Personal note from Marion (December 2011): After years of producing this newsletter (with subscribers in 70 countries) I have replaced it with a new blog which you can find at You'll find gardening and photography tips, recipes, words of inspiration, updates about life in Kodiak, Alaska and lots more. I'll see you over at my blog! Cheers and blessings,

Marion Owen, Fearless Weeder (president) for PlanTea, Inc. and
Co-author of Chicken Soup for the Gardener's Soul

IN THIS ISSUE (From 2007):

1. Organic Gardening Tips Grow a lemon tree, save your own veggie seeds
2. Problem Solvers How to wash a dog with sensitive skin?
3. What's Cooking? Recipes from our dinner cruises
4. Marion Recommends How to de-stress in your shower + ecotherapy (what?)
5. Quotations, Citations and Giggles Share these with friends and family
6. Digging Deeper If you want healthy kids...
7. Gentle Lesson From the Garden Weeding tips from Shakespeare
8. Notes and photos from Alaska Blue poppies, volcanic ash, house building continues...

1. ORGANIC GARDENING TIPS For green, pink and purple thumbs

How to grow an indoor lemon tree
Lemon tree very pretty... With a little planning, you can make fresh lemonade! Read more...

How to save vegetable seeds
Many people have asked me questions like, "How should I save these tomato seeds from a plant my grandmother gave me?" Or, I love this kind of broccoli, but is it a hassle to save the seeds?"

Good news! You'll find the answers in these two books:

seed saving, saving vegetable seeds1) Growing Garden Seeds, by Rob Johnston, Jr.
As founder of Johnny's Selected Seeds (nice folks, by the way) Rob has written a manual about saving vegetable seed. The book covers 15 fundamentals of seed growing with instructions on pollination, culture for seed, harvest, cleaning, and more. Paperback, 32 pg. $2.50. Product ID: 9877.

2) Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties, by Carol Deppe
Hey, our grandparents used to do it, now you can learn these wonderful, back-to-the-land techniques for yourself. Carol's book is a very helpful for anyone interested in seed saving and concerned about genetically modified crops and biotechnology. It covers basic seed saving, how to develop new and unusual crops for your growing conditions, and how to conduct your own variety trials. It's all about developing plants for a sustainable future, with an emphasis on organic growing methods. Paperback. 367 pages. $27.95. Product ID: 9130

To find these books, go to Johnny's Selected Seeds at and select the Tools, Equipment and Supplies category.

163 Things You Can Compost
Every day is a good day for composting and here's handy list of 163 different materials you can put in your compost pile. Don't know how to compost? Then it's time for you to click here.

Summer Care For Your Christmas Cactus
Does your Christmas cactus refuse to bloom? Does it look shriveled or pale? Then you're probably treating it like a [oops] cactus. Learn about the cactus that isn't a cactus...

But wait, there's more! You can always find dozens of organic gardening tips, essays, recipes and helpful odds-and-ends on my articles page.

2. PROBLEM SOLVERS: How to wash a dog with sensitive skin

dog soap, dog shampoo, natural dog shampoo

Let's face it. Dogs get into all kinds of dirt and and unmentionable things. But when it's time for a bath, what's the best way to wash away the grime when your dog has sensitive skin?

This specially-formulated dog shampoo is not only soothing to dry itchy skin it is a natural bug repellent. Scented with the pure essential oils of peppermint, wintergreen and cedar wood, this rich lathering shampoo leaves your dog's coat shiny clean and smelling fresh. (Which means, you will smell good, too!) Each 3.5 oz bar costs $6.00 each and is available through my web site by ordering right here. And no, you don't have to use a credit card. You can mail in your order with a check.


3. WHAT'S COOKING: Recipes from our dinner cruises

From April through September, my husband Marty and I operate Galley Gourmet, hosting dinner cruises and whale-watching cruises aboard our 42-foot yacht, the Sea Breeze. I'm the chef (and dish washer!) and since I love to cook creatively, I probably use several hundred recipes each season. And yes, I'm compiling a cookbook! Here are a couple recipes to whet your appetite:

Apple Arugula Salad
A colorful blend of fruit, zesty greens and pecans, this salad is wonderful served with grilled chicken or seafood.

1 tasty red apple
4 cups chopped arugula or cress
3/4 feta cheese
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients and serve on a lettuce leaf or a large nasturtium leaf. If you don't think you'll be serving it for several hours, keep it chilled and hold off on adding the olive oil until right before serving. This is a very forgiving salad, in that you can add grapes, diced zucchini or replace apples with pears. Serves 6 to 8.

Zucchini Mint Cookies
These unusual cookies solve two classic problems: How to use a bunch of zucchini and what to do with that ancient jar of mint jelly that's sitting in the cupboard.

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup mint jelly (1 8-oz jar)
1-1/2 cups grated zucchini
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour (or use 1 cup white; 1 cup whole wheat)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup finely chopped almonds or coarsely chopped pecans
1 cup raisins or chopped dates
1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
Blend butter and jelly together until creamy. Sift flour, baking soda and salt together. Stir into butter mixture with grated zucchini. Fold in nuts, raisins and coconut. Drop by teaspoonful onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 12 minutes at 350 degrees F. NOTE: If you want the cookies to be more minty, add a few drops of peppermint extract.

