Institute of Urban Homesteading
May 2014

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Greetings Food and Flower Fans
Rain and sun has set the garden on fire with a riot of color and activity This months newsletter is dedicated to the wonder and beauty of flowers--the sexy sex organs of plants and their usefulness in the garden system.


Class Highlights in May
Get Gardening! It is not too late to get your spring garden going or to join IUH founder and 25 year veteran gardener K,Ruby Blume for Organic Gardening 101 this weekend 5/3.
DIY Home Electric Practical know-how for renter and homeowner alike. The basics everyone should know. 5/4
Make Cheese at Home! For the first time ever our cheese making classes are not sold out the minute they are posted. Please join us in May for Cheesemaking 101 (5/21) or Holiday Cheesemaking Intensive (5/24-5/25)
Propagate! In this mini intensive you'll learn how to make more plants from what you've got or what you can find around town--cuttings, divisions, stem layering and more with seasoned nurseryman Anders Vidstrand.

Urban Farm Tours 2014
June 7 Berkeley/Oakland ~ June 8 Vallejo

Get Your Tickets! If you receive this newsletter you need do nothing further to receive the locations and directions to the farm tour sites. They will be sent out Tuesday, June 3rd.
That said, we invite you to go cash free and support our mission by purchasing your day pass in advance! For less than the cost of dinner and a movie get access to all the sites-- a full day of farming lookie-look and education! Give a little extra by purchasing a full price plus or full price doubles plus ticket, so that we can continue to offer out sliding scale tuition, free cultural events and community style learning. These extra amounts are tax deductible. Advance purchase enters you in our farm tour drawing to win farm-oritented prizes from our farmers. The more you donate, the more chances to win.

Volunteer in exchange for FREE TICKETS Join in the fun and attend the tour at no cost! The Farm Tour needs two types of volunteers
Welcome Crew: Volunteer at the welcome table for one of our farms for half the day and visit other farms free of charge the other half day.
Postcard Distribution: Distribute a stack of cards in one of our target neighborhoods and get a day pass for you and a friend. Starting May 7.

Berkeley Oakland:
Invite Friends on Facebook


Invite Friends on Facebook

Community Project Day ~ Sheet Mulching
Sunday May 4, 11am-4pm Sheet mulching starting around noon
Empress Vintage 1757 Alcatraz Berkeley 94703
Join IUH and Empress Vintage for a community gathering and work party. You'll get hands on practice sheet mulching to begin the transformation of the backyard of Empress Vintage into the Empress Garden. Sheet mulching layers cardboard, compost and mulch harnessing natural processes to revitalize the soil. Get your hands dirty and meet new friends and neighbors. Snacks and Herbal teas will be provided. Donation accepted.

Flower Power!
Lest you think that "flowers are not useful", consider these reasons for including them in your garden ecosystem.
1. Many flowers do double or triple duty as pollinator forage, medicine and food for people and insectary plants..
2. Flowers provide nectar and pollen for bees and other pollinators.
3. Flowers act as insectarues--powerful battle stations for bugs--both beneficial and pesky --to duke it out, rather than on your vegetables.
4. Many flowers are edible or useful to us medicinally as well.
5. Flowers delight the senses with their colors forms and smells.

Here are some "easy to grow" double and triple duty flowers. All are valuable as pollinator forage and insectaries. Many will reseed and come back year after year.
Edible: Bacherlors buttons, nasturtium, violas, borage, calendula, edible chrysanthemum, sunflowers. mint, cilantro, fennel, dill
Medicinal: Poppies (oriental & california), echinacea, yarrow, comfrey, lavender, catnip, valerian, chamomile
Reseed for years of enjoyment: Nigella (love in a mist), red flax, corn cockles, forget-me-nots, cosmos, columbine
For the bugs: Blanket Flower, marigolds, daisies, rosemary

We have an excellent resouce in the Bay Area in Annie's Annuals. Use their "totally useful plant lists" to seek flowers for tough growing situations or for pollinator gardening. At trip to their 5 acre retails nursery in Richmond should be on every gardener's "to do at least once" list.

Help IUH Survive the Times!
In the eight years since IUH was founded, we have been part of a growing movement of urban farming , food awareness and localism. This movement has spawned dozens of similar educational projects and workshops. We celebrate the abundance of new projects and educational offerings! At the same time, we hope to continue to serve our community and reach new students. Can you help? If you can send a one time email to friends or co-workers or if you have the perfect spot in your workspace or community to leave some postcards please let us know by responding to this email. And thank you in advance for your support!

Coming in JUNE
Permaculture Skills Weekend!
Saturday and Sunday June 21 and 22, 2014 $160-325
Take the full weekend or stand-alone classes.

10am-12:30 Introduction to Urban Permaculture $35-70
2-5pm Unusual and Perennial Vegetables and Fruits $35-65
6pm-9pm Dinner, Tour & Design Clinic: Urban Permaculture $15-30

Sunday June 22
10am-1pm Food Forest, Plant Guilds, and Poly Cultures $35-70
1:30pm-3pm Lunch and Tour of Soulflower Farm $15-30
3:30pm-6:30pm Greywater: Laundry to Landscape $35-70