WHAT'S GROWIN' ON
IN LAKE & MENDOCINO COUNTIES


Growin' in Lake County


My name is Taylor and I’m an AmeriCorps VISTA with NCO Gardens Project in Lake County. This is my first ‘real’ adult job and to be honest I really couldn’t think of a better one. Every day I get to help people become empowered to grow their own food and become capable of providing vegetables for themselves and their families.

At the beginning of my term of service I wasn’t really sure what to tell people I would be doing this year. When family members asked before I moved down here I would tell them I would be building community gardens to help address food insecurity. I wasn’t wrong – but I definitely wasn’t sure about the details or what exactly that meant I would be doing on an hourly basis. AmeriCorps VISTA members are capacity builders for the nonprofit projects they work for – but what did that mean? I had a good feeling about this position, and community gardens are one of my passions so I accepted the job without ever having set foot in Lake County, California.

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Strides Made at the Middletown Community Garden

For the past year we have been working to put in a community garden in Middletown with the generous help of Calpine Corporation. We are finally on the final stretch with hopes to be completely done by early June. We were featured last week in the Lake County Record Bee!

To read the rest of the article click here!

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Why kids should play in the dirt!

https://www.flickr.com/photos/30744981@N02/albums/72157667257210632/with/25958067404/

Gardens are not just good for food! Gardens are a great place for families and children and offer many benefits including peace of mind, health, science and math lessons. Vegetables are never better than when you grow them yourself; a sun-warm tomato will always beat out the one found in the grocery store. Studies have shown that kids who grow up with vegetable gardens are more likely to show interest in trying and eating different vegetables. When kids are involved in the growing process they are more likely to want to try the vegetables they are growing. Studies have also shown that kids that play in the dirt are less likely to get sick, because the friendly exposure to different germs boosts their immune system for later in life.

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Enchanting Chard Recipes

Rainbow Chard

By Alex from Ithaca, NY (Swiss Chard Rainbow) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


When I worked at the farmers market this past summer in my hometown one of the kids favorite things to pick up was rainbow chard, it has beautiful colors that can make kids excited to eat vegetables! On the flip side chard is an interesting taste as a part of the beet family it tastes earthy with a spinach like texture. Chard is nutritious but does have oxalic acid which can inhibit iron intake and should be avoided by people who have kidney or gallbladder problems. To learn more about chard click here.

For people who like the earthy taste of chard it can be eaten raw in salads, however my favorite way to eat chard is sauteed with plenty of butter and garlic. I'm not super picky so I often use chard the same way I would use kale in cooking, with the stem removed, sauteed with pasta or cooked down with garlic, salt, pepper and lemon for a side dish. Chard can be tough to know what to do with so here are some great chard recipes:

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Willits Earth Day Garden Workday

Read all about our Willits Earth Day Workday in the Willits News and the Willits Weekly

Middletown Community Garden Updates!

After over a year of planning we have finally broken ground at the Middletown Community Garden!

In the past month we have dug post holes, set our fence posts in the ground, and dug trenches to lay irrigation. Along the way we have had to fight against the rainiest year in California since 1895, and super rocky soil (as you can see from the picture) to get everything done. We've had great help from our volunteers particularly Jeff Regan and Mel Bullock in getting the fence posts set. During a workday on April 14th we were able to set the bottom boards and tack up the hogwire and on Friday April 21st we held an Earth Day Workday to finish nailing down the hog wire panels and get the top boards up. It finally looks like a garden now!

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I know less than I thought

Guest Blogger: Holly Ordinans

She also has her own blog which you can read by clicking here.


Born and raised in Wisconsin, my experience with growing my own food is quite different compared to someone raised in California, specifically this northern region of Mendocino and Lake County. Before moving to Ukiah, I thought I had a pretty solid knowledge base about gardening—and I did! Gardening though, not farming, and not gardening to the extent that exists here. Growing up, my mom always had a backyard garden, and my sister and I learned a great deal from her about planting, watering, weeding, picking, etc. We always spend the summers eating what we grow. However, this is not at all common in Wisconsin. And it’s even less common to grow your own food year-round since the winters are so cold.

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Emerald Kale Salad

Are you swimming in kale and hungry for a recipe? This delicious sesame-kale salad was shared and devoured at our latest Lake County Gardens Gathering Potluck by one of our Highlands Senior Center gardeners. Thanks Susan!


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Rad Radish Recipes

Radish Varieties

Radishes are fantastic spring vegetables! Radishes are great to grow with kids because they grow quickly and are beautiful and rewarding to harvest. For years I did not think that I liked radishes because my family didn't eat them at home, it wasn't until I left for college that radishes became a regular part of my spring time diet. Now radishes are some of my very favorite vegetables! There are so many different ways to use radishes in cooking, and they are easy to add to meal-time regulars by tossing them into a side salad or quickly roasting them in the oven for a tasty side dish. For the more adventurous eaters radish greens can be eaten in salads or used in pesto.

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Spring Recipes

Hey Gardeners!

Here at the Gardens Project we are getting excited for cooking with spring vegetables. Although at the supermarket you can buy most vegetables year round, we love to cook in season - it's not only cheaper but the veggies taste better! To me, spring always means a bounty of fresh produce, from tasty greens to spicy radishes.

Currently here in California we are at the tail end of citrus season so it's a great time to enjoy lemons and oranges at their peak!

Citrus is also really good for you! I always eat citrus to get a boost of vitamin C when I feel like I might be getting sick to give my immune system a good boost. Another great thing about lemons is that you can use the peel to flavor cakes, breads and even pasta to give it a bright, summery taste.

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