Saturday, December 3, 2011

Yummy Winter Soup

If you stopped by our booth at the Yreka Chamber of Commerce' Night of Lights, you might have tried our yummy soup.  Here is the recipe.  Thanks Kate!

Thai Pumpkin Soup
2 TBL oil
1 onion chopped
1 TBL brown sugar
2-4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small pumpkin, cooked or peeled and chopped into chunks
1 cup water or broth
1 15 oz. can coconut milk
3 TBL hot sweet chili sauce (Mae Ploy)
1 TBL lemon grass, chopped, or 1 TBL grated lemon peel
1 TBL fish sauce (I skip this and just add 1 TBL salt)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (I skipped this too)

Cook the onion with the oil, brown sugar and garlic until soft. Add the pumpkin, water, coconut milk, chili sauce, lemon and fish sauce (if using). Simmer for about 25 minutes. Remove and puree in a blender until smooth. Yum!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Leaves Make Great Compost!

Fall is a good time to take stock of compost materials for next year's garden.  Leaves from deciduous trees are a great addition to any compost pile, providing the 'brown' or carbon portion needed to break down and stabilize the 'green' or nitrogen portion. 
It can also be problematic for some to dispose conscientiously of excess fall leaves.  So... our garden is going to help you out.  Please see below:
 Leaf Collection Event

Yreka Community Gardens, on Knapp Street next to the high school gym, will be holding a one-day only leaf collection event on Saturday, November 19th from 10am-1pm. This event aims to reduce leaf burning and offers an alternative to taking leaves to the transfer station. The garden will be composting all donated leaves for use on-site.

Clean loads only please. No walnut leaves, pine needles, brush, garbage or other yard debris will be accepted. All donations will be inspected and any mixed bags or loads will be turned away. Email any questions or comments to or post  them to our Facebook page.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Tile Mosaic Workshop

Wow! That was a great workshop! We had two days of fun for the kids who attended the workshop. Check out the photos on the right, and stop by the garden to see what wonderful things the kids came up with. Keep in mind that kids as young as SIX YEARS OLD were producing this great looking art. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fall Clean-Up and Work Party

Our garden needs some fall clean-up and wrap up for winter.  If you are going to garden this winter, that's great too.  Either way, we need all gardeners to clean up their plots, compost and weed them and generally help tie down everything before the winds and snow come. 
You are invited to join your fellow gardeners for an end of the year
POTLUCK and WORK PARTY on October 29th from 10-3. 
If you can't make it on that day, please make time to do your chores before the end of this month. 
Fall is a good time to do a little reflecting on what you grew this year too. 
Did you like your tomatoes?  Did you try that unusual cucumber variety your neighbor had?  What would you like more of, less of, none of, for next year?  (Even a few notes might be a good idea.)  I know I was disgusted with the mini-peppers we grew this year because the effort did not seem to match the result.  Did you like being part of the anarchy garden group?  Did you wish you had helped harvest for the food bank?  What would you change? 
We will be having an all gardener meeting this winter to collect your ideas for...
2012.. Here we come! 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Art Workshop for Kids at the Garden

Be a part of history! Learn about petroglyphs and create your own with tile. Workshop taught by local tile mosaic artist, Monica Zinda of Moonshine Mosaics.

Two Day Workshop
October 1 10-2 – Design and create your own tile mosaic petroglyph.

October 22 10-12 – Install your petroglyph on a boulder in the Children’s Garden.

This workshop is open to kids
from 7-18 years. $10 Fee
Space is limited, so call now!
To sign-up or get more information, email us at

or call Rachel Jereb at 842-3408.
sponsored by the Siskiyou Gardens, Parks and Greenway and
the Shasta Regional Foundation.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Reducing Your Water Footprint

in case you missed it......

Notes from YCG Workshop presented by Don Rolph, City of Yreka   7/12/2011

Don handed out 2 new documents to assist with the City of Yreka’s Water Efficiency Program.  One is Water Efficiency Plant Guide for Reducing Irrigation Water Use; the second is Landscaping and Irrigation Ideas.  Both will assist citizens with reducing water bills through water efficient landscaping.  For a copy of them contact the city, at 841-2386 or download them at the city’s website.  There is also a pamphlet explaining the program and giving some basic water conservation tips. 

