Garden Journal

Spring is here! There are so many cliches about Spring but for me, this was my first one with a big garden to build around the corner. Living in NYC, there wasn’t much access so, for ten years I suppressed my urge to dig. Things are changing fast there. All kinds of growing efforts are popping up working to get more access to more land for folks there. The community gardens have such long wait list and interest in gardening exploded last year. Hopefully, the trend gurus are right and yard sharing will be the biggest garden trend of 2010!

We’re in Halfway a little town in Eastern Oregon, hardiness zone 5a, near the old family ranch in Keating. Hundreds of people grow beautiful gardens here. I am the new kid on the block. The terrain looks like all the old western movies you’ve seen, a high mountain valley. Cornucopia is still covered with snow and though, some wise women here have told me that planting outside should wait til the snow is gone from the foot hills of the valley, I have not been able to hold myself back. People have been saying it’s an El Nino year and it’s warming up fast. It was warm enough to turn the compost piles today. Having sat on my butt in front a computer for the last four months was not the ideal training regime for moving huge the semi broke down pile.

So we’ve had two days of 50 degrees or better so I’ve set my makeshift green house out. It’s running 80 degrees during the day inside. It’s not exactly a thing of beauty. Martha would barf I am sure. It’s just a shelf system wrapped in 3mm plastic. Also, lined the shelves with black plastic to protect the shelves but, also to absorb a bit more heat. I am thinking about painting a 5 gallon bucket black and filling it with water for a bit more radiant heat. For a lot of things in there that’s probably not needed. All in all it’s quite serviceable. I’ve decided not to use my LEDs this year, they were a big disappointment last year, and the wood shop where I kept it is always cool.

I may sell some plant starts at the farmers market if things go well!

So indoor starts so far:

Tomatoes
Brandywines
San Marzano’s (for drying and sauce)
Matt’s Wild Cherry
Sweet 100’s
Black Krim

Peppers
California Wonder
Chinese Giant
Anahiem

Herbs
Basil Genovese
Basil Thai
Culinary Sage
Munstead Lavendar
Greek Oregano
Sweet Margoram

Other
Japanese Eggplant

Outdoors (Mar 3rd)

Alliums planted last fall:
Globemaster (big pom poms that look like Dr. Suess plants
Egyptian Walking Onions
White Bunching Onions

Greens
Red Ruben Romain
Spinach

In the greenhouse
Sugar snap peas
Gai Lan (Chinese Broccoli
Chinese Bok Choi
Collard Greens
French Mesclun Mix

Around the yard
Poppies
Lavender Elegance
Sunflowers

I’ve been thinking about hops mainly because I love the smell of them. Apparently, hop workers used to get so drawsy from the hops they would nap at work.

The grapes, trimmed back in early February kind of scare me but, folks tell me if you don’t think you’ve pruned too much with grapes you’re doing it wrong!

The plum and apple trees are starting to bud and, of course, we all worry that a frost will come a long and kill all the blooms. I realize now, I’ve never been here to see the apple blossoms! In this valley at least I’ve been told a good apple year means you have two so so years of apples after that. We have two trees. I am not sure what the one in front of the house is, but the other one, the Cortland produces the most fragrant crisp tart and sweet apples I have ever had. I actually didn’t like apples much before I met this tree…or maybe I just never had a fresh apple!

I know that the people in the valley have a cider pressing party sometime in the fall so I am already looking forward to that.

We have amazing blackberries on the land and down near the pond some raspberries showed up last summer but there were only three or four berries. There’s a couple wild cherry trees and I’ve heard apricots will and do grow in the area. I’d like to plant almonds and a walnut tree but, a few of the volunteer Cottonwoods or the random Catalpa that popped up will have to go.

I’m finding there is a reason it’s called Cornucopia Highway….

[Write Your Own Planting Journal]

Win a GARDEN FULL of SEEDS (Deadline March 1st, 2010)


© Dreamstime

MARCH 1, 2010 DEADLINE IS PASSED.

