Let's Garden! JANUARY 2017 at GFE
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The garden will re-open Saturday, January 14th for classes and regular volunteer hours. Hope to see you then!
Saturday, January 14th 2017 | 10am - 12:00noon

Saturday, February 4th 2017 | 10am - 12:00noon

We are crazy about compost at GFE for so many reasons! It reduces waste, closes the environmental loop, and is absolutely the best fertilizer around. Healthy plants depend on healthy soil! All soil benefits from compost - learn how to make your own in this hands on class!
Saturday, January 21st 2016 | 10am - 12:00noon

You can grow fruit in San Francisco, it just takes a little bit of knowledge. We have Jamie and Blas from Fog City Gardener to help you get started. From selecting fruit trees that are climate appropriate, to pruning techniques to keep your trees happy and productive in small urban spaces, you'll leave ready to plant and start growing!

Saturday, January 21st 2016 | 10am - 12:00noon | SFPUC class

We live in a summer dry state with lots and lots of people and water is a limited resource. Luckily, we can easily collect rainwater to irrigate our gardens and contribute to a more sustainable future for California. Learn how to set up your own rainwater system with Kat from Tap the Sky!

Saturday, January 28th 2016 | 10am - 12:00noon 

So, you have established fruit trees in your backyard, but did you know they need a hard winter prune in order to bear delicious fruit come summer? Learn how to keep your trees healthy and productive, all while taking into consideration our special SF climate.

Saturday, January 28th 2016 | 10am - 12:00noon | SFPUC class

San Francisco is notoriously the land of hills (42 or 43 depending on who you talk to!) and chances are you might live on one of them. Learn how to use a steep, sloped backyard to your advantage in this class designed just for our hilly city.

GFE Hits its End-of-Year Fundraising Goal

You did it! We reached our fundraising goal! We are overwhelmed with gratitude and humbled by your generosity - thank you to everyone who donated to our Fall Appeal fundraising campaign. YOU helped us reached our goal, and all our donations were generously matched by our Advisory Board.

2017 is looking to be an exciting year for the garden. We are offering more workshops than ever before this Spring, and have launched a brand new 6-week course called Dig In! (more info below).

We know sustainable gardening can change the world - creating habitat for nature, permeable surfaces for groundwater, and real community in a busy and bustling city. We are so grateful to all of you - volunteers, students, visitors and supporters for contributing to our 1/2 acre piece of land.

Happy New Year!
All of us at GFE

Ps. There is still time to donate! We rely on support from individuals to keep our garden open and thriving. Donate today!
Dig In! Learn to Build Your Own Backyard Garden this Spring!
March 4 - April 8 | 10am - noon | Garden for the Environment

Do you want to get your hands dirty?
Learn how to garden this Spring!

Learn step by step in our teaching garden! San Francisco provides a perfect climate for growing year round food! Have you always dreamed of growing your own salad, or clipping fresh herbs from your garden? Dig In! is a 6-part workshop series will teach you everything you need to know to built your own backyard vegetable garden.

Anyone, with any amount of space, can grow food. Whether you want to start a small herb garden on your fire escape or build raised beds in your backyard, and we are going to teach you how to get the most food possible our of your space. 

Register for all 6 classes and get a 20% discount! Classes can be take individually as well.

Sunday, January 15th | 9:15am - 5pm | Stemple Creek Ranch

Join CUESA for tree-planting party and farm tour to support carbon farming at Stemple Creek Ranch with along with SlowFood SF, and The Perennial on Jan. 15. Your planting efforts will be rewarded with a lavish lunch and drinks! Use discount code "climatehero40" for $40 off your ticket! Check it out here.


December is a quiet and non-showy time in the garden. You tend to find beauty in the subtle things - the sculptural way bare fruit tree branches look, and how the grasses are on display, no longer overshadowed by stunning blooms. This time of year we mulch and weed, prune and rest, getting ready for the early spring that hits San Francisco while many parts of our country are still in mid-winter. Amongst all the subtlety is the most intoxicating scent of Meyer lemon blossoms, knocking your back and reminding you that the garden is still very much alive.
Almond and Date Smoothie

Over the holidays I made these delicious parchment wrapped potato and mushroom packets. You toss the cutest little wild mushrooms you can find with cooked and sliced fingerlings, lots of fresh herbs, and a little cream and anise liquor for extra flavor. You cut a square piece of parchment, add a scoop of the filling and then tie it up with kitchen twine. Into the oven until hot it was perfectly holiday appropriate as everyone opened a little gift on their plate. I was going to write about these packets and give you the recipe (and still will! here's the link) but the thought of rich mushrooms and even a bit of cream is too much for me right now. January is here and all I want is simple salads and light soups.

I'm also craving my favorite smoothie. I'm not much of a juice person, or even a smoothie drinker (shocking for a Californian) but I often don't find them very satisfying. I don't love drinking that much sugar, I'd rather make a kale salad with my greens any day. But, my sister turned me onto this drink and I love it. She got it from a blogger turned textile designer and it's one of my favorite things to eat for breakfast, especially after exercising. It's filling enough that I don't get hungry before lunch, and is a really good balance of flavors.

This calls for both almond butter and almond milk, making it really nutty and delicious. After a trip with Get Up! to Recology, I was shocked to find out you have to throw almond milk cartons in the landfill (not recyclable or compostable). Making your own almond milk is actually really easy and you can use the spent almonds in oatmeal or to make granola.

Almond Banana Date Smoothie
From Heather Taylor, lainbloom.com

1 ripe banana (frozen ones make a delightfully slushy smoothie!)
2 pitted fresh dates
1 Tbsp. almond butter
1 c. almond milk (unsweetened!)
pinch of cinnamon
1 c. of ice 

Throw everything into a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Drink with a fat straw or spoon nearby as the delicious date bits often sink to the bottom.

Garden Tips this January


The three most common questions we get at GFE are:
1) What do I do about my gopher/rat/[insert pest problem here]?
2) What can I plant in sandy soil?
3) I have a really steep backyard - how do I garden on a hill?

We have classes on the first two topics with regularity (see here, here and here) but we are finally offering a class dedicated to tackling those steep backyards.

Here at GFE, we've planted fruit trees on our less steep areas and in our steepest, least accessible part: native plants. Ceanothus, Coyote bush, Yarrow and  Sticky monkey all help hold in our sandy hillside and contribute to our local ecosystem These plants don't require irrigation, prunining or mulching. There's a local native bee that makes its nest in the sandy soil of SF, so by keeping this area off limits to people (and mulch!) we allow these little insects to have their own home.

There are so many other ways to utilize your slope, with terracing and smart design. Learn how to transform the steepest of spaces in our January 28th class!

Garden for the Environment teaches youth and adults in San Francisco to garden organically. Founded in 1990, GFE provides hands-on education to 2,000 youth and adults each year at its ½ acre organic teaching garden. 

The Garden for the Environment is a non-profit Park Partner of the San Francisco Parks Alliance. We are supported by donations from gardeners like you, workshop fees, and with support from public and private foundations and the City and County of San Francisco.

Copyright © 2017 Garden for the Environment 

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