What to Plant & When?

Over the years I think the most common question I get asked as a garden teacher is “What do I plant, and when?” I have answered the best I can, sent people to my favorite books, taught classes, blogged about it….But I fear I may be giving too long and complicated answers… the basic home gardener doesn’t want calculate and compute, they just want to know what to plant and when and get on with it, am I right!!  So here is this years attempt to make gardening in the high desert all the more straight forward and accessible to everyone.  Please keep in mind, many might argue with me, as we gardeners all love our own way of doing things..I am just sharing what I do and what I believe you can do too. This post is loaded with links so be sure to click on them for more info.

January–

Plan– Take a seed count, Order any seeds from your favorite Companies,( Mine are Johnny’s, Seeds Savers Exchange, Native Seed Search , Order potatoes (companies can and do sell out)

PlantGreenhouse (Indoor south-facing window) Onions, Leeks, Scallions, Tomatoes(yes it seems early but is works for me)Lettuce, Cilantro

Cold Frame– Spinach, Mache, Cilantro, Lettuce, Arugula, Parsley, Peas, Radishes and other cold season greens.

February–

Plan– Decide where you might want to put everything measuring square footage, you can use graph paper, or this fancy software. Once you know how much of what it is you want to grow, you can really start.

Plant- Greenhouse (Indoor south-facing window)Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Collards  (these can also be direct sown outside next month),Tomatoes

Cold Frame– Spinach, Mache, Cilantro, Lettuce, Arugula, Parsley, Peas, Radishes and other cold season greens, Carrots, Chard

Outdoors with Row Cover-Spinach, Mache, Lettuce, Arugula, Parsley, Cilantro, Peas, Radishes and other cold season greens,

March-

Plan-Order Compost (I like to put down compost every year, about 1inch thick on all my veggie beds, if you can produce this much on sight, well done!!, if not it is worth buying some here) Plan/Purchase Irrigation system–lots to say on this matter, but this year we are going with t-tape.(more on all that later)

Plant

Greenhouse (Indoor south-facing window)

Basil

Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Collards, (can also be planted directly at under cover outside)

Tomatoes, Peppers, Eggplant

Cucumber, Melon, Winter Squash (Pumpkin, Butternut, Acorn, Etc…)Summer Squash (zucchini, Yellow Squash) These all do well direct seeded outside later in the season

Flowers- Calendula, Marigolds, Sunflowers, Snap Dragons, Tithonia, Zinnias (direct sowing works very well for all of these later in the season, I just have a greenhouse and can’t help myself!)

Cold Frame– Spinach, Mache, Cilantro, Lettuce, Arugula, Parsley, Peas, Radishes and other cold season greens, Carrots, Chard, Beets

Outdoors with Row Cover-Spinach, Mache, Lettuce, Arugula, Parsley, Cilantro, Peas, Radishes and other cold season greens, Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Collards, Carrots, Chard,

Outdoors in the great wide open– Potatoes, Spinach, Peas, Radishes, Lettuce, Dill, Chives, Flowers- Sweet Peas…I always try to get these guys in by St. Patty’s day, but am usually about a week or so late.

Just a note-March is when I really start planting outside as I am lazy with cold season watering.  If I were more serious about production I would be gardening year round, but March really feels right to me, everything must rest, right?!!  Remember, once you put seeds in the ground, you need to keep them moist for them to germinate and grow, granted the soil dries-out much slower in the cool season, but this is the desert, so only sow when you are ready to hand water (irrigation usually isn’t turned out till May).  If you are watering outdoors in the cold months (you should be watering perennials and trees every 2-4weeks with these dry winters)…..always drain and unhook your hoses, they can freeze and burst and cause you real trouble!!

April

Plan- Spread compost and lay irrigation if that is part of your plan. Till or dig any bed you plan to turn.

Plant-

Greenhouse (Indoor south-facing window) I am full up in the Greenhouse by this time and just watering my babies.  I always try to have a flat of sunflower sprouts growing, you can sow these once a week.

