HOME MADE FERMENTED FOODS 101 6-18-2011
Many folks are realizing the wide spectrum of health benefits of eating probiotic fermented foods, but that also they can be very pricey in the health food stores and grocery stores. Garden writer John Starnes (Fine Gardening, St. Pete Times, Florida Gardening) loves to grow and cook and prepare foods for friends and himself, and in this class will show easy very affordable ways to make your own kefir, natto, tempeh, kimchee, kombucha, and cheese. There will be samples for tasting too. Be sure to bring a note pad and pen to write down the simple steps and ingredients, some of which can come from your own garden. The class will be held on June 18, from 11 AM until 1:30 PM, and the cost is $20 per student. The address is: 3212 West Paxton Avenue Tampa 33611 813 839 0881 Please park along the south side of Paxton to spare the lawns of my neighbors on the north side. Thanks. Come hungry! John
COOKING WHAT YOU GROW 6-25-2011
Many of us grew up on" fast food" and processed foods, and so don't know easy frugal ways to transform the produce from our gardens into quick and easy yet satisfyingly savory meals for our family and friends. LOVE to cook for friends by using what my urban farm is bearing at the moment at the catalyst for "cooking by the seat of your pants". You'll learn key basic spicing themes for ethnic cuisines that can you can tweak and mix per your creative cooking spirit and your gardens' production. In this class we will together harvest many key ingredients from my urban farm and whip up a delicious entree we will then share. This fun yet informative class costs $20 and takes place on June 25th from 11 AM until 1 PM. at 3212 West Paxton Avenue in south Tampa. Call me, John Starnes, at 813 839 0881 to confirm your attendance. Thank You! John
BASICS OF FRUGAL BACKYARD POLUTRY RAISING 6-4-2011
Many folks these days are considering, or have followed through on, pursuing a long time desire to raise backyard chickens for fresh eggs or even meat they know the origins of. I've had chickens on and off since the mid 90s, and can share how to raise happy, healthy, antibiotic-free chickens and eggs VERY frugally. See also the ease of raising Muscovy ducks. I am teaching this well-received class again on June 4, from 11 AM until 1 PM, with a 30 minute Q & A session after. My address is: 3212 West Paxton Avenue, Tampa FL 33611, about 6 blocks south of Gandy and 1 1/2 blocks west of MacDill, jungly yard on the south side. Please park on my side of Paxton off of neighbors' lawns. The cost is $20 per student. Please bring a note pad and pen as we will cover many points. You will receive a pack of winter greens seeds to sow next fall to provide raw green plant matter VITAL to having healthy backyard chickens. 813 839 0881 or e-mail to RSVP. See you then! John Starnes
WATER WISE CONTAINER GARDENING 6-11-2011
The spring drought is here and the soil is SO dry. Water is scarce and expensive, so I've invented an alternative method of making home made container gardens that grows food and flower crops well with much less water, and that can be made for free to just $10. As a result, despite my yard being an urban farm, my June 2009 water use bill was just $1.35! Most months my water use bill is below $10 despite all the food and Old Roses I grow here. My March 2011 water bill was $3.84.
This class teaches you how to make your own from free recycled plastic containers, how to create a great soil mix for it, and easy ways to maintain and sustain yours using cheap and/or dumpster-dived supplies. This simple design avoids the problems that many have experienced with others often described as "self watering containers" and that can cost $100. You'll see several of mine in differing styles and stages of growth to help you decide what works best for you and your space and budget.
I love how they use VERY little water vs. my growing the same crops, including my beloved Old Roses, in my in-ground gardens. Growing food crops in this manner can also allow a gardener to avoid using Tampa's and St. Pete's reclaimed water that has caused severe difficulties for many folks due to the very high levels of salts and chlorides. Plus one is not supposed to eat raw veggies grown with reclaimed water, which rules out growing fresh salads and herbs from one's own garden!
Special attention will be paid to the very common problem of nitrogen deficiency often encountered in container gardening whether one makes one's own soil as I do, or purchases it in bulk or bagged.
You will get two packs of very hard to get vegetable seeds that will thrive all summer long in your Water Wise Container Gardens. The cost of the class is $20 per person. This class has been very well received, so I am teaching it again on June 11 from 11 AM until 1 PM, with a 30 minute Q & A session following.
My address is 3212 West Paxton Avenue, Tampa FL 33611. Phone is 813 839 0881 RSVP is not required but helpful in my planning each class. Come learn how to grow your own organic produce for a fraction of what you pay in the stores while slashing your water use and bill and avoiding the toxic-to-plants reclaimed water.
