Author Archives: Sue Goetz
Lovely thoughts flutter through your mind to hand craft all of your gifts this year. Just imagine it, Christmas music playing in the background, an area set aside for all your crafting gear (and not having to clear the dining room table for a meal!) …yes, it is nice to dream. Then there is the calendar flipping its days so fast it could make your head spin. Time is the rare commodity as holiday activities run away with it all.
Here are a few links to DIY gifts that look like you worked on for days but will take only a matter of hours from start to wrapping.
But there are times when I crave a fresh dose of greens and can’t want to wait for a harvest from the garden. Sprouts are fresh spice for any time of year. They are low in fat, filled with vitamins, minerals, protein and are ready to eat in about a week. I grab a big pinch of them and eat them as a snack. You can also toss them in scrambled eggs, use in place of lettuce on sandwiches, add to salads and wraps, and garnish the top of hot soup just before serving. Sprouting seeds- Alfalfa is the most common, but there are many that add unique flavors and textures. Broccoli: a nice radish-like bite of flavor. Chia: a bit of a tang, but much like alfalfa sprouts in texture and flavor.
Clover: similar in flavor to alfalfa sprouts.
Fenugreek: a mild curry-like flavor, exotic flavor,
yummy in chicken wraps.
Lentils: a bit of peppery flavor
Mung Bean: the texture is nice a crispy. Pea-like flavor.
Radish: much like the flavor of the vegetable, it will spice up any dish.
Sunflower: a nutty flavor, yummy on a hot cup of tomato soup! How-to: Use a clean glass canning jar with a sprout screen as the lid. Clean, and rinse jar to clean well. Add about 1 1/2 teaspoons of seeds to the jar Place a fine mesh screen on top of jar and tighten metal ring to hold in place. Partially fill the jar with warm (not hot) water and swirl around to clean seeds; pour out water. Refill with warm water and soak overnight. After overnight soak, pour out water and place jar at a slight angle (a counter top dish drainer works well for this) to allow remaining water to run out. Turn jar to spread seed over the inside of the jar. Rinse sprouts daily, up to 2 or 3 times, with cool fresh water-allowing the jar to rest tilted to drain out excess water. Turn jar to spread seeds on the inside of the jar. As they get larger, thicken and green up, place sprouts in indirect light. Repeat rinsing until the sprouts are lush and ready to eat, rinse well and drain before placing in the refrigerator. Keep finished sprouts refrigerated and use within a week. Remember: -Rinse often -Don’t over seed, give them room to breathe. -Keep moist,-not wet. -Sprout at room temperature- keep fresh ready-to-eat ones in the fridge. -Sprout with joy! Resources for seeds and supplies: http://www.mountainroseherbs.com
Now scheduling Fall and Winter Workshops at UGC University
for groups of 12 or less (minimum of 5)
Get together at the University of UGC (Urban Garden Company) – Let’s schedule it! Call for available dates and times.
Designing with Bulbs
Get your hands dirty and learn about using bulbs to create a colorful garden. Tips and techniques for planning and planting in the landscape and containers, then create your own bulb container to take home. Instructor Sue Goetz will take you through the process of creating a bulb lasagna container. All of the supplies needed for the container will be provided, however you may want to bring your own pair of gardening gloves.
Per Person $25, all supplies included.
MaKe-It, TaKe It- fun workshop with all supplies included, we’ll get a little dirty and create small glass gardens perfect for indoor tabletop décor.
Per person: $30, includes all supplies.
Collage Seed Boxes
Fun project! This is a box that will hold seed packets or can be used as a lovely garden themed storage box. We will decorate a plain box with pressed botanicals, paper ephemera, vintage book pages and more. This is a hand-on class with all supplies included. You can bring paper scraps and pressed flowers (and many will be supplied) to personalize your work of art. Learning the mixed collage technique will give you many great ideas for Holiday gifting!
Per Person: $35 includes blank box to collage and all supplies.
Garden Décor for the Holidays, from fragrance to living plants.