THE WINNER IS MIKE T of Ridgewood, NY
.


ENTRIES CLOSED – But you can still help!

We are getting down to the wire for the Kickstarter fund drive. We don’t get a dime if we don’t make the pledge goal. SO – I am adding another incentive. For the person that gets the most pledges by March 1st I WILL SEND A FULL GARDEN’s WORTH OF SEEDS. And I will do the same for the person that comes in with the largest dollar amount of total pledges by March 1st.

How this will work: For each person you encourage to make a pledge, have them send me an email letting me know that they go in your tally column. Send the email to hyperlocavore@gmail.com. I will, of course, count the personal pledges of those that have already pledged who are members here towards their tally. I will announce the winner by March 3, 2010 and have the seeds out the the winners by March 5th, 2010.

We desperately need funds to make the site more friendly and usable so every pledge, every retweet, every invitation to friends is critical. I am hoping to reach this goal via members and supporters, and though I have added incentives to green businesses my preference has always been that we keep the majority of support coming from people who find real value in the project for their own lives. A HUGE THANK YOU TO THESE FOLKS

I hope that the possibility of a full garden’s worth of seeds is a truly enticing prize!
It can be expensive to try growing a lot of different things!

Join today to jump in! It’s free!

Happy Digging!
LizM

Project: How to Grow A Pizza Garden – A Great Idea for the Kids in Your Yardshare!

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! Kid with tomatoes 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
  • tomatoes

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

More Helpful Links: Pizza Crust Making Video Pizza Crust Recipes Pizza Sauce Recipes Pizza Stone for the Oven Method Build a Pizza Oven

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!

 

20 Tips for a Successful Yardsharing Group

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?

  1. 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.
  2. Start with a party not with a meeting.
  3. For a long-term group have seasonal parties to mark the year. Planning party on the winter solstice and harvest party in September.
  4. Gather resources you already have. Create a garden book share to start.
  5. Set realistic boundaries (garden hours, rules for broken items, distribution of produce)
  6. Involve all ages.
  7. Remember novice gardeners don’t always have immediate bountiful success.
  8. Take bad weather in stride. Some seasons are just bad.
  9. Set up a kitty for garden expenses and put a cap on it.(Some folks can really get crazy with those catalogs!)
  10. There’s no need to spend lots of money to get started. Don’t make it expensive to “buy in”
  11. Take a ‘resourcefulness vow.’ Have all members agree to try to solve issues the least expensive most resourceful way.
  12. Make it possible for people to exchange hours for financial commitment.
  13. Know that critters will occasionally get to things.
  14. Conflict is inevitable. Anticipate it and resolve it openly!
  15. Respect people’s time and property.
  16. Be ready to let someone know when it’s not working for you. Don’t blame ‘yard sharing.’
  17. Be fair. Share failure and triumph.
  18. If you are the landowner don’t treat people like “hired help.” They are your partners.
  19. Agree on growing methods and principles before breaking ground.
  20. If you have concerns about liability issues get a copy of The Sharing Solution by Nolo Press.


Shop Indie Bookstores

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!

Take the Hyperlocavore Pledge

Another take on the Locavore Pledge – going hyperlocal!

GROW IT YOURSELF IN YOUR YARD (organically),
If you can’t GROW IT YOURSELF IN YOUR YARD, in a YARD SHARE GARDEN WITH OTHERS
If you can’t GROW IT YOURSELF IN A YARD SHARE, then LOCALLY PRODUCED.
If not LOCALLY PRODUCED, then ORGANIC.
If not ORGANIC, then FAMILY FARM.
If not FAMILY FARM, then LOCAL BUSINESS.
If not a LOCAL BUSINESS, then FAIR TRADE.

How we feed ourselves matters.

What is yardsharing?