Cold Frame-Pepper, Eggplant (If your cold frame is tall enough this ensures a nice hot mini greenhouse that you can close up if we get frost before they ripen in the fall)

Outdoors with Row Cover- Spinach, Mache, Lettuce, Arugula, Parsley, Cilantro, Peas, Radishes and other cold season greens, Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Collards, Carrots, Chard,

Outdoors in the great wide open- Onions, Leeks, Scallions,Potatoes, Spinach, Mache, Lettuce, Arugula, Parsley, Cilantro, Dill, Chives, Peas, Radishes and other cold season greens, Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Collards, Carrots, Chard, Beets, Parsnips, Flowers- Marigolds, Snap Dragons, Sweet Peas

May (Last Frost date May 15th)

Plan-Spread compost and lay irrigation if that is part of your plan. Till or dig any bed you plan to turn.

Plant-

Outdoors in the great wide open- (Direct seed or transplanted from the greenhouse)

Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Collards, Carrots, Chard, Beets, Parsnips, Beans, Corn, Squash, Cucumbers, Melons, Amaranth, Basil, Flowers- Calendula, Marigolds, Sunflowers, nasturtiums, Cosmos, Zinnias

Who Did I Forget?- Garlic is planted in the fall, sweet potatoes I have yet to try though they are getting experimented with in gardens all around me, Bok choy- yet to really succeed against the flea beatles, but will let you know when I truly get a successful crop!

Well I hope that helps– never a short answer from me, but hopefully somewhat simple and straight forward?  Happy gardening!

Kinder at Home -Resources & Inspiration

As many of you know I am homeschooling my littlest ones- ages 3 & 4.  This really means “being” at home together in a joyful way… moving slow and steadily through our day of work and play with songs, story, food, rest and fresh air as top priorities… It sounds as natural & easy as breathing… and that is the way I hope it feels to them, but honestly it takes a lot of practice and work for it all to flow and for me to be joyful and calm enough to hold that tone all day!!! But practice does make progress and our days are mostly truly delightful!  My secret is that I don’t do this every day!! Only three or four days a week right now and one of those days we have another friend along for the ride!

 

How I got here is one story but for now, I wanted to share the resources I have gathered over the years with you that inspire my days with the littles ones (besides my inner resources of course…that is a whole other blog post!)

So to start the year of with an offering: here are my favorite Kinder at Home Books with links in hopes of inspiring songs, verses, stories and crafts into your day with ease and fluidity!

WALDORF KINDERGARDEN INSPIRATION BOOKS

Tell Me a Story-Published By WECAN
https://store.waldorfearlychildhood.org/products/tell-me-another-story

A Child’s Seasonal Treasury- Betty Jones
https://www.amazon.com/Childs-Seasonal-Treasury-Education/dp/099149220X

Kindergarten with your There to Six Year Old- Donna Simmons
& Joyful Movement By Donna Simmons
https://www.christopherushomeschool.com/early-years/

Seven Times the Sun By Shea Darian
https://www.sheadarian.com/

Sing A Song of Season, Sing a Song With Baby, Pentatonic Delight, Cante Cante Elephante
by Mary Thienes-Schunemann
https://naturallyyoucansing.com/shop?olsPage=products

The Children’s Year by Cooper, Fynes-Clinton and Rowling
Festivasl, Family and Food by Diana Carey & Judy Large
Hawthorn Press
https://www.hawthornpress.com/

The Wise Enchanter- A journey through the Alphabet by Sheley Davidow & Krytuna E. Kurzyca
https://www.amazon.com/Wise-Enchanter-Journey-through-Alphabet/dp/0880105623

Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn Tales by Suzanne Downs
https://junipertreepuppets.com/collections/juniper-tree-resource-books-and-puppet-crafts

Whole Family Rhythms seasonal books– Winter – Spring -Summer -Autumn by Megan Wilson of WholeFamilyRhytyms.com (which appears to be sleeping right now)

 

Sparkle & Silk Time- Holiday Market Dec. 7th!

It has been a beautiful season of our lives… our children are growing and thriving, as is my garden, my imagination, as am I!

