A unique and viable approach to establishing local food self-reliance and building stronger communities.

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Free woodchips for our town!

Though our initial purpose for forming the Sharing Gardens was to provide free fruits and vegetables to food charities, we've always wanted our project to be helpful and relevant to other folks in our community who don't shop at the Food Pantry. This year we found a way.

A free wood-chip pick-up and drop-off site!

We share a large parking lot with the S. Benton Food Pantry which provides easy access both for the chip-trucks and neighbors with trailers to turn around in.

The Sharing Gardens shares a large parking lot with the Community Center/Food Pantry next door.

This program has benefits for everyone involved:
it saves the tree companies the time to drive an extra 25 miles to the closest municipal-scale composting facility, and the money they charge for yard-waste deposits ($70/load!). And our neighbors have a reliable source of free wood-chips at an easily accessible site.

Tree companies are able to easily drop off a load of wood chips and our neighbors also can get close for loading.

Sandra and Jenny help Jim load wood chips onto his trailer.
We hope the program can continue indefinitely!

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Crumb-Free, Whole-Grain Cornbread Recipe

Here is a recipe I developed over the years for a delicious, whole-grain corn-bread mix. I make it in bulk, pre-mixing all the dry ingredients so, if we want a loaf for breakfast or guests, or potlucks, it's a simple matter of adding the wet ingredients and popping it in the oven.

For best results, use all 'organic' ingredients. Most corn grown in the United States that is not-organic, is GM (genetically modified) and both corn and wheat, even if not GM is often grown with heavy pesticide use. "Organically grown" means: good for your health; good for the health of the planet!
We grow our own blue-corn for meal.

Corn Bread Mix (makes enough for about 13 loaves).

In a large bowl, measure and mix thoroughly:

3 cups All Purpose Flour
2.5 cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
2 cups Corn Flour
3/4 cup Yellow Corn Meal
3/4 cup Blue Corn Meal

Mix all the flours and meals together thoroughly. I like to use my hands!

In a smaller bowl, measure and mix thoroughly:

2.5 cups Brown Sugar
3/4 cup Coconut Flour
1/2 cup Baking Powder
2.5 teaspoons Salt
1.5 cups Ground-Seed Mix (1/3 cup Poppy seeds, 1/3 cup Chia seeds, 2/3 cups (and a bit) of Flax seeds - See note below.)

Mix  the two bowls of dry ingredients together. Take extra-care to be very thorough in this mixing process, otherwise you may have some loaves that don't have enough baking powder to rise well, or a loaf might be too salty (or not salty enough). Store in an airtight container, in a cool place out of direct sunlight. Corn products are especially susceptible to rancidity.

Recipe uses a 7.5" x 4" mini-bread pan

Recipe for Individual Loaves: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil 7.5 " x 4" mini-bread pan (see picture).

  • Measure wet ingredients, whip briskly - thoroughly mixing. For best results, bring wet ingredients to room temperature.
  • Add dried fruit/nuts, or savory ingredients (see notes below). Mix well.
  • Add bread-mix. Gently fold together so all flours are moistened. Don't over-mix because the baking powder works by creating air-bubbles. Mixing too briskly causes them all to pop, making a flat loaf.
  • Let batter stand in bread-pan for five minutes before putting into pre-heated oven so baking powder can begin to rise.
  • Bake for 30-35 min. (till top is brown and toothpick inserted comes out dry).
Wet ingredients:
2 eggs
1/3 cup not-milk (soy, almond, oat milk...)
1 tablespoon light oil - we use sunflower or safflower as they don't have strong flavors

Fruits/Nuts etc.
1/4 - 1/2 cup - This recipe is nice because it can be made sweet or savory depending on what meal it's accompanying. Be creative! (See variation-notes below).

