Despite the extremely hot weather yesterday, we had a great time hosting our garden as part of the Edible Garden Tour. Our garden was open from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm and we were the 5th house out of 6 on the tour. The day before there was a flurry of activity at my house to prepare. Each house on the tour was paired with a local business to embellish the gardens such as a florist, or garden shops. Our sponsored business is a store called Haus which is a home decor and gift shop. On Friday, their team brought over pumpkins and lanterns for an autumnal theme on the front porch. They also staged my back patio table with table settings and hung garden themed art along my side walkway. My most favorite addition was the Welcome to East Sacramento sign that they hung on my back fence.
The day before the tour I worked on some labels for my plants. I thought about how I wanted to label my plants for a long time and finally came up with a solution. Plant stake labels requires the viewer to crouch down low to read the label and I wanted labels to be closer to eye level if they could. I found these plain wooden tags at a craft store. Because I was unsure how the pen would hold up on the wood, I also got smaller tags on which to write the varieties of plants and then taped them together. These labels I hung from the plants. If plants were closer to ground level, I had a huge pack of leftover drip line stakes that I used to clothes pin my labels.
I tried to write the different varieties of plants on my labels because gardeners should know what varieties do well in the East Sac area. If they are looking at my squash and think it is doing great in our climate then they should also know the variety. Also I tried to give some information on the labels to inform my guests as to why I might be keeping a dying looking plant up in my landscape. For drying beans, I explained that I was saving seeds. I think the labels really added to the experience of the guests and brought their attention to plants that may be providing me food but currently had no evidence of food such as my Apple trees, blueberry bushes or pineapple guavas.
Also on Friday I set up a harvest table, displaying some of my harvest. I included some of the squashes that I have picked, onions, garlic, peppers dried from last year, seeds and some of my canned and pickled goods. The Monster Squash made an appearance on the table and was a hit with the guests!
We were up bright and early on Saturday morning (4:30 am!) to put the last finishing touches in the garden and sweep the pathways. The Soroptimist ladies arrived to set up their table, the Master Gardener came early to tour the garden so they would be able to answer guests’ questions and Bill, the trumpet player from Sacramento Symphonic Winds set up his area.
Hundreds of people walked through my garden yesterday and I had a great time talking to everyone. I met some neighbors who are also growing their own food and it is inspiring to hear what everyone else was trying in the neighborhood (one man I talked to said he was trying to grow saffron in East Sac!). I think I may have met some new best friends yesterday (ok ok… gardening best friends!).
Here were some common questions about my garden with links to posts:
- Are you really going to grow 500 pounds of food this year?
- No I am not because my tomatoes are not cooperating…. thanks for reminding me! But you can check out my monthly Garden Tally posts to keep up on my progress
- How does your gray water system work?
- Read about water wise gardening here.
- You grew that 8 1/2 pound squash? What variety is it and how does it taste?
- Get Texas Tomato Cages here!
- Did you pickle that? Did you can that? Do you freeze that? What is your recipe?
- How do you save seeds?
- I have a whole series of posts called Seed Saving: Calypso Beans, Onions, Calendula, Garlic Chives, and Kale.
- Why hasn’t your kale bolted?
- Actually I had no idea why but click here to read about my kale. My suggestion was to try planting kale in succession and keep good notes on the dates of when you put the plant in the ground and when it bolts. This way you can figure out what works best for your climate.
- You built a solar oven? How does it work?
- This was a favorite topic during the tour so I guess I have to write a post about this soon!
- How do you amend your soil? I love talking about compost!
- Read about my compost piles.
- Read about my worm factory here.
- Read about using coffee grounds.
- Read about using horse manure in my garden.
- Read about sifting compost.
If I talked to you during the tour and you are local, feel free to contact me for seed swaps, plants, cuttings, or harvest trades! I really enjoyed talking to everyone! Thanks for coming out and bearing the heat! It was a great day for gardeners and for charity too!
Also I got to sneak away for a little bit during the middle of the tour to check out two of the houses near me. I visited houses #4 and #6 on the tour and snapped a few pictures. Here are a few from Garden #4: Grandma’s Secret Cottage Garden.
And here are a few photos from Garden #6: The Whimsical Garden. This garden had a complete food forest growing in the front yard but I failed to take a picture. Hope everyone is having a great weekend!