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Seeds or Starts?

Posted by Felix Assivo on
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Empowerment
Seeds or Starts?

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“Spring is the time of plans and projects.” Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

No matter how many springs I’ve encountered, I am forever awed and amazed at the bursting of blossoms and the beauty of the lush landscapes. Every year I find myself reiterating how much I adore this wondrous season. A fever warms the air, one that encourages me to weed, seed, feed, plan, and plant. Are you feeling this same urge to indulge in outdoor projects?

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Before you go to your local nursery or garden center to shop, take photos of your yard and patio. Make a tentative plan of what projects you’d like to tackle. Peruse a catalog to find photos and descriptions of plants that you think will shine in your garden. Do you want to buy seed packets or are you planning on buying starts? It pays to know what plants grow best when seeds are scattered and what plants will do better when they are purchased either in six-packs, flats, gallons, or larger.

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SOWING SEEDS

It is possible to buy seeds for almost any plant, however, not all seeds will sprout successfully. Over the years, I have found the following flowers, herbs, and vegetables do well when planted by seed.

Flowers

Calendula

Hollyhock

Marigold

Nasturtium

Nigella

Zinnia

Sunflower

Cosmos

Bachelor’s Button       

Four O’clock

Columbine

California Poppy

Shasta Daisy

Coneflower

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Vegetables and Herbs

Beet

Radish

Arugula

Swiss Chard

Kale

Carrot

Bean

Pea

Lettuce

Spinach

Sorrel

Corn

Turnip

Mustard

Pumpkin

Chive

Parsley

Chervil

Chamomile

Dill

Fennel

Cilantro

Lemon Balm

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Other than cherry tomatoes, I have never had success growing tomatoes from seed. Cucumber and zucchini have done better in my potagers by sowing starts. Most weeds are spread by seeds including the pretty when small, Herb Robert geranium. The aroma of this lime green weed with the tiny pink petal flowers is pleasing, but it needs to be pulled as soon as possible as it is invasive. A cover crop that I seed in fall is vetch. Vetch fixes nitrogen in the soil and is good in both sunny and shady locations, however, if not managed properly, you’ll spend many hours untangling to dig it into the soil.

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Before you depart for the nursery, write a list of what you are seeking, and know that once you arrive, your shopping dreams may take a deep detour. You’ll be tempted by the magnificent selections the nursery offers. It’s up to you to know the conditions of your landscape…where it is sunny, shady, rocky, moist, dry, flat, or hilly. Will you be planting in containers or planting directly in the ground? Pay careful attention to the tags on the plants you are considering. They provide an enormous amount of useful information that can help you determine if this plant is correct for your garden. If there is a Q code, scan it to find out additional instructions. Buy only what you can put in the ground within two or three days. You don’t want your new purchases to remain in pots longer than necessary. I am very guilty of buying too much at one time instead of making multiple trips. 

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Another important tip is to determine the container size of each flower, herb, vegetable, shrub, or tree that you will purchase. If you are a person that demands instant gratification and you don’t want to wait for a specimen to grow to its full potential, or you don’t have the time to let the plant grow, buy the largest container. You will pay a premium, but perhaps this purchase could be worth the extra cost to you to have immediate coverage. On the other hand, if you are the patient type as I am and time is not of the essence, purchase the smallest container. It will be less expensive and with time, your plant will be as large or larger than ones available in larger sizes. With annuals, it may behoove you to buy larger sizes, although I am a big fan of buying six-packs and flats. When buying a shrub of any size, look for full and dense leaf formation. Plant health is important. The pot should not be root bound. Healthy roots are white, not gray, or mushy.

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I learned an important lesson in planting trees many years ago when I was designing my backyard. As my central focal point, I wanted a magnolia tree that boasts beautiful white blooms attractive to pollinators. I bought the biggest tree that I could find. It was approximately ten feet tall in a huge container that was so heavy it took three people to manage it.  I paid a fortune, but at the time, felt the cost assured me my desired outcome. That same week, my mother gave me a six-inch tall sapling in a quart pot. I planted it at the back of my garden, believing that it would never become a large tree. Within three years, both trees were the exact same size, and now, three decades later, my mother’s magnolia gift is double the size of my purchase. Both are beautiful, but the free sapling is dramatic!

