Monday, April 8, 2013

GROW Up, Reno!

I'm not sure if anyone at all shares my effervescence over growing things in seemingly impossible situations.  I mean, what else do thirty-something suburban chicks do with their spare time in gorgeous weather as this?

Spring is here and getting the garden ready for the growing season is in full swing!  Well, except for a minor hiccup this morning that look like this:

Strawberry snow cone, anyone?
Snow peas - literally - and those are not iceberg lettuce, but they could very well be!
Them kales are looking kinda cold and lonely!
Everyone calm down.  The good news is I think they will make it!  These veggies are very hardy and could tolerate mild frosts.  Who knew?

In case you, my kin, are out there, or if you have never tried gardening before but have a calling, I thought I'd share some steals that could save you some G's and resources that could help you get jumpstarted!

[Starts and Seeds Galore!]
1.  Home Depot is running a Black Friday sale since, well, last Friday.  It runs until Wednesday, April 10th, so if you want some definite steals, rush over now!  Here's a sample of what they have on sale:
  • 5 for $10 on starts (i.e. plants that are a few weeks old and are ready to go in the ground).  While I am not a fan of non-organic stuff, I caved and bought five strawberry starts for $10. Did you know that strawberries are winter hardy and they are perennials (they come back every Spring assuming they did not let them freeze to death all winter)?  If done right, strawberries can bear fruit for three years each summer!  I have pretty much all I need for a strawberry patch.  I just need a free weekend to get it off the ground!  
  • Half off on ALL seeds.  There's still time to seed tomatoes and peppers indoors so they can be ready to be planted outside mid-May!  How many things can you buy for $1 that will improve your life and the way you eat - all summer and the next few?!
  • I've talked enough about my wild rabbit diners in my yard so I have bare patches everywhere  like you wouldn't believe.  They have grass seed on sale for half off so for a 3 lb. bag, you only pay $3 give or take.  
2.  Hungry Mother Organics in Minden, NV is already open for the season!  They have cold weather greens waiting to be picked up by you.  It is worth the 45 minute drive from Reno because not only are they organically grown, their prices are difficult to beat. 

3.  And while you're in Minden, I urge you to stop by Full Circle Compost next door for the best growing soil for our area.  Skip the big box stores (if you can).  "You are what you eat" applies to plants, too, and I have a feeling the guys at Full Circle Compost might be the best soil around for growing locally.
4.  City of Reno has a recreation program where kids are taught how to grow plants from seed.  Every spring, City of Reno sells these baby plants for $1 each.  They will have their early plant sale at the Earth Day Celebration on April 21st at Idlewild Park.  The event starts at 10AM.  They usually have another plant sale in early May.
5.  The Great Basin Community Food Coop has an annual seedling sale usually around the weekend prior to Memorial Weekend. 
6.  UNR's Cooperative Extension has an annual Master Gardener's plant sale also around middle to end May.  I don't think the timing is coincidental considering May 15th is the average last frost date in our area, which means the starts that you bought could go in the ground as soon as you get home and there will be little to no chance of it dying of frostbite.  You must remember though that the Memorial Day weekend of 2012, we still had a hailstorm, so never let your guard down!  

  1. Grow Your Own, Nevada! is a program ran by the University of Reno Cooperative Extension that educates everyone and anyone about growing your own food in the desert.  They are running a series of workshops every Wednesday evening through 5/22/13 about gardening in our area.  I am personally going to a few of them.  Registration is $15 per class or $60 for the entire series.  Register here!
  2. River School Farm has farm tours on Fridays to help you appreciate the possibilities.
  3. Urban Roots has workshops and camps tailored for kids.  You gotta start them young!
  4. This guy is not local, but he is my go-to for backyard gardening.  John Kohler started a YouTube channel called Growing Your Greens as a commitment to educating whoever he can about the benefits of growing your own food.  He's a young, normal guy who has an extraordinary passion for growing food.  His videos are very easy to digest.  His garden is AWESOME!  I saw an interview where he talked about his gardening roots.  Apparently, he had a fatal disease.  At his weakest hour, he made a promise that if he makes it, he'll do all within his reach to educate people about the value of eating healthy and growing your own food.  He's my gardening guru!
And for a little update (and hopefully, inspiration), here are my seedlings (lettuce, cherry tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, basil, parsley, sweet peppers, jalapeno peppers, poinsettia peppers, and a lavender), saying hello!

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