Friday, August 28, 2009

Don't Miss Out on Leadership Los Gatos

Hey, you. Yeah, you. You can sign up for the Leadership Los Gatos and learn more bout how the town functions. It will make you a better citizen and a more informed voter. Maybe, you'll even learn how to become more involved in your community, and that's GOOD for everyone.

So check it out, fill it out, and get involved :-)

Oh, and Second Saturdays were so successful that it's being continued! Yeah! On the second Saturday of the month, go to the downtown where there are lots of specials, and helpful people who can show you all the cool shops that you didn't know existed.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Picnic in the Park

Dear daughter keeps wanting a picnic lunch, and why not? Well it’s 92 out. But we could picnic under some nice trees if we went to Oak Meadow park. Or if we walked down by the lake at Vasona.

When we were in Girl Scouts, we had a nice picnic lunch at Belgatos Park, and I used a picnic basket that was more like an insulated backpack. It kept everything in its place and the drinks stayed cool. It was nice having the utensils, not like you really need it for peanut butter sandwiches and chips, but, some day.

I should look into getting dear daughter a real picnic basket. You know, the kind made out of wicker that has the sides that flip up. It’s all delightfully mysterious. I remember a passage out of either The Five Children and It or it’s sequel The Phoenix and the Carpet by E. Nesbit which talked about the delight and the mystery of what hides in a picnic basket. You wonder if there will be exotic things like duck eggs, and yet you’re so happy to get a simple sandwich wrapped in waxed paper.

Maybe that’s what dear daughter wants is the fun of the picnic. I keep asking her what we should pack and she said she didn’t know. So perhaps I’ll get a real picnic basket and stuff it full of a mixture of the exotic and the every day (hey, chips and pretzels are always fun and exciting), and then sneak her off to a magical place where we can eat and talk. School will be starting soon, and my young daughter is going to blossom into a young lady very soon.

I hope she has a good time in sixth grade. When I was her age, Sixth was still at the elementary school, and we didn’t get to switch classes or have lockers until junior high. I know she’ll do well.

And now for your public service announcement. Don’t put cut up melon into the picnic basket without an ice pack. I had no idea but you can get food poisoning from melon. Eek. Be safe. Have happy memories of the picnic.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Compost Tea

Compost tea is pretty much what it sounds like. You take well-composted compost, put it into a cotton bag, and then dunk it in a load of water letting it steep for 24-48 hours.

Then it’s ready to use!

What I can’t figure out is, what do you do with the stuff left in the “tea bag?” Maybe put it back on the composter or use it as mulch, perhaps.

In books, they talk about mixing tea with water in a watering can, and then watering the plant. I am wondering if I can put it into my old miracle-gro container that I haven’t used in years, and if that would create the right mix, or if it would just shoot out most of the tea at the start. It’s worth playing around with.

I buy the J. S Stone Organic treatments at the Ace down the street. So I’ve got blood meal, cottonseed meal, etc. etc. around the house. In theory, this compost tea supplements everything but the calcium, if I’m reading things correctly. I’m sure there’s some calcium due to the eggshells, but I suspect it’s trace amounts.

The tomatoes definitely need their calcium. Just today, I was out there picking off some small green potatoes that had the tell-tale signs of blossom end rot on the bottom. It looks pretty gross.

I’ve read that you can dissolve Tums or any other generic antacid in water, and pour that on to give a quick shot of calcium. But is it organic? I haven’t finished wrestling with that one yet. And do I want to be pure organic anyway?

The compost is a good start. I’ve almost got dear husband trained to put leftover veg into the bag. Some day, I hope, he’ll buy me one of those composters for the kitchen counter where I can put the scraps in and let them do their work until I feel like taking them outside to the big composter.

When it’s cold or rainy, I do get a bit lazy.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

What I Did with Compost

I was so happy when I was given a composter Winter of ’08. I did my duty of only putting in the right compostable materials and no fat or meat. My gardener put in grass clippings. Ok, honestly, I wished he’d just let them sit out & dry out a bit & then I would have put them in, but it’s OK. The smell wasn’t great. I did turn it somewhat regularly. When I’d remember. And then this Spring, by some miracle of nature, I had black gold.

Ok, by then, I’d already planted up my garden. Whoops. So for fun, I spread it around next to the side fence, and planted The Three Sisters in it.

For those wondering, The Three Sisters is corn, beans, and squash. In this case, I used Renee’s Garden seeds, which are Indian corn, red runner beans, and sugar pumpkins. And they grew. Here’s how they looked in the beginning.

Here’s how it looks now!

I got all excited & planted some Delicato squash as well. I’m not sure if it survived or if the stellar jay family ate the seeds.

What really surprised me was this:

I swear these are tomato plants or something. They just kind of burst out. They’re not really growing quickly like the other tomato plants that I started from seed, but maybe it’s because they started later then my seeds.

So yes, I’ve started another pile in the composter. The gardener isn’t putting clippings into the composter, so I’m not sure what’s going to happen or how much I’ll have. I may buy some straw to add in. And some well aged manure. Next growing season, I’ll put the manure on the asparagus patch.

And I’ll make compost tea for the rest of the plants. What’s compost tea? Find out next time right here on