Dry mix:
1 cup


Blue Corn Meal: Blue corn meal is higher in protein than yellow corn meal (by as much as 30%). We like to grow and grind our own - LINK.
Coconut Flour: We recently discovered coconut flour and love using it for many purposes: we sprinkle about a tablespoon on our bowls of hot cereal, we use it in pie crusts and sometimes use it to thicken smoothies. Important: if you experiment with substituting it for regular flours, it is highly fibrous so use it in place of an other whole grain at a rate of 3/4:1 (if receipe calls for 1 cup WW flour, use 3/4 cup coconut flour instead).
Baking Powder: Baking powder, especially if exposed to air and moisture will lose its potency over time. So, don't buy more than you can use in 6-9 months and store it in an air-tight container.
Ground seeds: Using a 2-cup measuring cup, fill to 2/3 cup with chia and poppy and then top it off with flax-seeds up to 1.5 cups. Grind the mixture of seeds using an electric coffee-grinder that is dedicated to non-coffee grinding-- or cleaned very well.


Here are some of our favorite sweet combos:
  • Banana/dried date-pieces/walnuts 
  • Dried apricot pieces/date pieces/dried lemon peel (soak well in wet ingredients for 30 min.)
  • Raisins/sunflower seeds, 
OR savory options:
  • chopped red-peppers/green onions/small cubes of cheese. 
Pancakes - thin the batter with a splash of soy-milk, milk or water. Great with homemade apple butter, yogurt and honey or your own favorite topping!
Thin the batter for pancakes and add your favorite toppings.
The Sharing Gardens is a registered non-profit and tax-exempt organization. We exist entirely through donations. If you have found benefit from our project or our site, please consider making a small donation through PayPal. (Click button below.)

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Making Pumpkin Pie from Scratch - Recipe

Sugar-pie pumpkins; a variety bred for sweet, smooth flesh.

(This is re-posted from October 2020) Making pumpkin pie from scratch is truly a labor of love! How much easier it is just to open a can of puree. In the spirit of the slow food movement, we start making our pies back in April when we first plant the seeds! The small vines are transplanted into mounds of compost we've made ourselves, mulched, watered and weeded through the summer and harvested by the hundreds of pounds after they get their first kiss of frost.

This year, because of the tremendously hot and dry summer, almost all our winter-squash (the types we use to make pie-filling) finished ripening well before the first frost so we harvested them anyway. They're not as sweet as when they've been frosted but every bit as nutritious.

Provence, Buttercups and Sweetmeats.
When you're planning your garden for next season, consider sketching out enough space for plenty of winter-squash. Winter squash are the varieties that have a harder skin and store well for enjoyment all through the winter.  "Pumpkins" are just a variety of the larger category of "squash". Pumpkin pie filling can be made from sugar-pie pumpkins, or any kind of sweet, golden-meat type of squash. Delicata, Buttercup and Sweetmeat are all good varieties. If you don't have room in your garden next year, look for these varieties at your local market. Sometimes we combine two types of squash/pumpkin to make one batch of filling. Jack-o-lantern pumpkins are not good to use as they are not bred for sweetness and the meat can be quite stringy. Our current favorite is the Provence pumpkin, an heirloom variety that has the sweetest meat we’ve found. It tends to grow quite large so it provides filling for many pies but, because they tend to be so big, they're not often grown commercially (most people can't use that much squash before it goes bad) so, if you want a Provence, you'll probably have to grow your own.

We make many batches of filling at once and freeze them. If you’re going to mess up the kitchen, you might as well make it worth it! Be sure you have plenty of all the ingredients you’ll need on hand. Or, you can also bake the squash and freeze it in 2-cup batches plain, using it much like you'd use a can of store-bought puree.

To bake the squash: 
The Provence is one of our favorites for pie.
Preheat oven to 400
Wash pumpkin/squash and dry skin 
Cut it open: Use a stout, sharp knife on a table or counter low enough that you can use the weight of your upper body to quarter the squash.  Doing it on the floor might even be easiest. 

Use a strong metal spoon to scrape out seeds and loose pulp/strings. You can put the seeds and pulp outside to feed birds and squirrels or separate the seeds, oil, salt and bake them. You probably won't want to save the seeds for planting, unless you're certain that they haven't "crossed" with other varieties. 

