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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Celebrating winter with a new microgreen bounty and upcoming updated version of GROWING MICROGREENS STEP BY STEP

I am feeling inspired by the wonderful, enthusiastic reception of my recent microgreen students.
I hope that some of my former students and folks who have read my blog etc. are growing some winter greens.

There will be an updated kindle version of GROWING MICROGREENS STEP BY STEP within a few weeks and right after, the paperback version will be updated. 

Both will offer a simplified growing method for germinating and growing most greens in soil and a hydroponic method for all my apartment dweller friends or those who don't want to use soil. 

I have ordered some spicier seeds and can't wait to start growing them. Which ones have you tried and recommend? I also ordered bull's blood beets as they have been highly recommended as producing the tastiest beet greens.

While I wait for my seeds, here is what is growing in my indoor garden in Colorado:

                                     mature  shoot peas and tatsoi I uncovered this morning

more shoot peas on their way

sunflower greens coming up aplenty

Have any of you tried and liked rambo radish or another spicy microgreens?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Holiday Gift of a Microgreen Starter Kit

For those of you in Delta County Colorado or nearby, I offer a kit to get you started on your winter garden.

The kit includes my book: GROWING MICROGREENS STEP BY STEP, two heavy duty planting trays and a solid tray to catch water drips. Also included for local folks, will be soil, two types of organic seeds and a few little accessories to assist with your start up (or that of another recipient).

If you are purchasing a kit that you will mail, the kit can be tailored to fit your desires. The total includes my cost, shipping to me and a minimal fee

Cost per kit is    $29.95 Shipping is additional.

If you are in the area and just want to attend a class this winter with a start up kit, send me an e-mail and I will let you know where and when the next class will be scheduled.





Microgreens and Micro Organisms and how they can help us all

Recently David Roslin and I combined our efforts to present a workshop together. In this huge time of change for so many people, it is important that we come together as family, friends, community and make the best of what is available.

David shared how by using what you have on hand, you can create lactobacillus to feed and break down compostible materials in your garden, in your chicken pen and more. We just touched the surface of possibilities. David will continue to share more as he gains new knowledge that will benefit all of us and Mother Earth.

I showed folks how to plant the simplest of microgreens in the brassica family without soaking or sprouting. If you haven't started already, plant your winter garden and have fresh, lush greens in 7-10 days...most without soaking. My experience this summer and fall have proven that most seeds germinate easily in the right environment.

In my next post I will offer a holiday gift pack for folks new to microgreens.

During the workshop, I also took time to share about "Heaven on Earth experences" and asked participants to remember their H on E experiences and then with their "magic wand" to consider what they might create in our lovely mountain town of Paonia. Miners have been laid off from work and harvest is ending...so many folks are challenged as we head into winter. As I see the beauty of this valley and all the kind people striving to come together, I want to share my vision of Heaven of Earth and ask you, the reader, to find yours and strive to create one simply as you approach each new day.
"Heaven on Earth is creating food sustainability by nurturing the soil of our earthly Garden everyday with love and seeing us all as part of the same village co-creating together.” 

Whoever is elected on this election day, we all must strive to create a healthy world together. What can we each do...one small action to make this happen?

Hope you are enjoying a beautiful day and feeling support from those around you.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Fall on the Western Slope in Colorado....Preparing for Winter

Winter seems to be coming one day and then we have lovely 70+ degree weather the next. Unfortunately, most gardens have been hit by a hungry group of grass hoppers so as much as I don't want to see this lovely weather go along with my outdoor garden, I am eager for a couple of good frosts to end the grasshopper attack in hopes that my kale and tatsoi will survive and thrive into winter.

So with my indoor garden, I have started kale, tatsoi and am allowing some to grow into larger plants and just planted seeds of broccoli, purple kohlrabi, beets,  kale and sunflowers. My friend, David Roslin, and I are hosting a couple of workshops on Bokashi composting and Microgreens in a couple of weeks.

Have any of you tried Bokashi composting? Living in the woods where bears and other hungry critters would love to explore a compost pile, the fermenting process in the Bokashi method makes the vegetable matter less appealing. I will share more about this wonderful and easy method in the next blog.

For now, I just want to share that I have successfully growing a number of brassica microgreens (which I normally soak for 8 hours and sprout) without soaking or sprouting. Pictures will be forthcoming of my second crops once they take off.