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Easter and Passover arrive with spectacular spring showers of flowers highlighted by tulips, wisteria, bluebells, azaleas, flowering trees, and the fruity fragrances of lilac, hyacinth, and jasmine. Pick a bouquet from your garden to celebrate these sacred holidays.

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No matter whether you spring into spring with seeds or starts, just do it!

 

FREE APRIL EVENTS NOT TO BE MISSED

Honor Mother Earth on Friday, April 22 by tuning in to the Earth Gratitude Virtual Festival live-streamed at https://www.unify.org. Two of my Be the Star You Are!® volunteers who are reporters on Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio as well as myself have featured videos. Esteemed contributors include the Dalai Lama, Jane Goodall, Prince Charles, Elon Musk, Deepak Chopra, and others. Together we will celebrate our planet.

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On Saturday, April 23 at noon, enjoy a FREE Virtual Wonders Magic Show crafted for the entire family with a renowned Irish magician. Although the interactive show is FREE, you do have to register to receive the ZOOM link. More info at https://www.BetheStarYouAre.org. Or email thestarsworkshop@gmail.com 

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Wishing you a hippity hoppity Easter and a peaceful Passover. Enjoy an amazing April with your family.

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Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. Stand in Solidarity with Ukraine.

Photos: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1604/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Spring-shopping-Seeds-or-starts.html

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, is available for hire to help you prepare for your spring garden. Raised in the vineyards of Napa County, Cynthia is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3. Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

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Buy copies of her books, including, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. Receive a FREE inspirational music DVD and special savings.

Hire Cynthia for writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

Sirius is Serious

Posted by presspass on
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Empowerment
Sirius is Serious

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“When the ancients first observed Sirius emerging as it were from the sun…they believed its power of heat to have been so excessive that…the Sea boiled, the Wine turned sour, Dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid.”  John Brady, 1813, a Compendious Analysis of the Calendar.

Forever the optimist, when I penned my last column, The Dog Days of Summer, (http://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1413/Digging-Deep-with-Cynthia-Brian-the-Goddess-Gardener-for-August-The-Dog-Days-of-Summer.html), I intentionally left out the part of the Old Farmer’s Almanac, 1817 that indicates, “Make both hay and haste while the Sun shines, for when old Sirius takes command of the weather, he is such an unsteady, crazy dog, there is no dependence upon him.”

In the last few weeks, we have witnessed the ravages of Sirius with thousands of lightning strikes causing more than six hundred wildfires, millions of acres burned, gusty erratic winds, radically unhealthy air quality, and ash blanketing the state. More land has burned in the last few weeks than burned in all of 2019. Death and destruction are the horrific aftermaths.

Our Napa County farm was amongst the blazing landscapes. Everyone living in the valley where our vineyards and ranch reside was evacuated, yet, with firefighters engaged elsewhere battling numerous other infernos, my brother stayed behind on his tractor to cut roads, create safety zones, and clear debris. The hills and pastures burned. He saved the vineyards, barns, and our family home.

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Between the brutal pandemic, perverse politics, sizzling heat, and suffocating smoke, we all have a reason to despair. To thwart a fire on my hillside, I have cut my dried perennials and annuals to ground level. The only beauty is offered by my faithful blushing naked ladies, lavender society garlic plants, and the passionflower vine that twines up my peach tree. The ground is parched. 

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As I was repairing a broken water pipe so that I could irrigate this arid field, my optimism suddenly resurged. Swallowtails flitted through the smoke-filled air searching for a colorful landing place. A hummingbird settled on my string of patio lights before nuzzling my pink jacobinia growing in a cement urn. A five-lined skink, also known as a blue-tailed lizard, perched on a nearby boulder completely uninterested in my cutting and gluing efforts.

