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Recent Entries to this Blog Glamour in the Dirt.
Posted: 19 Sep 2009
Winter window gardens anyone?
Posted: 14 Sep 2009
Old Lady in the Garden
Posted: 12 Sep 2009
Have You Started A Gardener Today??
Posted: 05 Sep 2009
The Lost Art of Vegetables
Posted: 03 Sep 2009

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Green Space in the Barrio

Volunteering Through Gardening.

Glamour in the Dirt.

Category: Volunteer Green Warrior | Posted: Sat Sep 19, 2009 4:34 am

Live for others and conjoined with the earth and you're likely to see a few remarkable things.
Imagine a woman bound in service to others because this is how she was raised. Now picture her raising her children in this light. I can imagine nothing more beautiful.

She took this one step further to her home. The ground became a laboratory, a grocery, a nonprofit organization. Live in this light and the world takes notice. Glamour Magazine has recognized a true green warrior as one of their top ten finalists for Woman of the Year. In less than one year Holly Hirshberg and The Dinner Garden achieved nonprofit status and fed over 13,000 with packets of vegetable seeds.

I'm slowly learning what she has to offer. You're fortunate to learn these lessons young rather than the second part of your life but I consider myself damn lucky. I'm sure I've tried her patience. So here's my green thought. Teach others how to serve.
Break ground for an autumn garden for a neighbor.
Teach a child how to nurture the earth. Volunteer!

Last edited: Sat Sep 19, 2009 4:41 am

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Winter window gardens anyone?

Category: Volunteer Green Warrior | Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 9:30 am

I'm overjoyed with the simple lessons I'm learning from the dirt. As I've mentioned before, apartment gardening is one trial after another and I've had over 3 years to try and work the problems out, you'd think. My biggest dilemma [HUGE] has been a large tree overshadowing the majority of my 'main' garden.
I finally accept defeat and will grace this area with
brightly colored marigolds [thanks Dinner Garden] leading into another bed of complimenting red and orange [yellow?] zinnias. You think management would trim a tree that tackles the roof of two buildings... oh well.

I now have two small beds that will hopefully out perform the large one. The one by my porch has Mexican Petunias and a variety of 'starter pots'. It will become a full fledged garden bed in the Spring. My other small bed is my current pride and joy.
It's a hodge podge of fall crops next to the entrance of the apartment complex maintenance closet. The sun is perfect!!!!
There are a few marigolds and beets for the snails
to [unfortunately] munch on. Four or so different varieties of tomatoes and likewise with the eggplant. 6 or so purple Chinese long beans are making their way up the poles in the back. Butter Bush winter squash are perfect for a small garden!
I will post photos of this garden next week.

Now we finally arrive at what has me absolutely thrilled!!! An indoor window garden. The plants are doing better there than anywhere else. My ground cherry seedings are actually grinning! I have visions of bell pepper plants as house plants
as well as eggplants. There's a lettuce mix and greens used for chinese stirfry on the shelves. On most days the bedroom window is open allowing a fresh breeze through the greens. I'm not sure which plants will 'weather in' on San Antonio's brief
cold spells. The surprise will be in the seedlings that come up. If anything, this will give me a running start towards Spring!

This blog entry has been viewed 427 times

Old Lady in the Garden

Category: Volunteer Green Warrior | Posted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 8:21 am

The 'Old Lady in the Garden' once was a staple of the American neighborhood. It didn't matter whether it was flowers or vegetables, she was there. I've become her yet slightly more tech savy than my predecessors of past generations. A sore green thumb assures me that nothing surpasses the knowledge passed through the ages or the lessons yet to learn. She'd snicker at my attempts and take me aside.

I sit out on a nearby apartment step and listen to the frogs call. This is my mantra to soothe away the stresses of the day. Much as I imagine it was for my great grandparents. One frog serenading a mate as my 'Nana' nestled in the arms of her husband so many years ago. May some things never change.

Now it's my turn to till the earth and welcome the healing rains. There's an old red dog basking in her twilight years chillin' in the melon patch. Funny how I allow her to walk through the garden...
never mind the fall seedlings.

Last edited: Sat Sep 12, 2009 9:31 am

This blog entry has been viewed 439 times

Have You Started A Gardener Today??

Category: Volunteer Green Warrior | Posted: Sat Sep 05, 2009 6:33 am

It's a simple thing to do. A bag of dirt $2.00, if that much. Seeds can be passed from gardener to gardener. Much like the vegetable garden movement is spreading at my apartment complex. My garden encompasses three small areas. An upstairs neighbor [with four children in tow] broke ground and planted her garden next to mine. There will be one more completed four doors down by the end of the weekend.

It's really quite a simple thing to promote change.
It all starts with admiration for what you've accomplished. Tell them how all of this is possible for them next time you're complimented on your garden. Some times all it takes is the basic gesture of seeds to get someone started and you've just become part of the solution. Four children will help me release beneficial insects next week. You bet they'll learn something. They'll also become protectors of every garden in the area.

Unfortunately, the same four children also know what it's like to go hungry. They had pan bread drizzled with borrowed syrup for dinner last night. Their mother broke ground on a garden for her family yesterday. A statement empowering her family and an active lesson for her children. I know first hand that the need is there and I'm there to help them as best I can. Somewhere there's another gardener, many, I'm sure, doing the very same thing.

