Ellaberry Gardens
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2011 Newsletter Archive

(2011 Newsletter Archive: January - Holiday)

Ellaberry Gardens' January 2011 Newsletter
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Happy 2011! Let me just tell all of you who joined our newsletter list last year how much I've missed you! We missed publishing our newsletter for November and December because I was taking a much needed break. In that time, I did some real soul-searching, began really taking care of myself and put some real thought into the direction of my family and my business. Even with all I accomplished during my little sabbatical, I am so happy to be back "at it" with Ellaberry. And who knew how therapeutic touching base a few times a month with like-minded folks would be!? I've missed your comments on the newsletter, your gardening questions and the sharing of your gardening/homesteading pictures and our friendly little debates about differing gardening techniques. Thanks so much for hanging in there with me!!! And for those of you who offered continuing prayer and email support, I can never thank you enough! 

I hope you all have had a fabulous fall and are ready to get going on your garden planning and seed buying. Are your seed catalogs pouring in? Mine are. It's a good thing too. I always turn my thoughts to my late winter/early spring garden as soon as the Christmas decorations are stored away. I love thumbing through the catalogs and imagining what all I could grow this year. When my oldest daughter, who's now 18 1/2, was about 2, we were on the highway and a semi from a very well known discount store passed us. Her eyes widened and she dreamily said, "I wonder what is in there that I would want." I have this exact same feeling as I circle plant varieties and dog-ear pages in the new catalogs.

My first plants go out in mid-February (lettuces, Irish potatoes and spinach.) It's time to get broccoli, cabbage, kale and kohlrabi going in my seed shelves. And it's time to go out and make sure the beds are holding up and add another layer of compost. I even love my garden this time of year. Except for some struggling kale, a winter rutabaga or two, some beets and carrots and my garlic from last fall, my beds are blank slates. Envisioning what they'll be full of in April and then in July and then in September holds so much hope.

What's New for Ellaberry Gardens in 2011???

Well, we'll all be getting a year older. But other than that, here's what you can look forward to:

1) a nudge in the classes towards more comprehensive coverage of urban homesteading topics (including disaster/emergency preparedness, financial issues, local food sourcing, etc.);

2) a firmer nudge towards more bartering for services (classes, design, plants/seeds, garden upkeep for what I need);

3) a (crossing my fingers) much larger production from my own garden (I got waaayy behind this year trying to keep up with Ellaberry);

4) a spring Open House;

5) a spring edible garden tour in Tulsa; and

6) stricter enrollment/payment procedures for class attendance (see "Enrollment Information.)

If there's anything else you'd like to see me write about or discuss or offer a class on, please do email or call!!! This business is completely based on your input!!!

We Need Some Technical Help!!!!

I'm really hoping to find someone who wants to attend a few classes who wants to trade for helping me figure out how to add a discussion board to the site. I think this could be a major step in getting more community involvement in NE Oklahoma. I'm not completely computer illiterate but I have been unable to figure this one out! If you're interested, please email or call!

Ellaberry's Edible Garden Tour 2011

Each spring brings with it the wonderful garden tours available to us in Tulsa. We have habitat gardens to wander through, water gardens to linger within and the meticulous marvels of our area master gardeners. What we don't have is a tour for those of us who want to see how other people are growing their own food in the city. Let's get one going! I'm aiming for next spring...May 2011. We have my yard and two others. I'd like to have at least 4 or 5.

So, if you or someone you know is growing food in the city and you'd like to participate, please contact us and tell us about what you have going on at your place! I'm also looking for vendors to be in each driveway so contact me if you have something relevant you'd like to set up and sell!

Spring Class Special!!!!

We're so excited about our spring classes (beginning Thursday, January 6th) that we're offering a 2 for 1 for the spring classes ONLY!!! Just mention this when you enroll!!! But you have to enroll before class night! (Sorry for the late notice on the first class!)

You can redeem this offer one of two ways. You can use the coupon for yourself and pay for one 1 class, get one free.

Or you can bring someone with you to a class and their enrollment fee will be waived. If you've already prepaid for the spring classes and you're on this list, feel free to bring someone with you! (This applies to paid enrollments only...not bartering arrangements unless we've had a detailed discussion...I'm sure you understand!)

Thanks so much for your continued support and happy growing!

Jenny

Ellaberry Gardens' February 2011 Newsletter
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"It is utterly forbidden to be half-hearted about gardening. You have got to love your garden whether you like it or not." ~W.C. Sellar & R.J. Yeatman, Garden Rubbish, 1936

When February arrives each year, it brings with it that much anticipated, dreaded, romanticized and equally villainized holiday known as Valentine's Day. I know lots of folks are excited to see what will come their way on this day and have high expectations about grand gestures of love. Now don't get me wrong; I do like a pretty flower or a little chocolate now and then. But around here, Valentine's Day each year really commands attention because it symbolizes getting back to gardening in earnest. Valentine's Day makes me consider how much love I really do have for growing food for my family. Mid-February is not the loveliest gardening weather. But I'm out there showing my garden, and in the long run, my family, the love. Valentine's Day is the earliest date that spring potatoes can go in the ground. Transplants of celery, Brussels Sprouts and leeks go outside. Carrots, lettuces, sweet peas, kale, parsnips, rutabaga, kohlrabi, onions, endive and spinaches can be seeded. And from this day forward, I have a planting schedule that I follow (or at least do my best to) every two weeks until the end of October.

I've been told over the years by several people that love is a verb. Well, I really love this garden of mine. I even love it when it's cold and muddy and being cantankerous. I love it real good. I might especially love it then. It's easy to love when things are going well and everything is balmy and calm and productive. Get out there and show some love when things are dirty and uncomfortable. You'll be glad you did. And maybe, just maybe, you'll take that lesson into the rest of your life and love hard even when it's uncomfortable. Good luck out there!

Thoughts on What To Grow

It seems to me that when folks begin planning their gardens each year or even for the first time, there's a lot of "shoulds" involved. A garden should have tomatoes. Or a garden should have lettuce. Or an Oklahoma gardener should always grow some okra! People who contact me to help them design new gardens are often befuddled about what they should grow. Even some people who have been gardening for years often don't know why they grow everything that they grow. They have just always grown zucchini so why wouldn't they? They should keep it up! Let me help you release the shoulds.

