Sunday, April 19, 2015

Homegrown Garden Talk at Monmouth Beach Cultural Center at 1pm

It’s a beautiful spring day – just the kind of glorious ambiance that gets gardeners in full gear.
It’s perfect for my presentation and talk about Edible Gardens and my book, The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook

The Free talk takes place at the Monmouth Beach Cultural Center (formerly a coast guard facility), located at 128 Ocean Avenue.  
I was asked to speak by a friend and former garden design client, Mary, who lives in Monmouth Beach.  Our collaboration produced such a beautiful garden; it was one of two of my garden designs featured in the coffee table book, Cottages and Mansions of the Jersey Shore  

So it is more than heartbreaking to see her garden yesterday -- I scooted over to make sure our technology worked for the presentation -- and saw the last of the trees damaged by Superstorm Sandy removed...

As part of my talk, I’ll discuss how we can practice permaculture -- gardening in harmony with Nature.  And gardening for a sustainable world in an age of Climate Change -- or "Climate Chaos."  We need to ask more of our gardens than “just” to be pretty.  
And with Earth Day just about here - what better way to celebrate?

I’ll talk about the importance of trees as carbon sinks, getting your garden to fifty percent Native plants (at least), saving money.  Did you know that use of Native plants rather than exotics saves up to $3,000 a year over time?  And that trees save 75% on air conditioning costs and more than 15% of heating costs.  

And we all know that growing your own edibles saves money. 
But we do it for the sheer, unmitigated luxury of taste.  When food is eaten for taste vs. transport, there is just no comparison.  Garlic that crunches like a water chestnut or fresh asparagus still warm from the earth is truly one of life’s best pleasures…

I’ll talk about the importance of soil -- how to get good soil and how to prevent it from eroding and how to nurture it.  There is no greater responsibility.  Everyone in the food chain  -- from chefs to farmers -- recognizes this and worships at the altar of Soil!
I’ll show how to learn what kind of soil you have and how to amend it.  

Then we will discuss garden design - a bit about ornamental and mainly the edible or kitchen garden.  Even if you don’t have a yard or community garden - you can use the “Crops in Pots” way to grow vegetables and herbs.  The plants are so pretty, too.  Utilize a three-step planting process of “Thriller, Spiller, and Filler” - to make your containers looking great as well as tasting great.   
I’ll share some good companion plantings, too.  Both to benefit the garden and protect from harmful insects or critters, as well as those that grow well together.  You know about plant adaptations, right?  Take marigolds for instance, they help keep away or suppress pests.  Because of their nematodes. Plus they possess beneficial soil microorganisms.  

We’ll talk about what tools to use and garden maintenance.  And in a climate change world - we’ll discuss watering the gardens.  It’s not just California that has water issues.  There’s the old saying, “As California goes, so goes the nation.”  With recent legislation restricting water use, I suggest it could be that way in many states soon.  In the meantime, we can all re-use water (Doesn’t it seem selfish to use potable water to irrigate a lawn?!), use of water barrels, practice storm water runoff, and use drip irrigation, in addition to xeriscaping.

Gardens are healing, hopeful places.  Enjoy your garden.   And for those in the Garden State, I look forward to seeing you soon.

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