What Would You Name It?

hat’s in a name? That which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet.

~ William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

Last night my husband told me: “Go buy some wholesale plants; let’s get you selling them at the Farmer’s market, etc. etc.” Since I can’t seem to find work in my field any longer, I need to generate some income again. Last year it was my goal to get quite a few things growing, take the seeds, start them this year, and sell (at the farmer’s market, from home, on Craig’s list, etc.) However, it’s easier said than done. A lot of the herbs I planted didn’t grow. Some grew but not well enough/large enough to seed. We worked on so many things last year that I couldn’t pay specific attention to planting and caring for those seeds and seedlings.

So, in order to get me doing something to make money, my husband said we’d go buy some starter plants so I can at least get going on this idea and try it. It will take awhile to get a garden going where I can cull my own plants and seeds from it to sell.

So I have to get a business license if I want to buy wholesale. Then, here comes the kicker – I have to think of a business name. Show stopper here. I’ve been collecting words and garden-type business names for over a year, and have come up with nothing creative, cute, or simply just nice, that fits! We started throwing around words and names last night. I’m not creative like that. That’s why I started last year saving ideas, and my short list leaves a lot to be desired.

I like these words:

  • sunny
  • seasons
  • flowers
  • meadows
  • blackberry
  • patch
  • lavender
  • fields
  • idyllic – folks may not know how to pronounce; what it means
  • birdsong
  • summer
  • sky
  • bees
  • leaf
  • mountain (abundance)
  • green
  • fields
  • spring
  • path

I’ve been playing with  combinations of these words, adding other words, i.e. Sunny Gardens, Sunny Sky Gardens, Sunny Day Gardens…you get the idea. Also doing things like Bloomin’ ____ Gardens (Bloomin’ Fool, Bloomin’ Nuts haha you get the idea). Nothing seems to strike me.  Maybe you can help with some ideas.

I would sell vegetables, flowers, herbs, and seeds in the future. All organic, eventually heirlooms. So the name can’t be just a flower name, or an herb name, or a vegetable name. “Tomater Tom’s Garden” but I’m selling lavender seeds – is that even ok? I don’t know that it’d work as well as something general.

If you had a gardening business, what would you name it?

Have a bloomin’ day!

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GMO Infuriation

Official seal of the National Organic Program

Certified Organic

Not so long ago, foods marked “organic” meant that the foods had been grown without chemicals and pesticides that are harmful to the body. Chemically sprayed foodstuffs used to be just something to avoid because you wanted to simply avoid health issues from a buildup of pesticides in your system, had sensitivities, or just wanted to keep your body clean of these poisons.

Nowadays, there’s an additional evil element that certified organics promise you don’t get when you purchase a product with this label. That evil is GMOs. Now, something marked “certified organic” means that it’s also not a genetically modified organism, or GMO, which is the acronym used everywhere now. GMOs are essentially monster food. “Let’s take some pig genes, stick them in tomatoes, pass them off as being able to have greater shelf life so everyone will think our million-dollar sponsored work is A-OK, and hey! we get free experimental results on how this stuff effects the public.” GMOs make me hopping mad and they should make you so, too.

Genetically modifying food is playing God. It  is just daring nature not to do something destructive to us and our food supply. We need to leave our food alone, as God/nature has intended.

Learning all we can from the environment around us is great – it’s our way to grow in knowledge. However, exploring for the sake of learning and healing and helping is one thing. Modifying our food source for big company profit, with disregard to human health is just plain stupid, not smart and not scientifically responsible. I’m ashamed of the genetic engineers who screw with our food.

GMOS are not something to just avoid. They’re something we should all work hard to eliminate, starting first with our diet, ending up eliminating them from the world.

Here are some ways to start:

  • Look for the certified organic label on packaged food products. Buy only those packaged products. If you read the ingredients, everything that is grain/fruit/vegetable/sweetener etc. in the product should say “organic” before it. i.e. organic oats, organic corn, organic wheat, organic rice syrup  (in a cereal mix, for example)
  • Buy only organic produce
  • Grow your own garden. Everyone’s doing it and it’s fun. Buy heirloom seeds. Heirlooms are food that haven’t been touched genetically. Maybe a tomato or type of corn is something that your grandmother grew. Most of these foods cannot be found in your regular grocery store. Or you can buy organic seeds, which would not be from a GMO plant.
  • Teach your family how to choose organic food and to only choose organic foods. They may be a little more money but are worth our health. Nearly 100% of the corn products you find on the grocery store shelves are GMOs. That includes your corn chips, corn cereal, corn oils, taco shells, pancake mix…
  • Teach your friends and neighbors about organic foods. Talk to them directly. Teach a class in your home to your friends about purchasing and growing organics.

If everyone in a community only selected organic food in their supermarkets, all stores would immediately make a shift toward providing more of those foods. The processed GMO foods would eventually expire and be pulled off the shelves, and your local food store would be stocked with shelves and shelves of healthy, organic, life-giving foods!

If every community did this in a town, the town would be the first all-certified organic products town in your country! Health nuts would flock there, certainly. The town would have all the publicity and tourism it could handle.

You know the rest. Your state, your country – all concerned about the good health of each citizen. All foods clean of pesticides, free of genetic modification. All the frackin’ big food businesses would have to go organic, go out of business or get out of the food business.

