Author Archives: Garden Decor

Pests

All About Vertical Gardening: Protecting Vertical Gardens from Pests

One great advantage of having a vertical garden is the limited exposure to soil-dwelling pests. Your vertical garden has less direct contact to the ground, after all. But don’t get lulled into a false sense of security when it comes to pest control – it will still be an issue.

Any insect or other critter that could infest your traditional horizontal garden can still gain access to your vertical garden, particularly if you’re using an in-ground plot for planting. Keep in mind that many notorious garden pests begin to fly at later life stages. They’re happy to leave eggs on your eggplant or helping the kids to gorge on your green beans.

To limit the potential destruction by garden pests, you’ll want to take many of the same measures you would to limit disease – clear yard debris from your planting areas, make sure to rotate crops, and use well-turned soil that’s been fortified with clean compost.

Still, you might find pests worm their way into your vertical garden.

Two vertical garden pests

  • Squash bug: Squash bugs are gray or brown and prefer pumpkins and squash, typically toward the end of the growing season. Rotating crops and cleaning fall debris will help discourage them come planting season. During growing season, check the undersides of leaves for egg masses and destroy any that you find.
  • Cucumber beetle: Usually black or yellow spotted or striped, these critters love your cucumbers. Larvae go after the roots while the adults gnaw on leaves, so your attack should be two-pronged as well. Products such as Safer®Brand 3-in-1 Garden Spray can help discourage both from overtaking your garden in either stage. A floating row cover will help protect from beetles in their flying stage.
CSA-Fresh-Delivered-Vegetables

8 great Bay Area CSA Farms

Love Your Yard would like to recognize eight Community Supported Agriculture organizations  (CSAs) from around California’s Bay Area. They’re known for their hard work and helping to provide their neighboring communities with healthy, self-sustaining, local foods and service.

What’s a CSA? It’s an organization (or farm) that provides you with a bounty of healthy groceries when you sign up with them. You get to decide the right amount of produce you get for your family, the type of food in the bundle and where you’ll pick it up. It’s a great convenience and also makes sure you get local, fresh food from which you can plan your own menu.

1) Sage Mountain Farm

Located within the San Bernardino and Riverside counties, Sage Mountain Farm was a sure pick for us when it came to great Californian CSA. Because cross contamination from conventional farms is a concern for organic food producers, Sage Mountain has located itself away from other farms to maintain their excellent, consistent food quality. All of their produce is family grown using clean, natural well water, and the same organic guidelines apply to their steers, chickens, and pigs, which they raise for food

.Sage Mountain Organic Farm CSA

Sage Mountain Farm owns multiple properties, including Sage Mountain Beef, which provides green-fed pork and beef. They supply Whole Foods Market with fruit, vegetables, beef, pork, and chicken, as well as several local hotels and restaurants.

What can you expect from this CSA?

“Your box will include the freshest, seasonal produce we have. While vegetables are the bulk of what you will receive, we do have some fruits that will be included as well. During the winter you will see more greens, root vegetables such as potatoes, beets and carrots, and onions. During the summer you will see more squash, strawberries, citrus, avocados, tomatoes, etc. As we are at the mercy of Mother Nature, your box will vary from week to week. We have many different membership options to suit every family. First you choose the size of box you would like to receive, small or large. The small box feeds a family of 2-3 and the large box feeds a family of 4-5. Then you choose the frequency you would like to receive your box, weekly or every-other-week (bi-weekly). Lastly, you choose your pick-up or delivery location. We can delivery directly to your home or office if you are located in Temecula or Hemet areas, or you can choose from one of our many pick-up areas around Riverside and San Diego Counties” (http://www.sagemountainfarm.com)

2) Capay Valley Farm Shop

Collaboration plays a significant role when it comes to providing excellent CSA, and the Capay Valley Farm Shop knows this well. They provide the opportunity for institutions and families to buy seasonal, 100% local food directly from 40 small farms within California, and the list of available food is far too large to list. Here are the pick-up locations around the Bay Area for Capay Valley:

Pacific Ace Hardware in Esparto, Bay Grape Wine Shop in Oakland, Calafia Café in Palo Alto, Insight Coffee in Sacramento, and lastly Avedano’s Holly Park Market & Meat Wagon, Cheese Plus, Drewes Bros. Meats, Fatted Calf, and Say Cheese in San Francisco.

Farm To Table ProgramsWhat are the Farmshare Choices for you?