Cinnamon, pine, cloves….the fragrances of the holidays captured into crafting and decorating inside the home for the holiday season. Creative ideas woven with the legends and traditions of use. Fresh greens, herbs, dried spices and fruits, potpourri blends, pomanders, bulb forcing, and wreaths for housewarming decor or gifts. Plus tabletop living topiary workshop for an elegant easy way to bring the garden indoors! Instructions how to spiral a mini evergreen and make-it-take-it living ivy wreath.
Per person: $30. Includes all supplies, class fees and instruction to make a tabletop topiary ivy wreath, plus fragrant samples and recipes to take home.
Other topics and sessions available, please inquire!
311 Puyallup Avenue, Tacoma, Washington 253-265-2209, email@example.com
Garden folklore says that if spiders weave abundant webs it is the precursor to a rough winter. I am not sure about the webs the spiders have created in your garden, but mine are mesmerizing. The spiders have been very noticeable and obviously up to something. Call it folklore; but there is a scientific term “Phenology” which is the study of the relationship between climate and periodic biological phenomena like spiders weaving their webs shorter during an approaching storm or thicker in preparation for a rough winter. The flowering period of plants, bird migration, insect hatching, behaviors, and hibernation are all phenological events.
Gardeners and farmers have used phenology since they began to cultivate earth. They simply used intuition and observation to learn the connection to nature for successful growing and harvesting. The reasoning is valid, because you cannot always rely on the calendar. A cold wet spring may delay planting and blooming, a warm winter period fools bulbs into emerging. Watching natural behavior instead of the calendar for garden activities and weather forecasting brings out the phenologist in all of us.
As fall has ushered in the colors of the leaves deepen and the days grow shorter, a common question is with such a crazy hot/cold
summer, what will winter bring. Does nature really know the secret?
Interesting lore and facts on how nature signals the seasons:
-If the foliage on the trees is thick and hangs on late in the fall, it is going to be a hard winter. The reasoning is- the heavier foliage creates thicker ground cover, which in turn protects larva and other organisms below the soil.
-If fur on animals (such as squirrels, rabbits, deer, fox, and bear — or even domestic fur-bearing animals, if they stay outside all the time) is thick, it is going to be a hard winter.
-It is said that horses spook more easily around Halloween. It is not eerie, but more a sign of fall in full swing. Daylight hours lessen and shadows shift and move differently as the sun lowers in the sky. They cast longer shadows across pathways and wind rattles dried fallen leaves making a shift in natural sounds; causing a reason to spook or feel unsettled.
-Clear moon, means frost soon. When the night sky is clear the earth’s surface cools rapidly because there is no cloud cover to hold the heat. If the night is clear enough to see the moon, then the temperatures will drop.
-Wasps building nests in exposed places indicate a dry season, when they build nests near the ground a harsh winter is expected.
The interesting part of the spider theory in this year’s garden; forecasters are telling we will have a snowy, wet winter with temperatures below normal. Hmmm…spiders or forecasters… only time will tell.
I have been watching the buzz on this book for a while and waiting for it to emerge into pages. I will honestly say that I thought it sounded fun, but was not really sure if it was a book I would go out and buy.
The title evokes images of an old movie set. The dark stone walls of a castle dungeon and distillery equipment steaming with fragrant concoctions…but I digress.
I am a fan of the author, Amy Stewart and have all of her previous books, so it might have been just a purchase as a fan and not necessarily of the subject matter.
This is not a tale of a curmudgeonly old botanist,who is more interested in pistils and stamens while imbibing too much.
The Drunken Botanist is much more fun. Who knew that walking into a liquor store would inspire a garden writer. Everything on the shelves is rooted in botanical history, from hops in beer to the nectar of Agave. The book is a historical exploration how plants return to us in another formulation. Herbs, grains, veggies, and exotic plants have for centuries given us medicine, remedies, food and flavorings this book gives you a look at the fermented side of plants.
Even if the study of liqueur isn’t your thing, the botanical journey is definitely worth the read. Cheers!
Amy’s garden, colorful and edible…or should I say drink-able! On right: peppers, celery, basil, strawberries, Calendula, cucumber, lemongrass….photo courtesy of Amy Stewart.
