Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Garden Journal Entry 4/16/08: My Favorite No Maintenance Flowering Perennial Bush

Ah, Spring!

Realization of the day:
I have no idea what this bush is but I love it. (Update: It's a flowering quince!)

It was here when I moved in and is definitely my kind of plant: it flourishes in our crazy Missouri climate, requires no special treatment (or even attention), doesn't grow quickly enough to need pruning or shaping, and is never bothered by disease or destructive insects.

In early spring it's covered with these delightfully bright blossoms that pretty much scream the word happy and attract swarms of bees and other pollinators (you can see a close up photo of the flowers here). This bush is located on the south side of The Shack next to the clothesline, so right now hanging up the laundry - an activity I always find fairly pleasant - is even more enjoyable. My only complaint? The flowers don't stick around for very long. Well, that and the fact that you can't eat them.

So does anybody know what this mystery bush is? If we figure it out, then you'll be able to go find one for your own yard.

Do you have a wonderfully low maintenance perennial plant in your yard or garden? Please tell us about it!

© 2008, the blooming foodie farm blog where if it isn't edible, then it had better be pretty - and thrive on serious neglect.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Attention Homeless Organic Vegetable Lovers: Would You Like To Move To A Farm?

Your New Home Sweet Home?

FOR RENT: Charming cottage on a beautiful biodynamic farm. Separate, private 700 square foot building has one bedroom, cathedral knotty pine ceilings, gas stove and heat, washer/dryer in unit, dishwasher, wifi dsl, cable, and an outside large storage unit. Rent is $1200 per month and includes all the heirloom tomatoes you can eat. Separate utilities charge of $100 per month includes: PG&E (electric), full cable, wifi dsl, garbage, and water. Deposit is $2000. No smoking allowed inside or outside. Cat ok, well-behaved small dog that doesn't chase cats ok. Cottage will be shown the weekend of April 12 and 13 and will be available for occupancy around the same time.

Unfortunately this cute little place isn't located here on my farm, because if it were you can be sure we'd be living in it instead of in The Shack! It's actually somewhere even better - on Love Apple Farm which is located in the Santa Cruz mountains near the central California coast. It's halfway between San Francisco and Monterey, and about a half hour's drive to the beaches in Santa Cruz.

My new foodie friend Cynthia Sandberg lives on and operates Love Apple Farm, a two-acre biodynamic paradise which originally became known for growing 100 varieties of heirloom tomatoes each year. It is now the exclusive kitchen garden for world-renowned Manresa Restaurant in Los Gatos, California.

As soon as I read about the cottage I was ready to pack up and move back to California. But since Bear chases cats, and I doubt I can afford to feed my sheep veggies destined for a Michelin two-starred restaurant, I guess we'll have to stay where we are. Besides, Cynthia told me that "the chef at Manresa would certainly insist I try my hand at making sheep's milk cheese if we had any sheep here - so you better stay put since I don't need any more chores!"

Since that pretty much settled it, I figured I'd spread the word about this fantastic opportunity in case any of you are looking for a wonderful new place to live. I also asked Cynthia for some of the food and garden related details regarding the rental. Here's what she said:

"Tenants sometimes get to partake of our often excess amounts of stuff. For example, I've got a whole bed of radishes that needed pulling to make way for the tomatoes and the restaurant just cannot use that many at one time. And of course, all the tomatoes everyone can possibly eat are available, as I grow way more than the restaurant can use of those. You can take the girl out of the tomato patch, yadda yadda yadda.

"Residents here are always rewarded for lending a hand, as our my volunteers. If I'm thinking straight when they leave, I will forage around and get a bag of goodies for them to leave with. We sometimes have extra eggs, too, because on the occasion that the restaurant is closed for a few days (happens several times a year), then the hens don't stop and we're eating an awful lot of omelettes around here.

"Oh, and all my residents and tenants can partake of any of my gardening classes for free: Growing a Summer Veggie Garden, Tomato Masters Class, Installling Drip Irrigation, Tomato Cage Making, Sowing and Tending Tomato Transplants from Seed, Keeping Chickens, and Growing a Winter Veggie Garden."

If all of this isn't tempting enough, you also get to share the farm with Dali, the enormous pot bellied pig who "continues to delight and terrify small children and their parents."

You can see more photos of the cottage here. If you'd like more information about the cottage you can email Cynthia at loveapplefarm AT gmail DOT com. And if, like me, you can't make the move but love great gardening tips, be sure to check out Cynthia's wonderful blog, Grow Better Veggies. Do you already live near Love Apple Farm? The 2008 Tomato Seedling Sale is going on now through May 31.

© 2008, the award-winning blog where we love our crazy country life on 240 remote Missouri acres - even if we don't get to share it with an enormous pot-bellied pig.