There are currently three share sizes: The Bite, The Peck, and The Bushel.
The Bite is ideal for 1-2 people who cook at home a few times a week, and it includes a mix of five different seasonal fruits and vegetables. This is delivered in a paper bag.
The Peck is similar to The Bite (good for 1-2 people cooking a few times weekly), but it includes a mix of 7 different fruits and vegetables. This is delivered in a reusable box.
The Bushel is suited more for a household of 2-4 people who cook regularly, and it includes a mix of 11 different seasonal fruits and vegetables. This is delivered in a reusable box.
In addition to Farmshares, there are also the following shares: Meatshares which encompass a monthly mix of local, pasture-raised beef, lamb, chicken, pork, and goat; Pantryshares which encompasses local jams, honey, olive oils, balsamic vinegars, nuts and herbs, and eggs.

3) Laguna Farm

Laguna Farm is located in Sebastopol, California, and it is a community shared agriculture program wherein members receive weekly or bi-weekly boxes of produce, as well as access to the Laguna Farm store and vegetable stand. They are worker-owned and operated, and Laguna prides itself on local food sustainability and serving the community. Laguna Farm also refrains from using chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and implements solar power, crop rotation, cover cropping, seed saving, composting, and habitat restoration. They do not use GMO seeds, and are recognized for donating top quality produce to local food banks, schools, non-profits, and families in need.

What can you expect from Laguna CSA? Laguna Farms CSA Delivery

They have just about everything Calafornia can offer! Not only is there a large, seasonal selection of fruits and vegetables, but additionally, they provide fresh juice, dairy, dried goods, delicious baked goods, and bulk produce for canning. Prices vary depending on pick-up or delivery options. Here are some seasonal examples from their website detailing what can be found in their CSA boxes:
Winter: 1/2 Pound Salad Mix, Broccoli, Parsnips, Butternut Squash, Yellow Onions, Satsuma Tangerines, Kale.
Spring: 1/2 Pound Salad Mix, Carrots, Sugar Snap Peas, Spring Onions, Shiitake mushrooms, Spinach, Parsley.
Summer: 1/2 Pound Salad Mix, Radish, Heirloom Tomatoes, Zucchini or Cucumber, Corn, Basil.
Fall: 1/2-Pound Salad Mix, Beets, Sugar Pie Pumpkin, Peppers, Apples, Green Beans, Chard.

4) Katz Farm

Katz Farm is located in the Napa and Suisun Valley region, and specializes in producing a wide variety of locally grown honey, preserves, olive oil, and artisan vinegars. Albert Katz’s enthusiasm for olive oil actually led him to be one of the founding members of the California Olive Oil Council back in 1993, and today, the mature Katz tree groves are CCOF certified organic. In 2011, he received the “Best of the Best” Gold Medal at the Yolo County Fair where there were over 140 other skilled competitors. All Katz products can be purchased directly from their website.

5) Blue House Farm

This 40-acre slice of paradise is located an hour south of San Francisco. Each week they harvest 8-10 items for the CSA, working hard to avoid repetition and keep things interesting. The full season is 30 weeks, from May-December, and everything from in the box is Certified Organic. You can add on treats like organic bouquets, local honey and pastured eggs. The weekly CSA newsletter is full of storage tips, recipes, and beautiful photography from the farm, and their online account management tool makes ordering and scheduling a breeze.

6) Full Belly Farm

Full Belly Farm is home to 350-acres of certified organic farmland located in Capay Valley just north of Sacramento and the Bay area. They have implemented and used organic growing practices since 1985, and presently offer a huge diversity of seasonal year-round, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and herbs. They additionally sell organic wool yarn and sheepskins.

Fully Belly Farm boxes vary with the seasons, but Organic CSA In The Bay Areaas an example, their spring box could contain 1 bunch of carrots, 1 bunch of broccoli, 1 bunch of red kale, 1/2 pound of salad mix, 1 green cabbage, a pound of potatoes, 1 bunch of beets, and 1 bunch of fresh garlic.

Members located in the following areas can have their boxes delivered to them: East Bay, North Bay, San Francisco, South Bay, Sacramento, Davis, Woodland, and Esparto. One Full Belly box can feed a family consisting of 2 to 3 people.

7) Eatwell Farm

Eatwell Farm is 105 acre certified organic farm in Dixon. Nigel & Lorraine Walker and their dedicated crew, work year round to produce boxes of fresh vegetables and fruit that are delivered to members weekly/bi-weekly. To keep boxes affordable, efficient and ecological, they deliver to dropsites around the greater S.F. Bay Area, and up the I-80 corridor to Sacrametnto. Home delivery is now available in SF. What you will find in an Eatwell Farm Share is freshly picked, nutritious, produce grown on the farm, like deep red, juicy, mouth-watering tomatoes, fresh-picked, unforgettable strawberries, or crispy greens. When they need to supplement, they only work with farmers with whom they have a close and personal relationship. Pastured eggs, freshly milled heirloom flours, herb salts, sugars and naturally fermented soft drinks, produced here on the farm, are also available with your share.Eatwell Farm CSA Program

Who are their members and what does membership give you? Members are people who enjoy locally grown food because it is fresh, tasty and healthy. They like knowing where their food comes from and having a relationship with their farmer. Eatwell is more than just a box of great produce, our members truly have an opportunity to be a part of the farm through events, parties and workdays. Eatwell is their farm to enjoy, to meet and make new friends, to learn how their food is grown and to teach their children. Eatwell is about Community, and anyone can become a member.