For the next couple of weeks, pay attention to the produce you actually buy. What do you like to eat? Do you love kale? Do you love cucumbers? Do you hate zucchini? Start making lists of produce you actually eat and begin researching whether or not it's something you can grow (barring citrus and tropical fruits, there's not much we can't grow here to some degree.) If you can grow it, do a little research into how much of it you can grow. For example, most of us could grow all the tomatoes we'd need for fresh eating and preserving on a city lot but we couldn't grow enough wheat or other grains to sustain us for the year. Start looking at seed catalogs and talking to other gardeners about their luck growing the foods you like to eat. And purchase your seeds and transplants based on your actual grocery lists. It doesn't matter if you only grow three vegetables if those three are the mainstays of your produce purchases. There are no shoulds here. Grow what you love to eat (or what you love to look at in the case of edible flowers and annuals.) The more joy that is waiting outside that front and/or back door for you by way of foods you love to eat and plants you love to grow, the more likely you are to be motivated to finish out the gardening year with success.

Don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying you shouldn't experiment with new plants and foods. But I am saying that it's absolutely "A-OK" to just grow a handful of flowers that you just love and just a few different food plants that you buy the most of and really enjoy. It's a really smart, resourceful way to spend your gardening time, energy and money. And maybe you'll add a new variety or two each year. Maybe not. All that matters is that you're in love with what you're growing.

Schedule for February

Our lovely Oklahoma weather has made our winter classes a little tricky. We had to reschedule our chicken class, "How Eggsciting!," from January 20th to the 27th. Because of the change in schedule, many couldn't attend and we are offering this class again Thursday, March 3rd. Enroll
now!

Our class this week, February 3rd, "Cooking from Your Pantry," is indoubtedly going to be affected by this blizzard. If you have already paid for this class and you think you can get out in this, we'll be here Thursday. If not, watch the calendar for a potential reschedule (potential dates would be February 10th and March 10th.)

Here's the remaining winter class line-up:

February 3rd, "Cooking From Your Pantry"
You worked hard to get some of your produce put up. So did Ellaberry Gardens. Join us for an array of dishes prepared using preserved produce and we'll learn to use every last bit of garden goodness in our late winter and early spring meals. Go home with great tips and a few yummy recipes!

February 17th, "Can You Believe It!?"
It's time to begin again! In the next couple of weeks, our potatoes, peas, lettuces, spring brassicas, onions, leeks, carrots, parsnips, beets and more go into the ground. Learn how to wake that garden up and get it breathing and growing again!

March 3rd, "How Eggsciting!"
Learn to raise chickens in an urban (or any) environment for eggs and extremely valuable compost material (poop!) Topics will include breed selection, housing, feeding and local laws and ordinances.

See enrollment information and enroll at ! We're offering a Winter Class Special to try and encourage folks to RSVP. Pay your $20 enrollment fee before the day of class and receive another winter class free or bring someone along with you for free! This offer is only good on our winter classes!

We'll also be teaching a free class hosted by Urban Garden in Tulsa on February 26th call "Sleepy Heads Seed Starting." See
www.tulsaurbangarden.com/calendar for more details!

Let Us Help You Get Growing!!!

Don't forget that we're here to help you get your own gardens growing!

We are scheduling consultations now for your spring and summer gardens! See details at http://www.ellaberrygardens.com/Ellaberry_Designs.html.

Ellaberry Gardens' Edible Garden Tour

We're still making plans for our edible garden tour. The tentative date is June 11th and 12th. Look for more details to come! And if you have a yard that grows food or an item that is related in any way to urban homesteading and would like to be a vendor in someone's driveway the weekend of the tour, please contact us at
ellaberrygardens@yahoo.com!

Thanks, much love and happy growing!!!

Jenny

Ellaberry Gardens' March 2011 Newsletter
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“Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies. "---Mother Theresa

If March stands for anything in a gardener's year, it has to stand for faith. Seeds have been purchased. Transplants are waiting patiently on the back porch. Perennial flowers and herbs have just begun to poke their teeniest green tips above the soil. Looking out my windows, there is little evidence to suggest that the garden I see right now will produce hundreds of pounds of fruits, herbs, flowers and vegetables. I'm a big believer in paying attention to what is right in front of you and telling yourself the truth about what is versus how you'd like things to be. But sometimes faith (and a little hard work) can get you from what is to how you'd like things to be. I have faith that the seeds will germinate and the plants will want to fruit as badly as I want to harvest those fruits. I have faith that we'll get enough sun and enough rain. I have faith that not too many pesky insects will find me and that lots of beneficial ones will. I have faith that any disease that comes my way will not overcome all I have planted.

I also know that my faith will be tested. There will be insects I don't want to deal with. Disease will surely find my garden. The mockingbirds will still find my strawberries irresistible. Some crops will not fruit heavily. Some will more than likely be a complete failure. Yet the faith that there will be even a small success is enough to get me out there. So take a leap of faith with me and buy that packet of seeds or that beautiful herb plant you always wanted to try to grow. Plant them. Believe in them. And have faith that any small, beautiful thing you tend to will strengthen you from the inside out and that your faith in the little things that mean so much will continue to blossom.

Thoughts on Buying Seeds/Plants

It seems that lately I've gotten asked over and over the same question, "Well, where do you buy your seeds and transplants?" Wow. If that isn't a loaded question for this gardener, I don't know what is. I used to really struggle answering this because I felt like people were looking for the "right" answer which was one of two things. 1)Occasionally they really are just looking for where they could go to buy their seeds/plants or 2)very often they ask because they are deciding what kind of gardener I really am if I don't reply that I buy only open-pollinated, non-GMO, non-hybrid, heirloom seeds and plants from a local grower whose growing practices I believe sustain the earth. Ugh.
 
So, here's my answer. I buy seeds and plants wherever I can find them when I find the varieties I'm looking for and that I can afford. Sometimes that means ordering from a catalog that does specialize in all the catch-phrases that certain folks seem to think makes a gardener a better human being. Sometimes that means picking up $1 or $2 packets at a local discount store. Sometimes that means seeking out a local grower. Same thing applies to the few plants that I don't start from seed.
Here's the thing. I can make myself crazy with trying to find exactly the "right" sources for everything for my garden. But once I get those seeds/plants home, no matter their source, I tend to them all the same healthy way. If I buy .10 American Seed packets from Atwoods (yes, I know who owns that seed company but I also know that nearly all of them are heirloom varieties that produce seeds I can save and replant year after year) and plant them in my garden and grow them up how I see fit, I bet you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between my plants and the ones someone paid 200 times the money for just so they can say they bought their seeds from a certain catalog if someone happens to ask, "Well, where do you buy your seeds and transplants?" Just sayin'. Aren't you glad you asked?

Ellaberry Gardens' March Schedule

Here at Ellaberry Gardens we're doing our best to get out in the community and talk to folks about how they can grow some of their own food. Come out and join us!

