Blog Author
(view profile)
Recent Entries to this Blog My Garden So Far (2008)
Posted: 31 May 2008
Need 4 Seed has helped 35 families!
Posted: 31 May 2008
Short & Sour: An Admisson from Monsanto
Posted: 30 Mar 2008
If Anyone Wants to Get Involved, or Make a Request
Posted: 18 Mar 2008
...and We're Off!
Posted: 17 Mar 2008

All Entries

Robin282's Blog

My Garden So Far (2008)

Category: Gardening for Food | Posted: Sat May 31, 2008 10:42 pm

Garden update:

purple-podded peas, snap peas, lettuce mix, carrots, radishes, watermelon radishes, onion sets (red & yellow), garlic, turnip, potatoes--Yukon Gold, red Pontiac, white, All Blue and Rose Finn--, Bott's Strain Giant Sunflowers, Mammoth sunflowers, spinach, beets, asparagus, flax, oat, wheat, corn, spelt, buckwheat, parsnips--which never came up,

This year, I am trying to grow food for our chickens. It has gotten outrageous, and prices on corn & feed has virtually doubled. I have started a corn area at one end of the field, and I planted it as a corn maze for the kids.

I started some Italian onions right from seed. I planted them in the gutters that came off the house. They are small onions and they should do well in that space. One is a small white (like a pickling) round, and the other is a torpedo shaped red.

I have been planting my tomato, pepper, and eggplant that I started indoors. I also have some nice flowers that I Winter Sowed going into beds.

I am also trying peanuts and black sesame seed this year. We'll see how that goes. I have never planted them before. I like to plants something new or a "challenge" plant every year. The challenge is usually with something that shouldn't grow here usually, or something that is considered difficult to keep. I plan to plant amaranth and safflower among other things.

My perennial veggies are doing well: asparagus, rhubarb, shallots.

Let's see... I planted gourd seeds in cups. I had a flowering plant swap with a neighbor yesterday morning. I got an order from Raintree Nursery & am trying to get all that in too. I bought all edible plants, mostly small fruit & berries.

Boy, am I tired! ...but I cannot wait to get out there tomorrow!

This blog entry has been viewed 537 times

Need 4 Seed has helped 35 families!

Category: Seeds for the Needy Project | Posted: Sat May 31, 2008 10:07 pm

It has been a while since I have posted. I have been very busy managing the project I started. It is called Need 4 Seed, and I have set up a Yahoo! site:

I have mailed out care packages, and have helped over 35 families with the help of some generous seed donors. I am thrilled that things are going well, and I intend to continue in the years to come.

If you are interested (even if it is just to follow the progress) please join the Yahoo! group.

I have also been on demolition clean-up duty from replacing the roof on one side (right down to the rafters). BOY! The material sure didn't look like that much when it was on top of the house. Because of recycling and such, I had to separate everything too.

So, between the roof, gardening, and Need 4 Seed, I have barely been on-line.

Happy Gardening!

This blog entry has been viewed 700 times

Short & Sour: An Admisson from Monsanto

Category: Losing Control of Our Food Supply | Posted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 12:21 pm

I have begun to post about this on another forum. I include this here because there were some folks interested in this thread.


Well, at least someone is finally admitting it...:
A high representative for Monsanto has openly admitted that "We want to control the world's food supply."

Monsanto who provides 90% of the world's long list of genetically engineered products11 (having bought up 50 smaller companies during the last decade) does their business with such complete secrecy that there are still sold-out individuals out there...
In spite of the reassurances from Monsanto and its own lawyers and scientists that GMO cultures and Roundup herbicide are not health hazardous, it has been proven in their own research that rats have developed different forms of tumors and other health problems. However, instead of pushing the research further, they put a complete stop to it.

–from the article "New Movie Damns Monsanto's Criminal Behavior"

Those companies bought up include many seed houses.

This article is by French journalist and film maker Marie-Monique Robin who spent 3 years gathering information. Recently Monsanto seized the bank accounts of the French Farmers Association.

I thought throttling people for money was thug behavior...

Well, can't some lawyer come up with a lawsuit against Monsanto for contamination or something?

Not much editorializing here today. The admission of wanting to control the world's food supply is enough.

This blog entry has been viewed 488 times

If Anyone Wants to Get Involved, or Make a Request

Category: Seeds for the Needy Project | Posted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 3:31 pm

I am happy to receive private e-mails for this project. No one is required to put personal information here. Some do not mind, but for those who do not wish to post their hardship story, just e-mail me privately.