Go Local: If you are in Tacoma-check out our very own craft cocktail lounge. www.1022south.com
Free Book : I have a copy of The Drunken Botanist from Amy and am giving it away. NAME THAT PLANT! What Pacific Northwest native fern would you steep in water to create a bitter cocktail syrup that hints at a licorice-flavor mixed with orange water. Post a comment here, on Facebook or stop by Urban Garden Company in downtown Tacoma to drop off your answer. One of the correct answers will be drawn randomly. Hurry and answer by March 31st, the winner will be drawn April 1st.
Forcing spring bulbs is easy; it just takes a little planning to have blooming color through the winter months.
Most spring bulbs need a chilling period to complete the natural cycle that makes them bloom. That cycle is the reason spring bulbs are planted in the fall. The cool wet soil and air temperature is the natural chill needed.
Pretend it’s spring! To coax bulbs into early bloom indoors, mimic that cooling period. Most bulbs need a chill for 10 to 16 weeks (depending on the type of bulb.) Following suggested chilling time, bulbs can be planted in September for January blooms, October for February and so on. The temperature for proper chilling needs to be 35 to 50 degrees. An unheated garage or spare refrigerator works well. When shoots emerge and the proper time has been met, place the potted bulbs in a warm sunny window. The warmth will force them into bloom quickly. Plant up a few pots and varieties and stage them to stagger blooms for a longer season of color. After the flowers have finished, most can be planted outdoors if they are hardy. Cut off the faded flowers stalks and keep the leaves on. Continue watering until the outdoor weather warms, then plant them outside. The forcing of bulbs sometimes simply exhausts the bulbs and they will not re-bloom. Hardier bulbs like tulips and daffodils may recover after a few seasons.
Specialty Bulbs for Holiday Color:
A delicate fragrant indoor blossom that is classic for Christmas decorating. Paperwhites do not need a cooling period as most spring bulbs do to bloom indoors.
4 to 6 inch round, 4 inch deep pot
Use terra-cotta or any decorative pot; just make sure there is a drainage hole in the bottom.
3 to 5 Paperwhite bulbs (a more common variety is sold as Paperwhite “Ziva”)
Choose bulbs that are firm, with rich brown outside layers. A bit of green bud showing is fine.
White small cut rock chips
Or show a little creativity and use beach glass, marbles or anything that will hold the bulbs upright in the pot.
In the bottom of the pot, place two inches of white rock. Set the bulbs firmly on top of the rock, roots down and stems facing up. In a 4 inch pot place 3 bulbs, in a 6 inch pot use 5 bulbs. Loosely fill the pot with remaining white rock, to the rim. About half of the bulb will be exposed. Water well and place in a warm dark area or away from direct sunlight until green shoots emerge 2 to 4 inches. Bring the pot into a sunny spot and keep even watering. Do not over-water.
Paperwhite flowers will bloom in 6 to 8 weeks. Keep blooming plants away from heat sources. The blooms will last longer is kept in a cooler spot of the home.
Intensely fragrant and colorful, hyacinth force will in water
A glass vase with a smaller neck that allows the bulb to sit in just at the water line.
Pre-Chilled Hyacinth Bulb
Fill the glass vase up to the neck with clean water. Place bulb in the vase. The base of the bulb should barely touch the water level. Place the vase in a cool dark place until roots begin to grow. Check water level and maintain the correct level so roots can grow into it. When the roots are full and the stalk is a couple of inches high, move the vase to a sunnier spot. Pre-chilled hyacinth blooms typically bloom in 6 to 8 weeks. As with all indoor blooming bulbs keep away from direct heat sources and in cooler temperatures to insure long bloom time.
Large bulbs and large showy blooms perfect for Christmas decor.
6 inch pot at least 6 inches deep
Pebbles, pea gravel or small rock chips.
Start the bulbs in a pot that is only slightly larger than the bulb. They do better in tight quarters and need a good stable base. Place pebbles in the bottom 1 inch of the pot. Place approximately 2 inches of soil in the pot. Firmly place the bulb on top of the soil. Add more soil or take away soil under the bulb so that about 1/3 rd of the bulb is showing. Water thoroughly and place in a warm spot. Keep the soil barely moist until growth begins then water regularly. Amaryllis usually bloom 4 weeks after planting depending on the variety.