Thursday, July 7, 2011

Some of My July Classes


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, Colorado Gardener, Sunset Magazine, Florida Gardening), The Rocky Mountain News) 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 July 16, from 11 AM until 1:30 PM, and the cost is $20 per student. My 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


Learn easy frugal ways to transform the produce from our gardens and our friends' gardens and poultry into quick and easy yet satisfyingly savory meals for our family and friends. I LOVE to cook for friends by using what my urban farm is bearing at the moment as the catalyst for "cooking by the seat of your pants". You'll learn key basic spicing themes for ethnic cuisines (Thai, Indian, Turkish, Mexican and more) that 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 class celebrates cooking and gardening and eating and costs $20 plus an onion and takes place on July 17 from 11 AM until 1 PM. at 3212 West Paxton Avenue in south Tampa. Call me, John Starnes, at 813 839 0881, or e-mailo me to confirm your attendance. Thank You! John


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 class again on July 9, 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


Drought is the new norm for Florida. Water is scarce and expensive, so I've invented an alternative method of making home made container gardens that grow 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 July 10 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

"The only normal people are the ones you don't know well". unknown

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