Remember you don't need direct sunlight for microgreens. The only ones that really seem to like it direct are sunflowers. I have been planting many more sunflower seeds successfully in a small tray (5.31 x 14.5" x almost 3" high) about 1/3 cup and getting great germination. I am planting my broccoli and other small microgreens smaller apart which is easier with them being dry...about 1/2 teaspoon dry in the same size tray. Then I transplant some into a larger tray (see below) and am growing them to be much larger...with a little liquid seaweed fertilizer once they are a couple of weeks old.

They are all on a three level rack(see below) which makes it easy to water on the solid trays (also from GreenhouseMegastore.com).




Here are a couple of pics from the Western Slope of CO: Black Canyon and McClure Pass



Happy Fall to all!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Buckwheat as a microgreen,support for garden pests, attractor of beneficial insects, and soil enrichment

Wow, if you haven't grown buckwheat as a microgreen or as a cover crop or pest deterrent, check out this article and look forward to many benefits of this valuable plant.
This is an excerpt from a much more comprehensive view of buckwheat:  http://www.growveg.com/growblogpost.aspx?id=184

Battling Bugs with Buckwheat

Buckwheat flowers attract honeybees and other pollinators with theirmorning nectar flow, but they also support healthy populations of smaller beneficial insects. Mounting evidence suggests that blooming buckwheat give a significant boost to important beneficial species, particularly hoverflies (properly known as Syrphid flies but commonly called hoverflies because of their seemingly effortless ability to hover). On both sides of the Atlantic, researchers are finding that growing buckwheat nearby can deter pests of potato, broccoli, green beans, and other vegetable crops, in part by providing abundant food for female hoverflies. Most hoverfly larvae are too small to see without a magnifying glass, but they are voracious predators of aphids and other small, soft-bodied insects.
Organic growers who use buckwheat as a primary pest-prevention strategy have found that it’s important to grow buckwheat within about 20 feet (6 meters) of crop plants, which is easily done in a garden. Upright yet spindly, buckwheat plants have such shallow roots that they are easy to pull up with the flick of a wrist. A few buckwheat seeds sown among potatoes are known to confuse potential pests, and a broad band of buckwheat makes a fine beneficial backdrop for strawberries. Throughout the summer, I sow buckwheat in any spot bigger than a dinner plate that won’t be planted for a few weeks. With good weather, buckwheat can go from seed to bloom in a little over a month.

Here are my two uses: as a microgreen..and as a cover crop and support for my raised bed garden.
The microgreens are easy to grow and are pretty hearty in size and very mild in taste.
 As some of you heard, I didn't plant my garden until late July (except for buckwheat cover crop). So I have a rich crop of buckwheat nourishing my soil (which was rather depleted). I removed a lot of it today as you may be able to see in the last photo.

I am hoping to harvest a few green beans, beets, tatsoi, kale, spinach, lettuce etc. and maybe a cauliflower.
What are you growing in your garden?

Friday, August 15, 2014

Summer Learning in Colorado mountains and delicious ways to enjoy your microgreens

Well, we are back from our travels, and our neighbors: mama and baby bears have moved on. My fall garden is planted and happily accepting transplanted microgreens of tatsoi and kale. My cover crop of buckwheat (which I planted in June) came back to life after our return with regular watering, and hopefully will improve our clay soil. Today I'll share microgreens and soon I'll takes some pics of the outdoor raised bed garden.

I promised to share sunflower greens, pea shoots, buckwheat, kale and tatsoi with a friend. So, I planted a whole small tray of each. This dry climate slows down sunflowers a bit, but the rest are thriving. Also I found that my last harvest of sunflowers looked a bit scraggly, so I gave everything a shot of seaweed fertilizer. I think it was worth doing as the sunflowers really improved and have good sturdy stalks. Everyone else appreciated one dose of diluted liquid seaweed fertilizer from our local organic gardening store.

I am starting an experiment with my next planting. I love microgreens...yet I do want larger broccoli, kale and tatsoi. So I planted my smallest tray with about 8-10 tatsoi and will plant maybe 20 broccoli tomorrow in another small tray. As my beautiful plants grow to a healthy 2-3 inches tall when I transplant them, why not get that first growth and use less seeds initially?

What are you planting inside or out this summer?

Here are some pics from my current crop: a jungle of shoot peas, buckwheat greens, tatsoi and kale.



