Slow Life with Real Food

Eating and living mindfully by the beach

UCSC Strawberry Festival

Whenever University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC) Farm and Garden program holds an event, I delight in going. It is an excuse to visit one of the most beautiful and well-run farms I have ever been to. The farm sits on a cliff overlooking Monterey Bay. It is surrounded by redwoods, and the veggie beds run here and there across the gentle slope of the land. It is a haven for young and old, soaking up the sweet sights and flavors, learning, sharing, and growing. There is something heavenly happening on that land, waiting to be experienced. It floods over me and runs through me as soon as my foot crosses the threshold.


Yesterday Joaquin and I ventured out to the farm to enjoy fresh strawberries at their Strawberry Festival. Strawberry shortcake, pretty farm, happy baby, painted faces, lots of dancing... it was a good afternoon, good enough to forget about the strawberry stains on those brand new clothes.
 

 


 
 

Class at Love Apple Farm: Vegetable Bed Design and Construction

When beginning a garden, it is helpful to have the guidance of a professional. This helps to avoid some seriously costly mistakes, as smart as you think you may be. My spring garden is lovely, thanks to my Early Spring Vegetable Class teacher, Cynthia Sandberg and her oh-so-helpful blog, growbetterveggies.com. In fact, my food is growing so well and I am enjoying it so much, that I decided I need more veggie beds so I can grow more, more, more! So, I signed myself up for Cynthia's Vegetable Bed Design and Construction class...

 

...and found myself astounded at what can be used to grow vegetables in.

 Did you know it was possible to grow potatoes in a stack of tires (a.k.a. the 'redneck' bed)? You can make beds out of staggered-and-stacked cinderblocks or a jack-hammered concrete path, or even bales of straw (the 'edible' bed, depending on who is in your garden). There is the standard redwood bed or even a bed with no border at all. The options are endless, and even cheap.


 


 

Topics included which direction to build your beds (North-South), how to convert your lawn into a garden, how to grow on concrete (believe me, it can be done), what to do about a steep slope, how big your beds should be, what to make your paths out of, and what to fill those beds with. Phew!

We actually built a bed in class, out of redwood, just so we know that it can be done. In fact, I think confidence is what I take away most from Cynthia's classes - that I, too, can build my own beds, garden and grow food for my family.

This summer, though, my bed construction work will be done drawing up future plans. My pregnant belly and active son are making it obvious that it can't all happen right now (maybe I can convince Cynthia to offer a Gardening While Pregnant Class?). For the time being, I will grow my veggies in containers. Which means that I will need to take a Vegetable Container Gardening Class... stay tuned.
 

 
 

An Early Spring Vegetable Gardening Class at Love Apple Farm

I just finished clearing half of my front yard to make room for the new veggies I plan to plant this early spring. My inspiration for getting this hard work done? Cynthia Sandberg, of Love Apple Farm.
  [Read More]
 
 

TLC Ranch

First things first, we forgot the diaper bag.

Moving on...

Guillermo, Joaquin, and I were invited to tour TLC Ranch and afterwards enjoy a tasty meal with owners Jim Dunlop and Rebecca Thistlewaite.  [Read More]
 
 

Lopez Island Farm

When I think of vacation, it usually goes something like this: sun, sunburn, sand, palm trees, margaritas, fish tacos, watermelon, swimming… you get the picture. When I describe to you the climate of our first vacation as a family, it’s like this: cold, windy, rainy, foggy, cold, cold, really cold… get it? Where, oh where did we go? The San Juan Islands, specifically Lopez Island, nestled in Puget Sound off of the coast of Washington State. Why, oh why did we go? To do something different. It was a different vacation, and a very welcomed one.  [Read More]
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