Don explained that the main savings in water use are to be found in your outside watering practices in our climate.  Don discussed some basic skills such as learning how to read your flow meter, how to fix simple hose and pipe leaks, and measuring your water pressure.  All these skills and more will be discussed during a visit from Don to your home, if you live in Yreka.
Don also discussed several key water conservation concepts.  One of the most effective water conservation is plant by “hydro zones” or areas of your landscaping or garden that have the same water needs.  This allows for more efficient irrigation design and watering.  Other steps that will reduce your water bill are to reduce the area of lawn that you water, and to switch to drip or rotary sprinklers.

The City of Yreka wants to improve water use efficiency for homeowners and businesses.  Water surveys are available on a voluntary basis.  Contact Don Rolph at the city at 841-2356 to schedule one or for more information. 

The Yreka Community Gardens supports efforts to save water at our garden and yours.  Please check out these informative pamphlets and pass the word to your neighbors that saving water is one way to reduce water bills.  We hope to put on a drip irrigation design workshop in the spring 2012.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Gardening Workshops for July

Yreka Community Gardens
431 Knapp Street

All Classes Tuesdays at 6:00 PM

July 12th ·  Water Conservation Basics · Don Rolph  City of Yreka

How to reduce your water footprint.

July 19th · Food Preservation · Susanna Black YCG Member

Learn ways to preserve and store your food after you’ve grown it.

July 26th · Increase Your Harvest · Ann Robinson Montague Farmers Market

How to maximize the production from your garden by harvesting at the right time and in the right way.  Hands-on harvesting demonstration.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bonus Garden Planted and other news!

Bonus Garden, you say? What's that? The Bonus Garden is what has kept Ayn and I (and others, thank you!) busy for the past month or so. Hence the lack of posts (but beware, this one is a long one!). If you follow the pathway to the left of the big greenhouse you will see a large cleared area with a lettuce patch right up at the front. That is the bonus garden!

Last year the bonus garden (aka auxiliary garden) was a place to grow left-over plants from our plant sales. We ended up a whole lot of tomatoes and a little bit of everything else. This year we tripled the size of the garden (Thanks Peter and Cade!) and we tried to plant at least one of everything. Since we had a bunch of tomatillos left, we planted a bunch of those, too! To date we have the following planted: lettuce, garlic, beans (for dry beans in the fall), cucumbers, melons, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, winter squash, summer squash, tomatillos, and three batches of corn.

At this point you are probably wondering why on earth we have such a huge garden with so many plants. Lots of reasons!

Primarily, the produce from the bonus garden will be harvested and donated to various free meal programs and the food pantry here in town. Unfortunately fresh produce is not something that is consistently and readily available to everyone in our community so it is really appreciated when it gets donated.

We also planted the bonus garden with you in mind! If you are a plot holder with us, you are welcome to harvest from the bonus garden. Last year we sent out emails when a particular item was ready for harvesting and that seemed to work well. We'll probably do that again but we might have some restrictions on which days produce may be harvested. That way on donation days we have enough ripe/ready produce to harvest. As stuff starts ripening we'll come up with a game plan and let you know what to do. Right now the lettuce is ready to go! Try harvesting from the thickest patches first, please.

Lastly, the bonus garden is used as a trials garden. We want to know what works well with our climate. Obviously having such a short warm season, we can't grow everything we want to. This year we are experimenting with luffa, which is a 100 day crop. If we actually manage to get anything out of it we'll be giving them away during the Yreka Night of Lights! Keep your fingers crossed for us, please.

In addition to figuring out what grows well here, we want to know what is good to eat. We get a lot of donated seed from various companies and individuals and sometimes there is a good reason they are giving it away. It is our job to figure out what we like and don't like. For example, I think it is safe to say we will NEVER grow Green Sausage Tomatoes ever again. Yuck! However, we did find that Chocolate Cherry and Black Sea Man Tomatoes are absolutely delicious. We grew and sold more of them this year for our plant sales. Apparently our customers agreed because they sold out really quickly!

Companion planting is something else we are trying out this year. Ayn has a little "three sisters" circle in the very back of the garden. Do a search for it online if you are interested in learning more about "three sisters."

