Posted by Editor: FDBobko
February 27 2020
Past President Susan Kealey
Article by Susan Kealey
Second Article by Bill Johnston
Photos by EJ Dieterle 

Perfect timing, a program on gardening with Spring just around the corner. So Yours Truly had the pleasure of sharing some garden porn on the library’s big screen and covering a variety of garden-related issues. Here’s some items:

The National Heirloom Expo, September 15-17. A fun event that includes panel discussions, speakers, displays, vendors, good food, music, etc. 

In my garden—seedlings are starting to sprout in their little mini greenhouses with heat mats. This year I’m growing cucumbers, squash (including chayotes), Blue Butterfly Peas (so I can make blue tea).  Garlic has sprouted and is doing well. We have strawberries, kale, chard, Pac Choi, arugula and asparagus. Soon I will be planting peas. 

Our climate—we are in USDA zone 10a, or Sunset zone 17. The good news is we can grow greens year round, can grow a winter garden (beets, carrots, greens). We can grow exotics like gooseberries, tomato trees, perennial peppers, Brugmansia (Angel Trumpets) and other Andean plants. The bad news; forget tomatoes, stone fruit, parsnips—basically anything that needs heat or cold. Micro climates can make up for our climate. 


My gardens—Food, veggies, some fruit; pollinator, trying to focus on natives; Bandanna grove, fruitless, they protect Brugmansias, fuchsia and other shade plants; flower gardens, dahlias, bearded iris, cosmos, sweet peas, etc.; rose garden, all old fashioned heirloom; herb garden, easy, drought tolerant, good in containers. Brugmansia— also known as Angel Trumpets. From the Andes, they like our cool nights and climate. 

Resources—here are a few of my favorite things:

Baker Creek Seeds,

Select Seeds,

American Meadows (bulbs),

Aztec Dahlias,

Annie’s Annuals,

San Francisco and San Mateo County Master Gardeners,

Heirloom Expo, September 15-17,

Pacifica Garden Tour June 20,

Gardens of the South Coast Tour, in June, meet at the Pescadero Post Office, check for signs 

THE gardening guide for the Coastside—“Golden Gate Gardening”, Pam Pierce

The Half Moon Bay Garden Club, great speakers and programs. We meet the second Monday of each month at Coastside Adult Day Health Center, 7 pm, enter through the back door. Let me know if you’re interested and I will forward the next newsletter. 

Facebook has many gardening pages—see me for specific recommendations. 


Our speaker was Susan Kealey, who gave a shop talk on her passion … gardening. Susan is a retired banker. Her life now centers around gardening and volunteering. The first milestone in her gardening journey occurred when, as a newly minted thirtysomething homeowner she seeded her first lawn. For Susan, the beginning of the gardening season is in September when she buys her seeds at the Heirloom Festival. The event is in Santa Rosa and she and Dennis not only buy seeds, but volunteer at the festival. Last year they served in the watermelon tasting booth. We learned that plans from the Andes seem to love growing here in our coastal climate. We saw pictures of her portable greenhouses with seeds popping up. There was considerable interest in the hallucinogenic properties of her various plants, although it seems that most of that interest was initiated by Dave Andrews.
This year she is going into cucumbers in a big way. Apparently there are all sorts of varieties. She particularly likes the black beauty zucchinis and she has five varieties of squash. One of her favorites is the chayote. (Her version features hoary little spikes all over it.) It is relatively easy to grow all kinds of greens, including: chard, kale, lettuce, peas, spinach and snow peas. She gave us a good news/bad news. The good news is that our climate is great for beets, carrots, gooseberries, greens, perennial peppers from Peru and a tomato tree. The bad news is that it is not a good climate for tomatoes, stone fruit or turnips. If you are going to try and grow tomatoes, she suggests Early Girls. She had some success with an Alaskan variety called Glacier and there is a new variety out of San Francisco which neither she nor Steve Wilson could come up with a name for. We are climate zone 17 in the Sunset book and 10 A according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
Susan says that she has several gardens. She has a pollinator garden that attracts bees and hummingbirds and other wildlife. She has a food garden. She has a flower garden. She has an herb garden in pots and she has a memorial garden in her mother’s honor which includes her mother’s colors and plants that were handed down from her mother.
Finally, Susan shared with us what she called her garden porn. Once again, Dave seemed unusually excited. Alas, Susan’s garden porn consists of pictures of flowers although some of those trumpet flowers might have been considered very suggestive, ala Judy Chicago. There were no cucumber pictures.
Article by Bill Johnston
Photos by EJ Dieterle 
President Ed Daniels called the meeting to order.
The meeting began with a rousing rendition of “for he’s a jolly good fellow” in honor of the arrival of Robin Jeffs who was being feted on the occasion of his 80th birthday.
Greeters. After the pledge, Pres. Ed smoothly segued into Joe’s inspiring invocation. Joe had taken the Amtrak to Salinas and visited the Steinbeck Museum. He read to us from the acceptance speech of Steinbeck for his Nobel Prize which touted the importance of literature in chronicling, interpreting and inspiring the human condition. Retired intrepid reporter Stacy was vociferous in her approval.
Pres. Ed then introduced visiting ToastMaster Mike Fidel of El Granada who touted the alliance between Rotary and the ToastMaster organization.
We also welcomed back our own Catherine Yaque, who is now a member of the Rotary club of Seville. She was in town to celebrate her father, Robin’s, birthday.
Other guests included Robin’s wife Freda, Dave Dickson’s wife Marla Wong and Charisse who came down from the mountain to see us. One exciting announcement was that Shauna was not only a guest but would be rejoining the club shortly.
To commemorate his 80th birthday, Robin donated $80 to the Half Moon Bay Rotary Club Foundation and Ralph Eli, who recently celebrated his 77th birthday, followed suit with a $77 donation.
Rose Serdy announced that we will have an invitation to have lunch on the farm from Eric Debode. This will be a thank you for the Rotary volunteerism at the Wednesday morning homeless breakfasts. The farm is a program where homeless people are offered an opportunity to earn money cultivating and harvesting plants and the food is given to people in need.
Happy/Not so Happy News!
Charisse told us a horrible story about an acquaintance who had an inside cabin on a Princess cruise. They ended up being quarantined in that cabin. They were then flown on separate planes to Texas and Travis Air Force Base. Sick people and well people were mixed together on the planes. Her acquaintances then tested positive and are now on house quarantine.
In the happy/crappy news category, Ginger announced that they were holding a locals night at Barterra on Friday and she reminded us that Thursday was the chamber “teachers supply party” and she solicited hundred dollar bills for that event. She got several takers.
Past Pres. Paul told us about donating books at MoonRidge. During his presidency, he made a practice of having every speaker sign 10 children’s books for future donation. Paul and his wife Antoinette distributed the books with the help of a little girl named Yvette. Antoinette had spent time as a volunteer on a project working with third grade students in the Moonridge farmworker housing. Yvette was her assigned child. She was very challenging. Paul told us how rewarding it was for Antoinette when, after months of resistance, Yvette finally asked if she could “read another book”.
Marble Draw  surprise   No WINNER this weekcrying  . .laugh The meeting ended with Susan drawing EJ’s lucky number 423 ticket, but when he dove into the black bag all he could extract was the green marble. Oh well.
Our Monthly Rotary Day at the Community Free Breakfast (held at the Lutheran Church will be Wednesday, MARCH 25.  Please sign up with ROSE SERDY for a shift for future days (last Wednesday of each month.)