I am working more, playing more, running, hiking, singing and smiling more!  I have so much to be thankful for… but alas, still long for more time to create!!  Keeping up with all the movements doesn’t leave much quiet time to sit down and make things, but for those of you who follow me on Instagram (which I discovered this year too as am awesome tool for a creative mom on the move!)…………………

I spent many days this summer learning about natural dyes from my beloved desert plants!  I had so much fun gathering sagebrush after a long summer day at Lake Abiquiu while my children slept in the car next to me letting and sharp clean scent stain my fingertips and sweaty hands… and picking prickly pear at my beloved Amanda and Andy’s place out in the hills of Cerrillios watching a passing thunder storm and double rainbow!!!!!

… oh and the Gallardia, Black eyed Susan and Sunflower gathering at my mom’s meadow in Nambe, NM while my fairy child fluttered around my channeling songs for the flowers… a dream come true!!

My husband built me an outdoor kitchen many moons ago and it really got some good use this year I am happy to say, where I made a delightfully beautiful mess!!!….There were a few years there where I thought I would never do anything again beside change diapers and do dishes, much less create…Happy to report, no more diapers and the dishes can wait!

So all this to say I will be bringing my Desert Dyed play silks along with my gemstones jewelry to market this holiday season….. I only do ONE holiday market, so I hope you all come and see me and my treasures!!

December 7th from 10-3 pm at the Santa Fe Waldorf school Holiday faire in the Artisan Market.  It is a well curated show and will be featuring a group of amazing artists this year, so it is well worth the trip! Come out and support local beauty this season!!!

 

 

Family Friendly Gardening Workshop April 6th

Eva GArden 2017.JPGSpring is in the air and it is high time to dust off this beloved blog of mine.  What better way to celebrate spring than a Gardening Workshop!!

I have taught gardening in different venues in this town for almost 20 years now, taking many breaks to sow seeds of my own, but I am back!! I recently took a part time job at the Santa Fe Waldorf School teaching Parent/ Child classes ( which is utterly delightful!) and I have been inspired by some of my students to bring more offerings to the greater public…..So next Saturday, April 6th from 1-4pm I will be offering a Family Friendly Gardening Workshop.  The cost will be $40 per participant ( Kids are welcome and Free) and everyone will go home with their own flat of 32, 2 inch pots full of handmade soil and hand sown seeds and some transplants (like the one in the picture).  We will cover how to make homemade potting mix, what seeds to start in doors and what to plant outside, when to plant what, and do the actual seedling and some transplanting together.  If you would like to join please email me directly at eoneill@santafewaldorf.org  IMG_6678

This will be the first of a once a month Series of Family Craft Workshops that will offer hands on activities to families that reclaim our power to create, cultivate and nourish our head, heart and hands in a world that undermines our innate instincts to grow, make and do things for ourselves & together!

Seeds and Stones Studio- December Gallery

 

I have been busy in the jewelry studio gearing up for this Saturday, December 15th 2018!  I will be selling jewels at the Railyard Performance Space with a wonderful bunch of crafty ladies from 2-6pm… As many of you noticed, I haven’t been very public lately but every Christmas I come out of the woodwork for a big well stocked show!  Can’t wait to connect and catch up with all of you!! Here is a glimpse of just a few of the things I have been making.

If you are not going to make it on Saturday I will be reopening my Etsy Shop ASAP… Mostly likely early January so keep checking in …. or contact me directly if there is something you must have now!!!

 

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The Creative Cave

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Oakley’s first encounter with water paper and brush

November brought me a beautiful gift…Some childcare and some quiet time in my little cave to create. ( Thanks Mom) For me creativity is a part of life, like breath, that must be expressed.  This year has allowed very little time for creative acts, almost like this part of myself went into hiding, but this month I have carved out some precious moments to create again and let me tell you it soothes the stifled soul and breathes life back into places where there was none!!!

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It’s not only the making of things from my imagination into tangible things, but the actual stones, their colors, their magic that seeps in through my eyes and fingers tips, acting like little doses of medicine for a hungry soul.IMG_7971

img_7968.jpgWhy so much creative energy on Jewelry? ….I have been gearing up for my first Jewelry sale in two years which will be at the Santa Fe Waldorf School this Saturday. I will be selling along side one of my favorite local artists and friends, Becca from Tree of Life Studio.   There will be a ton of crafters that only share there wares at this one show so if you are looking for beautiful hand made gifts made with much love and care, I personally think this show is one of the towns best keep secrets!!  So come on out and support me and other local mamas, as well as the scholarship fund for the Waldorf school, chances are you know someone who benefits from this directly!