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I completed my project, picked a ripe tangerine from the tree, headed for the hammock, and savored the juice as it dripped down my chin. Swinging, I contemplated my future gardening desires.

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This is the season to start making a list of what you want to grow for the forthcoming months. My succulent garden doesn’t need precipitation to thrive. Adding succulents to your want list is a smart idea.

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Bulbs are easy to grow and most offer yearly returns. Favorites to plant in late autumn for a spring showing include daffodils, tulips, freesia, ranunculus, hyacinth, Dutch iris, anemone, and crocus. Freesias are one of nature’s greatest gifts with splendid scents, a cornucopia of colors, and the ability to naturalize. Daffodils are probably the most popular and least expensive of all the bulbs. Deer, rabbits, and other critters won’t eat them, allowing their happy flowers to bloom for long stretches. When winter is nearing its finale, crocus will make you smile as they push through the soil to reveal their rich colors of blue, violet, yellow, and white. Treat yourself to a garden filled with tulips. You’ll want to buy your bulbs soon as they need to be refrigerated for at least six weeks before planting. For more impact, group colors, shapes, and sizes together in a swath. They are wonderfully interplanted with delphiniums, pansies, and other annuals or perennials for a very merry greeting. 

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After a traumatic summer filled with climatic extremes, sowing seeds for a bountiful harvest of late fall to early winter salad greens and vegetables is a welcome endeavor. 

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What seeds do you want? Try any of these for rapid results. Make sure to water regularly.

Lettuce

Spinach

Arugula

Swiss Chard

Kale

Beets

Fennel

Turnips

Broccoli

Carrot

Kohlrabi

Shallots

Garlic

Radish

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With the seriousness of the sizzling Sirius and the dangerous air quality outside, stay indoors and peruse catalogs and gardening books to get ideas for fall planting. On Thursday, September 17th, I’ll be doing a ZOOM presentation, “Tips, Tricks, and Tonics in the Garden” for the Moraga Garden Club celebrating its 50th anniversary. For information on this ZOOM meeting, call Membership Chair Jane Magnani at 925-451-7031 for times to join in the conversation and presentation. We’ll keep it light, fun, and informative. 

Summer will soon be ending. This is an opportune time to check for sale and clearance items that you may want for your outdoor landscaping for next year. I have found great deals at  https://bit.ly/3aG6qOI including winter covers for patio furniture. As much as I love the heat, the chance of wildfires is omnipresent. Make sure to read my article on how to be prepared in the event of any emergency. This article could save your life. 

https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1414/Are-you-ready-to-evacuate.html

The Roman poet, Virgil described Sirius as “bringer of drought and plague to frail mortals, rises and saddens the sky with sinister light.” The veracity of his narrative has been realized in 2020.  The sea has not yet boiled and let’s hope the wine doesn’t spoil. I’m grateful to my brother for saving our ranch and thankful to the first responders and firefighters on the front lines of the flames.

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Now more than ever, we need large doses of humor, hope, and healing. Let’s employ kindness and empathy for one another as we prepare for planting autumn bulbs and seeds.  A bright and beautiful spring display is only two seasons away. Embrace optimism and gratitude. 

Photos: http://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1414/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Sirius-is-serious.html

Happy gardening. Happy growing.

Cynthi Brian hammock.jpg

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, is available for hire to help you prepare for your spring garden. Raised in the vineyards of Napa County, Cynthia is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach, as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3. Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

Buy copies of her best-selling books and receive extra freebies, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. 

Cynthia Brian books banner.jpg

Cynthia is available for virtual writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

 

Veterinary Savings, Grow Grass, Fitness Freebies By Cynthia Brian

Posted by Editor on
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Empowerment
Veterinary Savings, Grow Grass, Fitness Freebies By Cynthia Brian

If you are looking for upbeat, life-changing, and mind stretching information, you’ve come to the right place. Host Cynthia Brian takes you on a journey of exploration that will encourage, inspire, and motivate you to make positive changes that offer life enhancing results. It’s party time on StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!®. And YOU are invited! Join us LIVE 4-5pm Pt on Wednesdays or tune in to the archives at your leisure. Come play in StarStyle Country.

