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Monday, May 30, 2011

Blogger: Gardening in the Ghetto - Publish Status

Blogger: Gardening in the Ghetto - Publish Status

Not so snappy Snap Dragons

The last four days have taken a beating on my newly transplanted Snap Dragons. I've been consistently watering them in the morning with a watering hose that has a "mist" option on the dial of the multi-powered sprayer. I've also placed a generous amount of bark chips around the base of the flower stems. I've been told by master gardeners that bark chips and mulch helps retain moister on hot, dry days. My biggest fear is that these flowers won't make it because they were grown somewhere else. Yes, my husband is the culprit! He purchased the Snap Dragons and ground covering from a big chain gardening store.

On the snappy side! My Borage, and Marigold seeds, which I planted directly into the ground, are doing great. I hope that all of my flowers do well over the course of this soon to be hot, dry New Mexican summer. But if the Snap Dragons can't take the heat I have no choice but to pull them up and replace them with something else.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Gardening in the Ghetto: Video of 2011 river clean up

Gardening in the Ghetto: Video of 2011 river clean up

Video of 2011 river clean up


Gardening in the Ghetto: 2011 river cleanup a swooshing success

Gardening in the Ghetto: 2011 river cleanup a swooshing success: "On Saturday, May 21, between 8:00am and 1:00pm, approximately 130 volunteers walked and paddled along the Rio Grande River collecting an est..."

2011 river cleanup a swooshing success

On Saturday, May 21, between 8:00am and 1:00pm, approximately 130 volunteers walked and paddled along the Rio Grande River collecting an estimated total of 2640 pounds of trash. Another 45 uniformed Albuquerque Police Department Officers cleaned up 20 illegal campsites along the river.

Volunteers also worked diligently to sort recyclables into five full bags of number one and two plastics, two additional bags of aluminum cans, two large boxes of un-broken, uncontaminated glass bottles and one large bundle of uncontaminated corrugated cardboard, according to an email received from Kent R. Swanson, Associate Planner for the City of Albuquerque's Open Space Division.

"All together, I'd estimate that our three groups collected over a ton of debris - numerous tires, including a tractor tire, several chairs, two huge swimming pool covers, and an unbelievable amount of assorted trash," stated Swanson in an email.

34 volunteers from the Quite Waters Paddling Adventures groups, a group of volunteers who uses canoes and rafts to collect trash in the river, organized cleanups along several sections of the river according to the same email. The sections tackled were located at Romero Road to Alameda Bridge, Central Avenue to Bridge through Albuquerque, led by Stephen Verchinski from New Mexico State Parks and Highway 550 to Romero Road, led by river guide Steve Wallace. 12 of the volunteers from the Romero Road to Alameda Bridge group were from Therese Dorwart's Discovery Class from East Mountain High School. City of Rio Rancho Fire Chief Anthony Martinez and two firemen from the Village of Corrales Fire Department also participated in the Romero Road to Alameda Bridge clean up.

In a phone interview prior to the clean up, Swanson stressed the importance of the community uniting to preserve two national treasures, the Bosque and the Rio Grande. The Bosque is the worlds largest Cottonwood forests and home to an impressive array of migratory birds. Unfortunately many people throw trash off the rivers bridges which ends up in the river or along the Bosque. Swanson feels that most of this dumping can be prevented through education and making recycling more accessible to people since a large percentage of the dumped trash is recyclable.

"The City (of Albuquerque) has a good recycling program and it's easier than before for more people to take advantage of it," said Swanson.

The City of Albuquerque's Open Space Division credits the following partners and sponsors:

Partners:
      -  Kirtland Air force base Outdoor Recreation (breakfast food and rafting guides)
¨      APD (Lt. Gilhooly and Deputy Chief Paul Feist)
¨      The Crisis Outreach and Support Team and the Crisis Intervention Team of APD
¨      Albuquerque Fire Department
¨      City of Rio Rancho and the Village of Corrales
¨      Quiet Waters Paddling Adventures
¨      Ciudad Soil and Water
¨      Open Space Trail watch Volunteers
      ¨      Diana Breneiser (Volunteer Recycling Coordinator


Sponsors:
¨      Bruce Davis and the Rotary Club of Albuquerque
¨      Pat and Barbara Baca of the West Central Alliance of Neighbors
¨      The Open Space Alliance
¨      REI
¨      Weston Corporation
¨      Stone Age Climbing Gym
¨      The Kickstand
¨      General Mills
¨      I Scream Ice Cream
¨      Nicodemus Wilderness Project
¨      2 Wheel Drive




Friday, May 27, 2011

Gardening in the Ghetto: Ollas, seedlings and more

Gardening in the Ghetto: Ollas, seedlings and more: "If you've recently viewed my page or have been following it you may have noticed that it's gone through a couple of transformations. What ar..."

