Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring by Naturally Pebbles

As we shake the chill of winter off, the newness of Spring slowly welcomes us.  The birds are back with their melodic songs, buds bloom on trees and plants, and the air is fresher.

 Spring brings about a period that we see as a rebirth.  We clean out our house of all of the items that were collected over the year.  We start planning our gardens and collecting vegetable and flower seeds to plant. 

This is a great time to re-evaluate.  Start that project that has been on a list for years.  Take a class or connect with an old friend that you haven't talked with in a while.

“With each spring comes new life, energy and green growth. In summer comes the sun, warm, kind and enduring.”  Jason F Wright

Until we blog again,

Naturally Pebbles

Monday, April 29, 2013

Growing a Greener World – PBS by Naturally Pebbles

One of my favorite television programs is Growing a Greener World with Joe Lamp’l.  This show highlights urban gardeners and farmers across the country. In addition, Chef Nathan Lyon shows you how to create recipes from just picked vegetables and fruits.

 The program has featured gardening trade shows, gardens made from cargo containers, and hydroponics in the three seasons it has been on the air.  They did a segment on raising backyard chickens and how to build a coop.  They also have articles about organic gardening on their website.  I can’t wait to try the pan roasted asparagus.

 Please check your local PBS station for times and the website

 Until we blog again,

Naturally Pebbles

Monday, April 22, 2013

In Season - April '13 by Naturally Pebbles

It’s spring time!  The new harvest brings us mangoes.  This sweet pitted fruit is a tropical super food. If it is slightly under ripe, you can ripen in a paper bag at room temperature.  Once ripened, mangoes can be placed in the refrigerator.

 This beta –carotene packed fruit is perfect for juicing and smoothies.  It is also refreshing as a snack.  While it is high in carbohydrates, it is also high in fiber.  It is filled with vitamin A and C.  This fruit has no fat.

How do I cut this fruit?  You can purchase a mango splitter or using a sharp knife,   you can cut one fourth into the flesh, this should avoid the long flat pit.  With the cut piece you can slice or dice and scoop the flesh from the skin.

Looking for fresh ways to use your mangoes? Try mango caprese salad or mango salsa. 

Until we blog again,

Naturally Pebbles

Saturday, March 2, 2013

1st Workday of 2013 at The ROW Community Garden

Today was the first of many garden workdays at The ROW (Roots of Woodville Community Garden) located at 28th & Tate Street in the Church Hill section of Richmond, VA.  What I love most about this garden is the feeling of family and the connection that comes from working together towards a common goal.  We greet each other with hugs, bright smiles and hopeful hearts.  We are an energized and genuinely concerned group and we look forward to having increased participation from the community this year.   

We had a group of seven people working together this afternoon and were able to accomplish a few tasks that will surely get our growing season off to a nice start.   We mowed the lawn, pulled weeds, tilled the raised beds and tidied both inside and outside of the storage shed.

Next Saturday, March 9, 2013, we will be the host site for the fourth session in the City of Richmond's Urban Agriculture Learning Series from 11AM - 12:30PM.  During this session, attendees will learn how to construct rain barrels along with a few other helpful tasks for home and community gardens.

It was a brisk day but it felt good being back amongst our faithful garden volunteers.  The warmth from our group's positive energy was enough to get us through the afternoon.  I believe that it's safe to say that we all left with a sense of pride in having our garden prepped and ready for next week's guests.  We invite all to join us in the garden and always extend a special invitation to our neighbors in Fairfield Court and Creighton Court.    

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Let's Get This Party Started!

It's time to get this garden party started and while my break feels very short, I'm ready.  I tried to lay low in January but by early February, my slow but steady ascent back into the world of gardening was already in full swing.  I'm feeling extremely encouraged to keep going and good vibes are constantly coming my way.