Hope to See you Saturday!!

Planting for Fall

The summer lull is passing, the rains are here and the harvests are starting to roll in with no effort from me, many pounds of Summer Squash, Zucchini, Kale, Cabbages, Chard and a tomato or two!  IMG_6962.JPGI really don’t do much in the garden in July, maybe prune some tomatoes, thin some beets and water as much as I can, ( in addition to irrigation I often run the sprinkler just because my plants seem to scream in the heat)  I kind of dry up myself and just sit in the river and wait!…IMG_6960.JPGBut then the light changes, the heat softens and the world turns just enough to feel the shift and I return to the garden again.

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So many folks tell me this time of year, ” Oh I really didn’t garden this summer, (with a sigh) maybe next year….”  It’s not too late, in fact no better time really!! Warm soil, falling rain, golden light and rainbows!  It is a second spring and even better than the first if you ask me!  We still have three more months of growing season here!  IMG_6686I pull out cabbage and make room for carrots, I scratch in beets seeds, spinach, cilantro, lettuce, arugula under burgeoning Basil plants and next to heavily harvested Kale.  I sneak in things where ever I can, in fact underneath is a great place to plant now because other plants can provide some shade in the heat and protection from the soil drying out too quickly for germinating seeds… some plants will be pulled out in a month or two and by then your understory will need the waning light.  IMG_6676Now is a great time to dig in some compost and plant a whole succession of fall salad greens.  You can use row cover as shade cloth and to help keep moisture in for germinating, remember the secret to getting seeds to germinate in a hot garden is that they must NEVER dry out completely… but if you are back from vacation you can handle a little watering every day!  If you plant every two weeks for the next two months you will surely supply yourself with salad for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas!! What a better gift than your very own food for your family!IMG_6819

Snap shoots of summer

I seem to have let my blog posts lapse a lot this year, still finding my way with it all I suppose… But I still do take pictures everyday and they help me track what on earth I have done with my life lately… Small and simple and slow summer time over hereIMG_6665

Watering and watering IMG_6714.JPG

Growing and growingIMG_6680.JPG

Harvesting and harvesting IMG_6711

Cherries cherries cherries!!!

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Nan king,IMG_6704North star ( 30lbs!!)

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Cherry CobblerIMG_6764

Summer sewing

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Blue hatsIMG_6809Garden dresses and matching bonnets

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Cabbage harvestingIMG_6941

Cole slaw and KrautIMG_6839

And lots of sparklers!!!

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Daily swims

IMG_6827Casting shadows in the setting sun.

Happy Mother’s Day Mamas

It has been a very full 6 years, three beautiful children born to us, healthy and strong, which I celebrate today and everyday.IMG_5095

I feel super blessed to have brought such wonderful, bright, resilient beings to this earth and I pray everyday that I may guide and nurture them to continue to be so every day they are on this earth.

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Mama Katie and her first of three, Lanie

I also feel blessed to have so many beautiful, brave mamas in my life and I love to take this day to celebrate them.  I have taken many pictures of pregnant mamas over the years as I have become a mother and these are just a few among many mamas I have been inspired by.

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Mama Becca and her three

Their beauty, wisdom and strength have guided my journey in a remarkable way.  These mamas have taught me to sing, dance, pray and process this metamorphorphisis of the spirit of motherhood.

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Mama Brenna and her third

Without my conmadres, I would have lost my way years ago.   Thank you mamas for sheparding my way, I love you so!

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Mama Madi and her third

The last is a poet, Jennifer Ferraro, who wrote this poem years before being a mama herself, but somehow knew so deeply what the call of motherhood felt like. This photo was taken while she recited her beautiful poem, Blessing for one about to be born, to me from memory, her words lifted on the wind.

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Mama Jennifer and her first

She finally became a mother this spring after many long years of waiting.  Here is her beauty and her words along with my photos– I post this every year because it is just so perfect for a little motherhood tear today.  Happy Mother’s Day!

And lastly of course, my very own mother, without her none of this beautiful life would have been possible.  Love you mom.IMG_2604