Let's Garden! SEPTEMBER 2016 Workshops at GFE
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The garden will be closed this Saturday, September 3rd for Labor Day weekend.
We'll see you next week at our Fall Garden Party!
Saturday, September 10th 2016 | 10am - 12:00noon

Saturday, October 1st, 2016 | 10am - 12:00noon

We're obsessed with compost - for good reason! Our garden stays healthy and growing thanks to this black gold we produce on site. Learn how to make your own in our fun and hands on class!
Saturday, September 17th 2016 | 10am - 12:00noon | SFPUC class

You know you want a beautiful blooming garden, but you just don't where to start. Or maybe you have garden but want to elevate it to the next level of awesome. This class will cover how to design your space, ensure you pick plants that will bloom and thrive, all without using much water!

URBAN BEEKEEPING: Part III, Honey Extraction
Saturday, September 24th 2016 | 10am - 12:00noon

Your hive is buzzing and the bees are producing comb, honey and wax. What next? Learn how to harvest your backyard bounty in Part III of our beekeeping series.

GROW YOUR OWN FOOD: Monthly Vegetable Gardening with Carey
Saturday, October 8th 2016 | 10am - 12:00noon

Our mild maritime climate means that we can grow food year round - how cool is that? Learn what to do in our backyard garden (or even in pots on your deck!) right now so that you are harvesting home grown food all winter long.

Saturday, October 15th 2016 | 10am - 12:00noon | SFPUC class

Bugs are a natural part of our garden environment, but how do you know if the bugs on your plants are the good or problematic kind? Learn how to create a healthy and balanced garden, and what to do if pests start bugging you.

Saturday, October 22nd 2016 | 10am - 12:00noon | SFPUC class

Why let your winter rains go to waste down the drain? Learn how to capture water runoff from your roof to help sustain your garden through the dry months of the year. Rainwater harvesting is definitely the future for us Californians!

LIFE AFTER LAWN: Beautiful Alternatives
Saturday, October 29th 2016 | 10am - 12:00noon | SFPUC class

You can having a beautiful, blooming garden that attracts butterflies, wildlife and beneficial insects in place of your water-hogging lawn. This class will help you think of all the amazing possibilities if you remove your turf and contribute to our local California ecosystem.

Fall Garden Party | Saturday, September 10th | 4pm - 7pm
$25 admission/Free for children under 10 | All funds support GFE!

Our special Fall Garden Party is just over a week away.
Have you bought your tickets yet??

Join us in the garden for an fun, family friendly event to celebrate Garden for the Environment and our community of environmental advocates, garden educators and supporters.

With your ticket you can taste garden grown pizzas cooking in our cobb oven, bbq'd treats from the folks behind Nopalito and kick up mulch dancing and listening to the live bluegrass band!
Our 1/2 acre eco-oasis trains the leaders of the local urban agriculture movement, introduces urban youth to nature in their city, and promotes a city full of plants, biodiversity, and community.

We have lots of exciting plans for the next year of gardening in San Fransisco - and need your help! We hope to raise funds to rebuild our greenhouse so that we can capture over 3,000 gallons of rainwater each year, becoming a destination site for water conservation. 

We believe that San Franciscans need a place to learn how to grow things and celebrate our local ecosystem. We hope you do too! Support Garden for the Environment today!

Interested in donating to, or sponsoring, the event? Find out more here!
Congratulations to Executive Director, Blair Randall!

Garden for the Environment is a San Francisco institution, cultivating and stewarding a small 1/2 acre of land in the inner sunset for over 25 years. We feel so lucky that for the past 10 years this garden has been led by the kind, artistic vision of Executive Director, Blair Randall. Blair is an educator at heart, a fruit tree wiz and a believer in our mission: that San Francisco needs a public community center where nature is celebrated and we have meaningful conversations about how to add a little more greenery to our increasingly urban city.

