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Celt's Garden - California Dreaming in a Drought

It's time to pull out the seed starting trays. Onions, scallions, tomatoes, and perennial herbs first, then as March gets on, Asian green stuff, salad greens, brassicas and flowers. Some delicious green stuff, such as spinach, is essentially water. Water that is becoming expensive and possibly unavailable to California farmers. Even the cute plastic bags of organic salad greens are water piped hundreds of miles from rivers, sprayed on 10,000 acre lettuce patches in the desert and then…


Added by Celt M. Schira on February 24, 2014 at 7:10pm — 2 Comments

Celt's Garden - Hamster Does Taxes

There are three Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites in Bellingham this year that I know about. AARP is running one at the Central Library. There is a site at Western buried in Parks Hall, run by the Business School. Gotta love em for doing it, even with Western's Parking Zombie Patrol. Don't bother parking on campus, take the bus. They don't have enough business at the WWU site, while the Central Library has a line out the door. The third site is Monday and Tuesday evenings and Friday…


Added by Celt M. Schira on March 1, 2011 at 2:00pm — 1 Comment

Celt's Garden - Bellingham Blue Sweet Corn

Bellingham Blue corn was given its name by the elder who showed up at the First Annual Bellingham Seed Swap in 2009 and shared the treasure that he had saved in his backyard for decades. It's blue, a deep blue-black, it's small (the ears are 3" - 7" long), and it grows on bushy 4' - 5' plants with 2-3 ears per plant. The blue tastes a bit different from white or yellow sweet corns. Bellingham Blue is early, always a good trait in corn in these parts, and it's open-pollinated, so you can save…


Added by Celt M. Schira on November 1, 2011 at 3:00pm — 5 Comments

Recommended Reading, July 12, 2011

Towards a Post-Growth Society by James Gustave Spelth, YES! Magazine

Today, the reigning policy orientation holds that the path to greater well-being is to grow and expand the economy. Productivity, profits, the stock market, and consumption: all must go continually up. This growth imperative trumps all else. It is widely believed that growth is always…


Added by David MacLeod on July 12, 2011 at 9:56pm — No Comments

Celt's Garden - Four Hundred Pounds of Potatoes!

That's right, four hundred pounds of potatoes from 400 row feet with 33 pounds of seed potatoes. Which sounds very organized, but actually it was 15 different varieties and the yields were highly variable. German Butterball, 5 pounds of seed potatoes, over 60 pounds harvest. That's the second year of stellar performance. Krista and I got the same result last year in our variety trials. The German Butterballs also had the most gaps in the row, so the yield was from 2/3 of the plants. I think…


Added by Celt M. Schira on October 26, 2012 at 9:30am — No Comments

Celt's Garden - Food From Around Here

The Winter of Eating Locally just sort of happened around my house. No plans, no resolutions, no rules about only sourcing from within the state or 100 miles, no soul searching about coffee or bread wheat, no life changing decisions. It was life changing anyway. The Winter of Eating Locally was a by product of a great gardening year followed by a long season of underemployment. Good thing that I planted a winter garden.

In addition to my home garden, Krista Rome (the Bean…


Added by Celt M. Schira on March 11, 2012 at 2:00pm — 5 Comments

Celt's Garden - Gardening in Small Urban Spaces

This is the year to start your food garden, even if you live in the city, even if your space is tiny, even if your gardening spot is your front lawn, or next to the street, or a bunch of containers, or at someone else's house.

If you have gardened before but not around here, I recommend Steve Solomon's book, Gardening West of the Cascades. He gets a bit excited, but the information about the special quirks of our biosphere is invaluable.

If you have never gardened before,… Continue

Added by Celt M. Schira on February 1, 2010 at 9:52am — 1 Comment

Celt's Garden - Hard Cider and Brew Sludge Bread

Time to get the winter squash in. Collect the squash, wash them off, and then go over each squash completely with a wash cloth soaked in clean water with a little bleach added. Allow your squash to air dry and store in a single layer, not touching. They keep well at cool room temperature, 50 - 60 degrees F. Eat in reverse order of keeping qualities. Check the seed catalog or on line. The small C. pepos don't keep as well as the big C. maximas, so plan on Sugar Baby pumpkin pie and baked…


Added by Celt M. Schira on October 12, 2011 at 1:00pm — 3 Comments

Celt's Garden - What does growing 10% of your food look like?

