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Posts from the ‘Gardening Events’ Category

39th Annual Santa Cruz Fungus Fair

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I have been planning on going to Santa Cruz Fungus Fair for 2 years.  I heard about it through my Orchid Whisperer friend Bob Shimmon and then later from Renee  Barone, whom I had met at Ridge Winery a couple years ago.  Finally I went and was blown away!  Admission was only $10.   I’m even considering joining the Fungus Federation of Santa Cruz now ($25 for first year for an entire household!) to start foraging with experienced foragers.  Check out their upcoming forays and events.  They seem like a jolly group of people who love to eat well and drink well!

Here are some of the local vendors I got to meet:

Mushroom Adventures

Just add water!

These folks sell plugs and mushroom kits that you can use to grow mushrooms indoors or outdoors.  The prices were extremely reasonable!  You can order their kits!  They currently carry: White Button, Portabella, Crimini, Oyster, and Elm mushroom kits.

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These cute mushroom kits were only $5.  My friend Marina picked one up!  They are super cute and look delicious!

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Far West Fungi

Far West Fungi, carries all sorts of goodies!  They are based in Moss Landing and they have a shop in the Ferry Building in San Francisco.  They have mini mushroom growing kits (Shiitake and Tree Oyster).  They’ve got a smorgousboard of truffle products, from truffle tapenade, pasta, honey and salt!  They’ve got a huge selection of dried mushrooms too: Candy Cap, Black trumpet, Morels, Wild Forest Blend, Matsutake, Chanterelles, Domestic Porcini, European Porcini, Organic Shiitake, Organic Reishi, and Winter Chanterelle.

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Porcini spagetti!

Mushroom mini farm in a box

Here is Far West Fungi’s mini farm:

Mycological Neutraceuticals are for medicinal use.  They are $18/bottle.  Totally worth it!

Mycological Neutraceuticals

Mushroom Mini Farm

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Far West Fungi has got an adorable news paper growing kit I found on their website.   this would make for a great sustainable present!  And it’s only $7.oo!

Newspaper Growing Kit

Far West Fungi also sells Fungus Powders.  They carry: Domestic Porcini Powder, Shiitake Powder, Maitake Powder, Reishi Powder, King Trumpet Powder, Pioppini Powder, and a Wild Mushroom Blend Powder.  Hmmm hmmm!  Sounds totally delicious!

The King of Mushrooms

The King of Mushrooms is a local chef and is based in San Mateo.  I was told he only sells “whole sale”.  This to me meant he only wants to sell for commercial use.  The website, however, states there is a $100 minimum purchase limit.  So one just has to purchase in large quantities.  At the festival, you could buy any quantity of fungi from him!  🙂

Baskets of wild Fungi

Jar for Dried Mushrooms & Truffles

You can buy The King of Mushroom’s products online:

Here are the species of  mushrooms you can buy from him!

Golden Chanterelles (Oregon) (fresh and dried)

Golden Chanterelles (California)

Golden Chanterelles (Europe)

White Chanterelles

Hedge Hogs

Porcini (fresh and dried)

Lobster Mushrooms (fresh and dried)

Morels (fresh and dried)

Yellow Foot Chanterelles

Black Trumpets

Blue Foot

Alba Pioppini

Brown Pioppini

Velvet Piopparello

Forest Nameko

Hen of the Woods / Maitake (fresh and dried)

Nebrodini / Abalone Cap

King Oyster / Gambone

Oyster

Large Shiitake

Petite Shiitake

Wood Ear

Black Trumpets (dried)

Candy Caps (dried)

White Alba Truffles (dried)

Perigord Truffles (dried)

Black Burgundy Truffles (dried)


Todd Spanier and Sales associate

The King of Mushrooms does local forays for collecting fungi.  Here are the King of Mushroom’s upcoming events

FUNGI

Fungi Magazine is for “Fungophiles” (a word I learned at Fungus Fair meaning Fungus Lover)!  They are a non profit magazine and provide in-depth educational articles about collecting mushrooms and nutritional benefits of the mushrooms.  They also have really cool t-shirts!  You can find back issues at the bottom of this page and read lots of their articles in PDF format for free!

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The FUNGI magazine shirts are so beautiful and informative!  BUY IT HERE!

basidiomycetes-brn-full

Such delicate fungi

The Medicinal Fungus issue.  It is available through the website!  Chaga is good for you apparently!

Chaga issue of Fungi

Glow in the dark mushrooms!  Here is one of the luminescent fungi articles.

Glow in the dark mushrooms!