Saturday, March 5th......OK Healthy Living Expo at the Park Inn Airport Hotel, 2201 N 77th E Ave, Tulsa
10am - 5pm (Don't miss our talk, "Grow Your Own" at 2:30pm)
Free!

Saturday, March 26th.....Eco Fair at TCC's Northeast Campus; stop by our table and say "hi!"

And don't miss our fun-filled and informative classes! We have a couple of winter classes that had to be rescheduled due to the blizzard and our spring class series starts at the end of the month. There are detailed class descriptions on the website! All classes are on Thursdays at 7pm.

Enroll now! It really helps us out if you RSVP! Please be considerate and let me know you're coming!

March 3rd, "How Eggsciting!"
March 10th, "Cooking from Your Pantry"
March 24th, "There's a 20 lb. Pumpkin in that Seed!?"

Ellaberry Gardens' Edible Garden Tour!!!!

We have an exciting development! I have a meeting this week with the director of the Tulsa Garden Center to discuss getting this going with their support! I've also spoken with Sustainable Green Country and they're behind the tour. Yippee!!

Tentative date: June 11-12, 2011

Please, please, please let me know if you or someone you know grows food in the city and would like to be a part of the tour. Also contact me if you have a product/service to sell that is relative to gardening/urban homesteading and would like to be a vendor at one of the stops on the tour.

This is exciting! Stay tuned for more information!

Thanks so much for your continued support!

Happy growing!

Jenny

Ellaberry Gardens' April 2011 Newsletter
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"It's Spring fever. You don't quite know what it is you want; but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so bad." ~~~Mark Twain

Spring has completely sprung. My daffodils have already put on their show and are retreating for another year. Our peach and plum trees and bush cherries visually dazzled us with their pink and white blooms while we were nearly drunk on their sweet aroma smell (ok, that was just me.) Our young asparagus patch pushed its spears through the cool earth and we feasted on their nutty goodness. (Once. Next year we're hoping for much more.) My chives, rosemary, thyme, comfrey, garlic chives, sage, mint, oregano, purple coneflower, Shasta daisies, day lillies, balloon flower and snow-in-summer are proving to me again why I keep them around as they reclaim their space in my landscape. The Indian blanket flower and borage are already teasing me with their teeny flower buds. My favorite columbine is in bloom right now and its fragile ballerina pale yellow and pink blooms entrance me as they dance in the breeze. The strawberries and some of the blueberries are blooming. My spring veggies are devout stalwarts just trucking along. And yet, with all this beautiful rebirth and life going on around me, I struggle with feeling like it's enough. I ache for more. I went out and bought pansies and petunias. I bought more bush cherries and currants. I bought two hardy kiwi vines. And a rugosa rose. I'd like to add a bee hive. I think I can fit in a few more fruit trees if I espalier them around the main garden area. What about a fountain somewhere? This time of year is a dangerous because I always ache to plant more and plan more. I'm barely able to sleep because I so ache to get outside. Is this what addiction feels like?

I believe the heart ache that Twain is referring to in the above quote is very real. Spring fever must be lurking around in our marrow. It slowly seeps out the first few warms days and we begin to feel the tingle. And then, bam!, it no longer slowly seeps out but comes out in waves that threaten to engulf us if we don't get up and do something! I believe that we come out of winter aching to particpate in life again. Those of us who are gardeners come out of winter aching to feel connected in the way only gardening can ground us. We ache to peruse our garden centers and find a packet of seeds or a plant start that we read about. We ache for the garden shows and tours in April and June. We ache to talk to other gardeners about what they're going to try growing this year. Me? I'm trying purple Brussels sprouts and Swiss chard this fall! And green cauliflower!

I wish I had some nugget of advice on how to handle this ache and how not to plan (and plant) so much that your heart ache turns to headache in July. But I haven't kicked it. The remedy evades me. The heart ache for gardening might be incurable. I read in a magazine recently about "anticiappointment." It's when your spring anticipation turns into summer disappointment. I understand this sentiment. Perhaps the only remedy to "anticiappointment" is reeling in the heart ache of the spring and not trying to do too much. But I figure that's sort of like trying to jump start a car with a AA battery...probably not gonna happen. So here's "good luck" to all of us! To the garden stores we go!

Thoughts on Garden Envy

The season is upon us where we're itching for the garden tours (like Tulsa's 1st Annual Edible Garden Tour!)and classes so we can see and hear what other folks near us are growing and how they're growing it. Exchanging such pertinent information with other gardeners is an invaluble way to grow our garden knowledge. I find this sharing to be more valuable than any book, article or website. If we've been trying to grow a certain tomato for years without success and we find a gardener who grows it successfully every year, naturally we're gonna want to learn how. However, the exchange of garden know-how and the touring of other gardens can sometimes lead to dreadful cases of garden envy.

Garden envy takes hold when you're just sure that someone else is doing it so much better than you are. Everyone who gardens will bump up against a case of garden envy every now and again. But please don't let this green-leaved monster ruin your own gardening experience. A beautiful garden in someone else's yard is simply that...a beautiful garden somewhere else. Your beautiful garden in your own yard is a unique expression of you and your time, money and energy. A beautiful garden can grow in a wash tub or a 5 gallon pot. It needn't rival the garden of a market gardener who lives on an acre. Your garden is yours.
And that's where its true beauty lies. Garden envy can occasionally inpsire us to make our gardens a little better. But our "betterments" must only be those true to ourselves and not to "one up" or compare ourselves to any other gardener. If you believe in karma or the Biblical adage about reaping what you sow or feel any spiritual connection to your own gardening space, you will surely agree that only the purest intentions should come through your garden gate! Garden envy be banned!

Edible Garden Tour Update!!!! Save the Date!!!

Tulsa's 1st Annual Edible Garden Tour and Garden Market brought to you by Ellaberry Gardens and Sustainable Green Country benefitting the Tulsa Garden Center

June 11-12, 2011

We have five Tulsa yards in various stages of development to showcase food growing in the city! Addresses will be available closer to tour date (we're one of them!) Each driveway will host a vendor peddling "garden relevant" goods. We still have room for another vendor or two so contact me if you'd like to be one!

Watch the site for more details!!!

Ellaberry Gardens' April Classes

All classes are at 7pm here at our little homestead. Come and join us!!! We have so much fun that I am often slipping up and calling our classes "parties!"

April 7th-----"Ella, Ella, Ellaberry...Where Can My Garden Grow?"
Location, location, location. Learn how to site your plants (did you know that you can grow carrots and lettuce in the shade?) and, more importantly, learn how you can grow in a surprising variety of places...raised beds, 5 gallon pots, old boots...we'll try anything! Take home a lovely tomato plant to grow wherever you feel brave enough to try it!

