If you’re a regular TIO fan as I am, I hope you’ve been reading the “Earth Matters” column. Anna Zivian’s latest story on strawberries is a disturbing revelation. I also hope you read yesterday’s “Hunting and Gathering: In the Garden” by Lisa Barlow. I’ve got to say it’s great to be posting alongside these wonderful (read very smart with lots to share) folks.

I love how things tie together. The posting on strawberries is an excellent report on a very troubling and toxic product, commonly used on one of our favorite spring splurges. I remember being horrified back in college when I was learning about how agri-biz grew strawberries. They basically sealed the fields with a huge plastic covers and then pumped in the methyl bromide toxic fumigant gas Anna referred to. Not surprising that the replacement for methyl bromide was bad news as well. Organically grown strawberries are well worth it!

And then the recipes for sorrel – one of our farm favorites, combined with chard yet, another favorite and super heathly!! Though the sorrel is just coming up outside (under the little snow we just got), but the chard is happy as can be in the greenhouses. This is one recipe I can’t wait to try with ingredients straight from the garden. Thanks Lisa! And if you’re local and in need of chard or kale, find me!

The sweet weather of the last two weeks got us all thinking about growing. We’ve had folks stopping by for Community Garden applications. I’ve started fielding the typical spring gardening questions like: “When is it safe to plant outside?” Answer: “It depends on where you actually want to plant and what you want to plant.” But the standard answer right now is “Not Yet!”

Our last frost in the spring on Hastings Mesa is usually the first week of June. It has happened as early as the 23rd of May and as late as the first day of summer. “Usual” is a truly relative term. Over the past 25 years here, I’ve seen such variability I hardly dare to predict. That doesn’t mean you can’t plant anything yet though. I myself succumbed to temptation and planted pansies last weekend. They’re so cheerful – and hardy as well. They’ll take this bit of snow as a lovely frosted drink and do just fine. It’s also a good time to start seedlings indoors if your green thumb is really itching. We’ve got young tomatoes, peppers and squash plants started and staying warm in the greenhouse. The first two really like to be at least 8-10 weeks old before they are set outside (after chance of frost). Squash will get too big in that amount of time, but ours are going into the ground in the greenhouse anyway. Not outdoors. So gardeners, it’s almost time to start your engines, but in the meantime make sure you’ve got your seeds ordered, your organic soil amendments on hand, and your work gloves ready!

Local farmers are getting ready even if we can’t quite break ground at altitude. The Telluride Farmers Market vendors have put in their applications and are getting ready for the Friday, June 8th start. In Mountain Village artisans and food producers will have a chance to sell their goods on Wednesdays starting in mid-June, a nice lead up to the Sunset Concert series. Two great opportunities for local food right here in our backyard.

Last but not least in this smorgasbord of tidbits.

It’s the end of ski season here. Seasonal workers will be leaving, residents wishing to stay sane leave for a break and some remain behind. The most important thing – after the KOTO street dance – is to remember not to Leave a  yucky mess. Couches, furniture, larger items, if they’re still in good condition (does not include ripped, beer soaked or incredibly nasty stains), put a card with information on the items on the bulletin board by the Free Box. DO NOT put items on the sidewalk by the Free Box!! You could list on the site, and if you have any trouble with that, contact me and I’ll walk you through the process. Put items on Craig’s list. If your belongings are too scuzzy for any reasonable person to love, contact your trash provider. Here that’s either Bruin Waste at (970) 864-7531 or Waste Management at (970) 240-8236. Arrange to have your item picked up. And yes, there will probably be a small charge, but that’s responsible citizenship. Do not dump stuff where someone else will have to deal with your cast-offs.

If you’re only going for spring break and will be back, it’s time to gather your items for Spring Cleanup. That will happen May 17th and 18th.  I’d say 80-90% of items in good shape are picked up by others at the site and reused. There will be plenty of trash containers for the truly unsalvageable things. Electronics will be responsibly recycled, though there are reasonable fees, for some of those items.

One of the main reasons we live and love it here is the beauty of mountain world. Keep it that way and deal with your trash and recycle no-longer needed items responsibly.

For more information about local recycling or Spring Cleanup give us a call at The New Community Coalition, 728-1340 or email

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