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December 18, 2007


Dot Maley

I along with other volunteers work the heirloom garden at Prusch Farm Park in San Jose California. The Saturday before Christmas we had a workday and were joined by the City Year teens to work in the park. These boys and girls worked so hard in the garden digging, spreading manure, planting favas, winter veggies and pansies. Some had never worked in a garden before, but took to it right away. It was rewarding for all us as well.

Our first year was last spring and the garden came out really nice. It has a German theme, as Emma Prusch was of German ancestry. We had 20 varieties of German Tomatoes. The best were Jerry's German Giant (bicolor), Howard German (large paste), Mammoth German Gold (bicolor), German Red Strawberry (oxheart) and Flaschen (cherry, very small plant with large production).

You can see the many park features at or if you want to volunteer to work in the garden call the park and leave your email address for Emma's Garden and I will put you on the workday email list. The garden is huge, with 16 - 30&40 foot beds. We all enjoy working with all the free range chickens, peacocks, etc. It has taken this first year to figure out how to grow without them eating everything we plant. We are looking forward to spring and will be seeding in the greenhouse in February.

Richard Parker

Yes i'm another one with a resting garden but i'm getting everything ready for the next one mulch,compost,cages,wire and so on.
Your veggie pics are making me drool! My main veggies are tomatoes,peppers and cukes but i'm gonna try a few others like winter squash and melons this next season so ya'll wish me luck.

Patricia Messer

The colors are so beautiful, I hope to have more year-round garden next year. Are these veggies old varieties, heirlooms?
They are so vivid and full of life.
I'm working on a plan for a high tunnel and small green house. We get so much snow that I'm studying the best cold weather veggies for my area. Do you have a covered area, or is it mild enough to garden outside all year?
My garden is also under a foot plus of snow, but I received seed catalogs from Baker's this week and have been getting a list together for several new tomato varieties. Also received McMurray's chicken catalog. I'm adding chickens to my garden as well in the Spring. I long for the more simple (definetly not easier, LOL)life.
This year was my first a Farmer's Market and it was a great. I just finished the last of my tomato seed saving duties. Now to finish the packets. I'm longing for a Green Zebra right now!
Thanks for such a fun place to share.

Fred and Shelly

Three things i am doing in my garden are 1) tending to my compost bin. Using kitchen greens in addition a balance of organic yard "goodies". 2) planning & working on raised beds, (including planting dates and how we will rotate our corn and other vegetables. 3) taking advantage after it rains and pulling weeds, so as not to use products, like " Round UP" Thanks for the interest. We look forward to those wonderful Tomatoes. Fred & Shelly San Leandro, CA

Doug Whitmore

Right now our garden still has a few peppers to pick, but otherwise, I'm letting the clover cover everything while removing all of the grasses that keep popping up.
I'm going to start building the raised beds for next year and am starting to wonder when I should start the seeds indoors for outside planting once the frosts are done.
Last season was my first attempt at vegetable gardening. I'm learning a lot and am excited to do more this coming season.


Pretty cold and rainy here in Seattle, but I am still harvesting beets, cilantro, lettuce, rainbow chard and kale. It's exciting to use the chard and kale in my Lebanese lentil/chard/lemon soup. I'm ready to put my vermicompost to work in my garden beds and will cover it with oak leaves to help control weeds and enhance the soil. And, I'm getting ready to order seeds for the spring and doing some garden planning. In January, I will start two flats of a unique variety of ground cherry seeds for my friend who developed the variety and sells the fruit in Western Washington farmers markets.

mary  a gist

I am amazed at all you harvest from your garden. It's the Findhorn of the West!!!
My garden(s) and I are very happy for the Solstice to arrive. It means the days will begin to get longer, so we will have more sunshine.
In my veggie garden I will harvest yummy Kale,Chard,Celery and Green onions to take to a party on Sunday. It is really great to be able to pick from my garden and avoid the hectic grocery store, yet still have a delightful dish for the gathering.
Last week I picked up all the leaves fallen from my pear tree, out of the veggie garden, which sits behind it, close to the house. The garden out in the field is lonely and wishes I would pull out the old tomato plants,and do some mowing/weeding. Alas I am too,busy pruning fruit trees out in the valley for my many other gardens.
Happy Solstice to all!!

Richard Blau

Hi Cynthia:
Sadly, I do not have my own garden (yet!). However, I make up for it by supporting The Sweetwater Organic Community Farm -- a local Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) that farms organic in the Tampa Bay Area of Florida.

Founded in 1995, Sweetwater is a non-profit organic farm and educational facility that operates on 6 acres of suburban property and now serves approximately 250 members and supporters.

Currently, Sweetwater is harvesting five different kinds of lettuces, plus all kinds of greens (e.g. mustard, collards, kale, curly kale, etc.) radishes, carrots, green peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, and various herbs (basil, fennel, parsley, etc.). As the Florida growing season continues, we'll also be harvesting carrots, potatoes, squash, eggplant, and green beans.

For those of your readers who do not have gardens, please consider supporting a local CSA. Many farms function as CSAs or operate similarly by offering produce subscriptions where buyers pay at the beginning of the season, and in the ensuing weeks and months receive a periodic allotments of produce, flowers, fruits, eggs, milk, or any sort of different farm products. By making a financial commitment to a farm, you become a vital supporter of local agriculture.

A CSA season typically runs from late spring through early fall, depending on the location (in Florida our season runs from November to May). Happily, while the number of CSAs in the United States was estimated at 50 in 1990, it has since grown to over 1000!