Private message me here

Please put "Need for Seed" in the subject line.

PLEASE**** tell me how many people this is for! I would hate to send a family of 5 or 6 seeds for an individual's garden.

Let me know if you are donating or would like to be a recipient.

Although I do not know what seeds I have available at any given time, please give me information such as NO turnips or whatever. Some people just don't like some vegetables, and it would be better to save those for someone else.

If you are crazy about something not as common, say okra, please note that too. I do not mind someone saying green beans are a favorite that info will help me, and I can give more beans to that person.

I cannot fill orders as I am not a seed company. I will be saving as much as I can from my plants each year to supply this project. I will of course be growing my favorites, but I may get something you like from someone else.

Right now, I am paying for postage myself, but if this project gets huge (as I hope it does), I will not be able to front the postage and will attempt to sell my extra plants to cover it. If the project becomes really huge, I will go for non-profit status. If anyone has any suggestions for me on this please e-mail me.

A little personal information for my motivation: I was a single mom (I preferred to say "Independent Parent") for 12 years. It was tough, but I survived and climbed out of the hole by myself. There were times that I wondered if I would have lights, phone, or food. I did everything I could to make ends meet. I couldn't leave my babies, so I landscaped and took them with me. I also baked homemade bread and sold it. Doing things to help myself allowed me to keep my dignity. At the same time, I needed help too. So, I wish to give a little help and let people keep their dignity.

That said, any hardship qualifies a person to receive these seeds. A fixed income such as Social Security, single moms on aid, working people who cannot cover everything because gasoline has eaten up their food budget, fire victims, people from impoverished areas with little outside work available, people who are temporarily out of work (more time to garden!), people who do not have a hardship who would like to help other who are by requesting seed to give to the person or by growing the veggies and giving the produce to neighbors in need. Believe me, I understand hardship, and I know I have not even scratched the surface of what types of hardships people have. Just let me know in the e-mail briefly why you ask for the help. When I go for non-profit status, I believe I will need to document some of this. You do not have to share every detail--"unemployed" will do; it is up to you what you share.

I am grateful to all of you who have pledged to donate. We all appreciate your generosity.

I am also grateful to those who have made requests; this has provided us the opportunity to help, and give back.

With the seed I send, it may not be this year's seed. However, tomato seeds are viable for 5 years or more, so they would still sprout. If I think something has lost 20% or so of its viability, I will add extra seed to make sure folks get enough to eat.

Once this project gets going, I will have mostly "this year's" seed.

My main reason for this is food. I want people to be able to eat fresh, nutritious produce and feel the satisfaction of providing for themselves. All "care packages" will include a variety of vegetables to give someone a seasons worth of food. IMPORTANT!: Be sure to remember to inform me how many people you will be feeding. I am currently lining up a "care package" for a shelter that will require much more seed.

I will try to add herbs as well to the care packages. My herb garden is just starting, so I cannot guarantee this right now. In the future, I will add herbs to every care package.

If there are flower seeds available, I will throw those in for cheer. Nobody needs cheer more than someone in a hardship situation.

I am propositioning seed companies too. Frankly, I do not believe this will work until I have my non-profit status, but... I am requesting last year's seed from seed companies. I spoke with one already that says they burn all their old seed because they cannot sell it. I said to them that donating is not selling, how about that? They liked the idea, so I have to write something up. I still think the non-profit status will be the key to open those doors. Then the companies can write it off as a charitable donation. Anyone who knows the ins and outs of this, please e-mail.

Finally, after all this blabbering, I will list my requirements for the request e-mail below. This will save time, and help to keep me more organized. I have a head injury, and if I am getting dozens of e-mails and 2 people are named Beth, or something, I will get confused. This is my private e-mail, and there will be no sharing of info in any way. When I go for non-profit (unless the govt. makes it harder for me to share with people, then I won't), I may need info on the hardships situations of people who receive seed. In this case, I will still protect the identity of the person, but will request (beforehand) if I can use your story without your name. I do believe that is a long way off yet.

For the folks who donate, I would like to start a "Garden Angel" reward within the program. Right now, this is strictly in the idea phase. I will either make out certificates, or possibly have little gifts or something like that. I will happy to receive ideas in this area too. I have a website, so I will be adding pages there for this project. That way, people can see where their help is going. I would also love people to post stories and such their. Maybe someone has a community garden where they give the produce to those in need; they could post about that.

