Let's Garden! JANUARY 2016 Workshops at GFE
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Saturday, January 9th 2016 | 10am - 12:00noon

Saturday, February 6th, 2016 | 10am - 12:00noon

Now is the time to start your own compost pile! Learn how to make your own black gold in this hands on workshop in our outdoor teaching garden.
Saturday, January 16th, 2016 | 10am - 12:00noon

IT'S RAINING! In order to rescue California from continued drought, we should all be collecting these winter rains and storing them for the dry season. Learn how in this FREE class, sponsored by the SFPUC and taught by the knowledgable Kat Sawyer from Tap the Sky.

Saturday, February 6th, 2016 | 1pm - 3pm

You can grow beautiful and productive fruit trees here in San Francisco! But, twice yearly pruning is best for tree health and fruiting. Come learn how to prune your fruit trees this winter and harvest the benefits this summer!

GROW YOUR OWN FOOD THIS FEBRUARY: Month by Month Vegetable Gardening with Carey
Saturday, February 13th, 2016 | 10am - 12:00noon

There's lots of do in the urban vegetable garden each month!  This month will focus on preparing your garden for Spring as we take a a tour of what's growing in the GFE garden in February!

Saturday, February 20th, 2016 | 10am - 12:00noon

Organic gardening is good for your plants and good for your health! Learn how to keep pests and plant diseases under control, while maintaining a vibrant and beautiful garden!

Moving Portraits Makes a Video about GFE

If you kept up with our December fundraising campaign, you may have seen our new GFE video. Get Up! Alum Haley and her partner Simone have an amazing filmmaking company, Moving Portraits. We are so lucky they made GFE a video highlighting our work and are thrilled with how it turned out! Our garden space is the heart of what we do, and this video allows people from all over a to feel like they are on site, even if they can't visit us at 7th Ave and Lawton Street

If you are local - stop by! We are in the garden every Wednesday (10am - 2pm) and Saturdays (10am - 3pm), or feel free to stroll through any other day of the week. Better yet, check out our full Spring schedule and come take a class with us! Happy gardening!

We raised our goal of $20,000 to meet our match!

Friends. You did it!  

With your help we made our match!  
The Henry Mayo Newhall Foundation made an incredibly generous pledge in honor of our 25th Anniversary. They matched $20,000 of every dollar donated in support of Garden for the Environment. We all want to express our tremendous gratitude for your very generous support.  All who donated, one by one, moved us closer and closer to our match. At 5:40pm on December 31st, we did it together!    

Thank you for supporting the Garden which has meant so much to so many. This new year promises to be an exciting one!  

From all of us at the GFE: THANK YOU
Blair, Maggie, Hilary, Nicole, Suzanne, Than & Adam
Linda Mar State Beach Planting & Cleanup | Saturday January 16th | 9am - 12noon
Join the Pacifica Beach Coalition and Pacifica's Environmental Family for a beach planting and habitat restoration event at Linda Mar State beach on Saturday, January 16th. Bring your planting and gardening tools and head out for a cleanup/planting/restoration event. 
The cleanup meets in the main Linda Mar Parking area near the sea wall just north of Taco Bell at 9am.  The beach planting and restoration work meets north of the Crespi intersection next to the bike path at the Give Back patch at 10am (earlier if you would like to help stage the plants). More info can be found at www.pacificabeachcoalition.org

Foggy Notion Farm | Snake Den State Park in Johnston, RI

Than Wood, a staple weekend gardener here at GFE, is moving on from San Francisco at the end of February. We are so sad to lose his energy, amazing vegetable knowledge and enthusiasm for gardening. Than has lots of experience growing food, and we learned so much from him as he's worked with us. 

While it's hard to see him go, we love when people we work with go on to do great and amazing things! Than and his two business partners have a brand new farm right in Snake Den State Park Rhode Island. They will be growing organic vegetables and have a CSA program folks can subscribe to. We are thrilled that another sustainable farm is starting and wish Than the best of luck! If you have friends or family in the Providence area, encourage them to check out Foggy Notion Farm!

December was a quiet month for us. Cold temperatures slowed growing to a snails pace and the holiday season meant our staff took a nice long break. Unfortunately, we are no exception to pest problems - something has been eating all our brassicas! Broccoli florets are nibbled down to the stem and our perfect cauliflower florets are gone. But this one, beautiful, green cabbage was spared and what a show-stopper it is. We know this wet winter is going to lead to an extra productive spring so are enjoying the quiet this dormant season provides.
Vietnamese Noodle Salad

My friends and I have a long tradition of visiting Sea Ranch, up along the Sonoma Coast, for New Years. It's great to get out of the city and walk along the bluffs for a few days as we transition from one year to the next. By the end of December I am spent, and getting away feels like exactly what I need.