Finally, we like to experiment with different irrigation methods. Last year we did a lot of furrow irrigation. This year our big thing is soaker hoses. Potable water is a precious resource, so using less of it is something we strive for. Hopefully the soaker hoses will help us out with that.

If your are interested in helping with harvesting, donations, or maintaining the bonus garden, please let us know. It is a lot of work and we would love to have your help. If you have a plot with us at the garden, one of the easiest things to do is harvest your excess produce, clean it and put it in the donation coolers on donation day. We'll keep you posted on which days are donation days.

Don't forget what else is behind the greenhouse! This year we have a wonderful butterfly garden (horseshoe shaped garden), which will be getting benches and shade trellises for your relaxing pleasure. The teepee will soon be planted with green beans, and the sunflower house will be grown in with the willows this year. The resource center kids will be planting it tomorrow, and word on the street is that it might be a maze instead of a house this year.

New in the back this year is an area for people who want to plant crops that might not fit in their regular garden bed; like cucumbers, melons, and squash. It is the "finger" of the bonus garden, near the rocks and blackberries. If you have a plot at the community garden, then you are eligible to claim a square. Just like your regular bed, you will be responsible for planting, watering, harvesting and otherwise maintaining it. There are six squares marked by bamboo corners with a pathway down the middle. Once you have planted your square, please take a stake (ask me if you can't find one), and write your name on it so we know who had "homesteaded" each square. There is a large permanent marker in the big greenhouse, or get creative and come up with something fun! The spaces are free this year and are available on a first-come basis, but there is a very limited number available. We might be able to squeeze in a few more squares if the original six get filled, so email me at if you want one but they are all taken.

Back up at the front of the garden, Ayn will be planting a perennial herb bed along the fence by Newton Park. If you have a perennial herb you'd like to donate to the cause, please let her know by emailing her at

The circle garden, in the middle of the plots, has been adopted by the Methodist Church! They have made a lot of changes because they want it for flower production. Once stuff starts blooming, they will be harvest flowers to use during their services. However, there are still lots of strawberries up for grabs. If you see a ripe one, pick it and eat it before the birds and bugs beat you to it!

Speaking of strawberries, the strawberries along the fence by the parking lot are also free for the picking. Help yourself, and help your kids help themselves too!

Also new this year, the Yreka Garden Club has planted a little demonstration garden in front of the mural. If you run into Peggy or Mary Jo at the garden, have them tell you what all they planted.

To end my rather lengthy post, remember that we are a community garden. But within our community, we are individuals. Individuals who all garden a little bit (or a lot) differently than each other. If you are new (or even a seasoned regular) to gardening, you might have had a lot of different people giving you advice, trying to help you out. It is okay to politely smile and nod and then completely disregard what they told you. It is your plot, garden the way YOU want to. Specifically, water when you think your plants need water. Just because someone told you that watering your plot every single day, or only once a week, is the best way doesn't mean you have to listen to them. The other thing I've heard is being told is that tall crops, like sunflowers or corn, aren't allowed in your bed. Not true! You can have whatever tall crops you want... as long as they aren't shading your neighbor's plot. The caveat to this is that you do have to listen to your garden mentor (Rachel, Ayn, or Molly). If one of us tell you to weed, water, or get rid of a certain plant you actually do have to listen. Smiling, nodding and disregarding just won't work with us. :)

Have a great season, it looks like it will be a great one!


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Obnoxious or Noxious?

White top is a noxious spreading weed
The garden is sprouting lots of weeds, noxious, obnoxious and some only mildly annoying.  Do you know the difference?  Here are a few pictures to help you identify the noxious, sometimes called invasive ones.
Knowing your weeds helps all of us.  Please dispose of weeds properly to reduce labor, improve composting and keep the garden weeds under control. In an organic garden weed control is everyone's job.
These noxious weeds need to be dug up and put in the big blue barrel to be taken out of our garden.  Obnoxious and annoying weeds, if not going to seed, can be put directly in the compost pile.  For more information on identification of our gardens' weeds contact a garden mentor, the Siskiyou County Agricultural Department or look online at their plant ID website.