April 21st-----"You Can Eat That?!"
Oklahoma landscaping isn't limited to azaleas and Bradford pears. Us Okies are more resourceful, yes? Learn how to include edible flowers, herbs, vegetables and fruits in your existing landscape while beautifying your home and filling your belly. You might also be surprised to learn which plants you're already growing that could be enhancing your dinner table! Take home a wonderful example.

Can't thank ya'll enough for helping me continue to do what I love to do!

Happy growing!

Jenny

Ellaberry Gardens' June 2011 Newsletter
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"Action expresses priorities."~~~Gandhi

Those of you who are regular newsletter subscribers may have noticed that May's newsletter never arrived. Well, it never got written. Time got away from me. Or rather, and more honestly, I just couldn't make myself sit down and write. Sitting here to write June's newsletter is no easy feat. The garden beckons with such intensity this time of year that few things can distract me from it. Even when I'm not working in the garden, my mind is out there. I often have trouble falling asleep going over all the things I want to plant or transplant or pull out or harvest in the garden. It's a problem I enjoy having. But I do apologize for not getting the May newsletter out. The first half of the month got away from me and then it felt too late.

And there's a great lesson in there somewhere, I'm sure. Something about priorities maybe? See, the problem is that as much as I love Ellaberry Gardens and the beautiful people and experiences that it has brought into my life, it isn't my number one priority. Just tellin' the truth. And maybe that's not such a bad thing. My own family, my own garden, my own craziness. My own priorities. I'm sure you have yours, too. So I'm hoping you'll forgive me for getting so lost in my garden, my kids and my own life that the May newsletter just didn't make the list. People often tell me that they'd like to garden (or sew or can or cook or.....) but they just don't have the time. Huh. Wonder what they spend all their time doing and if it's really a priority. Gotta keep it real, folks. If something really matters to you, you'll find a way to make it a priority and to make time for it. You really will. Think about it. Reorganize if necessary. Let things go that don't matter to you. Move on. One foot in front of the other. Deep breath. Hope you had a fabulous May. I know I did.

I've been harvesting plums, broccoli, kale, onions, a bit of garlic and shallots, as many herbs as we can use and potatoes. I've planted tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, dark red kidney beans, Italian bush beans, butternut squash, radishes, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, strawberry popcorn, more flowers and herbs and a couple more currant bushes. So. Much. Fun.

Thoughts on Praise

It's tough for me to accept complements. I've been known to "aw, shucks" a good complement instead of just offering a graceful "thank you." I've been known to counter a complement with "no, not really" or "no, I'm not" instead of "wow, thanks!" I'm working on getting better at this for myself but also for my three beautiful daughters. I want them to really hear people when they comment on their talent and their worth (be it a statement about their intelligence, skill, kindness, compassion, grace or any number of unbelievable qualities they possess.) As someone who struggles receiving complements, asking for them is way out of my comfort zone. But I'm doing it anyway. Please bear with me.

People say nice things to me all the time. I'm so blessed. But I would love to have some current quips to add to this page. SO, if you've had an experience with Ellaberry Gardens that you wouldn't mind commenting on and me posting on the site, please share it with me. I am blatantly asking you for praise and that's awkward. But I have had so many positive, educational, beautiful experiences with students, customers and other gardeners. I'd like to put a "testimonial" page to reflect that more accurately. I apologize for essentially begging for this. And thank you so terribly much for any sharing you do! It will be cherished!

Edible Garden Tour!!!!!

It's finally here!!!! June 11-12, 2011. Saturday, 9-4 and Sunday 12 - 4. Addresses are on the attached brochure (or look at my webiste under "Edible Tour".) Please come out and join us. I think you'll be glad you did. I just can't say enough about how excited I am about this tour. I'm truly hoping it becomes something our Tulsa community looks forward to each and every year!

Give us lots of feedback so we can do a better job next year!!!!
Ok, that's all I can take of sitting in this chair. Back to it!

Happy growing!

Jenny

Ellaberry Gardens' July 2011 Newsletter
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"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant." - Robert Louis Stevenson

My husband found the above quote and emailed it to me recently. I think it's a wonderful reminder this time of year when things are burning up out there. We can share in our angst over the heat and talk about the last time we remember things being this hot this early in the season and for this many days in a row. Or we can just keep working, bit by bit, not too much but often (something I recently picked up from an eloquent student.)

Here are a few ideas for keeping a gardener gardening in this extreme heat:

>Work only in the early morning hours--sun up to about 10am. If you're not a morning person, set your alarm and get up anyway and then go back to bed if you need to. Even at 9pm, the heat index is around 100 degrees. The early morning is really our only shot at safely taking care of our plants in this heat. Focus on deadheading (and fine tune your focus to perennial flowers that may bloom again for you when it cools off) and watering. Keeping our plants as healthy as possible in this heat is imperative to helping them fight off insects and disease.

>Whatever you do out there, be very careful, please.

>Stay inside in the afternoon/evening and begin planning your most fabulous fall garden EVER! (See OSU Extension's Fact Sheet HLA-6009 "Fall Gardening" to get your juices flowing!)

>After you decide what you want to grow this fall, maybe you'll decide to start some seedlings inside. This is the perfect time to begin broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower seedlings for fall/winter crops (see my Fall Planting Schedule to see when I typically transplant these crops.)

>Go through your seed box/bucket/bin and organize according to cool-weather and warm weather crops. Toss any seed that you think is too old to mess with (or donate to really resourceful, determined gardeners!) You can feed most old seed to your chickens if you happen to have some. You don't really want to compost old seed unless you are absolutely positive your pile will heat up enough to kill them. Unless of course you want to focus your gardening in your compost pile next spring!

>Know that every year is different and every season is a new opportunity to grow something. If your summer crops don't make it through this heat, all is not lost. There's no such thing as failure. Just new knowledge. >Keep planting and keep dreaming.

Thoughts on Watering

My class last week was called "Thirsty Plants Don't Make Juicy Tomatoes." The entire class is about mulching for water conservation and how to water your plants. Seems pretty self-explanatory but you might be surprised. We're told over and over again that our gardens need 1" of rainfall when, in reality, they need 1" of rainfall per week when the average temperature for that week is merely 60 degrees. For every ten degrees over 60, we really need to add another 1/2" of water. That means when the average temperature for a week is 100 degrees, our plants need about 3" of rain/water. For those of us gardening from a conservation and sustainability point of view, this can create quite a conundrum. Do we use city water when the rain doesn't fall? Isn't that wasteful? Yes. And no.

