Ellaberry Gardens
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February 2013

Ellaberry Gardens February 2013 Newsletter

"Gardening is not a rational act."---Margaret Atwood

February already!  Wowza. That means just 28 days until March and that spring is right.around.the.corner!  But I don't want to get too far ahead of myself.  (deep breath in and deep breath out...stay in the moment, stay in the moment....)

This time of year it is easy to be overly excited and anxious about planning our gardens and our projects for our urban homesteads.  The number of consultations I have and email questions I respond to this time of year reflect this surge of energy. 

I am always so excited to help people up their production or help them find the confidence to plant a fruit tree or install a chicken coop.  A chicken coop, an apple tree, a rambunctious row of okra; these are a few of my favorite things. 

There are times when folks want my help to do things the "right" way or they want me to tell them how to turn their blank slate of a lot into a thriving urban homestead in one season.  ONE! These are the times I remember how emotionally irrational we can be this time of year. 

Well, these times and the times I experience a near inability to fall asleep at night trying to figure out how to plant the newly terraced front yard and how to raise enough cash to pay for all the bazillion plants I want and how to build the trellises and other climby things I want to have for this growing season. And, and, and....whew. Sigh.  Ain't nothing wrong with big dreams, folks.  Sometimes they become reality.

Gardening (and urban homesteading) is fun.  And crazy. Half the time it makes no sense.  Half the time is makes allll the sense in the world.  Rational?  What does that even mean?

I sometimes feel that I am in love with my little plot of land. Literally in love with it. Irrational? Maybe. But.I.feel.it.

Have fun out there, y'all!  Send me pics of your irrational acts of gardening! I'd love to share some in the newsletters this year!

Thoughts on Being Broody

I'm a word person and I love thinking on where some of our colloquial phrases come from.  Here in Oklahoma, lots of our language, no matter where we live, is derived from our deeply enmeshed agricultural heritage. A couple of my favorites are "til the cows come home" and "like a duck on a June bug." I also hear the word "broody" a lot (maybe because I have a gaggle of teenagers?)  

Have you ever been accused of being broody?  Or has someone asked you what you're brooding about? 

I've heard this phrase used time and again in a sort of negative, or at least sad, manner. And I'd like to set the record straight.

A broody hen is a hen who has decided to sit on a nest and hatch out a clutch of eggs.  She wants to be someone's mother.  She sits there nearly 24/7 and keeps those eggs warm and nips at the hands of anyone brave enough to try to retrieve them.  She might even ruffle her feathers and try to appear bigger than she is to scare you off.  She barely eats or drinks for the nearly three weeks it would take for those babies to hatch.  She's dedicated, determined and hopeful. A momma bear is seen as heroic.  A momma hen?  Broody. Why the difference?

I'm wondering if it comes from the fact that momma hens are typically getting in our way of getting our eggs. The audacity of human nature never ceases to amaze me (please know that I'm including my own.)  So if we're not trying to get the momma bear to do anything to benefit us, she can be a hero.  But that momma chicken?  She's just so broody.  What is she thinking? Sitting on our eggs. Taking up room in the nest box.  And not laying for us.  Who does she think she is?

Next time you have a broody hen, or are called broody yourself, or wanna call someone broody, think on it.  Broody could just mean that you're taking care of business.  And sometimes that means you have to have to scare off those who wanna take what is yours, get your feathers a little bit ruffled, have some hope for what just might hatch and just plain sit for a spell.

Right Now in the Garden

February is always an exciting time in the garden.  This month marks the first outdoor sowing and transplanting. But that's not all!  This is the first push for the growing season in earnest.  There's a lot to do!

  • If you haven't started your broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and collards, do it now! It's not too late for a late spring planting.
  • Around the 15th, transplant celery, leeks and brussels sprouts outdoors.  (Make sure these plants have been properly hardened off.)
  • Also around the 15th (through the end of the month), sow carrots, sweet peas, kale, rutabaga, kohlrabi, spinach, onions, parsnips and endive. 
  • Plant potatoes.
  • Plant spring garlic cloves.
  • Check your fruit trees for borers and treat as needed.
  • Check any over-wintered or early planted crops for aphids. Pay special attention to the wrinkly leaves of cabbages and kale. 
  • Continue harvesting from any crops that you over-wintered until your first plantings are producing.
  • Thoroughly clean out the animal houses (chickens, rabbits, quail) on one of the warmer days.
  • Start your tomatoes, eggplants and pepper seeds at the end of the month (or earlier if you have room to transplant and care for larger plants.)
  • Want a permanent asparagus bed?  This is the perfect month to create one and plant it up.
  • More strawberries or fruiting bushes or trees?  Consider getting them in the ground this month.


