Feb 15th Garden Work Party’s Success Stories

Gorgeous, warm, and productive work day at the garden a couple of weekends ago, three sets of work parties:

(1)  The Medicinal Garden Work Party

(2)  The Placing and Planting of the New Fruit Trees and Grapes Work Party

(3)  Shed work/common area shade structure  (Dennis St. Pierre, Charlie Tondu )  —oops didn’t get a photo of them working!

Thank you everyone for showing up!

1.  The Placing and Planting of the New Fruit Trees and Grapes Work Party, (Liz and David Lauter, not in photo Julie Seha and Florence———-MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!

I am very surprised, and pleased with myself, so I must say that I personally dug 7 (or so) of the new tree holes (besides helping place and pruning all the trees).  Digging the holes was not anywhere near as hard as I imagined it would be.  Thank Goodness!!!!  If you weren’t there, well, you missed out on a ‘hole’ lot of fun BUT you can come next work party, so don’t worry, be happy we did it!    :-)


2. The Medicinal Garden Work Party:   (very good showing put together by Cheryl Fromholzer and Mary St. Pierre, not everyone is in this photo, sorry, participants including volunteers from outside the garden membership working away, many who funded the Medicinal Garden Project, AMAZING, enthusiastic team work and lots done!  Wow!)  Luanna Helfman, Rusty Cady, Nancy Roen…


3. Way to go teams!


Florence Schneider,

The Mindful Pruner


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Friday meeting notes

Last Friday a small group met at the garden at 4:30pm to visit and share gardening information. (Remember, we now have the last Friday of each month as a gathering time in the garden after work–to share what we know, and ask questions)

Luanna Helfman, our new member and recently retired from the staff at Sunnyside Nursery generously shared information and answered questions.

Here are some notes from our gathering in case you couldn’t make it. Good idea to print out and save for future reference:


February is the time to clean up the garden if you haven’t already. Debris–old plant material provides an overwintering breeding ground for pests and you can reduce their populations by getting rid of their hiding places. This is also the time to:– prune roses. Cut them way back because new growth is where the roses will grow from. And by the way, if you want great blooming roses, fertilize with “MAXSEA”! Wait until March 15, or even April 1 (depending on weather.). You don’t want to stimulate too much new growth that can be killed by frost.

–spray dormant spray on fruit trees. Copper spray reduces the fungus population so you won’t have peach leaf curl. Don’t worry about it being not organic or toxic. It is a very small amount and it dissolves quickly. Spray Roses and Fruit trees with dormant oil for overwintering insects, mixed ( or not) with copper sulfate–Sluggo Plus is a good safe pesticide. It works with iron as the ingredient.. It’s safe. Neem oil works and Safer Soap. Safer soap is good only for aphids

–pest control is also effectively approached in a positive way, meaning, if you plant “beneficials”–beneficial plants which support the habitat of insects which eat the bad insects, you encourage a healthy balance.. Sweet Allysum is a good example of a beneficial which attracts and supports pollinators. 

The two most effective means of non-toxic pest control are exclusion (floating row cover) and hand picking (but you have to be dedicated). 

Beneficials are planted to attract both pollinators and predators.

–Now is the time to plant frost tolerant vegetables in this “pulse” of a growing window with rain and cool weather. We are lucky to have the sunshine in the garden so our plants will grow nicely. To prevent birds from eating your plants, use “row cover” material. It is a water and light permeable special fabric that sits right on the plants. Hold it down on the sides with just some boards or weights. It is used commercially and isn’t expensive. You can purchase it online at Home Depot. If your plants have already been badly nibbled, they will probably recover nicely after just a couple of weeks if you put the row cover over the bed.

–plants for now: leafy greens, onions, garlic, broccoli, beets, radishes, turnips, roots, snap peas, chard. 

also plant fennel, green onions, favas, carrots, kale, collards, mustard, arugala, (those leafy greens)…anything that is frost tolerant. 

Don’t waste time and space on summer crops in February. They will be unhappy with cold wet feet.

–Another good organic fertilizer is Fish Emulsion. Look for the term OMRI on your labels  Fish emulsion is a source of nitrogen only, which promotes overall and vegetative growth. It is not a substitute for a balanced fertilizer.I have MUCH more to say on fertilizing, which I’ll try to get to one way or another. 

The white stuff on my bed is dolomite lime, which, along with oyster shell lime, provide calcium to the soil, helping prevent blossom end rot on tomatoes, zukes, etc. It is best applied earlier in the season.


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Learn How to Build a Hugulkultur Garden Plot

hugelkultur garden bed

Come learn how to build a Hugulkultur garden plot.  This type of permaculture plot saves on water and offers a very rich soil.  The beds can last for 20 years!!

Work Party is Sunday February 15h from 1:30-4:30

The Medicinal Plant Group would love to have any volunteers come and help us build our Hugulkultur  (permaculture)  garden plots on Sunday Feb 15th.  Mary and Cheryl will be there at 1:30-4:30 working on 3 beds for our Medicinal plants.  

**In the mean time if anyone can help transport the oak logs we have on  Lynn Chittick’s plot (in front of shed) to the medicinal plots that would be most helpful.  You will see the other oak logs and bramble up behind the Medicinal Plots.  