OK, enough. I think that covers everything. If anyone has a question, please e-mail me!
Thanks & Blessing to all of you!

1. Private message me here
2. Subject lie should read "Need for Seed"
3. Inform whether you are donating or requesting.
4. If donating, I will send my address right out.
5. Donations should be sent to Need for Seed c/o me etc.
6. If receiving, how many people is the request for?
7. Recipients: list likes and dislikes as a guide
8. All should include any pertinent information possible
a. Garden Forum name & page
b. E-mail addresses, info on e-mail filters so that I
can e-mail you back.
c. YOUR ADDRESS: in the first e-mail please, this will
help me keep things straight. If I have a few people with the same name, I can make out the bubble mailers right away and have the "likes & dislike" on a paper inside. Then I won't have to keep going through the e-mails to check. I do this because my short-term memory is not that good.

Keep in mind that most people have a name, a different name on their e-mail, and yet another for their forum, all different! Please let me know this so I can keep it straight.

A thousand thank you-s to all!

This blog entry has been viewed 574 times

...and We're Off!

Category: Seeds for the Needy Project | Posted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 3:21 pm

I am happy to report that my Need for Seed (Seeds for the Needy) project is already taking off! I am sending out the first round of seeds today!

I feel really good doing this project. Gardening is not merely good food (with the nutrition still in it), but good for the soul. I believe helping someone to feed themselves is is uplifting to both the giver and the receiver. Plus, to actually have something from one's own efforts--rather than a handout--is important to people meanwhile building confidence.

Gardening is a great family project--everyone can participate. I have some folks growing out stuff for the elderly in the neighborhood.

This is very fulfilling.

This blog entry has been viewed 615 times

Finding Information-Origins & History of Vegetable Varieties

Category: Plants Paths--Food's Journey | Posted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 5:08 pm

After posting about this on another site, I thought it would be useful
here because it is fascinating
and something in which many gardeners are interested.

Following are some websites & books on the subject.

Buffalo Bird Woman's Garden
Enduring Seeds
Garden to Order: The Story of Mr. Burpee's Seeds and Hoe They Grow
100 Vegetables and Where They Came From
Peppers: The Domesticated Capsaicins
Heirloom Vegetables Gardening
Taylor's Guide to Heirloom Vegetables
Livingston & The Tomato
Field & Garden Vegetables of America

Links to Journal/Scholarly Articles--free access at many public libraries:\

Thanks to Dave and other friends on that site for these:\

This blog entry has been viewed 656 times

Edible Landscaping... The Cloudberry Conundrum

Category: Gardening for Food | Posted: Mon Mar 10, 2008 12:48 pm

Rubus chamaemorus: Greek chamai ("dwarf") and morus ("mulberry") also known as Bakeberry, Baked-apple berry, Cloudberry, Malka, Moltebeere, Salmonberry (Not to be confused with Rubus spectabilis), Torfbeere, Yellowberry
Ahhh the cloudberry... possibly as ethereal as the name implies...

It took 2 years to get my hands on some seeds, and then I handled them the same way that I did the cranberries I had started from seed--to no avail. Hmmm...

Meanwhile, I had been searching all this time for information on the cloudberry, and at first, there were only 2 Google pages that came up in a search result. After 3-4 years now, there are many more pages. However, these pages are not particularly helpful to my cause: acquiring the plant.

My introduction to the cloudberry was late one night while watching a show called "Quest for the Bay" about 1937 Labrador. The show had a couple of families move to the Placentia Bay area and set up living like 1937: cod fishing, salting, and preparing for market; gardening, rationing food, and storing for winter; and so forth. One episode showed 2 of the women going out and picking "bakeapples".

After that, I looked for information on the fruit. After finding out what I could (which wasn't much), I decided I would like to grow it. That is when the trouble began.

As I said before, there was all of 2 Google pages. These pages included sites from Norway and others and were written in a language I do not know. Some pages were very scientific–no problem, I can read that–but I could not get into the site; I guess a university must have an account. I saw that one other person was looking for the plants and even paid someone money to find it on the web. The respondent gave a few nursery names, but the only one that actually had it listed for selling was out, and had a waiting list (I have been on that list for over 2 years). One other place that I found was a US Germplasm Bank. After writing and going from person to person, I finally was able to ask for seed. I was so happy to receive this seed! It was collected in Russia. About the same time, I was joining gardening websites. I found a very pleasant woman in Norway who had a pile of the berries in the freezer. She sent me a good amount of seed.