Cut into smaller pieces: Though it can be quite a challenge to cut these large, winter squash into smaller pieces for baking, you’ll be rewarded with a much shorter cooking time.

Orange, sweet flesh, yum!!
Place squash with skin facing down in a baking pan that has sides that are at least a two-inches deep. Many squash give off quite a lot of juice and can make a mess in your oven if the juice spills over the side of the pan. A roasting pan is ideal.

Bake squash/pumpkin for one hour, or until a fork pokes easily, deep into the flesh.

Once done, allow to cool. If you’ve chosen one of the juicier squashes, you’ll have best results by putting the pieces in a large colander over a bowl to drain any excess juice. The juice makes a delicious soup stock. I used to peel off the skins but found that they can be food-processed and taste just fine.

If you baked more squash than you’re prepared to deal with, you can freeze it and thaw to make filling at a later time. Freeze in 2-cup batches.

Sydney w/ a Provence

Yummy Natural Pumpkin Pie Filling 
YIELD: Filling for one, 9” pie.
Preheat oven to 365

In a food processor (a blender will not work), combine:

2 eggs (sorry, we haven't perfected a vegan version yet...)
2 cups squash/pumpkin

2/3 cup brown sugar
2 TBSP powdered milk (or soy protein powder*)
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp salt

½ cup soy milk, cow’s milk, almond or coconut milk

Begin with eggs, alone. Mix thoroughly.
Add squash. Puree till smooth. Check to be sure there are no pumpkin lumps.
Add milk and all dry ingredients making an effort to distribute spices evenly. Mix in well.

* (not soy-flour).

Pour into your favorite pie shell and bake in preheated oven for 1 hour at 375 or until the pie is golden-brown, the middle is reasonably firm (it will get firmer as it cools) and before the crust gets too brown. Cool on wire rack before eating. Cover and chill to store.

To freeze filling for later:

Combine everything except the eggs. Make one batch at a time. Each batch is a little less than a quart so you can put it in your favorite freezer-containers. We use qt-size plastic zip-lock bags. Label them with blue, painter’s masking tape (it won’t come off in the freezer and you can peel it off after you empty the bag, wash the bag and re-use it.) I always write a reminder on the label to add two eggs. Lay the bags flat and you can easily stack many of them in your freezer.

When you want to make a pie, thaw the filling, add the eggs and use a blender, a mixer or food processor to mix it all well. By mixing in the eggs right before baking, you’ll have a fluffier, more pudding-like pie. Bake as above.

If you run out of any ingredients, before you've used up your squash, just freeze bags of the plain squash puree' and add the other ingredients right before baking. Freeze in 2-cup batches so you can thaw them, one pie at a time.

James and Jaye holding Buttercups; a drier, sweet, golden squash.

Flaky Rolled Pie Crust – YIELD: Two 9” pies without top shells

1 ¼  cups unbleached pastry flour
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup sunflower oil (chilled is best)
1/3 cup ice water

Mix the flours and salt. Pour the oil and water into a cup but don’t stir. Mix with the flour. Press into a ball. Cut into halves. Place between two sheets of 12-inch waxed paper. Dampen a tabletop to prevent slipping. Roll out until the circle of dough reaches the edge of the paper. Peel off top paper and place the crust face down in a pie tin. Peel off the other paper and fit dough into tin. Freeze extra pie crust, in a pie-tin, in a plastic bag for later use.

Llyn, with Sugar-pie pumpkins.

The Sharing Gardens is a non-profit and tax-exempt organization. We exist entirely through donations. If you have found benefit from our project or our site, please consider making a donation through PayPal. (Click button below.)