Ollas, seedlings and more

If you've recently viewed my page or have been following it you may have noticed that it's gone through a couple of transformations. What are those strange clay obtrusions that seem to be sprouting from the raised planter box in the picture? They're called Ollas, meaning "pots" in English. Ollas were brought to the New World by Spanish explorers and were assimilated into native gardens because of their water conserving properties. I recently purchased some Ollas after visiting a non-profit group called East Central Ministries located in the International District in Albuquerque. Ollas range from $3.00 for small slightly imperfect ones to $20.00 for the larger more "perfect" ones.

I also purchased some transplant ready seedlings, chocolate mint, beefsteak tomato, Italian basil, Big Jim medium and hot peppers, and Japanese eggplants. After leaving the seedlings out for several days and nights in direct sun they appear to pass the hardiness test. My own homegrown seedlings appear to being doing well! They are developing third, fourth and even fifth leaves. I turn them everyday and water them from the bottom so that the seedling get the maximum benefit from the sun and the roots absorb the water.

Seedlings at the East Central Ministries sell for $2.00 per plant. Larger, hanging pots with mixed herbs and flowers are also available for $6.00 per pot. All plants are grown on the premises and volunteers are eager to share gardening advice. A large variety of good quality organic, Genetically Modified Organism free, free seed packets are available inside the main office. East Central Ministries also sells plain and flavored honey, harvested from their bees.

For more information on Ollas and gardening you can visit East Central Ministries at 123 Vermont NE in Albuquerque or online at www.ollas.eastcentralministries.org . The office and gardens will be closed this weekend.




Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Gardening in the Ghetto: Spaghetti sauce with Negra Modelo

Gardening in the Ghetto: Spaghetti sauce with Negra Modelo: "I've made this sauce, which is similar to Bolonaise, except I use beer. It tastes pretty good and is easy to make! Make sure you use natural..."

Spaghetti sauce with Negra Modelo

I've made this sauce, which is similar to Bolonaise, except I use beer. It tastes pretty good and is easy to make! Make sure you use natural or organic beef! You will be amazed by the quality of the meat!

Serves four hungry people

Ingredients:

1  Tablespoon olive or canola oil
1/4  Cup finely chopped organic celery, ribs and leaves (optional)
1     Small Package organic white mushrooms, finely chopped
1/4  Cup finely chopped organic carrots  
1/4  Cup finely chopped organic yellow or white onion
3 to 4  Cloves organic garlic
1  lb.  Natural or organic beef (can be purchased at WalMart or one of the Coop's)
1 Teaspoon organic oregano
2  14.5 Oz. cans organic diced tomatoes ( I use Muir Glen Organic)
1  Heaping Tablespoon of organic tomato paste (Muir Glen)
1  14.5 Oz. can of organic tomato sauce (Muir Glen)
1/2 to 1 whole bottle of Negra Modelo beer (depending on how thick you want the sauce)
Salt and pepper to taste.

Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add carrots, onions, garlic, and celery to hot oil. Saute until vegetables are soft and onions and garlic are lightly browned. Sprinkle with salt while sauteing. Add mushrooms. Saute until cooked. Stir frequently to avoid burning. When everything is lightly browned, scrape vegetables out of pot and place in a glass bowl. Add ground beef, breaking it up with your hands as you add it to the pot. Cook beef until lightly browned and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add oregano. Return vegetables to the pot. Mix all ingredients together. Add cans of diced tomatoes, mix everything together. Add tomato paste, mix thoroughly. Add tomato sauce and keep on stirring! Add Negra Modelo. Turn up heat on pot until the sauce starts to boil. Stir frequently for a few minutes. Turn heat down and simmer for one hour with a lid on the pot, stirring occasionally. Serve with cooked spaghetti and garlic bread!





Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Picture of my compost pile


Gardening in the Ghetto: Composting Update!

Gardening in the Ghetto: Composting Update!: "I just went outside to add some more fruit and vegetable ends to my compost pile. I also 'turned' the pile, meaning taking a pitch fork or s..."

Composting Update!

I just went outside to add some more fruit and vegetable ends to my compost pile. I also "turned" the pile, meaning taking a pitch fork or shovel and mixing the matter at the bottom of the pile with the rest of the pile. The matter at the bottom of the pile was very damp because I hadn't turned it in a few days. Composting experts recommend turning your compost pile every two or three days to maximize decomposition. I also noticed that there were several dry spots in the layers of compost. Dry spots are a standard occurrence in New Mexican compost piles mostly due to out dry climate. Thoroughly mixing the compost seemed to even out the dry and damp spots.