Well, seed is good. I have good luck germinating things. I have even germinated difficult things. Well, this is my 3rd year attempting to germinate these seeds, and I have gotten not-a-one! I have tried several different methods. I tried the ol' stratify in the fridge and then bring to warm. I have tried winter sowing outside. I have tried the warm-cold-warm stratification. The seed coats are hard and thick for a raspberry type plant, so I nicked the coat to speed aid germination. I have tried the bleach method. When I got the Russian seeds, there were some suggestions on germinating–which I followed–with no resultant sprouting.

In the fall, I met a very nice person from Newfoundland (on a gardening site). She said she would send me seeds. I told her of the hard time I was having. She said she had sent seeds before, and that person sprouted them. OK, maybe my seeds aren't as fresh as necessary. I am still hoping to work something out there.

This time, I am trying Gibberellic acid! I have read (in the new pages I can now find on Google) that this makes it possible to skip the stratification! We shall see...

Of course, I was told that I couldn't grow them here! Impossible, they said. Well, first (since this is experimentation) let me see if I can get one to sprout! Then I will worry about having the right climate. I have the perfect spot in my yard–a little micro-climate if you will.

All that said, I would still need to have plenty of plants going to get anything because the plants are dioecious (male & female separately)! I am still determined.

I also met a nice fellow gardener from Alaska. He has sent me seeds of other berries that are tough to get going–I have them all going. He plans to send me cloudberry seeds when he makes jam. The seeds he sends are a by-product of making jam (prior to heating of course!). He will strain them out and mail them to me.

Well, I have fresh seed pending; that is a good sign. I hope to get plants pending. I would like it if I could get 2-3 plants just to see if I could keep them going here. I will continue my experiments with the seed, and learn what I can from my failures.

It will be a great & surprising thing if I do succeed.

This blog entry has been viewed 1868 times

How to Make Long Lasting Plant Markers

Category: Gardening Tricks & Extras | Posted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 2:42 am

Marking seeds is important, and I try every year, but they seem to
disappear, get separated from their plant or wear off. Well, my
best advice is SHARPIE!

Sharpie is permanent--more so on porous material. I have also
learned the sun can bleach anything. So, if you use regular plastic
labels that you can buy, I would write in sharpie, and when you push
into the soil, face the writing away from the sun--maybe even tip the
tag at an angle so the writing is facing the ground somewhat.

My daughter made some wood ones with sharpie--it lasted a while
because the marker could sink in, but they would need to be touched
up once or twice during the season to insure they stay all the way

My favorite method that seems to last the longest also uses
sharpie. It may last the longest because the ink almost becomes
part of the plastic.

I took m kids to the Plastics Museum in MA, and the told us #6
plastic can be used with Sharpie markers to make "Shrinky Dinks"
(anyone remember those?) I figured it would work great for labelling
because the Spongebob ones we made never faded--even after being in
the window for a year!

If you'd like to try:
Materials--#6 PLASTIC (don't go buy the expensive Shrinky Dink
refills, the #6 cupcake or bakery boxes work fine, as long as it is
flat and clear).
A small piece of SANDPAPER. ou doin't want to gouge, just get the
shine off the surface, so something fine is good.
SHARPIES--the Plastics people said SHARPIES.

1. Cut out the shape you wish to make your label into--BE SURE to
make it about 4 times as big as you need it (the really do shrink
right up).

2. Sand one side of the label (only where you will write) until it
is cloud, and the shine is gone.

3. Write your label in Sharpie ink.

4. Place your labels on a piece of foil with a good amount of space
between them (the move when heated).

5. Place in 325*F oven, DO NOT WALK AWAY! I use a toaster oven for

6. STAND RIGHT THERE while it does its thing. AT first, the will la
there. In a minute the will start to move a little. Then the curl
up, and look as if the are going to get stuck to themselves and the
whole thing is going to be a failure....IT ISN'T. WAIT--this all
happens rather quickly. The will start to unfurl, and they the will
lay fairly flat. Once they get to fairly flat (If you wait for
completely flat, it will be too long). If it has a slight lift on
the ends, I turn it over immediately upon taking them out, and press
them flat. Most of the time it isn't necessary.