Monday, October 3, 2022

How to Harvest and Process Dried beans

Jim and Cindy with Kidney beans.
It's possible to grow enough beans to dry and store for one's winter use. It helps to grow food in the Sharing Gardens model though, so you have plenty of help with the processing. We've been able to grow enough Scarlet Runner beans and Kidney beans over the last several years (since 2019) to supply all the beans that the two of us need for a year (Llyn and Chris) and have enough to share with the people who help with the gardens.

Here's the process we use for processing Scarlet Runner Beans:

To grow beans for winter storage or to save seed for future plantings they should be left on the vines to ripen as long as possible. Don't pick the pods until they are evenly tan and dry. If picked too green, beans won't be viable as seeds and they won't store well.  They won't ripen more after  you pick them and so pick only the ripest, fullest bean-pods. Bean pods should be brown and mostly dry to the touch.  
Once the frost hits, beans won't ripen any more. If there are any ripe pods left, we pull them off the vines and continue to dry them in baskets above our wood-stove till the shells are crisply dry. This prevents them from molding while in storage and, the drier the pod, the easier it is to shell. If there are any beans that you're not sure if they are fully ripe, use them first as they won't store as well as fully cured beans. Discard any beans that are obviously unripe.
Here, Adri and Grandpa Jim shell scarlet runner beans. If you are saving dry beans (for winter storage or seed) leave them on the vine till their shells turn tan and dry. This assures the beans are fully ripe and will make shelling easier.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Family Heirlooms - Saving Your Own Seed

Llyn, with a variety of bean seeds
In the Sharing Gardens we probably save about 80 - 90% of our own seeds. It really isn't that difficult to do and it is very gratifying to experience this deeper level of "local food self-reliance". If you have a garden plot that is separated from other gardens by at least 500 feet (to prevent unwanted cross-pollination) you can save your own seed. Even if there are other gardens nearby, there are many crops you can grow that will not cross (tomatoes, beans and onions, for example) so don't let that stop you.

There are many good reasons to save your own seed:
  • It will be more adapted to your local growing-conditions
  • You can "select" for certain qualities/characteristics (early ripening, sweetness, cold-tolerance etc)
  • The flowering plants provide food for pollinators
  • You have better control over the quality of your seed
  • You are not as dependent on supplies being available from outside sources
  • It's fun!
Chris, winnowing lettuce-seed.
Always start with Heirloom (or "open-pollinated") seed. "Hybrid" seed is developed in a carefully controlled environment that crosses unique qualities between parent-plants to yield consistent, specific results (like early-ripening "Early Girl" tomatoes). If you save seed from a hybrid plant, it is likely that it will revert back to one, or the other's parent-qualities and not give you the desired outcome. Many seed-companies will label their packets, or inform you in their catalog descriptions so you know what you are starting with;  or you can do an on-line search and have your "shopping list" handy next time you pick out seeds, or starts. Of course, once you start saving your own, you always know you've got "heirloom" seed.

Some plants easily cross-pollinate with other plants of the same family (see below). It is difficult to control the outcome of these crosses and, you won't know the results until you grow out the seed the following year. For example, many gardeners have had the experience of having a squash seed germinate in their compost pile, grow to gigantic proportions and discover at harvest time that their "zucchini" is funny shaped, or has a woody skin or poor flavor. These variations are due to cross-pollination. Peppers also cross easily so, if you grow hot- and sweet-peppers close to each other, the seed you save may either have "sweetened" your hot peppers, or "heated" up the sweet.
    Sometimes these crosses are beneficial, creating a variety that is an improvement over either of its "parents" but beneficial "crosses" are rare. Often (unless you know what you're doing) you'll end up with something that isn't quite as good as either of its parents.

    Squash-blossom with bees.
    Examples of plants that easily cross-pollinate:
    • Squash - with other squashes (some varieties won't cross with each other but for specifics, do more research HERE)
    • Cucumbers - with other varieties of cukes
    • Melons - with other varieties of melons
    • Peppers - with other peppers
    • Lettuce - with other lettuce
    • Broccoli/Cabbage/Kale/Cauliflower - with each other
    • Chard/Beets - with each other
    If you wish to save seed from the plants listed above you either need to learn which varieties cross and keep them far away from each other when they're going to seed, or grow them on alternate years.