The International Mushroom Dye Institute

What a great organization!  Founded by Miriam Rice, and now headed by her daughter Felicia Rice, the International Mushroom Dye Institute promotes natural dyes from fungi.   Miriam Rice has documented her recipes for all the colors of the rainbow in her book Mushrooms for Dyes, Paper, Pigments & Myco-Stix™

At Felicia Rice’s table, we were in awe of all of the gorgeous naturally dyed yarns, fabric, and paper that were on display!

Felicia Rice of The International Mushroom Dye Institute

Amazing Picture book documenting the shade samples

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Myriam Rice’s Myco Stix (Mycelium Crayons! )

Beautiful coral pink fungus

Mycelium Dye Recipes

Fabric Samples with natural mushroom dyes

M. Loren Washburn

Beautiful Silk fabrics died with mushroom dyes!  Loren’s clothes and accessories  are all in the neutral color shades.  She has lovely designs on the silk she has.

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Fungi on Display

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The Heirloom Expo – Part 2

Missouri Farmers

Meeting the farmers & gardeners at the Expo was a really neat experience.  In my experience, folks who are heavily immersed in growing plants tend to be connected to nature in their surroundings and are the most giving and sharing people.  They care mostly about high quality returns while sticking to their budgets and utilizing the most efficient & practical ways to get their results.

I attended only 3 talks  on the second day of the Expo.  I learned quite a lot.

Biointensive Farming – John Jeavons

John Jeavons’s talk’s highlights were about curbing eminent rising costs of food and possible famine by farming your own food in small compact sections of land.    This, by their model can be achieved by Biointensive Farming.  A major benefit to gardening in compact spaces is the minimization of loss of soil.  By signing up for his classes, one can also learn how to compost and create nutritious soil as well.

www.Growbiointensive.org

www.Bountifulgardens.org

www.Commongrounds.org

Urban Homesteading

I really enjoyed this talk about urban homesteading.  They really stressed connecting your community through urban farming and sharing your harvest.  Eric has an edible lawn and it attracts lots of attention.  Here are the links to their websites & books:

Gardening resources

Petaluma Urban Homestead
Urban permaculture.com
Weed Cuisine
Urban goats justice league

Books by the Panel
The Urban Homestead (Eric Knutzen)

Urban Homesteading by (Rachel Kaplan)

Percy Schmeiser

Percy Schmeiser

Percy Schmeiser’s talk was so moving, I even teared up at the end.  Please watch the movie below to see for yourself the evils of Monsanto.

Notes:

GMO’s were introduced in 1996.

4x more toxic chemicals are being used pre GMOs were introduced.

Monsanto has created a culture of fear amongst farmers.

Percy has been sued 5x by Monsanto.

He is a Canola farmer.
Percy’s case with Monsanto was the 1st case in the world where patent could control a living thing.

Percy Schmeiser’s farm got contaminated with Monsanto seeds through wind and nature.  50 years of R&D Percy had developed had been ruined by Monsanto but trial judge ruled against Percy.  The ruling stated that when the Monsanto seed landed on Percy’s farm and contaminated it, Monsanto had won the right to all of his crops and the profits on the sale of those crops.

Who owns life?

Monsanto has created a system of farmers reporting on each other for a prize.  Very much like the red scare.

GMO plants will effect organic plants in the same family because of pollination.

Terminator gene: makes harvested seeds sterile thus making the farmer purchase seeds every year.

Plus selling chemical to go with the GMO seed they made.

Monsanto used to be the largest chemical company in the world, now it’s the largest seed company in the world.

Cheater gene: plant can not produce seeds till plant is sprayed with chemicals.  Then Terminator gene kicks in to make seeds sterile.

Pharma plants: grown in open and wild and can pollinate with other plants.  What if a pregnant woman eats a plant with contraceptive genes?

Can not have all organic, conventional, and GMOs.  They all become GMOs.  No such thing as containment.

Canola used to be 90 cents/acre and now it is $60 per acre.  And there is less variety.

Monsanto controls seed dealers to disallow which farmers to sell to.

Labeling: Vote Yes on Prop 37!  So you can make an educated choice if you want to ingest a GMO product.

The Heirloom Expo 2012 – Part 1

I’m really happy I made the 2 hour trip up to Santa Rosa with Greg (President of the Board of Full Circle Farm) to check out the Heirloom Expo.  There were a few new seed vendors I discovered and bought plenty of seeds for next year’s season!  Here are some of the vendors I checked out :

Aztec Dahlias:

This was my favorite new vendor find!  I really enjoyed the gigantic blossoms that were displayed and were for sale.  Unfortunately, since dahlias and their tubers are seasonal, there were none for sale.  They are currently taking orders for tubers that will be available early next year.  Orders can be placed on their website.  I will definitely be ordering the Elsie Houston and the Vassio Magos.