Aeration is also an important part of the composting process. If you are using the same set up as me, (a black plastic garbage can), either punch hole around the bottom half of the can or take the lid off for a few hours a day. I'm using a black garbage can to start out my compost because it's supposed to help speed up the process and I have male dogs that pee on everything.  My compost seems to be breaking down very nicely. The bottom layers are a rich black color and the pile has a nice earthy smell. If your compost pile has an offensive smell, add dry leaves, grass clippings even a little bit of potting soil or just plan dirt.

I've been searching on newmexicocraigslist.org for wooden pallets to make a larger, more traditional compost bin and there are a few folks giving them away in Albuquerque. Just type in "wooden pallets" in the "free" listings sections of newmexicocraigslist.org and several listing will appear. There are also some good deals on pre-manufactured compost bins which look pretty tempting because they are more enclosed and offer more protection for your compost. Especially if you have male dogs that pee on everything. Fortunately my husband has fenced off a nice, shady area for them where they can pee on everything...but my compost pile!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Eco Watchdog: Rio Grande River clean up this weekend

The Eco Watchdog: Rio Grande River clean up this weekend: "Do something good for the environment this weekend and join hundreds of volunteers in the Rio Grande River clean up. Volunteers are asked to..."

Rio Grande River clean up this weekend

Do something good for the environment this weekend and join hundreds of volunteers in the Rio Grande River clean up. Volunteers are asked to meet at the Rotary Club picnic area on the north east side of the Central Ave Bridge, this Sat. May 21, from 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. The clean up is part of  National River Clean Up 2011 and is sponsored by the City of Albuquerque Open Space Division, American Rivers, the West Central Alliance of Neighborhoods, REI, the Rotary Club of Albuquerque, Kirkland Air Force Base Outdoor Recreation and the Open Space Alliance.

Volunteers will be participating in cleaning up the Bosque by foot, guided raft or their own boat. Graffiti removal on and around the bridge is also included in the clean up. Volunteers are asked to pre-register at REI by phone 505-247-1191 or online at www.rei.com/albuquerque . All volunteers will be treated to a free meal and a prize drawing starting at 12:30 p.m.

Contact Jim Sattler or Kent Swanson at 505-452-5200 for more information on this event and future volunteer opportunities.


The Eco Watchdog: Healthy Tortillas

The Eco Watchdog: Healthy Tortillas: "The tortilla was the first type of food I learned how to make as a young child. I had my own little rolling pin to roll the tortillas with. ..."

Healthy Tortillas

The tortilla was the first type of food I learned how to make as a young child. I had my own little rolling pin to roll the tortillas with. Of course they always came out uneven and were more square in shape than round, my mother called them "mapas". I've substituted canola oil for bacon grease or lard in this recipe. The result is a healthier, softer tortilla.

Healthy Flour Tortillas


Ingredients


1 cup natural or organic unbromated whole wheat flour
2 cups natural or organic unbromated unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/3 cup Canola oil
1 cup warm water

Directions


Combine all dry ingredients in large bowl. Add oil and water until dough forms, add additional water if necessary.

Knead the dough into a ball. Break off one to two inch pieces of dough and form small, individual discs (comienzos) with your hands.

Heat a large cast iron griddle on medium heat. With a large rolling pin, roll out the discs until they are round and a desired thickness (approximately 1/8 inch). Continuously turn the discs counter clockwise while rolling in order to achieve a rounder more even shape. But if your in a hurry, mapas are OK!

Test the griddle with a few droplets of water first before you place your perfectly rounded tortilla or mapa on the griddle, if the water sizzles then the griddle is hot enough. When the griddle is hot enough, place the dough on it carefully and let it cook until it starts to bubble. Then flip it over and cook until the bubbles are browned.

Place cooked tortillas on a large plate and cover with a cloth towel until ready to serve.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Eco Watchdog: The Eco Watchdog: My little green babies

The Eco Watchdog: The Eco Watchdog: My little green babies: "The Eco Watchdog: My little green babies : 'I have approximately fifty or more new, little green additions to my family! I've just posted pi..."

The Eco Watchdog: The Eco Watchdog: Seedlings started on my kitchen ...

The Eco Watchdog: The Eco Watchdog: Seedlings started on my kitchen ...: "The Eco Watchdog: Seedlings started on my kitchen table"

The Eco Watchdog: Seedlings started on my kitchen table

The Eco Watchdog: Seedlings started on my kitchen table

The Eco Watchdog: My little green babies

The Eco Watchdog: My little green babies: "I have approximately fifty or more new, little green additions to my family! I've just posted pictures of Hatch Chile seedlings, head leaf ..."

