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Mow no Mo’! at Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour

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Would you like to cut your water use—and your water bill—in half? If so, I hope you’ll join me at a Mow no Mo’! (“How to remove your lawn”) workshop this spring.  Workshops will be offered:

Saturday, March 21, Oakland

Sunday, April 19, Livermore

Saturday, May 30, Pleasant Hill

$30, 10:00–3:00; register at www.BringingBackTheNatives.net

You’ll learn how to remove your lawn (where a quarter to half of the water you use is applied), select native plants, and design a water-conserving, pesticide-free garden that attracts wildlife. Most importantly, you’ll have the hands-on experience of sheet-mulching a lawn, and you’ll depart confident that you can do this at home.  Not ready to take out the whole thing?  Then start small; maybe just reduce the size of your lawn by widening the garden beds.  

Here is what past participants said:

“This was a fabulous workshop and it was so useful to actually take part in the sheet mulching process. There is nothing better than the hands-on experience. Thank you so much, a really enjoyable day.”

“This was great. I have read many articles on sheet mulching, but until you experience the entire process up front and personal, you just don’t get it. Thank you.”

“The process of learning how to sheet mulch was great. We are confident that we can complete our project and do it well.”

“Hands-on is a great way to learn!”

Register now! 

At the same time, you can register for the Sunday, May 3, 2015 Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour! This year’s tour will fill; register now to reserve your place.

Would you also be willing to put this post on your NextDoor group, post it on your Facebook page, or send it to friends who might be interested?  

Volunteers are needed to spend a morning or afternoon greeting tour participants and answering questions about natives.  Benefits to volunteers include invitations to Garden Soirees, in which tour gardens are open to hosts and volunteers; a pre-tour meeting with the owner and private tour of the garden you will be staffing; a guaranteed tour reservation for the half day you are free; a Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour t-shirt, and, perhaps best of all, heartfelt thanks for helping to educate the general public about the many pleasures and benefits of gardening with California native plants.  Prior to signing up to volunteer, browse the gardens to choose the garden you would like to be assigned to. Click here for more information on volunteering.

2016 Tour -Applications for the 2016 Tour are now being accepted. You can download the application form from the Tour website.  Garden visits will be made in May and June.  (Please note that gardens must contain at least 60% or more native plants.)

Donations – This year, please join your fellow guests in supporting the Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour. Given decreasing public agency support, we find it necessary to turn to Tour participants to help keep the tour going and to keep it free for those who cannot afford to pay. Please follow the instructions in the registration form to make your contribution, or you can donate here

Facebook – If you enjoy the Tour please “share” us on Facebook! This spring the Garden Tour’s Facebook page will run articles such as “What to do in your native plant garden each month;” and “What’s in bloom now?;” describe the spring workshops; feature specific gardens; show you before-and-after garden photos; and just generally provide a behind-the-scenes look at the Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour. Don’t miss out!

We would appreciate your forwarding this e-mail on to friends, neighbors, family members, or colleagues you think might be interested.

I hope to see you at a workshop, and also that you enjoy this year’s Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour!

Spring into Spring

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Spring into Spring March 2015Sign up for this and other events offered by the Lafayette Community Garden.

Garden Reopens with Two New Classes on March 15th

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It has been a wonderful break, but we’re all itching for the Lafayette Community Garden to reopen. Members will be kicking off the season on Saturday, March 14, 2015 and the garden gates will swing wide open on Sunday, March 15, 2015  to welcome the community to two new and exciting classes:

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Building of the first beds in 2012

From 1:00 – 1:30PM, joinDudley Braun and the Construction Team from the Community Garden for our first class of the season: BUILDING RAISED BEDS.Dudley and crew have had three years of practice and have now perfected the art of building raised beds. They will show you what they have learned and send you home with a simple handout so you can build one of your own.

Following this informative session, you can then get your garden ready for a new season of growing at Prepping Your Edible Garden For Spring from 1:30PM to 3:00PM. Bay Friendly Landscape Professional, Master Composter and Garden Educator Lori Caldwell will teach you the basics of preparing a productive, healthy vegetable garden. Topics will include: healthy soil building, seeds versus starts, crop rotation, transitioning from a fall garden or starting from scratch, plant choice by season and non-toxic pest control. This is a great class for beginning and intermediate gardeners.

Sign up for these classes and put it on your calendar!

Penny Porter Offers More Than Canning: Sausage Making 101

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Penny Porter Offers More Than Canning: Sausage Making 101

Penny Porter has been a foodie her entire life. From gardening and composting to cooking and canning, Penny does it all! She is absolutely food obsessed and she is determined to bring her friends, family and clients along on all of her food journeys.