Recipe (Request!)

I'm changing the recipe section up a bit this month.  Instead of offering a recipe, I'm asking you guys for one (or a few!) 

We will be butchering o
ur first rabbits this month and cooking rabbit meat is new to me.  I've looked at tons of recipes in books and online but would much rather try one or two that are tried and true. 

So, email me your best and favorite rabbit recipes and I'll pick a couple of them to try.  I'll then post them in next month's newsletter and also provide input on the ones I actually tried myself.

Thanks, growin' buddies!

Ellaberry and the Community


As spring comes around, folks often ask me to speak for their garden clubs or garden related events. If you're a non-profit, I do my best to show up for free. If you're not, my typical fee is $50 for up to two hours which includes a talk (of your choosing from a list of topics), printed materials and a door prize.

Don't wait until the last minute! Spring is an exceptionally busy time of the year!

Contact me through the website, via email at
ellaberrygardens@yahoo.com, find me on Facebook or just plain ole call at 918-346-1760.

Services Offered by Ellaberry

Aside from our regular monthly
classes, Ellaberry Gardens is available for:

  • consultations on planning your urban homestead (garden beds, small orchards, animal yards, etc.)
  • consultations on helping you with your existing homestead
  • speaking engagements
  • mulch hauling
  • quail enclosure building
  • raised bed building
  • garden clean up

If you are in need of any of these services, please email or call! We'll get to you just as soon as we can!

February Class

Our February class, "How Eggsciting!", is all about raising chickens in your urban backyard.  It's February 21st at 7pm. Here's the class description:

Learn to raise chickens and quail 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.

I am making special mention of this class because 1) I think it's important to feel especially ready for this component of your urban homestead and 2) it fills up fast.

So if you're thinking about coming, please RSVP and make your $10 class fee payment just as soon as you can!

Open Garden!!!!!

In an ongoing effort to reach as many folks as I can and encourage people to grow something to eat, I'd like to offer up an Open Garden Day one day per month beginning this month. 

Open Garden Day will be the 2nd Sunday of every month from 1-4pm.  I'll be out in the garden, the gates will be open and I'll have a big ole pitcher of sweet tea to share.  Come see what's growing on around here and ask alllll the questions you'd like to! 

This is an Open Garden, not an open house event.  I hope you understand. I've got kids and a husband who aren't necessarily involved in everything I do with Ellaberry Gardens. Please be respectful of this. No RSVP required.  I just ask that you respect the 1-4pm time frame and the "no open house" rule. This is an ongoing free event but I will joyfully accept donations (gotta fund the sweet tea!)  Look for the donation jar!

This month's date is February 10th.  Hope to see lots of your smiling faces then!

Valentines Day Gift Idea

Got a sweetie who's a gardener?  Make the day of that special someone with a gift certificate to one (or all!) of Ellaberry Gardens' classes. Classes are $10 a piece.  There is a $3 shipping and handling charge per gift recipient no matter how many classes you purchase.

Email me the gift recipient's name, how many classes you'd like to purchase and the recipient's address (or yours if you you'd like me to mail it to you.)  Send payment via paypal or snail mail.  I'll package up a lovely little gift including the gift certificate, enrollment form and a nice package of seeds from Ellaberry Gardens.

Don't wait until the last minute, sweetie pie!
For Sale

We are now taking orders for spring transplants. Plants will be $2 each. Email with your plant selections. Payment may be made via paypal or cash (by dropping it off.) If you would like to order more than a dozen, payment is expected before your plants are received. Plants will be ready mid-February (just two weeks away now!) Here's what we're offering (updated from January newsletter):

Broccoli---Calabrese, De Cicco, Early Green
Cauliflower---Snowball X, Snowball Y (very limited supply)
Collards---Vates, Georgia Southern
Kale---Vates Blue Curl, Dward Blue Curled, Dwarf Siberian

Edible Garden Tour

Planning for the 2013 tour is underway! 

Date is June 8-9, 2013. The benefactor of the tour this year is still being decided.  I am open to suggestions for the next couple of weeks.

I am also still looking for the last garden! If you have a garden you'd like me to consider, please contact me so we can set up a tour!

I'm also looking for vendors. Anyone who has a service or product relative to urban homesteading is welcome to inquire. There is no fee but we do ask that you donate 10% of your sales to the benefactor of the tour (yet to be determined.) I also ask that you donate a small gift to the homeowner whose driveway you're set up in. If this appeals to you or know someone it might, please contact me! I only have a couple of spots left so don't hesitate!

Happy growin'!





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