A graduate of the CASFS program at UC Santa Cruz and of the Get Up! program at GFE, Blair has dedicated the last 10 years to ensuring GFE stays open, protected, and funded so that all San Franciscans can have access to our programming. We are so thankful for Blair's direction, hard work and compassionate approach to leadership.

Thank you Blair.

Photo of Blair back in his early days of GFE.

Youth Program Internship @ Garden for the Environment
September 20th - November 17th 2016 

Do you want to gain garden education experience in a supportive environment? 
Work with youth, grades 4 + 5 in our outdoor teaching garden!

Garden for the Environment's Youth Programs Manager, Nicole, has over 10 years of experience creating educational and engaging field trips for youth. Nicole trains each intern so they become comfortable facilitating garden tours and activity stations. Each day, Nicole provides support and feedback so interns leave with new skills in outdoor education. For questions, or to apply, contact nicole@gardenfortheenvironment.org
Roots + Fungus = Life!
Radiolab | From Tree to Shining Tree

We're a big fan of podcasts around here - it's amazing how there is so much great audio content out there these days telling human stories and teaching us new things. Radiolab is a perennial favorite, taking more scientific concepts and making them into thrilling stories that shed light onto how our world works. One recent episode "From Tree to Shining Tree" is right up our alley and talks about one of our favorite garden concepts: the relationship between plants roots and ...FUNGUS. Did you know that fungus plays a huge role in how our ecosystem works? That fungus and tree roots have a reciprocal relationship that allows plants to grow big and tall and have access to nutrients they would never normally be able to reach? Check out this very enjoyable listen.
Slide Ranch 2017 Teacher in Residence Program | Applications due September 7th

Slide Ranch is a non-profit farm-based environmental education organization located within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, on coastal wildlands just 25 minutes north of San Francisco. The mission of Slide Ranch is to connect children to nature. Through the Teacher-in-Residence program you will gain valuable, hands-on experience, professional development, and training in agricultural and environmental education while living and working with a dynamic group of about 18 people on a rural, coastal farm within a national park. Teachers-in-Residence customize and lead programs for Bay Area children and families from a wide range of backgrounds.  

Applications due September 7th!

UC Santa Cruz Farm & Garden Program | April - October 2017

The incredible CASFS apprenticeship program turns 50 next year! The Agroecology program at UC Santa Crus is a six-month, full-time certificate course in crop production and marketing for those interested in small- to medium-scale organic farming and urban gardening. Each year people come from all regions of the country and abroad to learn practical organic growing skills. Since its founding in 1967, the Apprenticeship has developed into an internationally recognized program that blends the virtues of experiential learning with traditional classroom studies. GFE Executive Director Blair is a graduate! Learn more here.

Applications due by September 30th!

Each year we create customized garden trainings for the Corps garden educators working with Education Outside. While they craft lessons teaching science curriculum in outdoor classrooms, we make sure they feel supported and knowledgable in taking care of their diverse and beautiful school gardens!

Check out this year's group on our brand new benches!
Burnt Eggplant with Tahini

I had the opportunity this summer to visit Greece and Tel Aviv - a family wedding brought me to that part of the world and we decided to embrace a full vacation under the mediterranean sun. For a produce obsessed person such as myself it was the paradise. I had found my peoples as these were two locales that put vegetables and fruit at center stage. It helps that figs grow like weeds along roads in Greece and that the hot sun means cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers are harvested nearly year round.

We ate lots of peppers stuffed with local cheeses and simple, chunky greek salads at nearly every meal. A friend of the garden, Caroline, dared me to eat eggplant every day on my trip, a challenge I gladly accepted. The eggplant in both countries was staggeringly good and it tasted like something, like its own beautiful eggplant flavor, rather than the bland sponge it is often relegated to here. There, the eggplant is king, treated with respect, coaxed from its shiny skin into super stardom. We ate it rolled around chunks of feta and lightly braised in tomato sauce. In Tel Aviv they would split it down the middle, leaving the stem in tact to hold it together, and drizzled with a nutty tahini sauce.