Walter Haugen from F.A. Farm recently said that he was on a farmer's panel and the current trend is to encourage everybody to grow 5, 10 or 15% of their own food. That's a goal which is totally doable, although if a lot of people get serious about it, a whole bunch of little scraps of lawn all over town will disappear under potato patches and square foot gardens. Even a modest number of people producing 5-15% of their own food will change the visual character of…


Added by Celt M. Schira on May 29, 2011 at 8:00pm — 5 Comments

Recommended Reading, Oct. 2, 2011

Celt's Garden: Community Emergency Readiness is All About Attitude

by Celt Schira, Transition Whatcom

...Columbia Neighborhood has spectacular pocket gardens as well as the best organized disaster preparedness in the city. Check it out. I like to walk down the alleys. That way I can peer into people's gardens…


Added by David MacLeod on October 2, 2011 at 6:35pm — No Comments

Celt's Garden - The Joy of Horse Poop

It's horse poop season. Now is the time to check around for used horse bedding, borrow or rent a truck and go shovel some up. Horse bedding and its embedded poop is far easier to come by than cow manure, for social reasons rather than sheer volume. We have some 83,000 dairy cows in Whatcom County. Their manure is either a resource or a problem, depending on how you look at it. (Gene Lodgon's comment about dealing with the manure from large dairy operations was that it consisted of making a… Continue

Added by Celt M. Schira on March 21, 2010 at 11:30am — 4 Comments

Celt's Garden - Planning Your Small Urban Garden

What can you expect to grow in a small garden? How much garden should you plan for?

Start small if you have never gardened before. Even if you have room for more garden, resist the urge. You could start with just one or two raised beds. 150 square feet is plenty for a first season.

Grow what you eat, eat what you grow. In all gardening, grow foods that you like to eat in quantities that you can reasonably expect to consume. One or two summer squash plants is plenty for… Continue

Added by Celt M. Schira on February 2, 2010 at 8:58am — No Comments

Celt's Garden - Cabbage, Potatoes and Sausage

Gardeners will routinely cheerfully eat produce that they would refuse to pay money for. Those undersized, lumpy, be-spotted potatoes that appeared after shoving a fork into a supposedly vacant row? Trim, steam and mash, or make cottage fries. The ragged cabbage sadly loved by slugs? Drown it in salt water to stun the critters and surreptitiously wash out mud, intense green caterpillar frass (bug poop), slime, earwigs, pill bugs and all four kinds of gastropods when the rest of the household… Continue

Added by Celt M. Schira on November 1, 2010 at 12:30pm — No Comments

Celt's Garden - Going Crackers

A small garden adds significantly to the gardener's quality of life. Many small gardens and farms together produce a significant fraction of an area's vegetables and fruits. Vegetables and fruits are mostly water, so the less trucking about of water that we do, the better.

Calorie crops are whole different problem. Calorie crops, the energy dense grains and legumes that provide a big chunk of our diet, are hard to find locally.

It was not always so. In the 19th and early 20th… Continue

Added by Celt M. Schira on March 22, 2010 at 12:30pm — No Comments

Celt's Garden - Green Tomatoes and Sweet Onions

Ah, the tomatoes are finally ripening, and the Walla Walla sweets are in. Even before the tomatoes ripen, they can be eaten green. Look for tomatoes that are getting close to turning color, past the hard and sour stage. Slice the tomatoes along the latitude lines (the fat way), about a quarter inch thick. Dip in beaten egg and then cornmeal or finely squished bread crumbs. Fry up gently in a little butter or oil. Fine, fine with your sweet onion omelet.

Green tomatoes also make… Continue

Added by Celt M. Schira on August 31, 2010 at 1:00pm — 5 Comments

Celt's Garden - Crunch Time in the Garden

The summer garden planting time is upon us, and a right good trick it is. In between the downpours, it's time to rush out and plant tomatoes, peppers, basil, summer and winter squashes, sweet corn, beans and cucumbers. Those brave and blessed with a good microclimate may try some northern adapted melons. Russian Collective Farm Woman melon is my choice this year. Last year, I planted a French heirloom cantaloupe thingy and got a half dozen drippingly sweet softball sized melons. The full force… Continue

Added by Celt M. Schira on June 10, 2010 at 12:30pm — No Comments

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