    Some plants won't easily cross, even with other plants in the same family. Tomatoes are a good example: you can grow two, five or ten varieties in close proximity with each other and the seed you save will almost always have the same characteristics as the plant you picked it from. On rare occasions we've had tomatoes that were a 'cross' from two varieties of plants we grew the year before. (Though we haven't experienced it ourselves, we've heard that 'potato-leaf' varieties such as Stupice or Brandywine are especially susceptible to crossing.)

    Brandywine Heirloom tomatoes
    Examples of plants that won't easily cross-pollinate:
    • Tomatoes
    • Beans
    • Peas
    • Onion family (includes garlic, shallots, leeks)

    Can my garden seed cross with "weed" seed? Yes! There are wild relatives of domestic vegetables that, if flowering at the same time, can 'cross' making your seed produce fruit that is woody, or bitter or has other undesirable characteristics. Learn to identify your local weeds (especially if there are big, open fields of them nearby). Consult expert sources to learn of techniques to avoid this problem (i.e. hand pollinating, bagging the flowers, timing your bloom to avoid the wild varieties' blooming. etc). Examples: Wild lettuce can cross with domestic lettuce; Queen Anne's Lace is a wild variety of carrot.

    Dustin saving sunflower seed
    Can I "save seed" from produce I buy from the store? Sometimes, but not always. Tomatoes are often hybridized (and being "organic" does not mean they grew it from heirloom-seed). Melons are often from hybrid seed, and they may have been grown in a field next to other melons that they could have crossed with (true with squash as well). On the other hand, we have gotten excellent bean seeds at the bulk-food section of the grocery, and grown fantastic sunflowers from bulk-seed (raw and unsalted, and still in the shell -- of course.) See the article below, if you want to grow potatoes from grocery-store "seed".

    This post just covers some of the most basic aspects of seed-saving. For more detailed info, read our posts below and/or consult other sources through books or the internet.

    Please leave us comments about your own experiences of saving seed below. It's great when we can all learn from each other!

    Here are several posts we've written that include information on saving seed: (click on the bolded text.)

    Tomato Seeds: Tomatoes are a good plant to start with if you're learning to save seed. As long as you know that the plant you're saving from is not hybrid (see above) you are bound to be successful!

    Lettuce: Just be sure you save seed from only one variety of lettuce at a time (it crosses easily if plants are closer than 50-feet apart). With one plant you can save enough seed to keep you, and your whole neighborhood (!) supplied with seed for several seasons to come.

    Peas: are easy (if you can restrain yourself from picking every last ripe pea-pod <smile>). Be sure to follow the instructions in the post and, once the seed is fully ripened and dry, freeze the seed to prevent pea-weevil larvae from ruining your batch.

    Scarlet Runner Beans: Beautiful red blossoms, big seeds (easy to harvest and dry) and the most delicious bean we know of...what's not to like!

    Potatoes: If you're already growing potatoes, saving seed is as simple as sorting out the smaller egg-sized ones and storing them till next season. You can also find seed-potatoes in the organic section of your grocer's in the spring.

    Saving your own seed is only one of the many benefits of a sharing-type garden (one big garden, instead of many separate plots). To read about how a sharing garden works, and many of its other benefits, CLICK HERE- Overview of the Sharing Gardens).

    Ismael trimming dill seed-heads; lettuce going to seed in lower-left corner.

    The Sharing Gardens is a registered non-profit and tax-exempt organization. We exist entirely through donations. If you have found benefit from our project or our site, please consider making a small donation through PayPal. (Click button below.)

    Thursday, September 1, 2022

    Re-Purposing Things

    (Re-posted from 2011) Most people have heard of the terms: Reduce, Re-use and Recycle. I just heard of a new term for something I've been doing for years and that is to "Re-Purpose". This means that you find a new purpose for things than they were originally intended, thereby keeping them out of the waste stream. Gardens provide fantastic opportunities for re-purposing. Below are some pictures of some of our re-purposed items.