Here's the rundown on the start of this year's journey.  In January, Toni (mom to the dimpled darling, blogger, natural hair enthusiast and most importantly one of my besties) informed me that she wanted my help in getting her spring garden started and that she would be anxiously awaiting the last frost.  Then while attending Toni and her husband's anniversary dinner, April (among many things, an amazing mom and doula which I think is the coolest job ever) approached me about helping her get a garden started at her house this year.  Fast forward to Valentine's Day lunch with my aunt and she expressed total excitement about planting salad veggies in the little garden box we installed in her backyard last summer.  As if all of this wasn't good enough,  Cevere (entertainment exec, newlywed, keeper of the absolute best laugh I've ever heard and my hanging partner from "the good ole days" - you know, those young days before bills, husbands, real jobs, etc) sent me a note that she was both inspired by me and encouraged by her husband to start a garden this year.  Just a few days ago my cousin Badria (herbalist on the path to being a holistic healer) came by to see the seeds I started recently which led into the best conversation about gardening and some of our other favorite topics.  To top it all off, I received two of the sweetest and most encouraging notes from Millie (inspired gardener in 2012, organizer deluxe and my little sister in spirit).  How could I not be excited about a new year in the garden?!

Feeling a responsibility to continue learning so that I can share with all of these motivated gardeners, I have decided to participate in two Richmond area short-term agriculture learning opportunities. The first is the Urban Agriculture :Learning Series being offered for free through Richmond Grows Gardens which will include everything from gardening 101 to Canning and Beekeeping.  The second is the new Organic Gardening Certification course at University of Richmond.  I've also set my eyes on the City of Richmond's Master Gardener's program but there will be no update on that until late September.

To get inspired, I ventured out to Shalom Farm for a tour led by Steve (farm manager) and Dominic (director) where I was delighted to meet Tisah & Marva, a couple in the planning phase of starting their own farm and Badia, coordinator of a future garden and learning center here in Richmond.   We had a wonderful tour which included a visit to the chicken coop and a look inside the green house.  Pictures and more on this experience are still to come.

It would be remiss of me not to mention the lovely hints of Spring that I've already noticed such as the subtle emergence of my daffodils, buds on the Dogwood tree and chirping birds outside my window. These things have caused me so much joy and are steadily lifting me out of my winter blues. I look forward to the sun rising early and feeling it's warmth beating down on me, giving me reason to don a nice wide brimmed hat. I long for early mornings in the garden when all is quiet and calm. I want to walk outside barefoot and feel the dew between my toes. I want to be sweaty from a hard day's labor and smell like earthy, rich compost.  A few weeks ago, I was tired and praying for a break but the garden just keeps calling me back.  I need to be caught up in the magic that only a gardener can understand.

 Let's get this party started! Let's get this party started right.... NOW!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Garden girl confession: I'm tired

The last several months have been super busy and somewhere between the start of Farm School in October and the end of December, my ability to keep up with the daily grind started to fade.  Everything seemed to be moving so fast and I was constantly two steps behind.  A few days before Christmas I came down with the worst sinus infection ever and then the pieces really started to crumble.  To make matters worse, I broke my middle (left hand) finger just a few days into the New Year which  brought things to a quick pause!   

This morning I was wondering why I was so off balance and then I realized that maybe the universe was speaking.  The truth of the matter is that a sista is tired and in need of a break.  Now that the break has been forced on me, I'm gong to take advantage of it. 

I REALY wanted to garden year-round.  Thanks to a very mild winter, I still have plenty of collards, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, kale and lettuce growing.  As much as it will pain my heart, I've decided that it's time to stop for a while.  This weekend, I'll be enlisting the help of someone (not sure who just yet) to help me harvest whatever is ready and the rest will go into the compost bin.

After a short break, I'll be well rested and looking forward to a beautiful and robust year in the garden.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Red, yellow, green and purple by Naturally Pebbles

It is said that you should eat food in all colors, enter the bell pepper. With colors from green to yellow to red to orange, this is another one of my favorites. I add them to scrambled eggs. I fix them with sausages and serve with brown rice. I cut them up with my salads. When I make my own spaghetti sauce, they are always in the pot. They are delicious raw (plain or with dip), sautéed, roasted, stir fried, and grilled.
This is another vegetable that should be purchased organic to avoid pesticides. They are rich in vitamin C and A, antioxidants and fiber.
The September 2012 issue of Cooking Light has a recipe for Sweet-spicy Chicken and vegetable stir-Fry.
Until we blog again,
Naturally Pebbles