Living Earth Structures

Living Earth Structures

Tree Line Tear Drops

These mini trailer thingies are so cool.  They run at around $10k.  They look really cozy complete with a small 2 person bed inside and come with a cooking unit!

Car Camper

Laughing Frog Farm

I bought Soghurm and Millet seeds from Laughing Frog Farm.  How unusual, right?

Peaceful Valley Farm

I bought some of my favorite green heirloom tomato seeds such as Aunt Ruby German, Evergreen, and Green Zebra.  They had 5 varieties of garlic and one type of shallot.  I also bought two varieties of seed garlic heads: Spanish Roja and Purple Italian Garlic.  The prices were very reasonable from what I can remember.  Remember, each clove is supposed to produce a whole head of garlic, so I only bought about 4 of them.

Natural Gardening Company

I had never heard of this seed company, but I am so happy I got to meet them!  Surprisingly, this was the only vendor that sold seed potatoes.  They were sold for $14/lb.  I had to try some out so I bought only 5 small pieces.  I love exotic salad greens and was so impressed by their selection!  I purchased sorrel, epazote, summer savory, lovage, and 2 kinds of mache.

Botanical Interests

I love this seed company.  They got me into sprouting with their cool sprout seed packets.  I didn’t pick up anything from them at the Heirloom Expo, because nothing really jumped out at me.  They are always available at Suncrest Nurseries.

Fibershed

From the website, “A Fibershed is a geographical landscape that defines and gives boundaries to a natural textile resource base. Awareness of this bioregional designation engenders appreciation, connectivity, and sensitivity for the life-giving resources within our homelands.”

Rebecca Burgess, Founder of Fibershed

Full Circle Farm Heirloom Tomato Tasting and U Pick Tomato Event

Wonderful Full Circle Farm Volunteer adding up my bill

I attended the annual Heirloom Tomato Tasting at Full Circle Farm for the second time last friday.  I was able to drag my friends Anna, Nancy, and Rebekah over.  They quite enjoyed the variety of tomatoes.  I believe there were at least 30 if not 40 kinds of tomatoes sliced up and offered for our tasting pleasure.  My favorite was the Lime Green Salad tomato.  There is a strong flavor of lime in it.

I gotta say, this is seriously the BEST deal in town amongst all heirloom tomato tastings.  Usually the prices in San Jose for a similar event can range from $50-100.  $100 being Sent Sovi’s tomato themed dinner, so not exactly comparable, but this is still an excellent way to find out what your favorite heirloom varieties are.

Lime Green Salad Tomato

Tomato Table – See Rebekah on the right side!

Anna Tasting Tomatoes

Nancy tasting

Nancy and Anna chatting

Two days later, FCF had a U Pick tomato event where you could pick the tomatoes you had enjoyed at the tasting.  It was so much fun!  I bought 6 lbs of tomatoes for $9! What a deal!

Picking tomatoes

Fresh off the vine!

All 9 lbs of heirloom tomatoes

Eco Lands at Outside Lands 2012

Two weekends ago, I got to go to Outside Lands and watched some pretty amazing bands like Sigur Ros, Jack White, the Kills, Skrillex, Justice, Washed Out, fun.

There were lots of little themed areas, one being Eco Lands.  This section of the festival presented San Francisco’s sustainable green themed non profits.  I got to meet all three of them!

The Free Farm

At the Free Farm, I learned how to make an origami baby planter to start seeds with newspaper.  I’ve got to say, out of all the organizations, I was most moved by The Free Farm and what they do.  I wish we had a similar organization in San Jose.

ABOUT US:

The Free Farm is an urban farm founded in January 2010, by a constellation of non-profit organizations in San Francisco. We are located on a 1/3 acre lot on the corner of Gough and Eddy Streets on a parcel loaned to us by St. Paulus Lutheran Church. Since April of 2010 we have grown and given away over 3 1/4 tons of fresh organic produce, plus convened gardening and urban homesteading workshops, and hosted community, school, and religious groups.

 

Yes, I’m wearing a silver jacket and pink jeans.  It was the Skrillex day!