    Seedling starts in tofu containers. We drill holes in the bottom for drainage.

    Cut a hook-shape off the ends of plastic coat-hangers. These make great hooks to keep soaker-hoses in-place.

    Twist-ties have hundreds of uses in the garden. Here we are fashioning a pole-bean trellis out of bamboo.

    Here in the country, bailing twine is plentiful. We clip the bails close to the knots and then tie the twine end-to-end and wrap it around pvc-pipe for use in staking out rows etc. (A great rainy-day project or when it's too hot to be in the garden and you need an excuse to sit in the shade for a bit.)

    Lastly, ever wonder what to use empty soy-milk containers for? We rinse them out really well, and pull them out flat (open up the folded corners and they flatten easily). You can cut them with scissors or, if you have access to a chop-saw, you can cut the ends off ten or more at-a-time.

    When we first transplant young seedlings of lettuce or kale or any tender, young plants that are susceptible to cut-worms, slugs, bunnies or intense weather, we use the containers as a collar around the plant.

    Check carefully to remove any slugs or unwanted bugs from around the base of the plant. Also pull away any clods of dirt or leaves they may be hiding under (you don't want to trap the pests in with your tender seedlings!) Open the container and  slip it around the plant and pin it in place with slender stakes, bamboo branches or some other narrow sticks at two corners. Make sure the collar comes in contact with the soil to keep insects from crawling underneath.  This technique also provides a micro-climate for your seedlings, protecting them from high winds. The foil liner of the containers reflect sunlight so the plants receive plenty of sun while they're small.

    Soon they'll be peaking over the top and you can gently slip the collar off. Milk cartons work too. Milk cartons are also excellent to save for freezing applesauce and other liquid/semi-liquid foods. Because of their shape they are a very efficient use of freezer-space.

    We'd love to see and share your ideas. Send us a photo and a short description and we'll share your ideas with others through our website. Just drop us an email: ShareInJoy@gmail.com -- Our website is http://www.TheSharingGardens.blogspot.com/

    Below is a link to an interesting article about a guy who gave me the idea for the term: re-purposing. He has built a sail-boat out of soda and water-bottles (called "Plastiki"). He's using it to bring awareness to the environmental problems posed by single-use plastic bottles.

    Sunday, June 19, 2022

    Be the one who, when you walk in,
    Blessing shifts to the one who needs it most.
    Even if you've not been fed,
    Be bread.
    --  Jelaladdin Rumi 

    This post has photo-highlights from the past month and LINKS to many timely Posts (below).

    Hello everyone, being a gardener helps one tune into weather-changes and the rhythms of the seasons on a much more acute level. The Pacific NW, where we live has been experiencing the profound and ongoing effects of a La Nina year. For us, this means cooler temps and lots more rain. And, while we're grateful that we're not experiencing the record-breaking heat waves of Summer-2021 (our local thermometer reached 109 F at the end of June!) - having SO much rain presents its own challenges. We've had several perennial plants die as their roots drowned (forsythia, lilac and Gogi berries). Grass is growing like crazy, which is wonderful for mulching but sometimes the grass grows so fast between mowings that we have to cut it without bagging it and come back later to collect the clippings when they've dried out a bit, otherwise they just clog the mower. And, having to run the mower twice over the same ground to cut and bag the grass uses twice as much gas!

    We are so very grateful for our greenhouses which have allowed us to plant and harvest significant quantities of beets, lettuce, carrots and other cool-weather crops, in spite of the rains outside. All the plants are looking marvelous! The next ten days show a warming trend with little rain so everything planted outside should really begin to grow with summer-vigor!

