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! :)