Yes, using thousands of gallons of city water to water your lawn or your ornamental plants could probably be considered wasteful by many folks. Most grasses and plants will survive without the extra water but just won't look very good. Nobody, plant or otherwise, is probably going to die. If you're strictly an ornamental gardener, I strongly urge you to check out all the beautiful native grasses, flowers and trees that are used to surviving our summers so this is less of an issue.
But what if you're watering your food. If you don't water and you get no crop (or a much smaller one), where will you then get your food? I know I'd have to get in my car, drive halfway across town and buy my food from someone; someone who watered. I find that there are no easy answers. And it's never as black and white as some people in some "movements" want you to believe that it is. Water conservation is a real issue. But it's not the only one. I do harvest rainwater but it's nowhere near enough to cover my entire garden's watering needs. So I water. And pretty often. I'm as careful as I can be and I mulch heavily in most circumstances to preserve as much moisture as possible (mulch is a life saver...literally!) But if I'm choosing between watering my fruiting tomato, eggplant and pepper plants or not watering and buying my these fruits from another grower/grocery store who did water, what am I really conserving?

It's a tough issue that will require much more dialogue. Feel free to join in.

Ellaberry in the Community (actual and virtual!)

Because of the growing interest in backyard gardening for food and the edible tour, we had the opportunity to be featured in a couple of local publications. See the stories here and here.

I'm also fortunate enough to be asked to speak during the Tulsa City-County Library's Green My Library Lecture Series. I'm sharing the evening of July 14th with another presenter. We're speaking on "Green My Yard" night. 

I started a Yahoo Group last year that I had hoped would turn into a thriving online community for gardeners here in NE Oklahoma. And I've not done another thing to it. I'd like to get it going. I think it would be especially beneficial for times like these, when so many of us are struggling with heat, disease and insects. We could talk to each other and get advice and support. So join here and I'll see about getting it thriving!

Ellaberry Gardens has a Facebook page. I'm pretty conflicted about how I feel about it but now that's it up (has been for quite a while), I'm going to see about keeping it going. You can (ugh, am I really gonna say this?) "like" me if you search under "Ellaberry Gardens."

Ellaberry Gardens' Summer Classes

We're half way through our summer class line-up. We're having a fabulous time. We have room for a few more folks to join us! See "Enrollment Information" and "Classes by Ellaberry" for more information!

July 21st - "Broccoli, Cabbage and Spinach, Oh My!" : Participants will learn how to summer sow for fall harvests. Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuces, spinach and carrots will be covered. You will leave with several seeds sown in small cups for your fall eating.

August 4th - "What Does One Do With a Bushel of Tomatoes!?" : We will cover the very basics of preserving your harvests including freezing, canning and dehydrating. We will make sure you leave with basic knowledge of how to preserve some foods with resources to further your learning. You will also take home a quart of tomatoes that you put up yourself!

Register now!

Thank you so much for your continued support!

Happy growing!

Jenny

Ellaberry Gardens' August 2011 Newsletter
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"Never take to sawin' on the branch that's supportin' you, unless you're bein' hung from it."

I got that quote from a facebook buddy who goes by "Onlyone Hillbilly Gardener." It really struck me and made me stop and think. I thought about how it could apply to so many situations (a relationship, a job, or a bad habit all came to mind.) But, of course, I eventually started thinking about that quote in the context of how I feel about my garden.
We all know that this summer has been especially harsh. I've heard so many folks say that they have completely thrown in the proverbial towel on their gardens this summer. They often tell me this with such an apologetic tone. But no apologies are necessary. Especially to me! I understand how they could feel this way. Truly. But I can't throw in the towel on mine. My garden literally supports me. Even if production is down and it's not feeding me and my family, it is supporting my emotional and spiritual health in a way that nothing else can. I can definitely make a strong correlation between my emotional health and how often I've gotten my hands dirty. I'm very aware that gardens do not have this effect on every soul.

For some of folks, the stress of a garden that isn't thriving may very well outweigh the benefits that they might experience. They may very well feel like they are being "hung from it." If it's too much, it's ok to walk away until the fall or even until next year. If you go out to tend your gardens and all you feel is stress and discouragement, by all means, throw in that towel! Take a break for a season or a year; however long it takes for your garden to begin to feel like a hopeful thing again. If gardening is for you, you'll find your path back to it. You may do some reading and exploring and find that herbs, natives, perennial flowers are more your thing. Or you may read about a new gardening method that gets you all excited again! Or you may decide that it's just not for you. That's ok too.

In my newsletter last August, I wrote about being hopeful this time of year. I just reread that newsletter and still agree with everything I said back then. But I'd like to add that this year, it has been tough for many of you to get in touch with that hope. I would, of course, like to encourage you to try. If you feel that gardening is for you, hang in there! I believe in everybody's ability to grow something. We can all do this! If you need a personal encouragement, please feel free to email me and I'll see what I muster up to get you to hang in there. We're all in this together, especially when the going gets as tough as it's been this year. But don't let those gardens hang you!

Thoughts On Sustainability

This word, "sustainability," has such a buzz around it that sometimes I'm afraid people can't hear properly when that word is used. It's thrown around in certain groups and articles and books as some lofty ideal that only a few seriously dedicated folks can ever achieve. I know that there are many out there who would argue that every garden, every community, every household should be as self-sustaining as possible. And I agree. To a certain extent. When sustainability turns into a pseudo-religion, complete with dogma and dharma and the ability to leave many feeling excluded, it doesn't feel so sustainable anymore. I've said it before and I'll say it again, fear is not sustainable! Joy, laughter, community, dependence on one another; that's my kind of sustainability.

I implore the leaders of the sustainability groups to keep their doors and arms wide open and to encourage, rather than discourage, folks who may just be learning the ropes of living a little more sustainably. And I also would ask that we be careful in our assumptions of what is and is not sustainable for a family, a community, a garden. And I implore those of us who are a little further down the path to sustainability to not forget where we started and to be kind and vigilant with our compassion.

Recipe of the Month

This is a new feature I'm adding to my newsletter in hopes of giving you some new ideas of what to do with what might be ripe in your garden right now! If you'd like to see a recipe for a certain vegetable, fruit or herb, please email me! Or if you have a wonderful recipe using produce we can grow here in NE Oklahoma and want to share it, I'd love that also!

The production, or lack of, in my garden has prompted me to find out what exactly "out there" is still growing that we can eat. I found out that sweet potato greens are edible and highly nutritious. You can eat them raw (small, new leaves are tastiest raw) or cooked like any other green. They're yummy and have none of the bitterness that other greens might have this time of year. You can harvest up to half of the greens on your plants without affecting tuber production! I also found out that unripe watermelons make a great, tangy cucumber substitute. Well, I have plenty of sweet potato greens and I just harvested a couple of watermelons and one wasn't ripe. So here's what I came up with. Yum!