    Garden Gallery: 

    The majority of our harvests are feeding our wonderful share-givers (volunteers) and ourselves and being donated to the Stone Soup Kitchen in Corvallis that prepares and serves/distributes 300-400 meals per month. We're donating much less to the South Benton Food Pantry this year for two reasons. One is that we've cut back on how much food we're growing and secondly, the Pantry is now blessed to be receiving donations from many new sources that weren't in place when we started our charity in 2009. Local growers contribute their surplus, and the warehouse serving the Pantry (Linn/Benton Food Share) is contracting with local farmers to grow produce too. We are happy to see how much more produce the Pantry is serving, and how much more interest the participants have in receiving it.

    Garden's Progress: We don't have a lot of great pictures from this past month. When skies are overcast, and share-givers are bundled in sweatshirts and rain coats, it doesn't create a very photogenic scene! But here are a few pics to give you an idea of what we've been up to:

    Llyn, in the rain, spreading straw for the cucumber patch.

    Here's Chris making piles of coffee grounds and wood-ash in preparation for our 20 cucumber plants.

    And here's Chris distributing compost and ashes for our corn patch.

    That bright green patch in the center is all carrot plants. We estimate that it yielded over forty pounds!

    Chris, Sandra and Jenny planting potatoes on a dry day. We have three, 50' rows of potatoes planted and we just hope that they haven't drowned like the first 150' of potatoes we planted back in April.

    Suzanne, loading buckets of wood chips to spread around our orchard-trees to minimize weeds and keep the moisture constant through the summer.

    Now, doesn't that look nice!

    M.R. Tree is still bringing wood-chips as fast as our neighbors can haul them away for mulching projects of their own. Come and get 'em!

    Come and get 'em!

    Chris, transplanting lettuce seedlings.

    Cindy, in the carrot patch
    We received a wonderful donation of leaf mold (composted leaves) from our friend, Lua who runs extensive garden programs at two different schools near Corvallis.

    Lua, unloading leaf mold (donated by Sunbow Farms/Harry McCormack).

    ...and the truck-load of 'starts' we sent back with her for her students.

    LINKS to Timely Posts:

    If you live in the local area and have a well, please come to this Free Well-Water Nitrate Screening on Sat. June 25 from 9:30 to 1:00. Bring 1/2 cup of unfiltered well-water. Testing takes approx. 10-minutes.

    Originally published early in the pandemic, this post continues to be relevant for those who are attempting to grow more of their own food. Locally Sustainable Gardening in the Face of Supply-Chain Shortages.

    Beautiful, sweet, nutrient-dense carrots from this year.

    We found this next article to be well-written, informative and accurate (in our experience). If your garden-plants are suffering from nutrient deficiencies, they won't produce as well and they will be more subject to the ravages of pests. Also, if nutrients are missing for your plants, they will be missing in your diet as well.  Are Nutrient Deficiencies Ruining Your Garden?  By Amy Allen

    Here is a recipe that we've developed for Delicious Tofu Crumble: a great, plant-based alternative to ground beef or sausage in recipes such as chili, or as a pizza, or salad topping. Enjoy!

    Tofu Crumble makes a wonderful plant-based pizza topping.

    And, though the window is closing on planting the following two crops: Scarlet Runner beans and Hooker's Blue Corn, there's probably just enough time if you live further south than us, or the killing frosts in our area, hold off next Fall. As Chris is fond of saying: "It's always best to plant for all contingencies!" (That way, if one crop fails, you have other crops to fill in their place.)

    Grow Your Own Protein - Scarlet Runner Beans: For several years, Chris and I have been able to grow a year's worth of beans for us, and have enough surplus to share with others in our gardening community.

    How to build a Bean Tipi/Teepee...and grow beans for winter-storage

    By purchasing a heavy-duty grain mill several years ago, we've been able to grow enough corn (both blue and yellow) and two kids of sorghum that we dry and grind and use in baked goods and in a nutritious, hot breakfast cereal. Grow Your Own 'Blue Corn'

    One beautiful side benefit of a rainy spring are some beautiful skies at sunset when the sun just peeks through from the west:

    Sunset at the Sharing Gardens, May 2022.
    And lastly...here's a