Tuesday, September 30, 2008

EtsyPHAT treasury!

Here's a lovely treasury by EtsyPHAT team member greenthing:

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Phalaenopsis for your health

Phal. violacea alba(Left: Phal. violacea v. alba at The Little Greenhouse)

Recently a news article was cited on the Orchid Guide Digest by Viateur, who finds all the interesting stories for us. The article makes two claims that are interesting, but unsupported (references are not cited). Do any of you know if these are accurate statements?

"Translucent pots allow light to reach the roots and algae to form on their
surface [is that desirable ?] ? this helps with moisture and nutrient uptake.
Moth orchids are effective in removing xylene (chemical emissions from
adhesives, computer VDU screens, paints, photocopiers and varnishes) from
the atmosphere [really ?]"

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What is your plant wish list?

Please tell us!

EtsyPHAT team member Griffith Gardens posted a couple forum threads today, one of which asked "what plants would you like to see on Etsy?". As a complement to that discussion, I thought I'd add this blog post as another place where you can list items on your wish list. So what plants are you looking for? Let us know with a comment to this post and maybe we can help you out!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

"MySpace" for Gardeners

There's a newly sprouted website called World Food Garden for all the veggie gardeners out there. You can map your garden, create a garden blog, and trade seeds and ideas with other gardeners. For more information, check out this youtube video. If you try it, please come back and tell us how you like it and where to find your blog!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What's new with team member: Julie!

This week we have Julie, who is greenthing on Etsy. Her shop items are displayed on the sidebar this week, and some recent happenings in her world are below.

How did you get started in gardening?
I've loved plants since I was little, but started gardening on a regular basis when I became disabled. It's great therapy for me!

Why did you join the EtsyPHAT Team?
The team is great! It's nice to be in touch with others who love plants and gardening, and to be able to exchange ideas or get feedback from the group is helpful.

Where do you get your ideas?
My goal is to have my entire yard provide habitat for wildlife eventually. That will take years, but I add to my gardens every year. I love to see wildlife in my yard. Also, I read a lot of books!

What are you currently working on?
Currently I'm working on tinctures. I'm excited to be able to offer them in my store. Tinctures are much more effective than pills, and mine will be made from plants I've grown myself so I will know the quality and freshness of them. I''ll have a few of the main ones at first, but I hope to keep expanding. I'm also propagating lilies and roses and hope to have them available by Fall. A couple of lilies are listed already.

Is your Etsy your full time job?
Yes, I'm disabled and Etsy allows me to have some income coming in. I actually run three shops and sometimes it gets overwhelming!

What do you do when you are not gardening?
I work on my other shops, I read, I explore when I'm able to (for my urban exploration photography), and visit with friends.

Recommend a book?
Just one? "The Green Pharmacy" by James Duke.

Favorite from the garden recipe?
Fresh tomato sandwiches are my favorite. Simple, but delicious! I love to use herbs in just about anything, especially spaghetti. I add oregano, thyme, cayenne pepper, rosemary and garlic.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Urban Farming

The current issue of ATTRAnews - Newsletter of the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service - takes a look at how folks across the country are juggling the effects of urban sprawl and a desire of local produce. The newsletter mentions community gardens, a unique farm stand, social justice, urban agriculture resources and more. You can check out the full issue online at ATTRA. (note: at time of writing I don't see the current issue posted, but watch that space! In the mean time, check out some of their other archives and publications.)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

What's new with team member: Craig!

This week we have Craig, who is EarlyForest on Etsy. He keeps a blog about tree species identification. His shop items are displayed on the sidebar this week, and some recent happenings in his world are below.

What's new with Craig?
I am working like crazy and trying to find time to spend with my family (wife, baby, puppy and kitten) while I take on the world.

How did you get started in gardening?
I was gifted with adventerous parents that felt that vaccations should be taken often and outdoors. Our travels took us to some of the planet's most amazing natural wonders. On those trips, and over long weekends camping with my dad and brother, I gained an appreciation for the wilder parts of the world and especially the forests. It was not until college that I discovered bonsai and I became obsessed with trying to grow trees. Most of my bonsai trees are collected wild seedlings or grown from seed, I refuse to purchase grocery store exotic bonsai. Growing bonsai soon led to growing edible plants as well. I now have a good mix of veggies and berries in addition to my trees.