Sweet Potato Green Salad

12 oz sweet potato greens
2 c. diced tomatoes
1 onion (at least 1/2 c.), diced
2 c. watermelon diced (unripe or ripe)
1/3 c. rice wine vinegar
1 tbls. sugar
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
Salt/pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a full boil. Tear sweet potato leaves into bite-size pieces. Drop into boiling water and boil for about 5 minutes. Dump into colander and drain and put into bowl of ice water until cool.
While your green are cooling, chop up your other veggies and fruits and mix together in a large bowl. Stir together rice wine vinegar and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Add salt/pepper if you'd like and stir in nutmeg. Stir into veggies/fruits. After your greens are entirely cool, drain very, very well (you may even want to press them between a couple of towels.) Mix greens into bowl of other ingredients. Serve immediately or chill and serve. Yum!

I think this might also be good with a bit of cayenne or red pepper flakes or 1 diced jalapeno. Still playing with it! Let me know what you think if you try it!

Ellaberry Gardens' 2nd Annual Open House, Saturday, September 17th, 2pm - ?

We would like to cordially invite you and anyone you would like to bring along to Ellaberry Gardens' 2nd annual open house! Come see our gardens, our fruit trees, and our chickens and stay for a chat! If you'd like to hang around for an evening meal, we'll have a potluck supper at about 6pm so bring something to share (and maybe a chair or two!) We're certainly no demonstration garden. We're a real working garden and things look great some months and not so great others. And this year has been tough! There is a constant transition. Come join us! Mark your calendars!!!!

Ellaberry Gardens' Fall Classes

Although the fall classes don't start until September 22nd, I want to remind you all that they're coming so you can prepare and RSVP! I have space limitations here at the ole' homestead and have to limit enrollment for certain "doing" classes!

The fall line-up is really cool with lots of hands on demonstrations (cold frames, crafting for the holidays) and lots of good information on growing food to help sustain you through the fall, winter and early spring. Check out the fall lineup here and enroll today! 

Ellaberry in the Community

I started a Yahoo Group last year that I had hoped would turn into a thriving online community for gardeners here in NE Oklahoma. And I've not done another thing to it. I'd like to get it going. I think it would be especially beneficial for times like these, when so many of us are struggling with heat, disease and insects. We could talk to each other and get advice and support. So join here and I'll see about getting it thriving!

I'm available to speak or teach classes to garden clubs, local nurseries, homeschool groups, schools, community gardens or anywhere else I might be helpful. Getting out in the community and getting folks excited about gardening is my very favorite thing to do! Email me and we'll see if we can't set something up!

Happy growing!

Jenny 

Ellaberry Gardens' September 2011 Newsletter
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Wow! What a month! I am only three weeks behind on my newsletter. Please forgive me . I've been waiting on the perfect alignment of several things to occur before writing it and ya know what I found out?! Waiting on things to be perfect before proceeding is ridiculous! Ah! So much to learn!

I have a couple of exciting things to share with you all!

First, there's the nicest couple in Broken Arrow that have started selling organic chicken feed! They have a 50 lb bag of 15% protein laying ration for only $13! This is an amazing bargain! If you've been using feed store crumbles or pellets for your birds, prepare to be amazed at this feed. It's full of grains you'll actually recognize as food! Here's their description, "Organic NON-GMO, NON-Soy 15% protein layer ration containing corn, oats, peas. milo, alalfa, barley, calcium and minerals." And my chickens love it! Contact Liberty Acres (Doug and Betty Lawson) at 918-521-1661 or 918-355-3257 and get out there and get you some! They sell beautiful eggs as well! I'm so happy to have found them! Please help me support them so they'll keep providing this service for all us chicken folks!

Second, the fall veggies are out in the stores. I've seen broccoli, cabbage, kale, chard and lettuces at Lowe's, Home Depot and Walmart. I'm sure some of the local stores have them as well; I just haven't been to them lately. Go and buy them all up and get them out in your gardens so our stores know that there's a demand for them!

Thoughts on Slaughter

Well, I've gone and done it. I killed/slaughtered/butcherd one of my old laying hens that had stopped laying and ate her yesterday. She was three years old. And, unfortunately for her, she was my only hen that laid green eggs. So as soon as she stopped laying about a month ago, I knew it. This made her first in line for the soup pot.

I had been planning this for weeks and finally got the gumption to go through with it yesterday. I had killed a chicken before that was extremely ill and needed to be put out of her misery. But I've never killed a chicken that was healthy and that I intended to cook. Wowza.

I watched too many videos and read too many books/articles on how to do this. I might have over-educated myself when what was really needed was some hands on experience. I had a couple of people offer to help me out but I really wanted to do this the first time by myself.

I caught her and wrapped her in a towel and held her in my lap. I held her for nearly an hour before I could actually go through with it. I talked with her and sat there trying to decide the way I actually wanted to do this. During this hour, I convinced myself I should be a vegetarian, that I shouldn't be keeping chickens at all, and that I should just buy eggs from someone else (like Doug and Betty.) At one point, I even contemplated just letting her and my other birds have the run of my backyard until they died of natural causes in their old age. But, finally, I decided that I really wanted to do this so I could have the experience to share with other city-dwellers who are thinking they might want to do the same thing. I also feel like it's important to really understand this side of being a meat-eater. So I did it. I'll spare you the details.

But I did it. I can't even explain what it's like to take the life of another living creature and literally feel life fade away. I held her the entire time (see the video on YouTube from permies.com if you want to see how I did it.) It only took about a minute until it was over. As soon as it was done, it was amazing how fast my brain just turned her into "dinner." It took me less than 30 minutes to get her ready for the soup pot. And she made a quite tasty batch of chicken and rice soup. It was actually unlike any chicken soup I've had before. I was a bit uneasy eating it. But I did it. And so did my husband and my 19 year old daughter. But it was hard for my daughter (who is an avid meat-eater, by the way. This was just the first time she knew the animal pre dinner table.)

It's hard to say how many other animals I may kill/eat
in the future. It's a very tenuous thing for me right now. I will tell you that if you had to do this every time you wanted to eat meat, you might think again about becoming a vegetarian. I will also tell you that I'm really glad my kids know where food actually comes from. In my opinion, it is imperative to understand what you're actually participating in when you choose to eat meat (or even eggs and dairy to a certain extent.)

I'm really proud of myself. And I'm also pretty sure it was an ok thing to do. It's that niggling little whisper of "really, is this worth it?" that I'm still, excuse the pun, chewing on.

