Monday, June 20, 2011

Permaculture crash course

On Saturday we had a permaculture crash course at the Algarden. It was taught through the Institute of Urban Homesteading and Ruby Blume (aka sparkybeegirl) was there co-teaching with Giancarlo and I

It was a beautiful day for an outdoor class and the setting was really charming

It is impossible to cover all of permaculture in a one day class, so we focused on the principles and some of the design elements

We started the day with a tour of Giancalo's food forest and the Algarden History

He talked about bamboo, where to plant it, how to plant it, and why to plant it, or very careful with bamboo

Bamboo is great for carbon sequestration and great to build garden projects but if not planted carefully and the right species it can take over.

He showed us his plant guilds and how stacking functions worked in his garden

Showed us the chicken coop

The rain water catchment system

The relationship between nitrogen fixers, dynamic accumulators, and Insectaries 

He is a wealth of information

And at the Algarden tour: potato towers, sheet mulching, mushrooms

Planting beds with cooper edges to prevent snails

Quick stop for a strawberry tasting 

The herb garden to attract beneficial insects and to create magical potions

 We talked about gardening for the bees allowing everything to go to flower and seed. The bees love it!

After the tour we moved on to class discussion on the permaculture principles and how to apply them in our life

After that we took a lunch break with an amazing pot luck

My favorite garden student/teacher Muluk came to join us for part of the class

After lunch we had some Personal Ecology/ community building activities led by Ruby - very California (not on the Permaculture manual) 

After that we moved on to some design elements and a soils demonstration.

Check out our compost. It's about 110F hot, hot, hot

Sparkybee girl was feeling at home teaching next to the hives

Hey you got a matching hive! Did you call the bees before coming to class?

Giarcarlo showing off the soil in his garden. 

He has been working this beauty for nine years. 100% organic matter. 

I have never seen any body so proud about their soil

They were impressed!

 We finished the class by planting a guild under the apricot tree. Nitrogen fixers, dynamic accumulators and insect attractors

I hope you had as much fun as I did during this class.
Thank you so much for coming to our class

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Algarden Cafe Dinner

We had our first Algarden Cafe "Candlelight Dinner" at the Zomicile and it was beautiful!
I'm really delighted with the outcome, it was delicious and charming. And overall I believe everybody had a really good time.

I want to start by thanking the team that made this possible. Starting from the left Pei-Yee working on the awesome desserts, Chef Stephanie did and outstanding job converting my veggies into delicious culinary combinations and the amazing Rob Bell, who made the tables, the Algarden cafe sign, helped me set up and bar-tended.Thank you so much! I also want to thank Giancarlo Muscardini, our head farmer, who was not able to make it to the dinner, but he is a huge part of making all this food a reality.

And here is the spread

Grilled favas

Lettuces, strawberries, blue cheese, edible flowers

Red beets, beet greens, chard, chives

Dinosaur and russian kale, lemon, borage

Daikon radish, radish greens, preserved lemons, arugula

Parsnips, chipotle aioli, parsley, lemon

French lentils, fava greens, onions, roasted potatoes, eggs

The flower arrangements came from the garden too, cilantro and carrot flowers.

The desserts were equally impressive

Strawberry and lemon curd pastries

Honey and pistachio caramels

Meyer lemon and lavender bars

It was really delicious and people were happy and excited to be participating in this true farm to table experience

The setting was lovely and I was amazed at the incredible combination of flavors and the amount of food that we got from the garden. We served dinner for 20.

This is how the veggies looked before, freshly harvested the night before the dinner

We talked about our mission for doing this work and bringing people closer to their food source. In this case the produce traveled 13 miles, a mere one percent of the national average for any food item on the grocery store!

I was very happy to see every body enjoying themselves and I'm looking forward to planning another one later this summer

Keep your eyes open for the next Algarden dinner, you do not want to miss it!

Thank you very much!