Why did you join the EtsyPHAT Team?
I joined EtsyPHAT to learn from like-minded-individuals and offer my support and encouragement.

Where do you get your ideas?
I am inspired by literature, art, architecture and gnomes.

What are you currently working on?
Right now it is mid summer, a particularly slow season for tree seed collecting. As always, I have an ongoing tree photography series on my blog. I have been photographing trees like they are going extinct. My favorite locations are the arboreta and botanical gardens in my area. I am getting excited to photograph the trees when they change this autumn. I am also working on assembling some simple woodland survival tools/guides that you can expect to see in the shop soon.

Is your Etsy your full time job?
No, I have a degree in Landscape Architecture and work full time as a professional Landscape Designer. My Etsy shop is a project that I undertook to make tree seeds and information more avaliable to people. Ultimately it is an excuse to persue the hobbies that I am already interested in and hopefully along the way I can help others by offering what they are looking for.

What do you do when you are not gardening?
This year has been a little a-typical with the arrival of my newborn son, so right now I don't do a whole lot more than spend time with my baby boy and work. In past years I spent time with my wife traveling to new places, camping/hiking/kayaking, and reading fiction. Hopefully it won't be too long before we get back to doing all of those things with our son.

Recommend a book?
Plant Propagation: The American Horticultural Society, a book that every gardener should have on their shelf.

Favorite from the garden recipe?
Initially I balked at this question thinking, "Why would anyone want to do anything with garden fresh produce other than eat it straight from the plant?" But then I started thinking about all of the delicious recipies that I could be feasting upon and now there are too many options to just choose one...I suppose anything with fresh raspberries would have my vote.

Monday, July 28, 2008

What's new with team member: Julia!

Phrag. schlimii 'Birchwood' x CleolaIts been a while since the last time we had a featured member. 'Tis the season for gardeners to be busy. We're all lost in our herbs and veggies and flowers!! To get the ball rolling again, I'm going to tell you about myself a bit! (photo shows Phrag. schlimii 'Birchwood' (Cardinale) x Cleola)

Hi everyone! I'm Julia, known as SapphireChild on Etsy and also on blogger. My shop items are displayed on the sidebar this week, and some recent happenings are below.

How did you get started in gardening?
As a kid I marveled at my grandfather's garden and enormous houseplants. I'm not sure that inspired my voracity for foliage, but I certainly had it. So my mother sometimes entertained me with a plant here or there from the grocery store and it grew out from there, much like kudzu.

Why did you join the EtsyPHAT Team?
Heck, I was a founding member. :) I felt the green and proud might benefit from banding together so I asked around. There was definite interest and so EtsyPHAT was born!

What are you currently working on?
Repotting. Always with the repotting!! But that's ok, I always feel I've accomplished something when I have a tray full of freshly potted plants. As part of this I'm experimenting with semi-hydroponic growing (see photos) where you take a solid plastic container and poke holes about 1 inch from the bottom. The plant is then set in with an aggregate mix such as expanded clay pellets. I have a few Phragmipediums potted this way and they seem to like it so far but its only been a few months. I will also be trying Miltonias and Cattleyas this way.

Is your Etsy your full time job?
No I have a full time job doing Functional Genomics. Our project website can tell you more about the project I spend the majority of my time working on. Just for fun, go to the 'Reporter Images' tab and type 'flower' or 'trichome' or 'vascular' to see some cool images.

What do you do when you are not gardening?
I'm also addicted to wool, spinning yarn, and knitting. We also have 4 cats, 2 horses, and 1 overly energetic dog. Here's a photo of me chillin' with my horse.

Recommend a book?
I recently read Buffalo Bird Woman's Garden: Agriculture of the Hidatsa Indians. It is a fascinating historical, anthropological text not only about agriculture but of a culture long since changed. It was groundbreaking in its time, and indeed I wish there were more accounts of a similar vein, but alas many texts of this type were written with taints of preconceived ideas.

I've also been reading
Sprit Walker by Fel, which is published online one chapter at a time. It is not yet completed and I'm itching to see the next chapter!

Favorite from the garden recipe?
I love to saute zucchini with garlic and butter until just soft. I also like to stir fry fresh green beans in olive oil with garlic and fresh ginger (dry won't do! it is chemically/aromatically different) until the green beans turn bright green. Start by warming the oil, throw in the garlic and ginger (and maybe a bit of hot red pepper for kick) then toss in the green beans.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Pocket Guides for Bugs & Healthy Foods

Team member Amber found the following pocket guides this week, and we wanted to share them with all our readers.

