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Let the Sun Shine In!

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Empowerment
Let the Sun Shine In!

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“The sun does not shine for a few trees and flowers, but for the wide world’s joy” 

Henry Ward Beecher 

It’s been at least seven years since we’ve enjoyed a warm, sun-filled February. Being accustomed to cold, dreary, gray days in the months of Aquarius and Pisces, this year buoyed my spirits immensely even though I know that we need rain. I admit I thoroughly lapped up those 70 plus degree days spending hours in the garden weeding, pruning, and planting with a break to Bodega Bay to ride a bike on the beach, inhale the salt air, and watch the glorious sunset. If winter is going to be mild and bright, why not enjoy it?

The tulip magnolias, peach, plum, and pear trees are in full bloom. The bees are busy buzzing their business in the blossoms. Sweet scents of narcissi, stock, and freesia fill the air. Oxalis, also known as shamrock, carpets vineyards, trails, and roadsides. Wisteria and lilac are budded, ready to burst any day. Early spring erupted in mid-February, a full month ahead of schedule. In many Northern California areas, temperatures have been in the mid-80s. If it wasn’t for water shortages and the rising trajectory of global warming, we could all be rejoicing. Instead, we may need to chant and dance for rainfall to ward off another summer drought.

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Compost will be your most important gardening ingredient this season. By turning organic waste into humus, you will be feeding your plants in the same manner that Mother Nature has been nurturing the planet since the beginning of time. Compost will help your plants retain moisture, curtail erosion, maintain a constant temperature, and it will enrich your soil. It’s so simple to make that everyone can easily do it. 

Recipe for Compost

In an open pile or composting bin, add both green and dry plant matter plus eggshells, coffee grinds, tea leaves, and fish bones. Green matter includes grass clippings, vegetables, weeds without seeds, peelings, and green leaves. Dry matter includes paper, straw, twigs, fall leaves, and dried stalks. Don’t add any animal feces, diseased plants, or meat products. Moisten everything without soaking it and turn with a pitchfork at least weekly. Worms may be added for speedier results. The compost will cook and steam. Add water as necessary if the pile is too dry. Your compost is ready to return to your garden when it smells earthy, sweet, and looks like a crumbly chocolate cake. I recommend creating two or three different piles as they will finish at different times and you can always have a batch cooking. Making your own compost is an excellent way to recycle with almost zero waste. As an added bonus it is FREE plant food!

Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for March

CREATE simple arrangements with branches cut from blooming peach, pear, or plums. Add a few daffodils or freesias.

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BLOW the “angel” seeds of dandelions if you want dandelions growing in your garden. (This was a favorite past time as a child, although we weren’t allowed to blow “angels” into the lawn.) Dandelions are nutritious and delicious in salads and sautés and they attract quail.

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PICK lettuce, parsley, arugula, Swiss chard, and baby mustard to add to meals.

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MAKE an artful wall-hanging using a variety of succulents.

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ADMIRE the tulip magnolias as they emerge or cut a stem to enjoy indoors.

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WATCH for aphids, moths, slugs, and snails on artichoke plants as they mature. Blast the leaves with water if you see any infestation.

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TALK to your doctor if you are experiencing pollen-related allergies. Pollen fertilizes plants but causes misery for sufferers. Acacia trees are beautiful in bloom but may trigger hay fever or asthma.

AERATE and de-thatch lawns if necessary. Be prepared to scatter seeds and fertilizer before a rain.

SHOOT lots of photos of spring unfolding. 

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BEFORE recycling empty milk cartons, fill with water to use on houseplants. The residual calcium is good for the plants and it also rinses clean the cartons for the bins.

BUY your favorite seed packets in anticipation of sowing.

SPREAD alfalfa pellets mixed with diatomaceous earth around your rose bushes to promote large blooms and healthy plants.

The vernal equinox is still three weeks away. The sun is shining on our gardens and for all of us. It’s playtime. 

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing!

 

Photos and more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1401/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Let-the-sunshine-in.html

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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, including, 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. 

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

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

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www.GoddessGardener.com

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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