You may wish to do only one the first time to get the idea of how
things in the oven go.

For us, the have not wiped off or bleached out in the window, so
maybe this will be good for some of you.

Hopefully, I have given all the details. Feel free to e-mail me
directly with any questions.

Second Post:
#6 refers to the recycling designation. Milk jugs and liquid laundry
containers are #2. Pancake syrup and some shampoo bottles are #3. #1
is abundant on cups as well as #6. Find the recycling triangle with
the number in the middle. We were told by the scientists at the
Plastics Museum to use #6 (maybe other numbers just melt instead of
Where I live, the best suppl of #6 is through baked goods--even the
ones on the shelf. Oreos have a plastic tray inside the bag to hold
the cookies--these were #6 when I checked them. Stuff from our store
bakery that has a plastic box--cakes, croissants, etc. come in #6
plastic. The plastic is rigid--unlike the squeeze bottles for
ketchup and laundry soap.

I have not used colored plastic for this, but you can experiment.
Because of the contraction, the colors become concentrated, and I do
not know if this would obscure your writing. I do not know if the
plastic is somewhat rounded if it will keep that rounded shape after
unfurling...another experiment.

I made some last night, and I find neat, block letters work best. If
your writing is fairly "stylized" like mine (messy!) it will only
get worse shrunk down, and you won't be able to read it!

I recommend doing one first, just to get a feel for the process. It
is fairly straightforward, and one you see it, you'll know all you
need to...

Yes, when they shrink down, they observe that law of nature they
tried to teach us back in school: Conservation of Matter: Matter can
neither be created or destroyed. They still have the same volume of
plastic, it is just shrunk down, and more tightly compacted; they
are thicker, much shorter, and inflexible. However, the ink ends up
as a part of the plastic in a way, and that is why it doesn't rub
off or fade in a couple of months. They can become brittle in
winter like most plastics, but they have hung in there the best for

You must stay right by the oven! The time will vary depending on the
size and thickness of what you start with...
I use a toaster oven, and I don't bother to preheat, and it takes
less than 2 minutes.

You'll know it's done when it lays back down.

Hope you find this helpful. I made mine as stick labels to push
into the ground, but someone else used a hole punch and tied them to
the planter. If you do punch a hole, put it far enough in...the
melting will case a close-to-the-edge one to open.

Good Luck!

This blog entry has been viewed 728 times

Edible Landscaping... Organic & Sharing the bounty

Category: Gardening for Food | Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 4:23 am

Each year, I add more edible landscape items to our property. I am all organic. With this, I have to share with others who call our place their home: animals.

I have found that some years are better or worse than others. two years ago, the catbirds enjoyed my black-caps to the point of my daughter getting less. Other than that, a squirrel ate our first alpine strawberry or two (the only ones that got to grow that first-year-planting). Bunnies have enjoyed the first bean leaves. I have to put my foot down there. All I did was set the next bean patch in a high traffic area and that was it. The skunk digs up the grubs, so frankly, he works here! One year, I planted peas very early. The sparrows dine on the leaves until spring finally arrived and there were other greens to munch. As soon as they left the peas alone, the peas grew and produced as usual.

Otherwise, it has not been bad. I do not mind the animals helping themselves. We do feed the birds, and I do plant things for them. They give us hours of pleasure and are educational.

I do not appreciate the bugs the same way. I must admit there too, the damage has not been bad. I got a bad squash bug infestation, but luckily, my summer squashes were pretty much done anyway. I brought my hens out and set them upon the bugs, and, well, they work here too.

I have had bean beetles, but got plenty of beans. I had potato beetle arrive at the potato patch, but they were so easy to pick off and fling to the chickens. I cannot complain.

This one is just a rambling. I like being organic here--even if I have to share.

This blog entry has been viewed 542 times

Seed for Needy... I have my first family to help!

Category: Seeds for the Needy Project | Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 4:01 am

Although my desire to share with people who in need has been in me for some time, I am only in the brainstorming/development stage.

Today, I have found a family who has lost everything in a fire. I have already packed up enough seeds for a great vegetable garden for them this year. I will send it tomorrow.

This is exactly what I want to do. I can certainly handle an individual here or there while in development, but I know I will need to join forces with others as things move along.

What is a more basic form of giving than sharing seeds?

This blog entry has been viewed 542 times

You're reading one of many blogs on
Register for free and start your own blog today.