Recipe of the Month

Chicken Soup (really, what else did you expect?)

1 5 lb chicken, cut into pieces
2 carrots
2 large onions
seasonings (salt, pepper, sage, thyme, etc.)
 
Put chicken pieces into large stock pot with veggies and spices and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer for about 3 hours (if you're using a stewing, i.e. "old", hen.) Strain stock. Pick out veggies and throw into your compost bin. Lay chicken pieces on a platter to cool a bit. Put stock back into pot and turn up the heat.

Bring stock, 2 c. rice and any seasonings you want (more of the above) to a boil. Add in any veggies you like (I added a 16 oz. bag of frozen mixed veggies.) Reduce heat.

As soon as chicken is cool enough to handle, take meat off of the bone. Break into bite-size pieces. Add
back to pot.

Cook until rice and veggies are tender. Add a bit more water, if needed. Serve piping hot with fresh bread.

(Note: Real chicken broth tends to get really, really thick when cooled. So if you have leftovers, you can expect them to completely congeal in the refrigerator. As soon as you reheat the soup, it will liquify. But you can add a bit more water if you'd like to.)

Fall Classes

Fall classes start September 22nd!!!

The fall line-up is really cool with lots of hands on demonstrations (cold frames, crafting for the holidays) and lots of good information on growing food to help sustain you through the fall, winter and early spring. Check out the fall lineup here and enroll today!

Open House, Rescheduled for October 1st, 2pm - ??

Last year, we hosted our first ever open house/potluck supper and thoroughly enjoyed it. I am hoping to make this an annual tradition. I originally planned it for last weekend and ended up having to cancel to help my family out. I'd like to reschedule it and am hoping lots of you can come. We're gonna try again on October 1st.

We would like to cordially invite you and anyone you would like to bring along to Ellaberry Gardens' 2nd annual open house! Come see our gardens, our fruit trees, and our chickens and stay for a chat! If you'd like to hang around for an evening meal, we'll have a potluck supper at about 6pm so bring something to share (and maybe a chair or two!) We're certainly no demonstration garden. We're a real working garden and things look great some months and not so great others. And this year has been tough! There is a constant transition. Come join us! Mark your calendars!!!!

Happy growing, ya'll!!!

Jenny

Ellaberry Gardens' Holiday 2011 Newsletter
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"We've got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can't just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it's going to get on by itself. You've got to keep watering it. You've got to really look after it and nurture it."---John Lennon

The monthly newsletters for October, November and December are going to be combined into this one doozy of a newsletter because, although I have been collecting ideas and jotting them down, I haven't taken the time to sit down and actually turn any of those ideas into anything remotely cohesive. After I missed my first self-imposed deadline in October, I decided to publish a "fall newsletter" in November. After I missed my second deadline, I decided to publish this one. I'm glad I waited. My entire gardening philosophy has taken an interesting turn. You might want to print this one off if you don't like reading on the computer. Or, if you don't mind the screen, make you a big ole' cup of coffee or tea and plan to sit with me for a while.

What I've Learned this Year

"But though an old man, I am but a young gardener."~~Thomas Jefferson

Any of you who know me personally will agree, I tend to be a little (or depending on the circumstance, a lot) ADD. Truly. I think part of why gardening has held my attention for so many years is because you can literally never learn it all. Even more stunning, you will often bump into an idea or a philosophy that causes you to not only learn something new but to "unlearn" something old. It makes the idea/hobby/action of gardening intoxicating to me. It never gets old. I can't ever learn it all. I can't ever get to a place where I feel like I've finally gotten it. There is no "wow, I'm so glad I learned how to do that." There is no "whew, glad the learning process is over." Not for me anyway. It's a slippery and ethereal process. I love, love, love it.

I've learned so many things this year. Blizzards and heat waves are mean. Gardens are resilient. Some gardeners aren't. Blight sucks. Cucumber beetles don't like DE (diatomaceous earth.) Fall carrots really are better than spring carrots (so is fall broccoli.) Brassica family plants cross-pollinate like crazy so only grow one to seed at a time (this covers broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbages, kohlrabi, turnips, Brussels sprouts.) Rabbits do eat pansies. Comfrey prefers some shade if it's gonna get too hot. Dwarf okra isn't always dwarf (wow!) Planning your fall garden isn't nearly as effective as planting it. Killing chickens doesn't get easier after the first one. Purple sprouting broccoli
takes a full year to sprout (!). I'm giving up on fall tomatoes. I really don't like radishes (yes, even the watermelon ones.) I'm lucky to have a family who will try nearly anything I grow. Broccoli leaves really make a great slaw. Having wild birds in the garden is worth any losses. Having squirrels in the garden is no good. You have to plant a million snap pea seeds to get enough to make a meal. When the birds are hungry enough, they'll perch in your brassicas and eat off all the cabbage worms. Perennial herbs are an amazing blessing in a drought year(chives, garlic chives, mint, oregano, rosemary, thyme, lavender, sorrel, salad burnett, comfrey...grow some.) Sweet potato greens are yummy...fresh or stir-fried. And yet, so much more to learn.


My best gardening buddies and students know that I'm always interested in learning new gardening techniques and chatting about new approaches or old approaches made new by today's gardeners. Someone lovely pointed out a movie to me called "Back to Eden." It is a documentary about a man and his garden. Pure and simple. This man uses his faith to garden. He quotes scripture after scripture and discusses his relationship with God as the movie progresses. Although not a Christian myself, I can so dig his enthusiasm and his findings. I think he's brilliant. I am not going to give you too many details because I really do want you to watch it yourself. I'd like to talk with anyone who's interested about how it changes your ideas about your garden. It has surely affected my gardening philosophy. Give yourself the nearly two hours to watch it. Then give yourself a few days to digest the information, if you can. Be inspired.
www.backtoedenfilm.com

Oh, and after you watch it, you'll want this information. Tulsa's Greenwaste dump uses a tub grinder, just like in the movie, to grind entire trees into a beautiful fine product. It smells wonderful. It's composting like crazy (one load I got was almost too hot to touch.) It's free. Wow.

http://www.cityoftulsa.org/environmental-programs/greenwaste.aspx

What if, just what if, gardening isn't supposed to be hard? What if it's supposed to be relatively simple for us to feed ourselves? What if having fresh product right outside our front and back doors is how things are supposed to be? How revolutionary would that be for so many folks? for our country? our economy? our health? Watch the movie. Share it. Talk to me. Let me know what you think.