Free Farm showing me how to make a seed pot out of newspaper

Friends of the Urban Forest

I’ve seen FUF’s trees all over town.  I had known about them before I met them at Outside Lands.  They gave me a free seed bomb.  How nice!  🙂 They were teaching composting classes, which was really cool.  I wanted to stay for one, but Stevie Wonder was calling (all the way on the other side of the park), so I had to take off.  Just as I was taking off, a young bloke came and asked me (I don’t know why me…) what is composting and why is it necessary.  So I gave him a quick explanation about how it’s nature’s fertilizer and compost enriched soil is much better for the environment than store bought chemical fertilizers.

Mission Statement Friends of the Urban Forest’s mission is to promote a larger, healthier urban forest as part of San Francisco’s green infrastructure through community planting, tree care, education, and advocacy.

Urban Sprouts

Mission

By cultivating school gardens in San Francisco’s under-served neighborhoods, Urban Sprouts partners with youth and their families to build eco-literacy, equity, wellness, and community.

They sound very similar to CNGF and ELSEE here in San Jose.

Cactus and Succulent Society of San Jose Sale

The Plant Sale held by the CSSSJ was by far my favorite plant shopping trip!

I found out about the event through their website: http://www.csssj.org/

The variety, quality, and quantity blew my mind!  The pricing, I have to say, was very fair.  The sellers consisted of some nurseries and mostly individual hobbyists (who are members of the CSSSJ).  A majority of these folks are so knowledgeable that they grow the plants from seed.  It must take a lot of patience, because cactus and succulent seeds take a long time to germinate and grow!

CSSSJ Sale

CSSSJ Sale

Joseph Clarisonic (pottery artist) and Nick Wilkinson (owner of Grow Nursery)

Beautiful Pottery for sale

This beauty caught my eye and I had to find out where I could get one of my own!  They are like a mountain of tennis balls.

The gentleman who owns this gorgeous Geometricus is Ron Harris.  I approached him to ask about his gorgeous specimen plant!  I wanted to know where in the world this plant comes from, what is the rate of growth, how old this plant is, and most importantly where can I get one??!

Geometricus (Ron Harris)

Well, here is Ron Harris, so kindly telling me about his specimen plant!  He found me a baby Geometricus which I promptly purchased! Per Ron, the Geometricus is from Argentina and he keeps his in his green house.  In full sun it will turn red, but in his green house the plant will stay green (resembling tennis balls).  His plant grew 20 balls in one year, and in another 9, so the growth rate really does vary.  Ron wasn’t sure about the age of the plant, but at a rate of 9-20 balls a year…I would say, the plant doesn’t necessarily take that long to get large.  Although to reiterate, Ron seems to really baby his plant by keeping it in perfect growing conditions in the green house.  I can definitely say that this baby cactus is the most I’ve ever spent on a cactus/succulent.  It’s considered very rare.

Ron Harris with a baby Geometricus

Moving along, I had been obsessed with finding an Aeonium Cristata.  I ran into Loyd Monaco (president of CSSSJ) who was very helpful explaining to me what the crest looks like and what it means in terms of the plant growth.  Here is Loyd posing by one of the prize winning specimens.

Loyd Monaco (President of CSSSJ with a Calibanos Hookeri)

Here is Loyd’s Aeonium Cristata.  Following Loyd’s plant are other Cristatae species.

Cristate forms, or crests, occur when the cells of the growing point of a plant begin to multiply erratically, elongating the growing tip to form “fans”, rather than the usual single growing point. This can occur as a result of genetics, or from mechanical damage to the growing tip in the form of sudden cold, insect damage or other causes. When a plant is crested, it develops a form which often is far more attractive and interesting than the normal plant from which it has come.

Cristate (crested) plants require less light than the normal forms. Succulent crests should occasionally be trimmed of normal growth to perpetuate the cristate form. Cristate cacti should have “normals” removed carefully, and only during the active growing season.

Aeonium Cristata (Loyd Monaco)

Espotea nana cristata

Stenocereus Griseus Cristata (Don C)

Here are some other beauties!

Adenium Obesum (Nick Wilkinson)

desert rose?

Ferocactus Covelii (Richard Deming)

Gibbaeum Heathu

Aloe peglerae

Monilaria pisiformis

Mamillaria movensis (Munkasy)

2012 SF Garden Show – The Vendors

I had a blast at this year’s SF Garden Show.  Even though it was pouring I determined I was going to have a great time.  Since the show was 100% indoors, I wasn’t effected by the rain whatsoever.  I went with my friend Kevin Warnock who is really interested in aquaponics and urban homesteading.  You can check him out on his blog http://kevinwarnock.com/  We both benefited greatly from meeting the vendors and buying gardening supplies from them.  I would strongly urge anyone who enjoys gardening who is looking to find great deals and tremendous varieties to come to the next SF Garden Show.