TAKING A BREAK © Vossphotog... | Dreamstime.com

TAKING A BREAK © Vossphotog... | Dreamstime.com

“You know, the tomato that’s from your garden tastes very different from one that isn’t. And peas – what is it like to eat peas in season? So we want the White House to be a place of education and awareness. And hopefully kids will be interested because there are kids living here.”

– Michelle Obama on the Whitehouse Vegetable Garden

hyperlocavore.com,” which blends bottom-up collaboration with food production. It’s an example of peer-to-peer agriculture, and it’s a pretty neat concept. The founder of hyperlocavore wrote to me, saying that she thought this was a pretty “worldchanging” idea. I agree. Check ’em out.”

– Jamais Cascio
openthefuture.com and worldchanging.com


What is a ‘hyperlocavore’?

A hyperlocavore is a person who tries to eat as much food as locally as possible. Growing your own is as local as it gets!

What is ‘yardsharing’?

Yard sharing is an arrangement between people to share skills and gardening resources; space, time, strength, tools or skills, in order to grow food as locally as possible, to make neighborhoods resilient, kids healthy and food much cheaper!

Why would I want to set up a yardsharing group?

Yard sharing is a way to connect people who love to garden, people who love healthy fresh food and people who have yards! Often people who have yards have little time time for a vegetable garden. And sometimes gardeners have trouble finding soil to garden in because they rent an apartment! Sometimes older people lack stamina and are socially isolated, finding younger people to partner in growing food together works wonderfully for all. There are all kinds of reasons it makes sense.

Yard sharing works for:

  • apartment dwellers
  • busy parents
  • older people
  • frugalistas
  • foodies
  • tree huggers
  • cheap bastards
  • farmers lacking land
  • land holders lacking farmers
  • people sick of leaf blowers
  • curious kids
  • folks with a disability
  • people who want to get outside more
  • people that want to eat better
  • people that want to eat cheaper
  • people who want to make their community resilient
  • people who like their food super fresh
  • people worried about peak oil
  • and maybe you! (if you’re not on the list – send me a note!)

Yard sharing cuts down on greenhouse gases by limiting the travel time of fruit and vegetables to your table.
Yard sharing is a great way to connect with your family, friends and neighbors!
Yard sharing helps you eat more veggies!
Yard sharing can be a workable solution for people with physical limitations who want to eat better and more cheaply.
Yard sharing is an excellent way to teach children about food and biology!
Yard sharing is a great way to get cheaper produce to older people on a fixed income!
Yard sharing helps you get enough vitamin D from sunshine!
Yard sharing is a way to avoid pesticides and other chemicals on your food!
Yard sharing is a fun activity to share!
Yard sharing helps to create independent local food systems that are less sensitive to the price of oil.

And nothing tastes as good as food you grew yourself!

Who can yard share?

Anyone! If you don’t see a group for your area just create one! Then send invites to people in your neighborhood, your friends and
their friends and maybe you will find someone willing to start with you!

OK, Sign me up! No! Wait, is it free? Yes? OK, Sign me up!


No thanks, but I do want to take a look.

This post is part of Fight Back Fridays!


hyperlocavore.com is a free social network here to help you form a yard sharing group with people in your neighborhood, a group of friends, a community restaurant and it’s neighbors, members of your family, faith communities or new friends made on hyperlocavore.

How to Start A Produce Exchange in Your Neighborhood – Share Your Extra Fruits and Vegetables!


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DIY Project – Low Watt LED Greenhouse

[diy-greenhouse.pdf]

You may not want or need as much insulation as I used. It’s very cold where I live. It is not a thing of beauty and was build strictly to function as a place to start plants and extend our very short growing season. It hides in our garage.

So far it has been a constant 58 degrees inside the greenhouse. I have started only cold friendly plants. It likely gets a bit chillier when the lights go off.

Materials:

Many times you can find some of what you need for free on freecyle.org, reyooz.com, thinggo.com or trusty craigslist.org. A thrift store is another good place to check for some of these items.

