Pictures From Our Garden

Beautiful irises in bloom. Did you know that Iris is a genus of 260-300 species of flowering plants with showy flowers. It takes its name from the Greek word for a rainbow, referring to the wide variety of flower colors found among the many species.

In April, we'll be helping kids from the Mare Island Health and Fitness Academy make coleslaw using cabbage and carrots from our garden. Here's the coleslaw recipe we'll be using:

6 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup shredded carrot
2/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Toss cabbage in a large bowl with the carrots. In a bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Pour the mixture over the cabbage and carrots and toss to coat thoroughly. Refrigerate until serving time.

Serves 6.

Can you identify the plants in the pictures above?
Pictures, courtesy of Tom Liggett.

Workday Workweek

Something we decided to do at the VPG is for each board member to take turns hosting a volunteer event. Yesterday was Carrie's first day hosting and there were several volunteers who came out to lend a helping hand at the garden.

Here's Jim and Barbara prepping the garden beds for future tomato plants.

New volunteers Sada and her two sons, Isaac and Alonso by the freesia plant they donated to the VPG. Freesia flowers are very fragrant, typically white or yellow, and are borne in spikelike racemes.

March Task List for Vallejo Gardeners in Your Own Backyards

(USDA Hardiness Zone 9)

  • Feed roses with an organic blend of cottonseed meal, alfalfa meal, and composted manure.
  • Plant cool-loving vegetables, such as cabbage, broccoli, spinach, radishes, Asian greens, lettuce, and parsley. If you're going to plant peas, you probably should have done it by now.
  • Harden-off tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants by moving them outside, beneath a plastic cover or inside a cold frame. Plant them in the garden after the last possible frost.
  • Prune away frost-damaged areas on citrus.

Really cool announcement from your U.S. Department of Agriculture:

The "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food" Compass is a new online resource from USDA that supports growing food locally and connecting farmers to consumers in their geographic region.

Watch Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack introducing this tool here on YouTube!

The Compass is an online multi-media narrative with stories, pictures and video about USDA’s support for local and regional food systems and an interactive map of USDA-supported local and regional food activities in all 50 states.

With the Compass, you can:

· LEARN about USDA resources to develop local and regional food enterprises – from seasonal high tunnels that extend the growing season, to technical assistance for beginning and experienced producers, to support for marketing, processing, distribution and retail infrastructure.

· SEE case studies and photos of successful producers and projects from around the country.

· NAVIGATE the interactive KYF Compass Map, which shows the location and focus of many USDA-supported local and regional food projects.

· WATCH videos documenting how others are building strong local and regional food businesses, expanding local food production on their farms and ranches, and making change in their communities.

· JOIN the national conversation. If you’re a customer, meet a farmer. If you’re a farmer, talk to your customers. Continue the conversation in your neighborhood, town and community about what local foods mean to you.

The Know Your Farmer Compass is a result of the USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative. The Compass is designed to spur ideas for how to build stronger local and regional food opportunities in your community.

Change in Season

We've had a lot of activity at the garden recently. Kids from Mare Island K-8 Health and Fitness Academy have come by the garden, chaperoned by students from Touro University's TUne-Up program, to plant vegetable seeds, harvest and taste the many vegetables growing at the garden.
If you're wondering what seeds to start now, here are some suggestions: green beans, carrots, radishes, cucumber, tomatoes, peppers, nasturtiums, sunflowers...just to name a few. For starts, you can plant onions, potatoes, and herbs. Give your garden beds a boost by adding compost, aged horse manure or any other organic matter in preparation for new plants.
Here's Gabriel watching his mom Sandra add aged horse manure to one of the beds.

Edward harvesting collard greens to take back to residents of the Bay View Vista Apartments.

Last week, Greg, Jessy and John planted several heirloom apple trees, including one called White Pearmain that dates back to 1200AD. White Pearmain is the oldest known English apple. The fruit is medium in size, uniform in shape, and possesses light green skin, usually flushed red on one side. The mildly sweet and pleasantly aromatic flesh is firm, fine-grained and crisp; an excellent dessert apple. A vigorous, self-fertile variety that also serves as a great pollinizer for other apple trees. White Pearmain is a vigorous tree well adapted to coastal districts out west--perfect for where we're located.