If you family pet gets ill, veterinary costs can be prohibitive. As heartbreaking as it is, you don’t want to let your pet suffer nor break your budget. We’ll discuss ways to save money on vet costs while maintaining the health of your beloved family member.

We are not talking about marijuana today but how to grow the most sustainable, drought resistant lawns. To manage your efforts maintaining the health, beauty, and benefits of your lawn for the remainder of the year, get started this month with simple best practices with Goddess Gardener, Cynthia Brian. Love your grass!

We are instructed to get at minimum of thirty minutes of exercise per day. By doing a little bit throughout your workday you can easily acquire the benefits of activity. Learn ten simple fitness tricks to keep you healthy and in shape.Listen at Voice America, Empowerment Channel

#StartWithaSmile at smile.amazon.com/ch/94-3333882 . Amazon donates to Be The Star You Are, Inc..

Read our BTSYA March Newsletter

What’s happening? Want to party? Visit our Event page

Make a DONATION through PAYPAL GIVING FUND:  https://www.paypal.com/us/webapps/mpp/search-cause?charityId=1504&s=3

Catch up with all broadcasts on ITunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/starstyle-be-the-star-you-are!/id669630180?mt=2

Buy books by Cynthia Brian at http://starstyleradio.net/Store.html

For photos, descriptions, links, archives, and more, visit http://www.StarStyleRadio.com.
Get inspired, motivated, and informed with StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!®
Lend us Your Ears!!!

Make a donation today to Be the Star You Are!® charity http://www.bethestaryouare.org

Cynthia Brian talks about the empowering outreach programs offered by Be the Star You Are!® charity. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHglz05pBvI&feature=youtu.be

Embed StarStyle® Be the Star You Are!® Radio
If you are a fan of the authors, experts, celebrities, and guests that appear regularly on StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® radio, you can now be sure to never miss an episode. Embed this code into your WordPress site or any site and you’ll always have Cynthia Brian, Heather Brittany, and all of your favorite pioneers on the planet at your fingertips.  Upbeat, positive, life-changing talk radio broadcasting live each week since 1998. Lend us Your Ears. We are Starstyle®-Be the Star You Are!®
http://www.voiceamerica.com/jwplayer/HostPlayer.html?showid=2206

Be the Star You Are!® charity. Every Season is for Giving Make a donation today. http://www.bethestaryouare.org/donate.htm

Links you can use for Be the Star You Are!®
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Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for April

Posted by Editor on
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Empowerment
Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for April

“Nothing is so beautiful as spring-when weeds, in wheels, shoot long, and lovely, and lush…” Gerard Manley Hopkins

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Poppies and lupines dot the green hillsides and roadways. The skies are azure blue, the weather is wickedly warm, turkeys hobble and gobble in neighborhoods. Spring is in full swing.

As it always is every April, my orchards and hills are carpeted with weeds. This year I sprinkled seeds of mustard throughout my landscape as a cover crop to heighten the nitrogen levels in the soil. A sea of yellow waves in the wind greeting me on my morning walks. Large black crows call my casa their casa. The “Birds” are back splashing in the fountain outside my office alongside the occasional red-tail hawk popping in for a drink. A covey of quail with their baby chicks darting behind them, munch insects and dandelions around my lawn. The re-birth of nature recharges my energy and makes me grateful to be alive in our bucolic rural locale.

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This week I received my EBMUD home water report with my water score and this congratulatory note: “Way to go, WaterSaver! You ranked in the top 20%”! While the American average usage according to the Environmental Protection Agency is 400 gallons per day, we used only 147 gallons per day versus the average EBMUD household of 362 gallons per day. Households in the top 20% used an average of 213 gallons per day. I’m using 29% less water than the previous 12 months, perhaps putting me in the top 10% of water savers. But I’m scared of what will happen when summer comes. The drought is real and it will affect each of us. I plan on watering by hand with a hose as much as possible as this will save approximately 33% more than turning on the sprinklers. Soaker hoses will be great assets for water conservation in my vegetable and herb gardens. I will only be planting a smattering of color spots with specimens I am certain can withstand less moisture. Any extra water used for washing or rinsing dishes and bodies is collected and used in my patio pots. What are your plans to keep your garden alive through the forthcoming hot weather while conserving H20?