So what do I do with these beauties: first I make a smoothie with:
1/2 c. coconut milk (I use Edward's Coconut cream from Vitacost or locally)
1/2-1 banana (or avocado)
1/3 c. blueberries (and one piece of fruit i.e. peach)
1 cup of microgreens
1 tsp peeled fresh  or less of ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
optional: hempseed, chia seed, goji berries

Depending on how thick you like it, you can add ice or more liquid. I also will put in 1-2Tb. cacao powder and 2 Tb. sweetener for a change sometimes.

Later, I have my new favorite salad topped with microgreens. It comes from Danielle Walker's cookbook:
Against All Grains.

Essentially it is a cole slaw with various cabbage, julienned carrots, steamed broccoli, sweet peppers and fresh basil. I make a double recipe (about 4+ cups of vegs) and double dressing and let it flavor the vegs for half an hour before diving in and topping it with microgreens. Danielle also includes a fresh mango in her version.

The dressing is awesome:

Thai ”Peanut” Vinaigrette
1 ½ Tb. Almond butter
1 ½ Tb. Cilantro (I usually put in basil instead since we both love it)
1 Tb. Coconut aminos or soy sauce
1 Tb. Apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 inch piece ginger, peeled and grated
1/4 tsp. sea salt
¼ c. melted coconut oil
Place all ingredients, except oil, in blender or small food processor. Blend until smooth.
With machine on, slowly drizzle in the oil in a steady stream. Continue until all emulsified.

Note: I use less oil than it says and sometimes add a little more salt, ginger, vinegar and basil to pick up the flavors further.

Enjoy...more ideas to come....


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Summer is here

With our weather in the mid to high 80's, we seem to have had a very brief spring though the night temperature dropped 59 degrees! Mountain living is wonderful at this time of year.
I want to share a couple of sunsets from our mountain retreat(winter followed by spring sunset) followed by a couple of new plantings and some info on growing microgreens in this dry climate.


Here are a couple of our neighbors..........
 I planted this mizuna dry and covered it well in its bed of well moistened soil and topped it with a damp paper towel and an inverted tray. In just 3 days ...in this very dry climate, it was poking up through the soil.
Microgreens need to be watered at least twice a day and sometimes three times each day until they germinate.
And below is buckwheat lettuce...very mild and pleasant. (And a great cover crop for your garden). This is soaked overnight, sprouted a couple of days (it is quick in this dry climate) and only took about five days to be ready to eat at this warm time of year.


Enjoy and please let me know if I can be of assistance. We all need to grow some of our food year round, and this takes a few minutes a day. The greens can be cut and stored for about 7 days.








Sunday, June 1, 2014

Happy June! Greetings from the Garden

We are finally feeling that spring is here to stay. Actually, it is feeling like summer this week.. As you will see in my photos, while I am still growing microgreens, I am also experimenting in my mini greenhouse until later in the summer when we will plant raised beds with fencing to protect from the deer etc.

A friend is also teaching me how to do Bokashi composting...something you start inside with effective microorganisms used to begin breaking down the ingredients. Have any of you tried it?

What are you growing inside or out? Hope you are enjoying the opportunity to grow something for your spirit and your stomach. The tatsoi and kale were started as microgreens and transplanted with a feeding of seaweed fertiizer.

We are also going to grow swamp milkweed for our monarch butterflies. Is anyone growing particular flowers for the butterflies and any other pollinators?

Here is kale from microgreens .

Here is my own salad ready to harvest: deer tongue lettuce and spinach.


In the foreground is tatsoi transplanted from my microgreens.


 This is our mini greenhouse to  fend off the deer and protect tender plants from many freezing nights we have had this spring.
I have been teaching some folks how to grow microgreens...great way to have your greens if you don't want a garden in the ground. Protect your greens from deer and birds if they are outside ...I use netting when they come out on a table.


May you find peace inside and out as we move into summer.

My book is still available on Amazon. Here is the link Growing Microgreens Step by Step

 And drop me a note if I can help or answer questions: gaiacreations@live.com or on facebook at Gaiascreations.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

HAPPY SPRING and COME TO MY MICROGREEN CLASS IN PAONIA CO

Hope you are enjoy the spring days as well as the blustery ones. We are staying ready for snow or spring. What are you growing inside or out?

Due to the 5-7 deer who visit daily, we are not planting an outdoor garden yet. When we put up a seven foot fence, we will be ready to go.

This is some yummy tatsoi which are thriving in our little house. You can plant tatsoi dry, and in a few days, the seeds will have rooted and be looking for the sun. Tatsoi is a mild mustard which has a spoon shape. It is lovely at all stages and delicious. Broccoli is coming next and then maybe I will celebrate spring with some sunflower greens.