Since we all love to cook, meals are divided up into groups. Each group is only responsible for one shift, meaning you can get really into it, go crazy, cook up a storm and then get catered to the rest of the weekend. Each year we have elaborate feasts, doing our best in rental house kitchens. We've learned to bring our own sharp knives, kitchen towels and cast iron pans after years of experience and many moments of frustration.

After holiday parties, Christmas roasts, the best toffee ever (seriously), and bacon filled brunches, I knew when it was our turn I wanted our meal to be light. And fresh. And full of raw vegetables. Plus, with a big, causal group you have the opportunity to do something fun and dynamic and not at all dinner party stuffy. So make your own spring rolls, grilled protein and noodle salad was the plan! Watching everyone reach in to piles of crisp butter lettuce, painstakingly cut carrots and cucumbers, dipping into sauces and laughing as their too-fat spring rolls simply wouldn't close, it was the perfect meal to start the new year.

Along making spring rolls I made a fairly traditional noodle salad, but added some grilled eggplant to give it more heft. The sauce is similar to a spring roll dipping sauce - very tangy and bright, with lots of lime juice and fish sauce. The chopped, fresh herbs (and many of them) make this salad so flavorful and complex. I look forward to making this in the weeks and months to come, changing up things here and there, and making plenty of leftovers for a great lunch.

Vietnamese Noodle Salad
Adapted from David Tanis at the NY Times

4 Tbsp. light brown sugar (or palm sugar or Demerara)
3 Tbsp. rice vinegar
4 Tbsp. lime juice (amount 2 limes)
4 Tbsp. fish sauce
2 minced garlic cloves
1 1-inch length of ginger peeled and minced
1 thinly sliced medium-hot chili (like a fresno chili)
1 thinly sliced hot thai chili

1 package of rice noodles cooked according to directions
1 eggplant
1 head of butter lettuce, ripped or chopped
4 scallions, slivered
1 carrot julienned (cut into matchsticks)
1 cucumber julienned
1 3-inch length of Daikon radish, julienned
Chopped herbs: cilantro, mint and basil
4 Tbsp. crushed peanuts
4 Tbsp. fried shallots (sold at Asian grocery stores, or you can fry them yourself)

Heat a grill or broiler until hot. Cook the eggplant whole, rotating to ensure evenness, until the outside is completely blackened and the inside is soft to the touch. Once the eggplant is cooled, peel off the skin and shred the meat, placing in a strainer in the sink. After 15 min or so, squeeze the remaining water out of the eggplant and add meat to a large bowl. 

Add the cooled noodles, carrots, cucumber, daikon, scallions and lettuce to the eggplant. Toss lightly with the dressing, then top the bowl with herbs, peanuts and shallots. Enjoy!
From the Border by Hilary Gordon, GFE's Garden Manager


One of the great pleasures of climate-wise gardening in the Bay Area is the beautiful winter bouquets we can cut from our flowering trees and shrubs. When the rainy season starts, climate-wise plants wake up from their dormancy during the dry summer and fall. Many of them start blooming immediately.

Salvias, tea trees, tree aloes, and Grevellias are just some of the plants blooming now at the Garden for the Environment. We include their flowers and foliage in the bouquets we make every week from the garden. As you may know, we send a weekly box of fruits and veggies to a San Francisco homeless youth shelter, and every week it includes a flower arrangement for the youth and counselors to enjoy.
There is something magical about a garden-cut bouquet. The fresh foliage has a wild and spicy fragrance. The strange, dream-like shapes of unfamiliar flowers make it as different from a florists bouquet as a panther is from a house cat.
My favorite flower arrangements are based on branches of colorful and strong textured foliage. As I choose plants for my garden, I keep this in mind. Some wonderful plants to add to your garden now, and cut for years to come, include Leucadendron, from South Africa, Lophomyrtus, from New Zealand, and Grevillea, from Australia. These plants, although they come from all over the world, are good matches for our Bay Area climates. They need little or no water once established, because they enjoy a wet winter and a dry summer in their native habitats.
All three of these groups of plants are available in nurseries now, and their golden, red, or pink and white foliage can fill up your vases year-round. There are many different varieties available, so be sure to check the ultimate size of the plant and choose the right one to fit in your garden, and to complement your color scheme. You can create amazing effects by combining beautiful branches of foliage with whatever flowers are in bloom seasonally.
My best holiday gifts this year were wild garden bouquets. I love to give non-commodified gifts, no price tag, no name brand, just personal creativity. Knitters, pickles, photographers, potters, and many other artists and craftspeople always have great gifts to give. And gardeners do, too!
Ribes sanguineum, or Pink Flowering Currant, is one of our favorite shrubs in the garden. 
It is the among the first to flower in our garden (if not the first).  A California native it produces small berries but, well...they are for the birds.  Literally, berry eating birds love them!  Easy to grow, early to bloom and showy at full-bloom, it is a terrific shrub for Bay Area gardens..  

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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