Wow. So many readers requested the oat-bean waffle recipe from a couple newsletters ago that I decided it needed its own page. So, if you'd like a million dollars worth of protein for a few pennies, go to the recipe link for oat-bean waffles.

Topped with cucumbers, radishes and feta cheese, this quick 'n easy recipe using hummus at the base is a year-round hit!

4. MARION RECOMMENDS How to de-stress in your shower + ecotherapy

My dear friend, Dr. Kathleen Hall, knows a thing or two about stress. She is a nationally recognized stress and work-life balance expert, founder of The Stress Institute, and Alter Your Life and author of two fabulous, real-life books. She's been interviewed by CNN, the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today; clients include Microsoft and Home Depot.

Yet through all this serious stuff, Kathleen maintains a sense of fun and inspiration. Check out these shower hangers. What a great way to be inspired, in the bathroom no less! You'll find these on her Alter Your Life site.

Oh, Dr. Kathleen has a newsletter, too, which you can sign up for here. In a recent issue she encourages us to get outside, get some ecotherapy and get back to nature!

What is Ecotherapy?

Ecotherapy, says Kathleen, is about getting out of doors and becoming active in a natural environment as a way of boosting mental health.

There are 4 reasons researchers believe our moods change when we are in nature.

1. We make nature and social connections with animals, trees, clouds and our surroundings.
2. We experience Sensory Stimulation; colors, sounds, fresh air, wind, all stimulate our senses.
3. We get active. And by walking and being in motion, we produce endorphins and serotonin - a great natural calm to reduce stress and lower blood pressure.
4. We can escape from our busy lives. By reflecting, thinking and coming home to our self, it de-stresses and nourishes us.

How to incorporate "Ecotherapy" into your life:

+ Take a walk in nature during your lunch.
+ Listen to nature sounds on a nature sound disk or machine a couple of times a week at work.
+ Keep photos of you in nature around your office to remind you of how you love to connect with nature.
+ Keep a plant in your office
+ Keep a small aquarium in your office with a few fish.

Whatever it is you decide to do, get outside. And if you can't, bring the outdoors to you!

5. QUOTATIONS, CITATIONS, AND GIGGLES Share these with a friend

Call on God, but row away from the rocks. -- Robert M. Young

A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit. -- D. Elton Trueblood

I think the next best thing to solving a problem is finding some humor in it. -- Frank A. Clark

No symphony orchestra ever played music like a two-year-old girl laughing with a puppy. -- Bern Williams in National Enquirer

garden blog garden podcast6. DISCOVER THE INSIDE SCOOP ON MARION'S BLOG
If you want healthy kids, turn off the TV

While growing up, we weren't allowed to watch much TV. Mom said it dampened a child's creativity and made kids lazy--mentally and physically. That was back in the 1950s. Since then, thousands of studies have looked at how TV affects kids' grades, sleep, behavior, and health.

TV has become a public health issue. First of all, kids get lots of information about health from TV, much of it from ads. And children tend to believe what the ads say, even though they might be untrue or unbalanced. If you don't believe it (HAH!), the next time you get tired of hearing your children beg for junk food, think about all those TV commercials.

Read the article and listen to the audio version on my ACORNS blog. I've posted extra links about children and TV, obesity and more. I think you'll enjoy the article.

7. GENTLE LESSON FROM THE GARDEN Weeding tips from Shakespeare

In Richard II, Shakespeare uses a garden metaphor to explain the political problems of the day: England is wasting away as a result of the royal family's greediness. In one scene, the gardener instructs his helpers about weeding and pruning. The "garden" is England and the "plant" that needs weeding and pruning is the royal family.

By the same token, many plants and shrubs become thin and straggly, even choked out of existence, if left to grow without weeding from time to time. Weeds rob valuable nutrients from the soil and compete with your hard-earned herbs, flowers, shrubs and vegetables. Plus, they are often hosts to harmful insects and diseases, so it's important to eliminate weeds.

The job of weeding however, is not often embraced with joy and enthusiasm. Yet weeding, as you'll see, can be one of your best teachers. To read the whole article, click on this link to my ACORNS blog.


8. NOTES FROM KODIAK, ALASKA: Blue poppies, volcanic ash, house building continues...

As I mentioned at the beginning, I couldn't have asked for a busier summer. Dinner cruises (which translates to cooking and entertaining 6 people every night -- thank goodness for the garden which provides some much for us), running a business or two and building a house on top of all that. But life is good. I feel very blessed to live on Kodiak Island. Many visitors comment on how peaceful and relaxing it is here. In fact, the new tagline for our Galley Gourmet business is Renew Where Nature Meets Hospitality.

Since a picture's worth a thousand words, here are 3 I'd like to share with you:

Preparing the ground for our new house.
That's the ocean in the background.

When the excavator dug down a few feet he came across this tan layer of volcanic ash. Three feet of ash fell on Kodiak Island in 1912 when the volcano Novarupta blew.

Blue (Himalayan) poppies as big as your hand. They grow like weeds here!

Stay tuned and let's stay in touch.

Love,Marion Owen, organic gardener

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
And where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal light.

--St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The UpBeet Gardener, PO Box 1980, Kodiak, AK 99615


Thanks for visiting and please stop by again. I'll put the coffee on!

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