I Like This – March 25, 2011

Giveaway: Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce by Cathy Thomas

“Like” the Gardener’s Notebook Facebook page before March 31, 2011 for a chance to win my review copy of Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce by Cathy Thomas.

I will randomly pick a Facebook “fan” to receive the book.

Review: Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce by Cathy Thomas

Whenever I am talking with people about New Media, the largest reason I give them for producing podcasts or YouTube videos is that they help introduce and educate their potential customers about products and services. Little did I know that when I received this book from the publisher, it would prove to be pursuing the same idea, just in book form.

Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce gives Melissa’s/World Variety Produce, Inc. a platform to spread the word about organic produce while also providing some excellent information and recipes where this produce can be used.

This book goes far beyond a traditional marketing piece, though, and that is also to its benefit and the company’s. Filled with excellent photographs and great information “Cooking with Organic Produce” starts with an overview of what it means to be “organic.” There are large discussions happening in the US Government about this topic, so it is nice to have a good definition as it stands now. Next comes a lovely chart showing the “seasons” of each organic produce from apples to turnips. This then sets up the remainder of the book.

Arranged alphabetically, each different produce is detailed including season, recommended varieties, availability, buying and storing information and then, one of the best features of the book, 4 excellent recipes using this particular item.

The alphabetical arrangement of the book also allows for easy use as a reference and a cookbook. You can turn immediately to whatever section interests you most. That said, I found myself flipping through a random, taking in this fact and this recipe as the mood struck me.

Be aware that this is not a strictly vegetarian cookbook. Recipes include bacon guacamole, nuthouse chicken with roasted bananas and pork chops with apples. In those cases, though, they also include vegetarian-only alternatives.

Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce is a book that is both pretty and useful. If you are looking for ways to include more produce in your cooking, hopefully organic produce, then this is an excellent place to start.

Amazon Link: Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce by Cathy Thomas


Event: Free Online garden classes – Healthy Garden Training Series

A Year in the Yarden twittered info on this series of classes earlier this evening. There are some interesting classes listed, great for any garden that might want to learn a bit more about a wide variety of garden topics.

Online classes start March 29, 2011

Register today!


Healthy Garden Training Series

The USDA People’s Garden Initiative and Cooperative Extension Service bring you this series of training sessions on a wide variety of horticultural and garden related topics. There is no charge for registration and all sessions are open to the public.

The Cooperative Extension System is the nation’s largest and oldest network of universities. Visit www.extension.org for a sample the type of extension education going on across the country. Our presenters also provide longer format training for Extension Master Gardener Programs and develop print and electronic educational material and books on a wide range of consumer horticultural topics.

The USDA People’s Garden Initiative promotes growing healthy food, people and communities. It encourages USDA employees and communities to plant gardens because we believe the simple act of planting a garden can make real and lasting change to improve food access and healthy lifestyles.

Event: Fullerton Arboretum’s Plant and Garden Show

Fullerton Arboretum’s Plant and Garden Show

Saturday, April 16 & Sunday April 17, 10:00 am-4:00pm
*Members only preview Saturday- 9:00-10:00 am

Come bring your wagon to the Fullerton Arboretum for a spectacular, weekend long outdoor garden event. Green Scene is the spring event to find bulbs, succulents, organic vegetables, varietal plants, garden accessories and garden products. It is also the place to celebrate California Native Plant Week with a wide variety of native plants and special information and classes on “going native”.

Shop over 100 vendors for beautiful and unique plants, vegetables, garden art and accessories.

  • Master Gardeners, Horticulturists and staff members are available to answer your gardening questions.
  • “Gardening Talks”- Experts will speak on a variety of topics including enhancing landscaping with native plants, improving Southern California lawn look and health, composting how-to’s and creating inviting garden spaces in a Southern California climate.
  • 2nd Annual “We CAN Garden”, a showcase of “can” gardens created by local organizations. These creative gardens will also be available by Silent Auction.
  • Visit our NEW Interactive Children’s Garden. Enjoy a self guided exploration based on the 5 senses and Bug Safari’s led by our Arboretum Nature Guides.
  • Fresh produce available from the Arboretum Farm Stand.
  • Victorian “Porch & Attic Sale” at Heritage House.

Ticket Price: $6.00 for all ages
Free entry for Arboretum Members*

*Memberships available at the gate, online and by calling 657.278.4798

Too much rain at one time!

I usually like rain for the garden but 12 hours+ of heavy, heavy rain is enough. There is still more on the way, too, including what looks like a nasty band of the heaviest rain yet today.

