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Your Garden is Your Canvas by Cynthia Brian

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Your Garden is Your Canvas by Cynthia Brian

jacobs coat rose

By Cynthia Brian

“The world is but a canvas to the imagination.” Henry David Thoreau

With summer approaching quickly, June is possibly one of the busiest months. Graduations, Father’s Day, weddings, birthdays, vacations, swim meets, pool parties…it seems that these thirty days offer the most opportunities for celebrations. It is time to fire up the barbeque, sweep the patio, freshen the flowerbeds, and get ready for some serious fun.  By growing your own food, you and your family will be healthier, happier, and enjoy more exercise. Get your children involved in the seed sowing, planting, and caring process to help them understand how food travels from the ground to the table.  Allow your garden to become your artistic canvas to showcase your imagination and creativity throughout the summer.
sweet peas climbing
SEED SOWING
This is a fun project to do with children providing pride in growing. Start with radishes, lettuces, kale, zinnias, marigolds, or beans as they germinate quickly.  An edible garden is especially popular with young kids.
⎫ RECYCLE plastic six-packs, flats, and pots to use to grow your own seedlings. Wash well before beginning the process and make sure the drainage holes are not plugged.
⎫ HANG a shoe organizer on a sunny wall with the pockets filled to ¾ full with soil for a fun vertical garden that is especially excellent for herbs, lettuces, and other compact plants.
⎫ BUY sterile seed-starting mix, which doesn’t have any soil in it when you want to plant seeds in a container.
⎫ READ seed packets carefully. It’s critical to know how to plant each variety of seed, what amount of water, sunshine, and care it will need. You also want to know how big the plant will become.
⎫ PLANT extra seeds as many will not germinate.
⎫ KEEP seedlings moist or they will shrivel and die as summer approaches. Don’t over water or seeds will drown.
⎫ THIN as necessary. Discards the remnants to the compost bin.
⎫ FERTILIZE with organic micronutrients once a plant has several leaves.
⎫ TRANSPLANT when each plant is big enough to outgrow its planter.
⎫ REWARD yourself and your children with the harvest of vegetables or flowers.
Nasturium wraps
SUN SAFE TIPS:
National Sun Safety Week is June 5-11th.
⎫ APPLY sunscreen daily and especially before going out into the garden.  Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer.
⎫ WEAR a hat to protect your head and sunglasses to protect your eyes.
⎫ CHECK your skin for any abnormalities and see a physician if you suspect problems.
peach roses
FIREPROOF YOUR GARDEN
It’s probably not possible to completely fire-proof any area, but follow guidelines issued by the fire protection districts to create defensible spaces no later than June 15th.
⎫ PREVENT embers from igniting your home in the event of a fire by clearing leaves, needles, and debris from gutters, eaves, porches, and decks.
⎫ REMOVE dead vegetation from under your deck and within ten feet of your home.
⎫ TRIM weeds and grasses to three inches.
⎫ PRUNE tree branches so that the lowest branches are between six-ten feet from the ground.
⎫ REDUCE “fire fuel laddering” by pruning to separate trees from bushes.
⎫ MAINTAIN your property and weed wack or pull any re-growth.

pink peony
Cynthia Brian’s Fresh Tips for Your June Garden

⎫ AVOID using pesticides and insecticides as they kill the beneficial insects along with the invasive. Bees, bats, and bugs that help our crops reproduce and flowers flourish can be destroyed.
⎫ DINE on nasturtium! For a stunning and delicious appetizer, roll curried egg salad into the peppery leaves of nasturtium. Add edible flowers to the platter. Delicious!
⎫ PACK your salads with nutritional vitamins A, C, K, iron, calcium, potassium, and folate by growing leafy greens such as frisee, mache, romaine, bok choy, arugula, and kale. Don’t forget to toss in radish and turnip tops, too, for an added crunch.
⎫ BUILD a raised bed for a low maintenance edible feast. Make sure to put mesh wire on the bottom to keep out the gophers, moles, and rats. Fill with clean soil for best results.
⎫ ADD a gently meandering dry creek with gravel and rocks to help with drainage, runoff, and provide a natural look to your landscaping.  For a shaded area, plant with hosta, ferns, and lamium.
⎫ INVITE butterflies into your garden by providing a sunny spot for them to land, shrubs for shelter, masses of flowers for nectar, and a saucer of water for a sweet drink. Make sure to change the water daily so as not to attract mosquito larvae.
⎫ DEADHEAD roses as soon as flowers are spent to encourage continual re-blooming. This is one of the best years ever for the prolific showcase of these prize winners.
⎫ RECYCLE brown and green waste, fruit, vegetable scraps, coffee, and tea into a natural fertilizer. Make your own compost all year round to feed your plants.
⎫ PICK bouquets of vibrant sweet peas and clematis for long lasting fragrant arrangements to brighten your interiors as well as your outdoor dining areas.
⎫ GROW cymbidium orchids in containers located in a north or northwest location to enjoy annual blooms. Cymbidiums bloom for months, and can be brought indoors for further pleasure. When the spires fade, return the pots to the coolness of outdoors.
⎫ FERTILIZE rhododendrons, azaleas, roses, and camellias.
⎫ ENJOY your special celebrations in your charmingly re-freshed garden.
⎫ REFLECT your unique personality with your plantings and artistry. Be creative in the outdoors.  It’s more fun!
columbine in riverbed
Congratulations to everyone who is graduating and commemorating a special occasion.  Happy Father’s Day to all the dedicated dads, especially those who share the respect for Mother Nature with their children.

Happy gardening. Happy growing!

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©2016
Cynthia Brian
The Goddess Gardener
Starstyle® Productions, llc
Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com
www.GoddessGardener.com
925-377-STAR
Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show at www.StarStyleRadio.com
Garden and plant consultations by appointment.

Ask Cynthia Brian-Let There Be Light!

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Ask Cynthia Brian-Let There Be Light!

radishes

Reader’s Request

Dear Cynthia
As I sit here planning my spring edible garden, I’m wondering if all vegetables need lots of sunshine to bear fruit. I have sun and shade but probably not enough sunshine for everything I want to grow. Any suggestions?

Dana, Orinda

Dear Dana:
This is a great question and one that every gardener grapples with during the planning stages. Here’s my unscientific rule of thumb that seems to work well. When determining where to position a plant, ask yourself what part of the plant you will eventually eat.

If you are eating the fruit such as tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, cucumbers, zucchinis, beans, apples, corn, etc., you will want to plant these specimens in an area that receives a minimum of eight hours of bright sunlight. Root vegetables like carrots, beets, potatoes, and radishes can be planted in shadier areas or as understory plants because they don’t need as much light as the plants that bear fruit on the branch. If what you eat is the leaf or stem such as Swiss Chard, lettuce, kale, sorrel, arugula, spinach, you can plant in semi-shade with dappled sunlight. Any fruiting vegetable planted in shade can survive but usually bears smaller fruit because these plants need sunlight to create the energy to thrive.

Keep in mind, anything planted in shade will be less colorful, but you may enjoy a longer growing season and slower bolting. Experiment with your site and the answers will be obvious.

Happy Gardening to you!
Cynthia Brian
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basket of greens, beets.,carrots - 2
©2015
Cynthia Brian
The Goddess Gardener
Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com
www.GoddessGardener.com
I am available as a speaker, designer, and consultant.
Cynthia will answer one or more questions every other issue as space allows. Email your comments or questions to Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

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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