Hope you and all your readers have a safe, healthy and happy holiday harvest!
-Richard Blau

Dee Dee Hanania

I love growing a garden all year around. my husband does too but he has different ideas. He put in approx. 100 tomatoes plants because we haven't gotten any the past few years either deer or disease. They did good not great but the preserving has been an adventure, freezing, canning, drying etc. this winter I always have carrots, beets and amazingly happy sorrel any body want any? we have raised beds because of the gophers, but our new kitten thinks that they are exclusively for her!! I also have lettuce and broc. & cabbage. a few leeks. It is my salvation digging in the dirt.


Just wanted to tell you that I received your tomato seeds and can't wait to start them in my greenhouse in March!! Thank you very much! I live in Weaverville, CA in Trinity County. We have very successful organic gardens here but I am gaining so much form your website. Keep up the good work!"


What great looking veggies! I am just cleaning out beds and reading your amazing newsletter. Thanks for all of the inspiring words.


The vegetables that we ate this week and those we have eaten for a long time are not anywhere near the quality of the vegetables that we see on your site. Everything looks wonderful. Unfortunately our yard is taken up by a swimming pool and landscaping. This year I am determined we will plant a few tomato plants. My husband grew up farming and they used to have field of beefsteak tomatos that we would each right out in the field with a few sprinkles of hot sauce. Those were the days! I would appreciate suggestions for one or two varieties of heirloom tomatos suitable for the Dallas Ft Worth area of Dallas so we can get seeds and get started.

Your Heirloom Tomato Poster is spectacular. I can not tell you just how much I enjoyed looking at each picture and then looking at all of them all over again.

My favorite? Can't choose. They are all too wonderful.

peggy gnehm

I'm still trying to clean up my summer garden! I have winter squash and pumpkins as well as several varieties of chard, cabbage, broccoli and kale. I have eaten all of the above, as well as a few missed carrots and the last of the peppers (they were hidden under weeds...nice surprise)during the past week. Oh, I also had some of the dry jack in the beanstalk beans.


My Goodness!!

Those veggies just look wonderful. I can't wait to start my garden in the spring. I have a few things left in the garden now: carrots, beets, swiss chard, turnips and a few herbs. I planted some shallots, and a couple of types of garlic a few months ago.
Your veggies just inspire me to do more.

Bob Bowe

I'm not growing anything at the moment. I have put several bags (26 in all) of chicken manure on top of my raised beds. Hopefully, lots of rain will wash this in.

Yesterday I spent $1,000 to trim a huge tree in my back yard. This should provide more sun for my tomatoes next year. I expect to have very good and expensive tomatoes next year!

I can't wait for the tomato seed class in January!


Tonight I had snow peas with beef over rice and chard, spinach with olive oil and rice vinegar, really good and healthy. I put the peas in last August I think. The beets are up 8 inches. The Broccoli and Cauliflower are a foot tall. The water cress didn't come up. I forgot what the green stuff like mustard is for so I'm no enjoying it. It's very healthy however. I dug up most of my prize dahlia bulbs, good thing because the gopher had started on my favorite.


Still harvesting the last of the cherry tomatoes...but they're definately not as good as the summer harvest.


My garden is almost ubder water as we have had rain all nite and most of thr day. The only vegetables left in my garden are turnips, curly leaf mustard and flat leaf mustard. I cannot wait til yime to start seeds again.

Cathy S.

I have a fall raised bed garden growing right now. It has garlic, shallots, carrots, onions, dino kale, arugula, and spinach growing in it. I still have genovese basil in pots outside and my overwintering rosemary. I just love my little garden. Looking forward to gardening in a community plot next Spring.

Tim Rooney

Please e/mail me at I/m interested in learning new skills in Biodynamic gardening/Thank you Tim Rooney P. S. I Live in Santa Cruz

Gabriela Giacchino

I'm growing kale (lots), cauliflower, broccoli, peas and lettuce. Not getting enough sun at the moment, too much shade from the trees and the sun being low on the horizon. Your photo is gorgeous!

Lynn C.

We still have tomatoes. We bring them inside to ripen but I am still getting Paul Robeson, Ananas Noir, Hawaiian Pineapple, and Rosalita. Actually Rosalita ripens on the plant. I also have a white zucchini that is still limping along. We have red Romaine, red and green Butter lettuce, fennel, four colors of carrots, chard, onions, and Red Dragon chilies.On the trees are Granny Smith apples and Bearess limes.


My garden in Eastern Iowa is under a protective blanket of snow and ice. I love it when this happens. Things green up faster in the spring as opposed to after cold dry winters.
Inside, I am planning out my garden for 2008. I will begin sowing seed for my winter sowing experiment in January. I have a battery of season extenders to impliment this spring, wall o water, floating row cover, cold frame, and a portable green house, so many crops will be started in February.
I am also tending to my first set of red wigglers in the basement. The way you stir the horn manure into the water and aerate it, is the way I plan to mix my manure tea. Oxygen is vital to the process.

Judy Rose

Lovely photo. I have lots of plants in my garden that I started in the Love Apple Winter Garden class! Mizuna, a couple of kinds of Kale, broccoli, spinach, brussel sprouts and cabbage. Loving how healthy they are and how delicious too. I also have lots of fuyu persimmons that we are loving in our salads and are great dryed.


I have a few tomato plants with fruit (Santa Clara) on them but I have essentially stopped harvesting. I also have some peppers growning. I am going to let them go until the frost kills them.

Once I pull everything out I am going to put in a bunch of white onions. I have found them to be very sweet and great to freeze. They are great because the winter rain keeps them going

I am wondering, could you do a post on saving seeds from heirloom tomatoes? Does the fruit need to be ripe to harvest the seeds? You provide great info so any suggestions would be great!

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