It would be impossible to write about all the vendors that attended the SF Garden Show.  I wanted to share some personal highlights.  So here you go!

Succulent Gardens

Here is the Succulent Gardens’ little shop.  I spent by far the most cash here.  The customer service was fantastic and the sales team were very knowledgable about the plants.  I’m a sucker for succulents…  If you live in the Bay Area or the Monterey Bay Area and are as fascinated as I am about this genus of plants you must stop by their store in Castroville.

http://sgplants.com/

2133 Elkhorn Road, Castroville, CA 95012 |             (831) 632-0482       | info@sgplants.com

Succulent Gardens

Morning Sun Herb Farm

Next I stopped by Morning Sun Herb Farm.  I purchased a Lemon Verbena and a Lavender plant.  They both smell amazing.  I made sure of that before I purchased them.  The staff here were so incredibly nice and helpful.  I was told that I should start pruning my lemon verbena early on to shape the plant  for a better result as it grows.  I was super psyched about the lemon verbena as it’s been impossible to find at any garden center.  I have never seen any seeds being sold either.  It was mostly a strong object of desire because of its amazing refreshing scent.  If you are unfamiliar, Loccitaine uses it as a fragrance for many of their products.

http://www.morningsunherbfarm.com

6137 PLEASANTS VALLEY ROAD

VACAVILLE, CA  95688
phone             707-451-9406      

Morning Sun Herb Farm

Sweet Water Nursery

Moving on, I found Sweet Water Nursery that had a lot of container plants and very cool containers to put them in.  I purchased 3 really funky shamrock plants which you can see below.

http://www.sweetwaternursery.com/

Sweet Water Nursery

Sweet Water Nursery

Ecoforms

The planters on display are by Ecoforms and they are biodegradable pots.  You can find them at http://ecoforms.com .  My shamrocks from Sweet Water came in the Ecocorm pots already, which is pretty cool.  According to the website the pots are meant to last about 5 years outdoors and longer indoors.  “EcoForms pots are made from rice hulls and natural binding agents, which are starch-based, water-soluble, and bio-degradable. No pollutants are used or produced at any stage of the manufacturing process. And, because all scraps are recycled in the production process, no materials are wasted. Only a small amount of water is used in the binding formula, and the organic pigments are environmentally friendly. Heat and pressure bind the ingredients to produce EcoForms pots.” (http://ecoforms.com/products/pots/ )

Ecoform Pots

Oxalis Plum Crazy

Back to the Roots

I would love to try these mushrooms out!  The yield is supposed to be many pounds.  It’s perfect for those who don’t have any sun.  These mushrooms like dark and dank environments.  The growing medium is used coffee grinds so no need to worry about any foul odors!

http://www.bttrventures.com/

Grow your own Mushroom kit

Grow your own Mushroom kit

The Living Seed Company

I had known about Matthew Hoffman and Astrid Lindo from Twitter before I met them at SF Garden Show.  Such nice and highly informed folks!  The idea behind the brand is that we are losing heirloom varieties at record speed.  There used to be such immense diversity of crops and we have already lost about 90% of them due to companies like Monsanto.   The Living Seed Company promotes heirlooms and harvesting the heirloom seeds at the end of the growth cycle.  So your purchase at this company is really very high quality seeds that keep paying dividends year after year.  My friend Kevin loved their heirloom seeds as well and bought a variety pack for quite a good price.  I can’t wait to invite myself over for dinner some time, Kevin!  🙂

Check out their website for very interesting information on heirloom seeds and to buy online!

http://www.livingseedcompany.com/

Living Seed Company

Heirloom veggies

Variety Seed Packs including a seed harvesting book

Iron and Wood Garden Tools

I have to give credit to Kevin because Tuli Fisher’s garden tools booth caught his eye and we were both hooked (no pun intended).  We were in for such a treat of marvelously hand crafted very sexy garden tools made from essentially upcycled materials.  Tuli Fisher was such a nice person to top it all off.

http://fisherblacksmithing.com/

409 South Fifth Ave, Bozeman, MT 59715

info@fisherblacksmithing.com   •               406-522-9443

Iron & Wood Garden Tools

The Tower Garden

I really want one of these!  The tower garden combines my two interests: vertical gardening and growing your own food.  The units cost about $500 and are a closed loop system which is a very efficient way of growing your own food at home.  The system looks really heavy, so I would probably have it sit in the kitchen.  Ideally you’re supposed to have it out doors.  This is a phenomenal idea since currently the wait list at my community gardens is at least 3 years in San Jose!!!

http://www.towergarden.com/

Tower Garden

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