The first one is the Organic Essentials guide to help you with your grocery shopping by showing which foods pose the greatest risk of high pesticide concentrations. Some plants absorb various toxins differently, and may hold more in the tissues than others. Other plants may not absorb toxins, but may be constructed such that washing away the pesticides is more difficult. Still others may require higher application of pesticide for good crop set. Regardless of the reason, this guide will help you make educated choices for your family when you can't always choose organic. (Please note, you should still wash all fruits and veggies, even organic ones.)

The next one is an indispensable guide every gardener should see. It identifies various predatory insects that will help clean out any pests that may be attacking your flowers and veggies. I heart predatory insects! :)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

What's new with team member: Shell!

This week we have Shell, who is Shellberry on Etsy. Her shop items are displayed on the sidebar this week, her blog can be found here, and some recent happenings in her world are below.

Photo by foampeanut87

What's new with Shell? We won SECOND PLACE at Instructables.com in their Green Science Fair for our abridged take on the square foot garden. (I won an mp3 player so I can listen to my books on tape via Librivox.org and learn a few new languages while working in our "graden". I almost peed I was so excited! YAY!

About my garden: Our backyard is an urban cement jungle. Pavement as far as you can see...which is only about 22'x16'. My daughters (2 and 8 months) help me in the morning with all sorts of tasks. Solaris (2) loves to water...the plants and her sister, IsaLuna. We collect rain water from the daily squall lines that hit our East Coast Florida town everyday around 4 p.m. in two rubbermaid buckets. The girls get to play in one and I use the other for my eternal clippings. Photo by foampeanut87

Photo by shellgreenier
I love to focus on edible plants, especially those used for holistic purposes and teas. We are organic :) and love watching what new life our garden brings to an otherwise barren yard. Caterpillars, lizards (we've even found an egg once), frogs, bugs, squirrels and our newest guest...snails! I love recycling in order to cut down on our garbage output and use our soy milk containers for self watering pots, our apple juice containers as inverted planters for our vines (zuchinni and cantalope) and even strofoam egg cartons from friends and family as clipping starter boats. I'm working on an instructables for that as well.

Everyday I find new growth, a new bloom or a new creature. I'm amazed...I remember just a few years ago when I couldn't even keep a spider plant alive. :)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

What's new with team member: Julie!

This week we will be reprinting a great educational article about invasive species from Julie, who is Greenthing on Etsy. Her shop items are displayed on the sidebar this week. But first we'll start with a little intro about her gardening passions.

What kind of gardener is Julie?
My goal is to turn my entire yard into gardens that will provide habitat for wildlife. I grow a lot of things from seed and try to use native plants as much as possible. For myself, I love old species roses, lilies and heirloom flowers. I love to smell my garden as well as look at it! This year I'm growing more herbs and vegetables and hope to have a much wider selection for sale in the Fall.

And now on to the article:

Invasive Plants

Everyone has heard that you shouldn't plant invasive species. However, many people don't realize what plants are invasive or what impact they have. Invasive plants are often attractive and convenient, and are sold at nurseries without any warnings. As more people become aware of the problem, native plant sales are increasing, but you as a customer have to let the retailer know you will not buy invasives.

Not all non-natives are invasive, and if you keep them contained it's not a problem. However, if left to grow unchecked, they grow out of control. In their natural environment, predators and controls exist that don't exist elsewhere. As invasive plants spread, they kill off our local species and replace plants that our wildlife depend on with something that is damaging to the ecology.

Different areas have different infestations, so look up your local invasives online. A few of the worst offenders are the orange daylily, purple loosestrife, kudzu, english ivy and vinca vine. All of these plants are attractive, but they multiply quickly and replace a diverse biosystem with a monoculture that no longer provides food for wildlife.

There is a local wooded area I visit that has been invaded by vinca vine, or periwinkle. A house is at the edge of the woods and the plant has spread from there. Here are a couple of photos of the woods.

