Borage, Bees, and Birthdays

Hey folks! Springtime is here (?) in Southern California and the bees are a buzzin!
Our worm tower container has changed a lot over the winter time and now features our majestic borage plant.

Farewell tomatoes, hello food forest!

Farewell tomatoes, hello food forest!

We’ve been waiting and waiting to see its first flowers. And what do you know? It flowered on Wife’s birthday!

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Borage is also known as the “courage plant”. Pretty cool huh?

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Day before the flower opened..

Borage is quickly becoming one of our favorite plants in the garden. It has beautiful edible blue flowers and the leaves taste like cucumber. Haven’t tried it? You just gotta!
We live in a small, overcrowded, apartment complex where the HOA runs the neighborhood, not nature.
I am certain that our fenced off balcony is the only haven for bees withing a 5 mile radiusĀ at least!
Borage is a well known bee attractor and I’ve read about it many times before online.
But literally, the day before the bloom opened, bees started patrolling our yard, waiting to see the flower.

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Bees are welcome in our urban oasis!

Coincidentally, the bees found the water seeping from the holes out of the adjacent container to be suitable as a watering hole. Fine by us, we will be sure to provide lots of water for the thirsty bees! So now, before the sun goes down, my wife and I sit and watch as groups of 3-6 bees come in for a drink in the arugula container and admire the borage before leaving; only to be followed by another group of thirsty and curious bees.

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Of 8 drainage holes, the bees unanimously return to this one for a drink. If we move the pot, they get confused! Their directions are uncannily precise!

Honestly, I kinda feel like the borage knew! We’ve been waiting forever to see this beast flower and it was only fitting that it happened for the wife’s birthday. Happy birthday wife, we got the bees and the garden we’ve always wanted!

Also, there are some of you who are asking about our microgreens endeavor? In short: its been a blast and we are just getting started! Chefs love our greens and keep telling us that the flavor is unlike any they’ve had thus far. YAY! Sorry guys, this is kind of a lame update but you will get one soon! Be sure to like and subscribe for more šŸ˜‰

SHABAM! Daikon mix microgreens

SHABAM! Daikon mix microgreens

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Vertical Microgreen Upgrade!

From this..

From this..

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Inner view

To this!

To this!

Hello everyone!
It has been about a month since my last post and I wanted to share with you our most recent upgrade.
As you can see, we’ve gone vertical!
We do not have much room here in the townhome so to resolve the issue, we opted to grow vertically.
This allows us to MUCH better utilize the limited space we have been given.
The last photo shows our progress:
Two shelves (graciously donated by the parentals) with 5 racks.
Each rack is fitted with t5 grow lights.
Amy skillfully adapted 2 two bulb shop lights into lights that can be plugged into an ordinary plug
(Let us know if you need help doing this yourself)
the bottom two racks are fitted with 4 bulb T5 grow lights from Envirogro.
As you can see, each shelf can now hold 4 trays where the previous setup had us tapped out at 8 all together.
The lights are plugged into a timer that gives the plants 18 hours on, 6 hours off.

We are making real headway starting up this microgreen business.
we’ve been sending samples to willing and local restaurants and have been taking requests for more samples!

What’s on the horizon?
More shelves = More Microgreens!
Stay tuned for more updates šŸ˜‰

Om Nom Nom Nom!

Om Nom Nom Nom!

Our first garden salad!

Tis a humble harvest to say the least but man they were right. Nothing tastes as good as home grown produce!

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Mmm, simple and tasty salad! Handful of lettuce Handful of arugula Arugula flowers Microgreens – arugula, daikon, cress, kohlrabi, chard salt and pepper to taste!

I am determined to feed my family with a proper diet.
Even if I have to grow it myself!

Our first microgreens venture

So we did it. After long hours of research and countless rewatchings of youtube videos, we have finally converted our closet into a micro grow space!

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View from the hallway

Out here in California, our closet needs only one grow light and a humble fan that helps to promote proper ventilation.

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Open up the “curtain” doors….andddd!

I have a buddy who owns a restaurant up in L.A who said that he would love to try a few samples! EEK!
So now it is a scramble. These trays will be done in probably a little under a week. The first true leaves are starting to appear yay!

We’ve been experimenting and we’ve learned so much already! In these trays, we have:
Arugula (and lots of it)
Chard
Daikon Radish
Mizuna Mustard
Lettuce
and our little experiment – Lemon Balm!

Hope all things go well. I have a meeting with a plastic container vendor either today or tomorrow. I found him on craigslist. Super cheap!
Whats next?
I need to work on our temporary menu with prices figured in ( if anybody has any suggestions, please lmk ! )
Our initial phone pitch
and chef presentation.

Jeez, just thinking about it makes my nerves tingle.
I suppose this is what happens when you first start a business eh?
Wish us luck folks, the banks sure wouldn’t!

Ocean Water, A Great Way to Bring Minerals Back to Your Garden

Hello everyone I hope you are having a pleasantĀ Monday šŸ™‚

Today I wanted to share with you guys why ocean water is one of my favorite full spectrum fertilizers in the garden.
Ocean water is full of minerals. In fact, there are about 80+ trace and major minerals that are readily available for plant consumption.
Did you know that ocean fish are generally healthier than their lake/river counterparts? They have less disease and enjoy overall longer, healthier lives.
Why is this do you think?
It would be arrogant of us to think that life above the water is any more important than life down below. Life flourishes down there. Plants and animals grow to immense proportions and eventually expire, decomposing in the same medium fromĀ which they were born.
At the same time, the Earth expels nutrients through underwater vents and volcanoes.
Nutrient rich magma spews and hardensĀ as the ocean water erodes and releases the nutrients back into the water.