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CHECK your irrigation system and consider investing in newer drip or weather based controllers.

START seeds in any recycled container from plastic cups to coconut hulls. Drill a hole in the bottom, add good potting soil, and you are ready to roll. If you plant in orange rind halves, you can plant the entire “container” in the ground.

SAVE water by placing a bowl under your colander when washing greens and vegetables in the sink. Dump the water in the garden.

SCRUB your outdoor furniture and organize your patio. Spring is here and it’s time to start the party planning.

FRESHEN your curb appeal with fragrant flowering plants such as star jasmine that will welcome guests with their heady spring perfume.

EMPTY any standing water in saucers, old tires, buckets, gutters, or barrels. Mosquitoes are already on the prey. If you have a pond and want free mosquito fish, contact Vector Control at 925-685-9301. Vector Control is also your resource for problems with skunks or yellow jackets.

WATCH for holes of voles in your lawn and garden. Voles are extremely destructive and non-discriminating when it comes to eating everything and anything growing. For major infestations, call in the professional eradicators.

BRIGHTEN your garden with drought tolerant succulents. With so many shapes, sizes, textures, and colors, you’ll be able to create a palette of striking performance that require minimal moisture.

CUT and turn into the soil any cover crops you planted last fall to add nitrogen and nutrients. Clover, mustard, fava beans are ready to be tilled.

CASCADE lantana from retaining walls and containers for long lasting color that attracts beneficial bees and butterflies.

TRELLIS thornless lady banksia roses or purple wisteria for a glorious spring mix that will continue to delight year after year.

VISIT the Moraga Gardens plant sale Saturdays and Sundays through April 19 for a wide variety of home grown from seed vegetables, herbs, and other plants. Each four-inch pot is only $3. Address is 1370 Moraga Way, Moraga from 9am-4pm.

SHEAR and shape conifers and junipers, removing any dead or diseased branches.

FERTILIZE roses, lawns, and all perennials.

DIVIDE, transplant or share with friends iris, delphinium, daylily, and chrysanthemum.

RE-SEED lawns with clover or high quality grass seed for a thicker, lush mat.

TAKE any moveable houseplants outdoors to give them a good shower and thorough drink. Put them on your lawn when you wash and water them, giving your grass a bath as well.
THANKS for all the wonderful comments about my last Digging Deep column, Paradise Found. Special thanks to Lamorinda Weekly reader, Sydney, who shares this tip about growing her 65-year-old spectacular peony: When winters are mild, put ice cubes around the base of your peonies. Prune stems low to a bud in January. Fertilize with fish emulsion and deadhead after blooms are spent in April.

COME to the Be the Star You Are!® charity Book Bash Blow Out on April 25th at 5 A Rent A Space in Moraga to buy brand new books at discount prices. Pick up your FREE seed packets and complimentary potpourri when you say you read The Lamorinda Weekly!

PRAY for April showers!

Enjoy the beauty and scents of springtime. May all your weeds be flowers. Continue being water savvy and garden smart.

Happy Gardening, Happy Growing.

Read Garden Guide

Read about Paradise Found

Suuculent flower
Mark your calendars for the BTSYA BOOK BASH BLOW OUT on Sat. April 25th from 11-4pm at 5 A Rent a Space in Moraga.
Meet authors and get autographed copies. Get FREE Potpourri.

©2015
Cynthia Brian
The Goddess Gardener
Starstyle® Productions, llc
Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com
www.GoddessGardener.com
925-377-STAR
I am available as a speaker, designer, and consultant.

Cynthia Brian is a New York Times best selling author, speaker, coach, and host of the radio show, StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® broadcasting live every Wednesday from 4-5pm PT on the Voice America Network.. She also is the creator and producer of Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501c3 charity.

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