Seed Saving Workshop and Lettuce Tasting! This Friday, May 16 1-3pm

Join us this Friday, May 16, from 1:00 – 3:00 for a seed saving workshop where we will taste lettuce to select the lettuce plants to collect sees from for next year’s crop and for sharing with the Foodbank and workshop participants.  We will also plant out another bed of lettuces.  This is the 2nd year running in our program of hands-on workshops focused on planting open pollinated lettuce varieties well suited to the cooler ocean influenced micro-climate of the Mesa area.

This workshop is free of charge and open to the entire community!  LET’S GET GROWING!!!

…You might also want to help us with harvesting the nectarines, uprooting the mallow, considering which trees need water, and continuing to prepare the ground for the new tree nursery.


Aquaponics Workshop Saturday, May 3 3:00-4:30pm.

Do Microbes Have A Sense of Hummus?

Tour and Workshop of Santa Barbara Aquaponics, featuring Oscar Carmona of Healing Grounds Nursery.

  • Aquaponics = Growing Fish + Plants Together
  • Composting Workshop led by Oscar Carmona
  • In the workshop we will explain & explore the relationship with growing medium.
  • Learn how to correctly build and maintain your compost
  • Learn the Value of worm castings
  • Check out the new Vermerponic system at Santa Barbara Aquaponics
  • We are leading the way!


Worm Composting and Compost Tea Workshop

Worm Composting is primarily made from food waste. It is easy, fun & produces the best organic fertilizer!

When: Saturday April 6, 2013 2:30-3:30 PM

Where: Art From Scrap Upstairs

302 East Cota St Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Tahara Ezrahti, Explore Ecology’s Education Director and Oscar Carmona Sustainable Gardening Expert and owner of Healing Grounds Nursery, will show you how to set up and maintain a worm composting system and make and use compost tea.

Complete worm composting lits will be for sale ($55 for a 20 gallon kit. $70 for a 33 gallon kit.  Kits include: a bin, worms bedding, and a Garden Detectives book.  You may also purchase worms separately for $20 gallon and Garden detective books for $5 each

If you intend to purchase worm composting kits or worms, please indicate that when you call or email to pre-register.


Contact: Tahara Ezrahti (805) 884-0459 x 12 or



Seed Saving Workshop Saturday, February 23, 3-5 at Mesa Harmony Garden

Santa Barbara Seed Saving Guild
a program of the
Foodbank of Santa Barbara County
Seed Saving Workshop
with Oscar Carmona
at Mesa Harmony Garden
Saturday, February 23, 3-5 PM
Located in the heart of the Mesa in beautiful Santa Barbara, the Mesa Harmony Garden is on the corner of
Meigs Road and Dolores Drive.
From the 101 Freeway:
Take the Carillo Street Exit and head toward the ocean. Carillo Street turns into Meigs Road. Head up
and over the hill and turn left on Dolores Drive. Park along the street, the garden is on the corner.
This is the first in a series of hands-on workshops focusing on easy to produce seed stock in
a home or community garden setting. We will be planting open pollinated lettuce varieties
well suited to the cooler ocean influenced micro-climate of the Mesa area. Participants will
have a chance to prep beds, plant seedlings and discuss our plan for managing this crop.
Once mature, seeds will be harvested and shared with the Foodbank, Mesa Harmony, and
Guild and workshop participants. This workshop is free of charge and open to entire
community! LETS GET GROWING!!!!!
For more information contact Oscar Carmona at

Food for Thought-Featured cultivar for January-SPINACH-Featuring recipes for the Kitchen of Sally Ruhl

Food for Thought

Making Important Connections with Soil, Plants and Food


Healing Grounds Biodynamically Certified Nursery

January 2013

Featured Vegetable: Spinach

Spinach is fast growing and short-lived and matures its leafy foliage in 7weeks and produces for a longer period in the cool, coastal areas before seed stalk development occurs.  Spinach can be planted in a traditional garden bed or a container.   Plants require 6-8 inches of space and can easily be planted among other leafy greens such as lettuces or arugula.  In Fall, Winter and Spring Spinach can be planted in full sun.  In the Summer it is best planted in the shady areas or your garden.  When ready to harvest, you can either cut the entire plant or just remove the outer leaves. If you carefully cut the plant above the growing point, you can then obtain a second crop.



Nutritional Value  Serving size: 1/2 c. boiled

Primary Nutrients:

  %RDA(m/f) %RDA(f)

Calories 21                 Vitamin A 737 RE 74 92

Fat 0.2 g                     Folic acid 131 mcg 66 73

Calories from fat 9%            Iron 3.21 mg 32 21

Cholesterol 0                         Magnesium 79 mg 23 28

Sodium 63 mg           Calcium 122 mg 15 15

Protein 2.7 g              Vitamin C 9 mg 15 15

Carbohydrate 3.4 g   Riboflavin 0.21 mg 12 16

Dietary fiber 2.0 g     Vitamin B6 0.22 mg 11 14

% Min. Requirement Potassium 419 mg 21

Practice ABC’s of Regenerative Gardening

A.      ASSESS your site for key growing conditions: daylight hours; prevailing temperature ranges; access to water; good soil; space needs

B.     BUILD health, living soil with regular inputs of organic matter in the form of mulch and compost and important soil microorganisms.

C.      CONSIDER on-going, regular planting strategies that take advantage of year-around growing potential we enjoy here!


Prepare Spinach using one of these wonderful Spinach recipes from the kitchen of Sally Ruhl, chef extraordinaire and local good food expert.


Spinach and Quinoa
This recipe is a great base to be enjoyed on it’s own or combined with a protein of source it becomes a meal with complete protein, amino acids, iron and other nutrients vital to health.
2 cups cooked quinoa, brown rice will also work
2 cups washed, spinach leaves, packed. Reserve the stems and root top.
2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 yellow onion sliced,

2 cloves garlic minced,

2 tomatoes seeded and diced,

1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme chopped fine or 1 teaspoon dried thyme ,

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg,

1/4 teaspoon ground alspice,

6 Tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped,

2 teaspoons lemon zest,

4 Tablespoons lemon juice, salt and cayenne or black pepper to taste.

1/2 cup vegetable stock.

In a medium sized pot, heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil, stir in the sliced onion while stirring over medium heat, add the garlic and tomato. Stir in the spinach leaves. Add remaining ingredients, quinoa or rice, turn heat to low. Simmer covered for 5-10 minutes, taste and adjust seasoning.
Serve as is or with a cooked protein either over top or stirred in after stirring in grain.

Spinach Root Salad
Wash spinach roots thoroughly set aside. In a pot of salted boiling water cook spinach roots just until tender. Cool in ice bath or under cool running water. Dry cooked roots on towels.
Meanwhile combine into a medium sized salad or mixing bowl,

4 T. Lemon Juice,

2 T. red wine vinegar,

1/2 teaspoon mustard powder,

1 Tablespoons Braggs,

2 heaping Tablespoons nutritional yeast,

1 clove garlic minced whisk in 1/2 cup olive oil.

Toss the spinach roots in this sauce.

Add 10 kalamata olives,

2 tomatoes diced,

2 teaspoons chopped marjoram, thyme, summer savory or combination.

Let sit, serve room temperature.

Optional goodies, feta cheese, diced baked tofu or anything that lends a salty/firm texture.