Eggplant dip, in the family of baba ganoush, is ubiquitous and each restaurant serves it slightly differently. I came home with eggplant on the brain, lucky since they are in season right now. Look for eggplants with tight, glossy skin that feel light when you pick them up. 

I've been cooking up eggplants of all kinds, but particularly liked this recipe from my favorite Plenty cookbook. I served this smoky dip with middle eastern meatballs and sliced early girl tomatoes but it would be really excellent to accompany a lot of things. I didn't have pomegranates, or pomegranate molasses at the time (subbed a bit of balsamic and extra lemon in its place) and the dish was still so good.

Burnt eggplant with tahini
From Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

Serves 2 - 4
1 large eggplant
1/3 cup tahini paste
1/4 cup water
2 tsp. pomegranate molasses (or 1 tsp. balsamic with a squeeze of lemon)
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 small garlic clove minced as well as possible
3 Tbsp. chopped parsley
salt & pepper
3 small persian cucumbers
3/4 cup cherry tomatoes (optional, I didn't use)
seeds from 1/2 large pomegranate (also didn't use)
drizzle of olive oil to finish

First, burn the eggplant. If you have a gas stove, line around a burner with some foil so your eggplant doesn't make a mess. Put the eggplant over a moderate flame and roast for 12 - 15 minutes, rotating often. You want the outside of the eggplant to be evenly burned all over and the inside to be soft. You could also place under a hot broiler for up to an hour, turning a few times to get an even roast. It should look deflated and soft.

Once cool enough to handle, scoop out the eggplant flesh (avoiding the burned skin) and place the flesh in a colander for 30 minutes to drain. Once drained, roughly chop the eggplant and transfer to a medium bowl. Add the tahini, water, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, garlic, parsley and some salt and pepper to taste. Mix with a whisk until beautifully combined. You can adjust by adding more garlic, lemon juice, salt or molasses.

Dice up your cucumber into small pieces and halve your cherry tomatoes (if using). Gently fold them into the eggplant mixture. To serve, find your prettiest bowl or shallow dish and spread your dip, scatter with the pomegranate seeds if using, and drizzle with high quality olive oil. Serve with wedges of pita, vegetable fritters, meatballs, or anything you like.
By Stephanie Pressler, Opa's Garden

September is a pretty perfect time of year in the garden. We can savor our favorite summer foods, like tomatoes and peppers, while beginning to prepare our gardens for fall. While summer may be a favorite season for gardeners, there are so many delicious and nutrient-packed vegetables that grow best in the mild, cooler months of the year. The following are some vegetables to consider for your San Francisco garden this fall and winter:
  • Early September is the perfect time to begin sowing seeds for root vegetables (like beets, turnips, and carrots) which will be ready to harvest by late fall and early winter. They are delicious roasted alone as a side to any dish, or added into winter salads and soups. 
  • Leafy green vegetables (like chard, kale, spinach and lettuce) also thrive in the cooler fall and winter months. We recommend starting these seeds indoors and transplanting them in your raised beds once they sprout and establish themselves.
  • Brassicas (like broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, and cabbages) are happiest during the cooler seasons too. These plants tend to have longer growing times before harvest, so plan ahead and start these seeds indoors early so that you can transplant them into your garden by mid fall.
Don’t forget to amend your beds with lots of compost between removing old summer vegetation and planting your fall crops. (Join us for one of our free composting workshops at GFE to learn more about how to make your own compost for your garden!)

Happy growing!
Good apples. Bad apples. The big apple. How do you like them apples?  

Well, because we're talking about it, I like my apples ripe. And in San Francisco, asking for ripeness is asking for a lot. Why? Well, temperature, sunlight and water all affect the ripening date and one way or another, this date is usually a little late and our apples a little under ripe. However, there are always a couple outliers and, this year, the 'apple of my eye' is a variety called Elstar. Originally developed in the Netherlands in the 1950s this crisp apple is, this year, just delicious. 
It is falling from the tree (but not far) this very moment.

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 © 2016 Garden for the Environment 

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