It’s a simple, good, wholesome idea which starts in your shopping cart, in your kitchen cabinet, and in your garden.

Seed Swap

Lithograph seed packets

Image by etgeek (Eric) via Flickr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yesterday I went to my first Meetup.om meetup. The location was a lovely farm in Lancaster County, Pa.  We had a seed swap! Everyone brought packs of non-hybrid seeds. I wish I had a picture of the table with all the seeds laid out. Instead I have a picture of the host’s cow, who liked me and slimed up my hand with his runny nose. He was so cute!!

The host put together a spreadsheet for us of the planting windows of some of the common plants. We discussed biodynamics, a particular study of planting and growing. Then we got to the seed swap! Or, like one of the guys there said, a “seed pillage”! LOL There were tons of seeds I’d never imagine getting. Stuff I never saw before. One woman brought a pack of real Italian pomodoro tomato seeds. One brought some bean seeds she said produced like crazy last year. I brought my beloved sugar pumpkin seeds. We all got to take as much time as we wanted to select the seeds we wanted, and write down planting and growing information.

I got crazy things like Cosmic Purple carrots, some half carrots, Amish tomatoes, purple podded pole beans, green apple cukes, and Abe Lincoln tomatoes, among many others.  It’s going to be real fun watching these different seeds come up.

Homemade Food Compost Bin

I wanted to compost last year but didn’t have the proper equipment. Or so I thought. I’m learning by the seat of my pants here.

I recently read a magazine article which explained food composting and leaf+grass composting.  I thought I could throw the food on top of the grass/leaves but I was worried about stinking up the neighborhood and attracting animals.

The solution that’s going to work for me: build a compost pile for grass+leaves in the back, and have a separate food composter. When the food compost is broken down we can add it to that grass pile, or just put it into the garden directly.

In the spirit of saving money, I wanted to work with something I had already. I first started saving the compost (banana peels, coffee grounds, tea bags, egg shells, vegetable scraps) in an old plastic bowl in the kitchen. It quicky filled. I saw a bin-type composter in a magazine that had holes in the side for aeration.  Why couldn’t I take my rubbermaid bin and  drill some holes for air? And that’s what I did. Dumped in the food compost, add some dirt with it. Done. As it fills more I’ll add worms as I find them when it rains 🙂 or dig up some garden soil soon. Mix regularly! Not sure how long it will take the food to break down but as worms are added it goes much faster.

Our grass+leaves composter is going to be made from wooden pallets (my husband picks up free from the warehouse) and I’ll post back about that when it’s built.

Spring Things!

Before winter has gone, but after spring has just whispered its warmth, it’s always exciting to see bulb leaves coming up out of the ground. I think these are hyacinths! (My mom, sister and I all agreed these are tulips, not hyacinths – why they’re coming up earlier than anything else, I don’t know!)

And I was going about watering my indoor plants and noticed my orchid has buds. I have had several orchids for years and years and years – at least 5 to 7 years. Never rebloomed. Then last year, this one decided to have one stem with flowers. I was beyond excited. This year, it’s got three stems that have buds! It’s a red cattleya orchid and it looks like all three stems will be out around the same time. Pix to come!

Garden Planning

Pallets

Image via Wikipedia

I’d better hurry up and get my website stuff over to this blog, finishing up the project of shutting down my website/migrating it here. Spring’s a-comin’!

I’ve already scratched out a draft of my garden and what I want in it this year. I’m going to go with the same stuff we’ve grown the past few years, but moving over to heirloom seeds. Anything I don’t have that’s heirloom I will try to buy. Because our budget is so tight right now, I’m going to have problems purchasing everything I need.

There are seed traders, but I need seeds to trade for them. Some kind people do offer a few seeds for free, so I might just hang out on those forums and see if I can send a SASE to get a few free starter heirloom seeds of the things I need.

 

Raised bed from Pallets

 

 

I also plan on building raised beds this year from pallets. Six would be great (that’s the goal) but I’ll be happy to get a few. My husband works where he can get pallets and flat pressed board free. He is thinking he should make a shed. I told him go for it! Once the snow thaws I’ll be out assessing the pallets we already have, and figuring out how many more we need.

We’re also fortunate to have bamboo growing in our backyard, as well as a willow tree. The neighbor behind us HATES our bamboo. I love it. Grow more more more!! She asked us to cut a lot of it back. It is our yard and we like it and told her so, but we said we would cut back what’s close to her fence. In his ever niceness eager to please way, my husband got overzealous in cutting back our bamboo last summer. I was not pleased! However, we now have a dry pile of hard bamboo! I’ll trim off the thin stems from the stalk, and we can whip them together and use them for mini-trellises for staking peas or vining plants. I can’t wait to get started on this! I don’t have experience doing any of this (building raised beds, twining the bamboo stalks to make something useful) but I plan to learn.

 

Our willow tree was trimmed back a year and a half ago. Unfortunately I didn’t do anything with the stems. You can make so many many things with willow stems. I’ll see how the tree is this year and maybe I can try one or two small projects. I kind of like this living garden arch project I saw. You stick the stems into the ground on two sides and weave the ends above you making an arch. It’ll be bare the first year but if you keep it watered next year the leaves will grow and it’ll fill in. I’ve kept a picture of it somewhere and the instructions; when I find I’ll post.