Last edited: Sat Sep 05, 2009 4:42 pm

This blog entry has been viewed 384 times

The Lost Art of Vegetables

Category: Volunteer Green Warrior | Posted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 9:10 am

I know how the bee feels.
Not a week goes by that I explain to a passer-by what the okra I'm growing both child and adult alike. It took less then two generations for gardening to become a lost art in need of resurrection. Our grandparents once wondered whether crops would fail. We find wonderment in every seedling and fruit that appears. This alone speaks volumes. Telling us of how close we came to losing
something necessary for the survival of our children. The basics of gardening that were once ingrained into our very being and passed down
through the generations vanished... for most.

We pour through books and seek advice from master gardeners. Years of trial and error could have been saved by simply asking a relative or just listening as you toiled side by side in the garden. Humanity
still has a chance. Organizations like The Patio Farmer's Guild, World Food Garden and The Dinner Garden are there to lend a hand.
Want to grow a vegetable garden in containers then seek out Patio Farmer's Guild. If you want to know what to plant when then its a simple click to World Food Garden. Need free seeds for your fall garden then The Dinner Garden's your site. None of this
is the same as a grandfather's knee but it's a start. A path towards self-sufficiency.

Last edited: Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:03 am

This blog entry has been viewed 298 times

Satin Dragonflies

Category: Volunteer Green Warrior | Posted: Wed Sep 02, 2009 3:56 am

Both Indigo fairies and lumbering humvees
drift across the field next door. My puppy
pays no mind because there's morning business
at hand. I've noticed the subtle hints of autumn
all around me beginning with a God sent break
in the 100+ degree heat we've been plagued with
ALL summer. Blossoms everywhere I've wished them. Evening breezes usually found only in a Texan's dream.

Orange and green bell peppers blossom for the
first time since planting, Even the wild strawberries dare to peek out from the windowbox.
A competition has developed between the eggplant
to see who will be named. An honored status
started with 'Herman, the Monster Mater'. South Texas second growing season is at hand and I've survived one more summer.

Next weekend there will be new neighbors.... ladybugs, lacewing young 'un, trichogramma
wasps and whitefly parasites. Fine dining for
every gecko within miles, I'm sure.
I prefer to try this method before hitting the pesticide aisle even if I'm feeding every
transient gecko in the district.

Last edited: Wed Sep 02, 2009 4:52 am

This blog entry has been viewed 248 times

Gardening is Good for the Soul.

Category: Volunteer Green Warrior | Posted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 1:31 am

Nothing mends better than dirt. You take a lost love or broken promise and till the ground with that ache. In my case, I planted marigolds in the partial shade where no vegetables would grow. A promise of beauty and wonderment will unfold and maybe the ache will lessen as the seedlings begin to appear. It's said that gardeners are eternal optimists..... planting on what might be. Funny, I never saw myself as an optimist before. I guess the garden is life's way of showing me what could be and that opportunities still abound.

Philosophy aside, there will be photos soon. Not of the vast gardens of my dreams -
oh how I miss my Texas rose garden! But of how to garden in limited spaces and extreme circumstances. Apartment gardening can be some of the most difficult once you get past the first obstacle - owner/managements blessing. That tackled, there will be obstacles such as shade cast from building & trees, poor dirt and foot traffic to deal with. It might be years before problems work themselves out. I'm still learning!!

The blessings are well worth the effort. The yearning to nurture and grow may slowly
spread amongst the tenants. Children learn such lessons as to respect anothers efforts &
property [if your lucky] as well the lessons of the garden itself. A barren area once full of
disregard and ugliness slowly evolves into a space of beauty. My computer desk rests in front of my livingroom window. I often look up from the screen and watch neighbors walk by and stop in amazement. If I've brought a little tranquility and green to their concrete jungle then my efforts are well worth the lessons I'm taught.

Last edited: Mon Aug 31, 2009 1:33 am

This blog entry has been viewed 320 times

Autumn in the Barrio

Category: Volunteer Green Warrior | Posted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 5:30 pm

This blog begins in a small well hidden green space securely locked behind gates. Deeply nestled in a run down corner of Balcones Heights, amongst the crackheads and working girls, is a garden, a disabled gardener and her 12 year old service dog. I could ask for no better horticulturist supervisor or protectorate than my Nut.

The garden is a good size for an apartment garden.
My volunteering through The Dinner Garden allows me to grow exotic vegetables and, most importantly, grow and donate seed 'for the cause'. There's an okra plant, well guarded by geckos, ignored yet busily producing seed for the hungry due for distribution in the spring. A lazy way to volunteer, perhaps... just try telling that to a hungry child or a parent who can no longer afford store bought vegetables. We need more volunteer seed producers!!!

Me? I'm starting simple here, with you. You might have to endure a few caffienated rants so just bare with me. They'll be easy to spot. What do I have going on now? Try orange and green bell peppers, purple chinese noodle long beans, at least four varieties of eggplant and as many tomato, chives, 2 varieties of beets, winter squash as well as winter melon and tomatillos. God bless San Antonio's growing season!

Last edited: Sun Aug 30, 2009 7:27 pm

This blog entry has been viewed 302 times

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