Thoughts on Gardening for the Hungry

I heard a startling statistic not long ago. I'm not a big believer in statistics but this one did catch my attention. According to the organization Feeding America, 1 in 6 Americans doesn't know where their next meal is coming from. 1 in 6. How can this be true? You'd think, based on the overly gorged supermarket shelves, the prevelance of cooking/food shows, the fast food restaurant on every corner, and the size of most of our waistlines, that hunger wasn't an issue here in America. It shouldn't be an issue. But apparently it is. What can we do? Do we buy food for food pantries? Offer our excess produce to shelters? Yes and yes.

But what if we could do more? What if instead of occupying concrete jungles we occupied our own yards and turned them into gardens or enlarged our already existing gardens? What if instead of arguing about ideologies, we agree to take back the control of our own land and grow as much food as we can? What if instead of trying to change someone's mind about who is and who isn't responsible for the state of the economy, we plant some kale? Sounds too simple? I don't know. I don't think I'm completely delusional. As long as folks live side by side in communities, there will be disagreements and differing perspectives. But if folks are working together on something, like keeping each other's bellies full, it seems that the ideological debates take a backseat to the real life process of actually getting something done. And besides, people who aren't hungry are remarkably more reasonable than those whose tummies are grumbling.

So, I propose that you take seriously the "Plant a Row for the Hungry" campaign put on by the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. Donate to your food pantries if you have any extra. Leave baskets of produce, herbs or extra eggs on the doorsteps of neighbors, friends or family who you think might be struggling. Offer growing space to apartment dwellers if you have any extra. Offer your gardening services to your church, your neighborhood, your work place or your mom. Get another garden growing anywhere you can. Teach people how to grow, cook and eat real food. It's not free but it's not very expensive. I really think it could be a game changer. Dare you to prove me wrong.

Recipes to Warm Your Belly...and Your Spirit

Butternut Squash and Kale Soup

1 large or 2 small butternut squash---peeled, seeded and cubed
1 large onion
2-4 cloves garlic (depending on your tastes)
4 cups vegetable stock
fresh thyme
4 cups chopped kale

Sautee onion and garlic in large stock pot in olive oil until it begins browning. Add butternut squash and toss. Scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Cover veggies with vegetable stock. Add water to cover, if necessary. Bring to a good boil and boil until squash is tender. Blend with an immersion blender until smooth. Add fresh thyme, to taste, and kale. Let simmer until kale is tender, about 15 minutes. Serve with a dollop of sour cream, if desired.

Turnip and Potato Mash

Turnips and potatoes---equal amounts (about 6-8 oz veggies per person)
1 large onion
garlic cloves to taste (3 or 4)
butter
milk
sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

Sautee onion and garlic in bottom of large stock pot. While they're cooking, peel and dice turnips. Dice potatoes (I leave the peels on.) After onions/garlic is tender and barely browning, add turnips and potatoes and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Boil until veggies are very tender. Drain pot. Return veggies to pot and mash or blend. Add butter (I add a stick per 3 lbs of veggies) and let melt. Add a good heaping serving spoon of sour cream and then enough milk to bring mash to desired consistency. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve piping hot.

Jalapeno Jam

Got lots of jalapenos in your freezer and wanna cook 'em up? Try this. Great to take to holiday gatherings or to use as gifts! It took me forever to find a recipe I could use that uses powdered pectin (vs. liquid.) Here's the basic recipe:

1 blender full (about 6 cups) halved and seeded jalapenos
1 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1 box pectin
5 cups sugar

Blend jalapenos and cider vinegar just until peppers are in little pieces...you don't want a puree. Pour into stock pot and stir in pectin. After it begins to boil, stir in sugar. Bring back to boil and let boil exactly one minute. Ladle into jars and process 10 minutes for 8 oz jars and 15 for pints.

Here's different ways I do this....

all jalapenos = flamin' hot
1/2 jalapenos and 1/2 sweet peppers = medium
sweet peppers + 5 or 6 jalapenos = mild(ish)

Yum! Serve with cream cheese and crackers. I also use this over a good roast or pork tenderloin in the crock pot.

Simple and Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookies

1 c. peanut butter
1 c. sugar plus a little extra for rolling
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Mix all together. Roll into walnut-sized balls. Roll in sugar. Press onto cookie sheet about 2" apart from each other. Bake in a 325 degree oven for about 15 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and let cool. Super, super easy and makes a great gift!!!

What's Coming in 2012!

Classes

Our winter classes start up January 5th!!! Sign up now!

January 5th: "Makin' a Plan!"
January 19th: "How Eggsciting!"
February 2nd: "Cooking from Your Pantry"
February 16th: "Let's Get Growing!"

You can see the complete class descriptions online at
 
http://www.ellaberrygardens.com/Classes_by_Ellaberry.html

Speaking Engagements

I love getting out in the community and spreading the word about all things urban homesteading. If you'd like me to speak to your group this year, please let me know as soon as you can. I can present/speak for 20 minutes up to a couple of hours, depending on the "seriousness" of the group and the topic. I typically charge about $50 for two hours which covers gas money, my time and any printed materials or activities I may provide. But that's negotiable depending on the circumstance. My spring schedule is already filling up! Contact me through the website or at
ellaberrygardens@yahoo.com and we'll work something out!

Tulsa Urban Farming Familes (TUFF)

I'm so excited to announce the formation of a new group in Tulsa. A student and friend of mine, Deb Broome, approached me to discuss getting something like this started. The very first meeting is Tuesday, January 3rd, at 7pm at the Martin East Regional Library that is located at 2601 S Garnett. We are hoping to grow this group into a wonderful resource organization for Tulsa families that are either growing food, wanting to learn to grow food, keeping chickens, or wanting to begin keeping chickens. Come to our first meeting to learn more! Come grow with us! We're TUFF!

Resources

I'm working on a resource guide for Northeastern Oklahoma gardeners. It's going to help you know how to source all the best seeds, services, soil, compost, plants, tools, and garden products. If you've got a product or service you'd like me to include, please email me! It'll be up on the website in January! Watch for it!

Thank you, Thank you

As the year 2011 comes to a close, I want to take the opportunity to sincerely thank all of you who have supported Ellaberry Gardens...those who have signed up for our newsletter, those who came to my classes, those who called to simply chat about gardening in one way or another, those who have shared excess garden produce with my family, those who have simply shared kind words with us online and in real life. I thank you all. I feel extremely blessed. Ellaberry Gardens is looking forward to sharing our passion for gardening and urban homesteading with as many folks in the Tulsa area as we possibly can in the coming year. I love you all so very much.

"Love is always bestowed as a gift - freely, willingly and without expectation. We don't love to be loved; we love to love. "~~~Leo Buscaglia

Have a beautifully, wonderfully, peacefully, and blessed holiday season!

Jenny
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