Join Penny at All In A Jar on Sunday, February 8 at 11:00am as she gets out her recipes for for two mouth-watering winter menu additions. In this hands-on class, you will grind meat and chop produce to create two delectable sausages: an Apple-Pecan Breakfast Pork Sausage seasoned with cinnamon, nutmeg and sweet apple, perfect next to eggs in the morning, and a Garlic Venison Sausage, excellent on pizzas or in chili. Students will also learn how to use a Food Saver for the freezer and go home with a package of sausage from each recipe.

Snacks are served at the beginning of each class and recipes and “How to Start” are always provided.

Penny’s classes run Wednesdays from 6pm to 9pm, Saturdays from 11am to 2pm and Thursday 10:30am to 1:30pm. Private lessons are available upon request.

For more information or to sign up for this class or another, visit Penny at Allinajar.com or call 925.899.1745.

All In A Jar
3339 Carlyle Terrace
Lafayette CA

Sip of Soup and “Soup Opera” Performance Featured in the Contra Costa Times

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Sip of Soup and “Soup Opera” Performance Featured in the Contra Costa Times

Have a read about the Sip of Soup event at the Lafayette Library tomorrow (Wednesday, January 14) in Lou Fancher’s article, “Lafayette: Garden gets exposure through ‘Soup Opera’” in the Contra Costa Times. Says Fancher:

“Soup Opera” …will feature Senior Library Manager Vickie Sciacca (narrator), the library’s Orlando Guzman (soup eater), garden director Janet Thomas (chef), piano teacher Xiomara Di Maio (United States president), Lafayette police Chief Eric Christensen (chief of police) and Stanley Middle School music teacher Bob Athayde (waiter).

Join us on Wednesday, 12:00-1:30PM at the Lafayette Library and Learning Center (open space), 3491 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, CA for a not-to-be-missed performance of “A Soup Opera” and a Sip of Soup.

For more information, call 925-385-2280 or go to www.lafayettelib.org/calendar.

Sip of Soup, and Soup Opera at the Lafayette Library

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Wednesday, January 14, 2014 | 12:00 to 1:30PM
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In partnership with the Lafayette Library and Learning Center, Garden members, the Library staff and mother/daughter teams from National Charity League will be serving soup in the lobby of the library on Wednesday, January 14, 2014 from 12:00pm and 1:30pm.

Special guests, Lafayette mayor Don Tatzin, Stanley Middle School’s Bob Athayde and piano teacher Xiomara Di Maio, will act out scenes from the book “The Soup Opera,” a story about a man, a bowl of soup, and the man’s comically frustrating quest to eat that soup.

All ages; no reservations necessary.
Lobby, Lafayette Library and Learning Center, 3491 Mt. Diablo Blvd, Lafayette, CA, 94549.

Come join the fun at noon; a repeat performance will take place at 1:00pm.

The Highlights of the 2014 Season

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Thanks to the community of Lafayette for a wonderful year! We enjoyed many successes. Here are some of the highlights:

– We reached capacity, with 70 garden member families (about 120 members) and sixteen families on the waiting list for next season.
– Soil was greatly enhanced through addition of compost and other organic nutrients.
– Ten beautiful new beds were constructed.
Propagation of our plants took place in homes and at the garden. Planting was done with attention paid to what was planted where. Rotation of crops, water conservation and bio-intensive methods of planting guided our planning.
– Plants which we propagated but couldn’t use in the garden were given to Chateau Lafayette and Belle Terre Eden Senior Housing facilities for their patio gardens.
– We opened the garden to the entire community Wednesdays 2–5pm, Thursdays 9am–12pm and Saturdays 9am–1pm. Many community groups (scouts, schools, garden clubs, etc.) were given tours.
– The garden produced over a ton of vegetables and herbs. Almost all of the harvest was taken by community garden members. What was in excess was donated to the new Belle Terre Housing and Chateau Lafayette.
– We got water! We worked with the City to access and purchase piped in water rather than depend on it being trucked as in years past. Thanks to a grant from the Lafayette Community Foundation and private donors, we were able to install an efficient drip irrigation system. We remained cautious in what and how we planted in order to save water.
– We took down our “not to code” greenhouse and purchased a beautiful new greenhouse, thanks to support from the Happy Valley Garden Club and the Brenner Foundation.
– Over 350 people visited our third annual Harvest Festival, enjoying activities from scare crow building to sachet making, listening to music, and learning about the natural history of Lafayette.
– Our education programs provided a variety of rich experiences for community members of all ages:
– Partnering with the Lafayette Library, we hosted regular themed book events and workshops for children.
– This summer we offered a month long series of eight preschool classes and a weeklong Native American immersion camp for 7 – 12 year olds.
– Ten adult and intergenerational classes and workshops were attended by over 200 visitors.

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