This bermuda or crab grass was found in the finished compost
pile and was ready to find its way into someone plot.

Alfalfa is found throughout our garden. It is not a problem weed,
in fact it is a soil building legume.

Dandy lions may be obnoxious in your lawn, but in our garden they
are not noxious. 

Marlahan Mustard is an invasive noxious weed.

Later in the year, we will see puncture vine
and star thistle becoming more prevalent.  But for now, we have our hands full staying on top of these difficult invasive species.  Also remember not to water anywhere besides your vegetable bed.  Additional water only encourages the weeds.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Transplanting Party!

The YCG needs some help to get the transplanting of seedlings done!

Can you help?
Monday 5:30-7:00pm
and if needed, Tuesday 5:30-? 

Come to the greenhouse either day and any time you can get there after 5:30.
It is amazing what you can get accomplished in an hour! Never transplanted? No problem!

There will be hot tea and snacks for transplanting energy.

Hope to see you there.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Colorful Easter Eggs... naturally!

In my last post I talked about how compost is good for children as well as your garden. Well, we're going to add another thing to the list. You can dye your Easter eggs with your compost. What!? Why yes, it is true. Long before the days of dye tablets fizzing away in little cups (2,500 years ago!), people were still able to dye their eggs. Now, I said you can dye your eggs with your compost, but to be more accurate I'll clarify that statement. You can dye your eggs with stuff that you put in your compost. Really, this isn't something that should be too surprising to any of us. Especially those of us who drink coffee and tea. I don't know about you, but when I go to the dentist they spend most of their time trying to get stains off my teeth, especially the tea stains. So if they stain my teeth so easily, why not dye eggs with them?

But who wants brown Easter eggs? Well, let's think about other things you put in the compost. How about carrot tops? They will make gold colored eggs. If you want to jump over to the realm of spices, turmeric will also give you a gold egg, but a much more vivid color. Onion skins tightly wrapped around an egg will give your egg a marbleized look. Beet root and beet tops will give you two different colors. Berries will give you a pretty reliable facsimile of their original color, as does spinach. The list goes on and on. If this is something you'd like to try this year, check out these websites.

Have a wonderful Easter!

Rachel Jereb

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Compost is good for more than just your plants!

Did you know that compost can make kids healthy and happy too? Fellow community gardener Holly Baun and I found that out the hard way... or should I say the dirty way? While we were puttering away in the butterfly garden (horseshoe shaped garden behind the greenhouse) a week or so ago, our kids were having a grand old time playing king of the hill on the compost.

Puddles were a favorite of the younger set.

So remember that our garden is a family garden. We welcome and encourage you to bring your children or grandchildren with you. Let them explore and find new purposes for common, everyday things like compost and mud.

Spring break is coming up next week. It is also the national Screen-Free Week. Groups, organizations, and families across the country will be turning off everything in their home that has a screen. No computers, video games, or television! Our local Family Resource Center is going to be working with children in the garden on Tuesday, April 19th from 10-12 as part of this national event. Try your luck at going "screen-free" that week, too. Remember how much fun unplugging from our digital lives really is. Encourage your families to do the same. But be sure to be thankful when they chose the compost to play in, instead of the alpaca poop!

For more information about Screen-Free week, please visit

Have a great spring break!
Rachel Jereb

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Outdoor Pavilion for the Yreka Community Garden

Ford Family Foundation Cohort IV
Yreka Leadership Development Project

     Now that the Garden Pavilion is finished it can begin to fulfill its job of providing a gathering place and educational space for the community. So far, the Pavilion has provided shelter for a rainy summer potluck for community gardeners and friends. About 50 people attended and enjoyed each other’s company and creations, including a cake to celebrate the Pavilion’s first event.

In a sunny garden people naturally gather in the shade, but this isn’t easy at the Yreka Community Garden.  Previously, workshops have taken place on a shady slope beneath a few trees on the west side of the greenhouse. The Pavilion is a handsome addition to the natural beauty of the garden and provides a more central and comfortable place for workshops, celebrations and informal sharing of tips, recipes, resources and ideas. Gardeners regularly comment about how attractive and sturdy it is, and as the senior beds are added nearby it will provide a welcome place to rest and enjoy the natural environment.