I I had rain barrels I can guarantee that they would all be full now. Wow!


I Like This – March 18, 2011

    A collection of career items I found interesting this week.

  • Come for the cherry blossoms, stay for the bento box – This weekend at Descanso Gardens – March 16, 2011 – I highlighted this earlier on the blog, but wanted to share their direct posting from today. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to make it as family commitments fill the weekend, but I would highly recommend that you attend, if possible.
  • Building a sub-irrigated planter – March 12, 2011 – I am starting to investigate sub-irrigated planters in an attempt to grow some veg, even here in our rather shady garden. I figure I can place these in a sunny area the yard to take advantage of the like we do get.

    One common problem with containers here in Los Angeles is that they dry out much to fast — often going bone dry in only one 90 degree day. The wicking action of SIPs can help to moderate the moisture in the pots and give us a bit more leeway in our watering without killing our plants.

Photo: “Bewitched” Rose

These are the roses that line our driveway. They were planted many years ago by the previous owners of the house. The “Bewitched” name comes from the 1960’s television show, which just happens to be one of my wife’s favorites from her childhood.

Bewitched Rose

Event: Rain barrel classes and distribution

I came across this in my feeds today. We got our current composters via a similar program. — Douglas

Rain barrel distribution

Los Angeles residents can help conserve water by using rain barrels that collect run off from gutters that can then be used for landscaping.

The Hollywood Beautification Team, working with the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation’s Watershed Protection Division is offering the following rain barrel trainings:

  • March 26: Hollywood City Hall (6501 Fountain Avenue); Classes will begin every 30 minutes between 9:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
  • April 2: Micheltorena Elementary School (1511 Micheltorena Street); Classes will begin every 30 minutes between 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

All training participants will receive a free rain barrel at the end of the class.

Click here for more information about rain barrels and water harvesting.


via Rain barrel distribution via lacityorg13.

California Wildflower Hotline and Report

The Theodore Payne Foundation updates its wildflower hotline and online report each weekend. Want to know what wildflowers are blooming in California give them a call or download the PDF file.


Wildflower and California Poppy Bloom info

After a good year for rain, like this one, the California Poppy bloom, along with other wildflowers should be quite dramatic. You can keep abreast of what is happening by visiting the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve SNR web site or calling their hotline at (661) 724-1180.

Click to see many pictures from our 2003 trip to the park

Here is there latest report…

Latest Poppy Reserve Research Field Notes and Observations
3-10-11: Mary Wilson
Antelope Trail North Loop
Poppies are just starting to bloom.
Look for blossoms on filaree, fiddleneck, pygmy-leaved lupine, and slender keel fruit.

Antelope Trail South Loop
Poppies just starting to bloom.
Look for blossoms on filaree, fiddleneck, pygmy-leaved lupine, and slender keel fruit.

Lightning Bolt Trail
Poppies just starting to bloom.
Look for blossoms on filaree, fiddleneck, pygmy-leaved lupine, bush lupine, slender keel fruit, lacey phacelia, red maids, Western for-get-me-not, a tiny for-get-me-not, sun cups, hairy lotus, cream cups and rattlesnake weed.

Poppy Trail North Loop Trail
Poppies just starting to bloom.
Look for blossoms on filaree, fiddleneck, pygmy-leaved lupine, slender keel fruit, fringe pod, wild onions, red maids, sun cups, gold fields and owl’s clover.

Poppy Trail South Loop
Poppies just starting to bloom.
Look for blossoms on filaree, fiddleneck, pygmy-leaved lupine, goldfields, silver puffs and slender keel fruit.

Tehachapi Vista Point Trail
Poppies just starting to bloom.
Look for blossoms on filaree, goldfields, pygmy-leaved lupine, slender keel fruit and grape soda lupine.

Valley Vista Point
Poppies just starting to bloom.
Look for blossoms on filaree, fiddleneck, pygmy-leaved lupine, and slender keel fruit, forget-me-nots and evening snow.

3-10-11: Mike Powell

I think the best trails right now are the North Poppy Loop trail (it has some, already, impressive displays of owl’s clover, the cream cups, goldfields and a few poppy blossoms among others). The northern segment of the trail leaving the parking lot (it has some nice displays of forget-me-nots and, late in the afternoon, evening snow and a few poppy blossoms). The last is the Tehachapi Vista trail with its grape soda lupine, goldfields and some poppy blossoms.