The Greenest Thumb Contest: Elka's Organic Oakland Garden

The Greenest Thumb Contest: Elka's Organic Oakland Garden

Jun 15, 2006

Our third entry in the Greenest Thumb Contest is from Elka. She writes:

"I moved back to Oakland (from SF) in February, and was partially motivated to move because I wanted access to private greenspace where I could raise some of my own food organically. Now my dog has a lawn and I have a small (approx. 100 ft2) garden where I can putter to my heart's content."

There's more from Elka after the jump. Please visit the whole garden before you vote!

As a reminder, the Greenest Thumb contest is open to all Bay Area and PNW gardens no smaller than a window box and no larger than 600 square feet. The deadline has been extended to Monday, June 19. Info on how to submit is here.

Elka says, "Recent challenges include: fighting aphids and snails organically. Recent triumphs include: beautiful roses, prolific snowpeas, and delicious French variety Rouge d'Hiver lettuce. I'm looking forward to summer crops of Moon and Stars heirloom watermelon, Sweet 100 tomatoes, globe eggplants, and the long-awaited blossoming of the mammoth artichoke plant."

"Small space gardening has made me re-evaluate the way that I garden. As soon as I harvest something, I immediately plant another few seeds or seedling. I've been forced to do some replanting due to the insane growth of the artichoke plant, which overshadowed some strawberries and a pepper plant. It's amazing how much food you can grow on such a tiny plot. I am very grateful to the folks at Spiral Gardens ( in Berkeley for their amazing advice and killer nursery, as well as my friend Magnolia, who originally helped turn over all the soil during a rainstorm in February."

"These yummy, yummy strawberries [in the first photo] were recommended by Spiral Gardens folks as East Bay-centric. I have about 9 plants, and every morning for the past three weeks I can pick between 3 and 9 ripe berries. Not a lot, but a great way to wake up."

"From immediate front and going clockwise:
A hollyhock leaf, a rhubarb leaf, purple chives, snowpeas, and cucumber leaves. The ladybugs were released last night to combat the last of the evil aphids that have fallen in love with nearly every cruciferous vegetable I've planted. I love those cutie ladybugs."

"These (not-yet-quite-blue) berries were recommended by Spiral Gardens volunteers as well-suited to the East Bay climate. They are huge and delicious."

Thanks, Elka!

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