My little green babies

I have approximately fifty or more new, little green additions to my family! I've just posted pictures of Hatch Chile  seedlings, head leaf lettuce, beets, and radishes. I started my seedlings a little bit late in the season so they aren't quite ready to be placed outside but in a few weeks they will be transplanted into a fenced garden plot with plenty of sunlight and well amended soil!

I almost gave up on the Hatch chile's! It took forever for them to germinate. But after patiently watering them for six weeks while reciting numerous positive affirmations two pairs of long deep green leaves sprung from the ground. I may have to thin out the head lettuce because some of the seedlings are looking a little spindly but other than that everything else looks pretty healthy.

The seedlings should be ready to transplant when they develop a true set of leaves and or a third or fourth leaf. A true set of leaves would be leaves that have veins. My tomato seedlings have true leaves with veins and a third leaf or shoot sprouting from the center of the plant but they are still too small to transplant outside. I'm also planning to start some heirloom tomato seedlings. According to some recent information that I've gleamed from a  supplier of organic seeds, heirloom tomatoes do best if sewn sparingly in three inch pots. Tweezers definitely come in handy for plants with small seeds such as, tomatoes, turnips, and basil!

Please note that I'm not a gardening expert merely a person who has a passion for good homegrown food. Feel free to check out my reading list for more information on gardening and visit your local library.


Seedlings started on my kitchen table




Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Eco Watchdog: Have a "green" Mother's Day

The Eco Watchdog: Have a "green" Mother's Day: "Are you tight on cash but would like to do something fun with your mom that's also Eco-conscious? I've spent the last two weeks looking for ..."

Have a "green" Mother's Day

Are you tight on cash but would like to do something fun with your mom that's also Eco-conscious? I've spent the last two weeks looking for the perfect brunch spot in Albuquerque only to be disappointed by high prices. That's not to say that's it's not worth it to drop $20 to $65 per person and have a swanky brunch but it's just out of range of my pocket book this year. Instead, my family and I are opting for a nice informal picnic lunch at a local park. There are plenty of parks to choose from in the Albuquerque metro area and you can host a five star picnic for mom free of charge! You provide the food of course! There are also a number of events that you  and mom can partake in that are Eco and health conscious. I've listed a few events below you can pick up a copy of the Alibi, Sunday paper or COOP newsletter to see a full listing.

Take your mom to the museum! Albuquerque Museum of Art and History is hosting a new exhibit called A New Light on Tiffany: Clara Driscoll and the Tiffany Girls. Call 505-243-7255 for more information and directions.

Mother's Day Concert at the Zoo featuring performance by Riders in the Sky. From 2:00 to 3:00pm call 505-764-6200 for more information.

Make a mosaic with mom at The Hardwood Art Center Public Art Community Tile Workshops, projects help create mosaic and tiled designs for the Hahn Arroyo Project. From 1:00 to 5:00pm. Call 505-242-6367 for more information.

Help feed the homeless at Trinity House. Call 505-247-0497 or visit trinityhouse.catholicworker.biz for more information.


If you feel like taking mom for a short trip check these places out!

Exploring Mother Earth on Mother's Day takes place at the Volcanoes Day Use Area at the Petroglyph Natl Monument with Jack Babock from 10:30am to 2:00pm. Call 505-899-0205 for more information.

Mother's Day Period Tea  and complimentary corsage from 10:00 am until 3:00 pm, at Ford Selden State Monument (1-25 Exit 19 Radium Springs). Call 575-526-8911 for more information.

What ever you plan to do this Mother's Day, have fun and make it green!!!!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Eco Watchdog: Joe Gardener Coldframe

The Eco Watchdog: Joe Gardener Coldframe

The Eco Watchdog: Growing Lettuce, Incredible Edibles 6

The Eco Watchdog: Growing Lettuce, Incredible Edibles 6

The Eco Watchdog: More user friendly info on starting your edible ga...

The Eco Watchdog: More user friendly info on starting your edible ga...: "I went to the New Mexico State Cooperative Extension website and selected three videos that I thought prospective gardeners would find usefu..."

More user friendly info on starting your edible garden

I went to the New Mexico State Cooperative Extension website and selected three videos that I thought prospective gardeners would find useful. I especially enjoyed watching Joe Gardener build a cold frame using bales of hay and used windows! Hay bales can be purchased at any feed store in New Mexico and used windows can be found on craigslist.

I made the mistake of attempting to "harden off" my seedlings last week only to have half of them dehydrate and die. Fortunately approximately 80 percent of the tomato and green onion seedlings came back. So, I've planted a second crop of radishes and marigolds. I've also planted turnips, beets, butter and red leaf lettuce, and cilantro. To my enjoyment my radishes and lettuce seeds are all ready starting to sprout!

Growing Lettuce, Incredible Edibles 6

Joe Gardener Coldframe

Building a Cold Frame Greenhouse (English)