Winter Pruning Tips
It’s that time of year again - time to prune the fruit trees! Although the ideal moment to prune your deciduous trees will vary depending on your climate, and your preferred pruning methods will be different from those of your neighbors, as with most gardening tasks, there are some basic principles that are good for all of us to keep in mind when we prune. I like to prune fruit trees just as their buds begin to swell. This time of year, I walk through the orchard looking for
Growing A Diverse Winter Cover Crop
The basic idea of cover cropping is to sow seeds over ground that would otherwise be bare in the garden or on the farm during the rainy season. Cover crops are most often grown throughout the winter, however there are appropriate seed mixes for any time of year. Why sow seeds on bare soil when it is not in use? The most widely recognized reasons for cover cropping are erosion control, nitrogen (and carbon) fixation and the development of organic matter. Cover crops can also i
Fall Seed Saving Tips
Saving your own seeds is the most important gardening job you never thought of doing!
Food For Thought
Here are a few of the questions that have surfaced through our work in creating and sustaining edible gardens in diverse communities over the last decade. We hope they inspire and challenge you, your family and community to create your own garden and your own process of inquiry into the rhetorical question “Where does my food come from?” FOOD and FARMING Where and how is the food I eat produced? How is the food I eat transported, processed and packaged? How are the workers wh
What's the Deal with Heirlooms?
Over the last couple of decades, a nostalgic nerve has been triggered by the rising popularity of “heirloom” fruits and vegetables and “heritage” meats in the gourmet food world. If you stroll through a local farmer’s market or peruse a fancy restaurant menu in any of the nation’s urban centers these days, you will likely find these foodie buzzwords posted prominently to woo discerning customers. My fear is that the idea of an “heirloom” tomato or “heritage” pig conjures a fi
What Honey Bees Have Taught Me About Xenophobia
As published in Bay Nature Magazine, January 31, 2017.* My dad, Peter, has been keeping honey bees along the central coast of California since the 1960s. Since I learned to walk, I’ve been helping him with his bees on our family’s farm in Palo Colorado Canyon, between Carmel and Big Sur. Keeping bees with my dad over the years has been nothing short of a series of adventures. Of these adventures, capturing swarms from trees, moving ornery colonies in the dark of night without
Grow Your Own Garlic!
Garlic, or Allium sativum, is related to onions, leeks and chives. It is indigenous to Central Asia and has been cultivated by humankind for at least 5000 years. It is one of the most widely eaten food crops in the world and is commonly used in cuisines from Asia, India, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas. Today in North America and Europe, garlic is most commonly roasted (often with meat or vegetables), though other common recipes involve pickling it, crushing
Adapting “Good Agricultural Practices” to Garden to Cafe and Cafeteria Programs
At Grow Your Lunch, we care about food systems change. We envision food systems in which people buy from local food producers, and on-site edible gardens supply supplemental produce to cafes, cafeterias, restaurants and home kitchens. In order for this to work, however, those of us charged with making sure these gardens are successful have to learn an awful lot, specifically regarding food safety and Good Agricultural Practices (“GAPs”). In order to provide food that is safe,
Edible Gardening handbook Release!
Edible Gardening Handbook Release! We are thrilled to announce the release of Edible Gardening: 10 Essential Practices for Growing Your Own Food, by Grow Your Lunch founder, Benjamin "Farmer Ben" Eichorn! If you'd like a copy you can purchase the book here or download the free PDF here. You can also see each essential gardening practice outlined in a short video on the Grow Your Lunch Vimeo channel. Thanks again to all of you who have made this project possible during our Spr
Simple Rules for Pruning Deciduous Fruit Trees and Vines
Effective approaches to pruning trees, vines and shrubs vary quite widely. There is by no means a “correct” way to prune. And yet, there are some principles of plant growth that help the person with the pruning shears, loppers or saw in hand decide which decisions to make based on acute observations of the tree or vine’s growth. Pruning is primarily an art of observation, secondarily, of cutting. To prune effectively is to observe what you see and imagine how the plant in que