Monday, April 25, 2011

weekend harvest & a bug


We were able to harvest two strawberries this weekend.  Yes, two.  There were a lot more ripe ones in the garden, but those darn rollie pollies got to them first.  Every year we have to fight with them for strawberries, and this year it seems their population is even bigger.  I don't use any pesticides in the garden, but I can't find any good organic ways to control them.

weekend harvest

We also harvested a couple of carrots, some green garlics, rosemary, and thyme.  These were used to make braised lamb shank from this recipe here.  The lamb turned out great.  The meat was tender and the sauce was very flavorful.  I don't usually make fancy dishes like this.  It's Randy's birthday next week, so I made it as part of his birthday celebration.

Now, if you get grossed out by bugs, don't look at the pictures below.  It doesn't matter how much I work in the garden.  I'm still scared of most bugs and worms.

On Saturday, as Randy was digging holes to plant some pepper plants, I found this guy lying on top of the soil from the holes.


It was pretty big.  About 2 inches long.  It wasn't dead.  It looked like it was in "hibernation" since it wasn't moving very fast.  Does anyone know the name of this bug?  Is it a good guy or a bad guy? 



Thursday, April 21, 2011

beans sprouted!

Kentucky wonder
Kentucky Wonder
yard long
Yard Long
lima bean
Frosty Lima

Ok, I'm late of this post.  I took these pictures on Sunday.  The bean seeds were sowed on April 8.  They sprouted in about a week or so.

lima bean

Something's been feasting on the lima beans.  I checked again today.  It's not only chewing on the big pods but also on the leaves.  Some of the sprouts are pretty chewed up.  I'll need to sow some seeds again.  Whatever it is, it likes only lima beans.  The other two kinds of beans are planted in the same bed, but they are left alone.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

flowers in the garden


California poppy



mystery flower

Top to bottom: California poppy, borage, nasturtium, mystery flower

Except the last one, I sowed the seeds of these flowers in the past.  Now they self-seed themselves and come back every year.  I don't know what the mystery flower is.  It's a nice velvety red.

Blossoms of edibles

pea flowers


blueberry blossoms

blackberry blossom

Top to bottom:  snap pea, strawberry, blueberry, blackberry

Sunday, April 17, 2011

weekend harvest

We had a small harvest for weekend lunch again.  Right now, we mostly just pick them as we need them.

weekend harvest

We harvested some pea shoots, a carrot, and a bunch of green onions.  Last late fall we planted all different kinds of carrots, but we didn't label them.  I believe this one is a cosmic purple.  It has a beautiful red/purplish skin, but I was disappointed to see that it was orange inside (well, I should know.  It was in the description when I bought it).  I like the red carrots in "carnival blend" better.  The skin and the flesh are both a beautiful red.  It's a nice contrast when cooked with orange carrots.  Both the cosmic purple and carnival blend are from Botanical Interests.

We only have a few of the fall carrots left, and the germination rate of the carrot seeds we sowed in mid-March was REALLY low (only 2 sprouts. Really sad).  We need to re-sow more seeds.

weekend harvest

Of course, there were more peas.  I have a hard time keeping up with the peas.


without a cloud

The weather has been really nice and warm this weekend.  It's a big change from the almost winter-like temperature (for southern CA anyways) a week ago.  All of a sudden, we feel like we are really behind on our planting schedule.

transplanting tomatoes and chayote

On Wednesday, I transplanted three of our tallest tomato plants.  In a big tub, I mixed in some compost, bone meal, blood meal, worm casting chicken manure, a little bit of kelp meal, greensand, and dolomite lime.

Tomato planting

Tomato planting

After I loosened up the soil and dug three big holes, the compost mixture went into the holes with a handful of crushed eggshells sprinkled on top.  Some soil was mixed in to reach the depth I wanted.

Tomato planting

Tomato planting

Then, I snipped off the lower branches and planted the tomatoes deeply.  The tomatoes look really happy in their permanent spots (for the season).  The rest of our tomatoes are getting really big in their 4-inch pots.  I need to transplant them soon.

Tomato planting

Tomato planting

Tomato planting

I also planted a chayote squash.  Chayote is a tender perennial in tropical or subtropical area, so it should survive the winter in our climate.  It's grown as an annual in cooler climates.  I like chayote squashes, but I LOVE their vines.  I always look for them when I go to the farmer's market.  Young shoots and leaves simply sautéed with garlic tastes fantastic.


