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Friday, November 29, 2013

Warm Season Vegetables Varieties I've Had Good Luck With

Lettuce Leaf, Genovese,
Beans - drying
Black Turtle, Cannellini
Beans – Lima
Beans- snap
Roc d’Or, Romano, Royal Burgundy
Sweet Corn
Golden Bantam, Country Gentleman
Lemon, Mideast Prolific, Armenian
Diamond, Rosa Bianca
Clemson's Spineless, Red Burgandy
Peppers (Sweet)
Banana, Corno di Toro,
Peppers (Hot)
Ancho, Jalapeňo,
Sugar Pie,
Squash (Summer)
Black Beauty, Lebanese White, Yellow Crookneck,
Squash (Winter)
Acorn, Chiriman, Queensland Blue,
Brandywine, Golden Jubilee, Italian Gold, Orange Sungold, Northern Delight, Stupice, Sweet 100’s, Garden Peach, Persimmon and about a thousand others!

Plant from seed or buy transplants at a nursery of fun warm-season annual flowers like marigolds, cleome (watch the stickers!), cosmos, sunflowers and zinnias. These warm season flowers make cheerful bouquets. You can also grow everlasting flowers like statice and gomphrena. The widest selection of flowers and vegetables is available to those who start their own from seed and order by mail from the catalogs above and many, many others. 


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Introduction to Beekeeping

Bees LOVE broccoli flowers!
Today's lecture will be a tad bifurcated...  

We will be at The Learning Garden until 3:00 - with a little time for you to look at your gardens, there will be about a one hour lecture on beekeeping.  At 3:00 PM we will pack ourselves into vehicles and drive about a mile on a very brief field trip to see some occupied hives.  

If you are so late you miss us at the Garden, please call me for the address and directions to our field trip.

Why are bees important to us?
Pollination – 3 out of every 5 bites
Honey bees are not native to the Americas
Mason Orchard bee

Africanized Bees – African genes are spread throughout the population of all wild bees in the warmer portions of the US – however, these genes are not all bad... they can be more aggressive, but they are also harder workers and more productive – all bees can be aggressive

Colony Collapse Disorder - since 2006 or thereabouts Why?
Varroa mite
Industrial beekeeping
Shipping bees for pollinators
Or we just don't know...

Bee Losses from CCD
Future of the honey bee
Urban beekeeping

Introduction to practical beekeeping:

Equipment you need:

        Bee suit - covers your entire body except your hands
        Gloves - vented with sealable gauntlets 
        Veil - some have helmet inside; others you need a helmet with
I suggest purchasing these at LA Honey where you can try them on and get items that fit you. If I had purchased these items online, I would not have gotten the correct size.
Hive tool
Rags (some wet) (honey is sticky!)
Epi pen
Hive box(es) and frames
Couple of good books and a mentor


Los Angeles Honey Co
Address: 1559 Fishburn Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90063
Phone:(323) 264-2383


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Moroccan Spiced Chickpeas & Chard

As promised, at last!  

Chard should be in abundance right now and that often leads to 'chard overload,' how many times can you steam chard and hit it with lemon juice and still wolf it down with glee? I'm limited but this recipe never seems to fail to satisfy.

The ingredient list only looks daunting. Most of that list is simply a plethora of spices and you will find you already have a lot of them and need to use them up sooner rather than later. I have made this missing a spice here and there and missing raisins (don't make it without raisins if you can help it they really add a sweetness). It doesn't take long to make and the flavors run the gamut from sweet to savory and it is a delightful mélange. Serve with rice or quinoa for a satisfying vegetarian dinner.

• 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• ½ sweet onion, minced
• 1 teaspoon paprika (sweet or smoked according to preference)
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• ½ teaspoon turmeric
• ¼ teaspoon thyme
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
• ¼ cup golden raisins
• 1 tablespoon organic tomato paste
• 1 bunch chard (about 8 ounces) washed, center ribs removed, and chopped
• 1 cup cooked chickpeas plus 1 ¼ cups of their cooking liquid, or 1 can organic chickpeas with liquid plus ½ cup water
• 1 teaspoon hot sauce or ¼ teaspoon cayenne (optional)

Add the olive oil, onion, and garlic to a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or 3-4 quart pot, and turn the heat to medium. Allow to cook for about 5 minutes, then add the paprika, cumin, turmeric, thyme, salt, and cinnamon. Stir together and cook for a minute or two until fragrant. Add the remaining ingredients, cover, and turn the heat down to medium-low.

Be sure to stir every 3-5 minutes to ensure that the bottom does not burn and that your ingredients are evenly combined. You can add a tablespoon of rice flour if you like your stew thicker. Remove from the heat after 20 minutes. Serve with rice or quinoa.

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