Happy Gardening! John Starnes
TURNING SAND INTO HEALTHY SOIL 6-5-2011
Trying to grow crops in this sandy joke some call "soil" can make us give up gardening altogether. Garden writer John Starnes (St. Pete Times, Florida Gardening, Fine Gardening) grew his first veggie garden here in 1967 when he was 14, and has been growing much of his own food since 1984 both here and in Denver. Learn the basics of frugally transforming your sand into humus-rich actual soil teeming with beneficial microbes and loaded with all the nutrients that plants need to be vibrantly healthy and thrive. There is a nice handout for the class but DO bring a notebook and pen. You will receive one free envelope of an easy-to-grow unusual food crop seeds to help get you started right away. The class runs from 11 AM until 1 PM on June 5, 2011 at 3212 West Paxton Avenue Tampa FL 33611. Call to confirm attendance. John Starnes 813 839 0881
HOT WEATHER CROPS FOR SUMMER BOUNTY FROM YOUR GARDEN 6-12-2011
There is an unfortunate, widespread myth that summers are too hot, muggy and buggy in Florida to grow a successful organic garden here, but nothing could be further from the truth. Healthy soil and choosing subtropical and tropical crops that LOVE the heat is the key to fresh abundance from your yard for that long hot half of the year when so many folks let their gardens go barren and weedy.
In this class you will receive a handout with a long list of heat-loving crops, plus I will give you seeds of two kinds that utterly thrive each summer here. Be sure to bring a pad and pen as folks tell me my classes are information-dense. Growing these summer crops organically is easy in good soil and full sun, as very few pests attack them, but we will cover those few possible problems and how to deal with them cheaply and without using poisons. The class will be offered again on June 12 from 11 AM until 1 PM. The cost is $20 per student, and my address is: 3212 West Paxton Avenue Tampa FL 33611 813 839 0881 JohnAStarnes @msn.com
RSVP is helpful in my planning how to best teach this class. Just think....as your winter garden fizzles out each spring, you can phase in six more months of productivity with a whole new range of tastes, textures and nutrition! See you then. John
GROWING FOOD HARVESTING JOY AND CULTIVATING FREEDOM 6-19-2011
Growing and raising much of your own food can free you from an unsatisfying job and addiction to the New Serfdom of endless debt as a "consumer". You will get two handouts with 30 key techniques, attitude shifts, and resources that can allow us to discover what we REALLY want out of life, how to live frugally, and ways to shed old, restrictive habits and replace them with pleasurable, expansive ones to create a self-perpetuating positive feedback loop of habitual joy and gratitude. People say my trippy livingroom exemplifies "thinking outside of the box that the box came in" so most of the class will be held in there after we tour my urban farm. I feel that happiness is a choice we can make daily, and that we can create our lives vs. them just happening to us, with productive gardening as the key. This class will be taught again on June 19, from 11 AM until 1 PM here at 3212 West Paxton Avenue, Tampa, FL 33611 813 839 0881 to RSVP. Please park on the south side of Paxton. The cost is $20 per student. Each student will receive 1 free packet of easy-to-grow seeds with instructions on their culture and harvest and use. See you then! John
"GREEN" LEAST TOXIC PEST CONTROL INDOORS AND OUT 6-26-2011
Many homeowners and gardeners and pet lovers alike think we MUST use toxic pesticides to control plant-ravaging bugs and diseases, plus swarms of fleas and roaches and mosquitos that can make make life miserable for us and our animal companions, and poultry mites in our henhouses biting us AND the birds. This class will teach you a great many natural, non-or-least toxic methods of controlling and eliminating those scourges, including biological methods that need be purchased just once from mail order or local sources. All of these control methods are VERY inexpensive (hey, I’m a lifelong pathologically cheap tightwad!) and easy to acquire or make at home. Several were shared in the gardening column I wrote for The St. Pete Times for eight years. Food self sufficiency gardeners like me CAN enjoy fresh produce all year long by defeating pests without poisoning those crops or the environment. A detailed handout, complimented by the notes you take (bring a pad and pen please) will let you begin right away winning the “battle against bugs and fungus” all year long. I am teaching this class again on June 26, from 11 AM until 1 PM. My address is: 3212 West Paxton Avenue, Tampa FL 33611, about 6 blocks south of Gandy and 1 1/2 blocks west of MacDill, jungly yard on the south side. Please park on my side of Paxton off of neighbors' lawns. The cost is $20 per student. To RSVP call: 813 839 0881 Happy Gardening! John