Many people use vinca and english ivy as a ground cover, but this is what happens if its growth is not checked. Some may think all those little blue flowers are lovely, but they serve no purpose to our wildlife. Every year, the vinca advances further into these woods, smothering out what would normally live there. What lives in the part of the woods that the vinca has not reached is a variety of wildflowers, bushes and herbs such as Spring Beauty, Dogtooth Violet, Ginseng, Bloodroot, Jack-in-the-pulpit, ferns, mosses, Elderberry and other viburnums, to name a few. All of these provide food and shelter for our native insects and animals, and they provide us with beauty and possible sources of medicines. However, as the vinca spreads, it smothers everything else that might grow on the forest floor.

Instead of planting invasives, plant native species. Our native species naturally grow better in the climate to which they are suited, and they provide needed food for our wildlife. Most states have a department that offers suggestions for native plants to grow in place of invasives. You can research it online, and when you go to the nursery, ask for native species. Native species require less maintenance, use less water, and don't need fertilizers, which helps to keep chemicals out of our water.

By planting natives, you will have a lovely garden that doesn't require as much upkeep, and your local birds and animals will visit it often.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Successful team promotion

Anyone who's studied or actually runs a business knows how important advertising and marketing can be to your success. If you ever drop by the Etsy forums, people are constantly responding to the 'why aren't I selling?' questions with 'promote! advertise! get your name out there!'

Well, suggestions on the EtsyPHAT mailing list lead to the idea of promoting the concept of guerrilla gardening and the team using seed packs put together using the extra seeds from EtsyPHAT team members. Those of us who chose to participate sent in our seeds and got back the finished product. They look great and I've already strategically 'planted' many packs!

These seed packs (mentioned in this blog entry) recently showed up in this article in the Storque, the Etsy family blog, and are being showcased for their creativity and interest. Better than a business card any day!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

What's new with team member: Stacy!

This week we have Stacy, who is fluffnflowers on Etsy. Her shop items are displayed on the sidebar this week, and some recent happenings in her world are below.

What Stacy does at parties - At my gardenin' grannies 80th birthday party, I hung out with the plants. (photo)

What's new with Stacy...
Not much! I've been rooting plants like crazy, starting late crop seeds, and visiting my gardenin' granny.

How did you get started in gardening?
I've always had a big plant influence in my life — my grandmother — but I didn't really start gardening until I got ill and my medical issues kept me housebound. It's been downhill ever since, and I now have plants out of my ears!

Where do you get your ideas?
My ideas are usually born of my limitations and laziness. I love to try new things and love new plants, so I drop and run. A year later, they either stay or end up part of my 'mobile garden'. I love to look at books, but I truly lack any creative vision for planning. At least I seem to have pretty good instincts.

What are you currently working on?
I'm currently working on a massive new bed that I've recently dug out. It's coming along, but it won't be in it's full glory until next year. I'm also working on moving plants from my foundation beds in preparation for house renovations.

Is your Etsy your full time job? I wish! I'm currently bumming out, waiting for tests
to come in and for my health to magically reappear, with the occasional copy writing gig.

What do you do when you are not gardening?
I read, play with my pooch, clean, the usual. Recently, I've spent a lot of time getting estimates for siding, roofing, and flooring. It's almost too hot to garden, at the moment, so I settle for my daily walk-abouts and hour or two of outside time.

Recommend a book?
I just finished Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie. A short, sweet story.

Favorite from-the-garden recipe?
Fresh tomatoes! I like to slice them and layer the slices with salt and balsamic vinegar. Fresh, light, and a great summer snack. Yum!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

What's new with team member: Amber!

We're adding a new feature here on the EtsyPHAT team blog to help you get to know our team members a little better, and learn what they've been up to lately. First up, we have Amber, who is Plantgirl on Etsy. Her shop items are displayed on the sidebar this week, and some recent happenings in her world are below. One of her favorite recipes is included!

What’s new with Amber…

Here is Amber participating in some competitive gardening (top)… She won the silver glove! (bottom)

How did you get started in gardening?
My mom bought me a Barbie greenhouse………

Why did you join the EtsyPHAT Team?
Julia invited me and I thought it was a great way to communicate with other plant sellers! It’s been super beneficial and great to me like minded peeps!

Where do you get your ideas?
Lately I’ve really been into keeping up with blogs on the Google Reader it has actually somewhat replaced my magazine fetish. See what I’ve been reading here.

What are you currently working on?
I need to move, and the hard part is I’m trying to find a place in my budget with room to garden which isn’t easy in Santa Cruz. Oh I have a boyfriend too, and he’s hard to move ☺

Is your Etsy your full time job?
No I have a full time job and a part-time job too! Full time I certify organic farms and livestock operations such as dairies!