And here are a couple of our neighbors. Look this way guys....
My next microgreen class will be on Sunday, April 6th at 1PM at the
Trading Post,  15495 Black Bridge Road in Paonia, CO. Cost $15 or a trade may be possible. Contact me at gaiascreations@live.com if you are interested.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Thriving in Colorado

After a series of cloudy, stormy, snowy and now rainy days, I started growing kale microgreens. I have shared them at a local fiber event at our wonderful library as well as at our co-op, A class will be offered at each location this spring. I would love to hear how you are sharing your microgreens with family and friends and any suggestions for the rest of us growing these beauties.

As we heat mostly with wood, I was a bit concerned on how the greens would do at night when temperatures drop to a comfortable 60 degrees F or so. That was no problem, and our daytime temps from 60 to 85 F when the windows let lots of solar energy in were fine. I protected the greens which had not rooted from any sun, and moved the rooted ones into less direct light after a couple of hours.

My first crops include: lacinto kale, mizuna and broccoli . So far I am already half way through the kale with a number of new shoots from those which were crowded out the first time.

Next is a purple mizuna which still has a day or two to go. As they are planted dry in damp soil etc., they take a while to push up through the soil.

Broccoli is a little slower than kale,

Here are some pics of my first two crops: kale is 7 days old at top and 13 days old (we have eaten several cups full so far)
in second pic. The purple kohlrabi is 7 days old and from a local farm: Small Potatoes Farm



Let me know how your microgreen garden grows! 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Greetings from Snowy Paonia

We have just moved into our new home and soon will be planting microgreens. A wild turkey and a lovely doe came by to greet us today or maybe they were wondering when I will plant something for them to eat.

We are at about 5,600 ft. altitude with lovely passive solar windows just waiting for me to unpack my seeds, get some soil and get started on a new crop.

I have been neglecting my blog and enjoying being a grandmother with my daughter and her first child, a darling little girl. I will share some pics of our new home in Colorado and our precious granddaughter. Back soon!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Winter Hints for Growing Microgreens

Wherever you live, winter is here and we all feel it. My husband is still on Kauai, and I am in Colorado. He reported a temperature of 63 degrees yesterday...brrr...while I report about 20 degrees F.

So what do you need to do differently to grow microgreens in the winter? If your home temperature  averages 65 degrees F or greater, you are probably going to do fine. The seeds may propagate a little more slowly.

If you have some concern, you could purchase a propagation mat  for them, such as: http://www.greenhousemegastore.com/product/seedling-propagation-mat/heat-mats-chambers. I used this to get the seeds rooted after soaking and sprouting (or not as my book recommends for certain seeds). Chilly window sills might be avoided during the initial rooting and cover the planting tray with an inverted planting tray. I sometimes continue doing this at night during cooler periods.

All microgreens seeds like any other plant seeds, need consistent damp soil and darkness until they root and appear on the soil surface. Most microgreens do not need any direct sunlight or grow lights except for sunflower greens. All microgreens will appreciate indirect light once they have rooted. Air flow as suggested in my book is also important. Our houses need to be warm and insulated in the winter while allowing some air movement.

Feel free to ask questions or send me pictures if you need support. I can be reached at gaiascreations@live.com

Happy Growing!




Saturday, January 4, 2014

Happy New Year and New Home

To start off this new year, my husband and I have moved to Colorado to be closer to my daughter and her family and the newest member, Leila Noel, born December 19th. So, while I apologize for not writing in the past month, with moving, finding a new home in Colorado and helping my daughter, I took a most important break.

It has been an exciting time. My first grand child whom you will see below. My husband and I will move into our new home later this month and I will start a new crop of microgreens.

Growing microgreens is another miracle birth for me. This sweet grand child grew for nine months, and was well worth waiting for. Your microgreens take 1-2 weeks on average...and a minimum of care.

So, if you haven't taken the leap yet, check out my book on Amazon.com
GROWING MICROGREENS STEP BY STEP. You will also find some informative reviews. And do enjoy receipes in the book or on this blog.

Start with a "no fail" crop from the brassica family and feel free to send me questions on the blog if you have any. And I love pictures.  So, here is our little miracle: a 9 month crop gift :

Here I am with Leila at about 4 days old

One of my regular customers learns to grow her own greens.Before I left Kauai, four year old Mohala and I are pictured learning to grow sunflower greens. We are checking to be sure our soil is damp enough before we plant our sprouted sunflower seeds.