Shelf with 5 shelves $50.00
8 LED grow light panels $240.00
Roll of sheet plastic $12.00
2 Power strips $10.00
2 Timers $14.00
1 Thermometer $ 2.50
Trays $3.00

Total: About 331.50 (plus tax)

Time of useful life. The only element I expect not to last for at least 10 years are the LED panels.

Things I had on hand:

old blanket
cotton cord
zip ties
staple gun
blinder clips
bubble wrap
duct tape
some lattice panel to
keep the barn cats out

Notes:

  • LEDWholesalers on ebay.com – 2 orders – 900 LED Grow light 4 Red + Blue Hydroponic Lamp Panels. They have a few negative comments but for the most part they get 5 stars.
  • My shelf was a bargain apparently. I can’t find these very cheap online.
  • Make sure the timers are the grounded type (three prong.)
  • The power strips plug into the timers.
  • The LED panels go into the power strips.

Instructions:

1. Assemble shelf per directions that come with shelf.
2.Test all of your panels. You may need to send them back and it’s easier to do when they are not attached.
3.Attach LED panels to undersides of each shelf. (I used cotton cord and staples because it will be easy to remove panels if they go bad.)
4.Use zip ties to attach power strips to the back braces of the shelf.
5.Set timers for the amount of “daylight” you want. People differ on this. I have mine set for 14 hours. We will see how this goes.
6.Plug all panels into the two strips.
7.Test switches.
8.Make panels of bubble wrap to cover 3 sides of the shelf. (I used 2 layers.)
9.Staple the bubble wrap panels from the top shelf.
10.Use duct tape to close gaps in panels – Do not seal the whole thing up – plants like air. Stay away from PVC plastic.
11.Make plastic sheets into panels that will cover three sides of the shelf
12.Staple them also from the top of the shelf.
13.Use duct tape to close gaps in plastic sheet panels.
14.Create 4th panel – door. Cut plastic the length of shelf. Use a layer or two of bubble wrap. Duct tape edges if you like.
15.Staple door to top of shelf. Use clips to keep door folded open when working with plants.
16.Cover top with blanket for insulation in colder areas.
17.Use string to attach thermometer to easily visible spot in greenhouse.
18.Fill with trays of seedlings.
19.Water and wait.

Check the site for more reports on how our seedling starts are doing.
Happy digging!

LizM

hyperlocavore@gmail.com
twitter.com/hyperlocavore

Need help in the garden – or need a place to dig? Consider  yard sharing!


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Ten Signs You May Be A Farm Nerd

HONEY FARMER © Mrphoto | Dreamstime.com

HONEY FARMER © Mrphoto | Dreamstime.com

All Your Beets R Belong To Us!

1. You dream of learning Ruby on Rails and building a chicken coop. You can’t decide which to get started with first.

2. You have been outside working on biochar, but want to check your rendering – You get soot all over your keyboard.

3. You are hacking the timers on your soaker hose system.

4. You are making a quilt based on images of neurons. (Don’t that’s my project!)

5. You wonder if nano-particle solar paint will be available in barn red.

6. All your garden plant markers have latin names.

7. You visit instructables.com every day.

8. You note that being a farmer is a little like being a programmer. You can wear the same type of thing everyday and no one will comment. This pleases you.

9. You are really really scared of bees, but you are considering making a honey bee hive. You think beekeeper outfits are full of awesome.

10. Like most farmers you have a pest problem in the garden.  Unlike most farmers your first thought on solving the problem is the possible introduction of farm lizards.

If you answered yes:

0-2 times You are a farm nerd like Carrot Top is a comic.
3-5 times You may indeed be a bit of a farm nerd.
6-8 times You are definitely, or more accurately speaking “approximately” (of course) a farm nerd, with a margin of error of +/- .04.
9-10 times You rock the farm like Kirk rocks the Universe!

Can you relate? Mail me! Or join us at hyperlocavore.com.


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