Thanks to Taylor and Jeff for spending today on Super Bowl Sunday morning helping gather oak logs that we will use for the beds.  

Happy Gardening!


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Member Potluck at Liz’s house on Jan. 11

potluckSave the date of JANUARY 11TH, A SUNDAY EARLY EVENING for our membership meeting and potluck dinner.

There are new members to welcome, business to discuss, and good food to enjoy.

Where: Liz’s house in Forest Knolls (email her for the addres)

When: Sunday, Jan 11th, 5:30-8pm

Bring: your favorite food to share.

Children welcome.

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Days 1 and 2 of our installation of the irrigation upgrade system from Marin Municipal Water District to help us be as efficient as possible with our water use. Thanks to Jan Gross of Heritage Landscapes for sponsoring and overseeing this project and the professional guidance for our volunteers to help with the installation. We learned so much! To be continued

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Our New Tool Shed…. Thanks Richard & Crew!

The garden has a beautiful new tool shed thanks to an incredible volunteer donation by Richard Sloan. He brought in his building crew and they completed the work in 4 days. It is so lovely it really should becalled the Tool Temple. Thank you Richard Sloan. You are a SGV Treasure!

We are are kicking off a fundraising drive to pay for all of the materials. The garden is a registered 5013c, so all donations are fully tax deductible.

Make a donation here!

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Thank You Kickstarter Donors!

We want to thank the following people for their support of the Herbal Plant Project that we recently launched on Kickstarter.  It was a resounding success.  We now begin the steps to begin building our Medicinal plots and this begins the steps to create a healing garden where we can learn about Medicinal Plants.  Please stayed tuned for future announcements for our workshops.

Again thanks to the generosity of our donors!

  • Ann Jeffrey
  • Alan Weiler
  • Kathryn Hood
  • Mary Frank
  • Pamalah MacNeily
  • Jennifer Clemons Hallal
  • Johanna Good
  • Viola Morris
  • Ear Raab
  • Blythe Adams
  • Heidi Irgens
  • Miriam Lauter
  • Melissa Woodburn
  • Nancy Roen
  • Sam Lauter
  • Mara McDermott
  • Jane Stuart
  • Christopher Sabec
  • Catherine Granville
  • Beth Wieger Conroy
  • Gabriele Schwibach
  • Sara Tolchin
  • Audrey Walker
  • Judy Lieblin
  • Arinn Testa
  • Rusty Cady
  • Josephine Doig
  • Wyliam Holder
  • John Cook
  • Adam Sharon
  • Helen Richfield
  • Robert Johnson
  • Rebecca Burke
  • Nancy Field
  • James Sanders
  • Cheryl Fromholzer
  • Mary Chapman
  • Judy Ospital
  • Liz Lauter
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Kickstart our Herbal Garden

UPDATE:  We made our goal!  However, we are still seeking donations to further establish our healing herbal garden!!  The Kickstarter ends Saturday but we can continue to take donations to further establish this program.  Click on the yellow Donation button in the side bar to make a donation today!!

Help us build our Common Planting areas for Herbal Plants that will be used for Education Outreach Classes in Marin County. We have begun a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for this effort, so please take a look

Herbal Tea Blends from Gathering Thyme

Project Goals: Our goal is to establish several Common Plantings area for herbal plants so that we have a living classroom to support our Herbal Workshops.

Project Description: This is the beginning of our educational outreach programs we need your help in finishing our Herbal Medicinal planting beds for our living classroom.The classes will be held near these plots and in the Common Area. Here are just some of the topics for our workshops.

Men’s and Women’s health teas, tinctures and balms.

How to make seasonal customize herbal teas from your garden.

Custom Blend Herbal tea recipes.

Provide knowledge for good culinary herbs.

And Much much more!

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Book Recommendation – Sustainable Revolution

sustainable revolution

Two of our gardeners have published a wonderful book on Permaculture! Learn more about Juliana & Louis’ project at The Culture of Permaculture blog or click on the above photo to see the book on Amazon.

Urban gardeners. Native seed-saving collectives. Ecovillage developments. What is the connection between these seemingly disparate groups? The ecological design system of permaculture is the common thread that weaves them into a powerful, potentially revolutionary—or reevolutionary—movement.
Sustainable Revolution features the work of a worldwide network of visionaries, including journalists, activists, indigenous leaders and permaculturists such as David Holmgren, Vandana Shiva, Charles Eisenstein, Starhawk, Erik Assadourian, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Albert Bates, and Geoff Lawton. This beautifully photographed collection of profiles, interviews, and essays features 60 innovative community-based projects in diverse climates across the planet. Edited by anthropologist Juliana Birnbaum Fox and award-winning activist filmmaker Louis Fox, it can be read as an informal ethnography of an international culture that is modeling solutions on the cutting edge of social and environmental change. The research presented in the book frames the permaculture movement as a significant ally to marginalized groups, such as the urban poor and native communities resisting the pressures of globalization. Sustainable Revolution uplifts and inspires with its amazing array of dynamic activists and thriving, vibrant communities.

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