8) Tara Firma Farms CSA

Tara Firma Farms offers both a share in organic, hormone-free meat, as well as fresh, seasonal vegetables. They value and practice the natural life cycles of agriculture, clear down from the microbial life in their soil to the grasses they feed to their animals. As a result, their livestock are strong and healthy, and their crops are chemical free. In brief, they offer pasture raised pork, grass-fed beef, and pasture raised chickens, hens, and turkeys. The vegetable shares include local, organic, seasonal produce such as onions, kale, chard, collards, spinach, romaine, arugula, tomatoes, carrots, beets, broccoli, celery, potatoes, squash, and more.

Tara Firma Farm - Locad & Organic

Fireside Fun - Cooking S'mores

Fireside Activities For a Spooky Night of Fun

3 Lists of Fireside Activities For a Spooky Night of Fun

It’s hard to beat spending time with friends and family by a warming fire on a fall night! So, why not extend the frightful fun and gather round a crackling fire? If it happens to be Halloween, then that’s even better. No matter, if you bring the kids together, tell them a creepy story or two and listen to the howling wind, it’s guaranteed to be one spooky night!

We’ve collected a few of our favorite sources for “around the fire pit” activities. You’ll find a variety of spooky fire-light stories, laughter inducing games, and delicious campfire treats that you can enjoy right in your backyard. Enjoy!

STORIES
Fireside Chat: How to Tell a Good Ghost Story
Scary Campfire Stories
13 Creepy Stories to Tell After Dark
7 Weird Stories (that may or may not be true) to Tell Your Kids

GAMES
Campfire Games
10 Campfire Games You Have to Play
Fun Campfire Games for Kids

EATS
27 Delicious Recipes To Try On Your Next Camping Trip
Step Up the S’more: 7 Ideas for Campfire Treats
Kids Favorite Campfire Recipes
• And Don’t forget the classic s’more!

Please Use Caution Around Fire!
Every time you light a fire, remember that basic safety precautions can prevent a tragedy. Here are a few tips to help you enjoy your fire pit safely and with peace-of-mind.
Fire Pit Safety

In Need Of A Fire Pit?
Fire Pits are great for bringing the campfire to your backyard! These fire pits are perfect for any style patio and they’re built to last, offering many years of fun Halloween and Fall nights by the fire!
Fire Pits On Sale!
OR Learn more about the different types of fire pits.

 

Caterpillar climbing on lettuce

All About Leafy Greens: Common Leafy Green Insects

The delicate, edible leaves of leafy green vegetables, as one might imagine, are particularly susceptible to damage from insects. Keep an eye out for these common “leafy green insects.” Continue reading

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All About Leafy Greens: Common Leafy Green Diseases

Disease is a particularly important consideration when growing leafy greens because – as their name indicates – the delicate leaves are the part of the vegetable you’ll most likely want to eat.

Keep an eye out for any of these common diseases affecting your leafy green crop. Continue reading

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All About Leafy Greens: Kale Types and How To Grow Them

If there can be a “hipster” vegetable of the moment, kale is certainly it these days. It’s hard to look over a menu in any upscale restaurant these days without seeing kale appearing as a side dish or “bed” for a couple of entrees. Continue reading

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All About Leafy Greens: Planting, Harvesting and Storing Leafy Greens

Planting leafy greens is exceptionally easy and for many variety results in both an ongoing harvest, as well as the opportunity for a second planting. Continue reading

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All About Leafy Greens: The Best Leafy Greens for Your Garden

“Leafy greens” is a generic term for a wide variety of vegetables. Depending on how you’re planning to grow, store and cook them, there are things to consider as you look to put the best leafy greens in your garden.

For one thing, you need to know the most popular and easy-to-grow leafy greens in North America. From this list you’ll be able to pick what’s right for you.

Continue reading

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How To: Time Out Your Leafy Green Harvest

Planting leafy greens is exceptionally easy and for many variety results in both an ongoing harvest, as well as the opportunity for a second harvest in the same season. Some of the hardier varieties can be effectively overwintered, as well. Continue reading

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All About Leafy Greens: Growing Leafy Greens in Your Hardiness Zone

Though leafy greens might seem too fragile for cooler temperatures, fall is in fact the best time to plant them in most United States hardiness zones. Many varieties prefer cooler weather. Continue reading