This is all a part of what is called theĀ mineral cycle MiningCycle
It’s no wonder why the marine life thrives down there! Their very lives are spent absorbing life giving nutrients even as they sleep!
Life isn’t so easy for us land dwellers, especially these days.
Bad agribusiness practices have eroded our soils. What was once nutrient rich soil is now leached, compacted, and lifeless.
And what about the food that grows out of this soil? It may look fresh, it may look tasty, but a fruit will never produce the minerals that were depleted from the soils.
So what is the solution to this vicious cycle?
Re-mineralization.
Since we live so close to the beach, harvesting ocean water is very convenient for us so we make frequent trips toĀ bring some back home.
A little bit of this stuff goes a really long way so I dilute the ocean water to a ratio of about 100 parts fresh: 1 part ocean water (guesstimate).
I’ve read varying numbers regarding both the dilution and the frequency of application.

100:1 every 4-6 months has worked wonders for me.

Pretty right?

Pretty right?

I wasn’t lying, our cherry tomatoes are full flavored.
I once told you guys that I thought our cherry tomatoes tasted smokey, even bacon-y?
Last week, we brought some of our cherry tomatoes to work to share with our coworkers and we got the same response!
They said that they were full bodied and some even said that they tasted smoky!
But it really is no secret, I told my coworkers as I am telling you now.
Re-mineralization is essential for producing nutrient dense and flavorful foods.
Remineralizing with ocean water is just one of my favorite methods of doing so.
Have access to clean and non polluted ocean water? Then I strongly recommend you give it a try.
Your gardenbeds and your tastebuds will really thank you for it!
Got any questions? Hit me up! I’d be glad to help you find your answers šŸ˜‰
And as always, be sure to subscribe and like our articles šŸ˜€
-Eugin

Starbucks In Our Garden: Coffee Two Ways

Happy Fourth of July everyone!

I hope you guys are having a restful holiday.
I have to admit, something kind of irked me this week.
I’m pretty active in gardening communities on social media outlets – primarily on Google + (look me up -Eugin Kim).
On one of the communities, somebody called me a ‘cube dweller’. Sticks and stones; I know, I know. But, man, thatĀ really sucked!
I love gardening, I love the fresh air, I love green leaves; but my new office doesn’t even have a window!!
Granted, the new building is much nicerĀ and more spacious.
That is, except for my sun-less little office.

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Some facilities even have a dedicated spent coffee ground drop off point so you don’t have to come in to ask all the time!

Amy and I work together but she works across the building.
Amy’s new space has a window and I am so jealous!
We work the grind, 7:30-4:40 every day.
It really is a fast paced industry that we work inĀ and daily Starbucks trips are a mandate in our office.
4 shot Americano on ice with a splash of caramel please. Yup. I’m one of those people.

Today, Amy and I noticed a sign on ourĀ localĀ Starbucks’ bulletin board.Ā Starbucks actually encourages their customers to ask for their spent coffee grounds.
I was a bit wary of this at first because I didn’t want to trouble the baristas. Especially without a bucket.
But no, they were so nice about it!
They even double bagged and tied up all the coffee grounds they had on hand. They gave me about 30 pounds right on the spot!

Our container garden is bountiful, but it really is not that large. One 30 poundĀ bag of spent coffee grounds will go a long way in this household.
Spent coffee grounds areĀ a wonder-worker in gardens. Some of the biggest reasons are:

  • Coffee grounds are about 10% Nitrogen (from what I have read) and function wonderfully as a side dressing
  • With a large quantity, coffee grounds can be used as an organic mulch
  • It can be used as a natural slug repellent ( I will report my findings on this!)
  • If used as a mulch, the coffee grinds can help prevent weed or fungal invasions
  • My personal favorite: vermi/compost brown material!

So, what did we do with our coffee grounds today?
We spread them over our nitrogen hungry herb pallet garden.
We mounded coffee grounds over our tomato container.
Azaleas are acid loving so we put plenty of grounds in there.
And we gave about 40% to our vermicompost bin and everybody is happy!

So next time you’re at Starbucks getting your java fix, try asking them for some coffee grounds! I’m sure they would be happy to help.
And as always, be sure to subscribe and like our posts!
Please be sure to say ‘hi’; I would love to get a chance to network with you gardeners!

 

 

New additions to our herb container carden

Cucumbers,  scallions, and bellflower went down in the herb bed. I've got a plan for the campanula šŸ˜ˆ

Cucumbers, scallions, and bellflower went down in the herb bed. I’ve got a plan for the campanula šŸ˜ˆ

Today we went to our local garden store to buy a few seeds!
Well first we needed to fill the other half of the container with soil and organic matter.
We had to use our space wisely as these guys are sharing their bed with our shiitake bed as well.
I am hoping to get a mini food forest from this planting with Onions growing beneath the soil, cucumbers growing along the surface
and Campanulas as the canopy top for now.
I have a secret plan for our campanulas so be sure to stay tunedĀ and don’t forget to subscribe for more updates!

Ergh it really is too hot to write anymore I am dying. Byeee!

 

-Eugin