I bought the chayote squash on the left about 2 months ago.  I kept it by the kitchen window and it sprouted.  The vine was about 3 inches by the time I planted it.  I later purchased the one on the right (about 1 month ago).  It's showing sign of sprouting.  I guess I'll have to wait a little before I can plant it out.


This is our first time growing chayote.  I did some research.  Some said to bury the whole squash leaving only the tip of the sprout above the ground and some said to plant it at an angle with the fat side down so that the stem end is just at the soil level.  I decided to follow the second method.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

little mushroom under the tomato

mushroom under tomato

Little mushroom

Little mushroom

I thought the mushroom was cute.  But, of course I'm going to remove it later.

Monday, April 11, 2011

weekend harvest

Saturday morning we took a stroll in the garden to have our "general inspection" and harvest a few things for lunch.

Saturday lunch harvest

The carrot and green garlics were sautéed with cabbage and the chives went into scrambled eggs.  The a-choy ended up in the fridge.


We also harvested some peas for the vegetable sautéed.  These were snap peas, but the pods were too old to be edible so we just ate the peas inside.

These are the few things we have been able to harvest from the garden since late winter.  Frankly, I am getting tired of the peas.  I can't wait for the summer to bring all the different colors and flavors.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

2011 seed/plant list

The list will be added as we plant more seeds.  This is our seed/plant variety list for 2011:

  • Bean - Yard Long (s), Frosty Lima (s), Kentucky Wonder (BI)
  • Bean, Edamame - Beer Friend (K), Butterbean (s)
  • Celery - Tall Utah 52/70 (BI)
  • Corn - Peaches & Cream (BI)
  • Cucumber - Tasty Queen 10 (K)
  • Eggplant - Japanese/Chinese Long Purple (BI), Rosa Bianca (SH)
  • Green - Dwarf Choy Sum (E) , Gai Lan (E), Mizuna (SH), Summerfest Komatsuna (J), Hon Tsai Tai (SH), A Choy (s), Chrysanthemum Green (s), Souther Giant Curled India Mustard, New Zealand Spinach (s)
  • Herb - Thai Basil (E), Double Parsley (SH)
  • Muskmelon - Charentais (SH)
  • Pepper, Hot - Birdseye Chili (K), Chocolate Habanero (BC), Thai Super Hot (E)
  • Pepper, Sweet - Cal Wonder Orange (BI), Purple Beauty (BI), Yolo Wonder (BI), Napolean Sweet (SH), Odessa Market (SH), Cubanelle (SH)
  • Squash, Asian - Bitter Melon (s), Edible Luffa (s), Shark Fin Squash (s), Chayote
  • Squash, Winter - Delica (K)
  • Strawberry, Wild - Yellow Wonder (BC), Red Wonder (BC)
  • Tomato - Black Krim (BI), Green Zebra (BI), Aunt Ruby's German Green (BI), Beefsteak (BI), Sun Gold (Cherry, K)
  • Watermelon - Cream of Saskatchewan (SH)
  • Other - Naranjilla (SH)

    (BC) - Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
    (BI) - Botanical Interest
    (E) - Evergreen Seeds
    (J) - Johnny's Selected Seeds
    (K) - Kitazawa
    (s) - saved seeds
    (SH) - Sand Hill Preservation Center

    • Green: Water Spinach

    Friday, April 8, 2011

    start of the growing season

    This is our fourth season growing here.  There isn't much going on in the garden at the moment.  Not much edible anyways.  But, we have plenty of weeds.  We always neglect the garden during winter.  Rain plus weed seeds equal...


    GASP... unsightly!  I know.  We tried mulching with wood chips, but we couldn't finish covering the whole garden all at once.  So, one side gets covered, weeds on the other side go to seed.  Weed seeds fall on wood chips... it's a vicious cycle.  Hopefully we can find better ways to deal with our weed problem.

    Right now, we are weeding as we plant.  We are kind of procrastinators, and we didn't usually plant things out this early.   But, we are trying to change that this year.  Yesterday, I transplanted our Japanese Pumpkins that we start from seed.  It feels early to set out anything in the squash family, and the weather is cooler than usual, but we are going to give it a try anyways.  Today, I sowed 3 different kinds of bean seeds (Yard Long, Frosty Lima, and Kentucky Wonder).

    Japanese pumpkin  Bean seeds

    In the past, we mostly purchased our plants or directly sowed seeds into the ground.  This year, we finally set up growing lights and started tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, melons, squashes, and some other seeds indoors.  Most of the seedlings look like they are on schedule.  The peppers, however, are taking their sweet time.  We'll probably have to buy a few pepper plants in the store first.

    growing light