Here is Amber with her very dangerous sheep shears!

What do you do when you are not gardening?
I force myself to go to the gym. Actually I talk myself into it by promising myself some relax time in the dry sauna if I hit the treadmill!

Recommend a book?
I just finished reading The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved: Inside America's Underground Food Movements

Favorite from the garden recipe?

Here is an easy one I love:

Chamomile Cooler

Hand full of fresh chamomile
Small hand full of fresh lemon verbena
1 quart fresh apple juice

Bring one quart of water to boil. Remove from heat. Steep the fresh chamomile and lemon verbena for 10-15 minutes. Strain the herbs out. Mix the one quart herbal infusion with the one quart of apple juice and service in glasses over ice. Garnish with fresh mint if desired.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Foliage in the News: Fighting off a 'Case of the Mondays'

A study published in Feb 2008 cites keeping plants at your desk may result in more satisfaction with your job. Based on surveys, the study finds that employees with live plants or windows in their offices had more positive and mellow responses to a range of questions vs. those who lived in a basic cube. Basically, they tended to feel more like people with good jobs rather than rats in a maze with bad food.

This makes me wonder if the move Office Space would have gone differently if the plant on Milton's desk wasn't dead. (check out this clip on YouTube, upper right hand corner)

Moral of the day: fix up your desk with a snazzy new plant and have a better day!

Read more about it:

The original journal article:
Dravigne, Andrea, Waliczek, Tina Marie, Lineberger, R.D., Zajicek, J.M. The Effect of Live Plants and Window Views of Green Spaces on Employee Perceptions of Job Satisfaction HortScience 2008 43: 183-187 [link]

Science Daily Report

LA Times Article

Friday, May 23, 2008

EtsyPHAT Plant Chat

It's Friday night and we're all hangin' out in the promo section doing our plant talk.

Join us and feel free to ask questions about our plants, any plants, and all plants!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Treasury of Flora

Green Thing got a couple treasuries for us this week. This is the one that appeared in Treasury West. There's currently another one in the main Treasury here, sporting our fabulous plants!

For those of you who aren't familiar with Etsy's treasuries, these are collections of things for sale on Etsy that any user can make. They are temporary though, only lasting 1-3 days. So if you click on it and get nothing, perhaps it has already expired. In the mean time though it is great fun and a way to find stuff you never knew existed! I mean, just look at all that great stuff EtsyPHAT has to offer!! :)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Be on the lookout for seed grenades!

The first round of seed mixes are made, and are starting to make the rounds.
Seeds for this batch were contributed by fluffnflowers, Wildflower444444, and SapphireChild. Plantgirl will be making some too sometime soon. We set this idea in motion in a short period of time, so not everyone had time or seeds to contribute right away. As a result, I'm looking forward to the fun mixes we can make next time when more people can participate. As it is, each of these packs has a pretty good variety of seeds plus LOTS of misfit gardening fun. ;)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

EtsyPHAT Promotes Guerrilla Gardening!

In theme with

Friday, April 25, 2008

We got a blurb!

We got a little schpiel in the Storque today in the Teams Go Green: Etsy Teams Digest article.

The blurb is the nice, fat paragraph below the second picture. It's our first official exposure,and hurrah! :)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Current Kitchen Garden Challenge entries!

Entries will be added as they are submitted, but here are the current entries to the EtsyPHAT Kitchen Garden Challenge.

greenthing's beautiful Children's Garden Kit Book plan journal and seeds

fluffnflowers' shade-tolerant Hosta Kitchen Garden kit and tasty Gourmet Root Garden kit

SapphireChild's tasty Black Plum Tomato seedling, Siam Queen Thai Basil Seedling, and more

Congrats on the sales so far!

Friday, April 11, 2008

EtsyPHAT Team Challenge!

In honor of Earth Day, EtsyPHAT is doing a team challenge!

SapphireChild came up with the following idea:

Kitchen Garden Challenge. Reduce your reliance on grocery store staples and cut flowers, save gas and have fun all at the same time by growing your own Kitchen Garden! EtsyPHAT members are having a challenge to help you by asking members to start veggies for you!

We've got ten days to go, so start scramblin' everyone.  We want to see what you can come up with to bring kitchen-friendly plants to the Etsy community!