Tuesday, September 23, 2008

wow, its been almost 10 days since my last post. my apologies to those who keep up with this blog. i've been really tired, drained and feeling a bit under the weather. if you are a family member, chances are you know the possible reason behind my fatigue. i say "possible" because i am have an appointment with a professional to actually confirm things this thursday. once i know for sure, and that all family members are aware of it, i will post it here.

just to give you an idea of whats going on with me (the fatigue and feeling like im kinda sick)....usually, when i come home from work and its actually lighted outside, i go straight through the front door, drop my things and head directly into the backyard to fuss with my plants. mondays are one of those days that i do this...normally. well, yesterday was a monday and i never set one foot out the back door. i feel like i just forgot to go outside that day, but its just the feeling of being a bit icky and tired is what caused my disinterest in tending to the garden. i mean...something serious must be going on that makes me lose any "interest".

don't get me wrong, i LOVE my garden. my lettuce is growing nicely (i think we can soon pick from the loose leaf varieties), my chard, broccoli and beets are getting much stronger...

i have to pull out the cucumber plants...they really do look pathetic.

the one vegetable that is really producing well are the tomatoes. im harvesting 5 different varieties right now. most of which are heirlooms. i actually picked my largest tomato so far. it fit in the palm of both hands...and it's a pink tomato! its the one that i was told was a "ernie's round". but i am unsure since its known to be a rare heirloom.

okay, time to wrap up. i will keep you all updated.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

i finally harvested the almonds. the only problem is, i expected to pick around 7 - 8 almonds. but there were only 3 i could find. i think some squirrels might've found my tree, so i'm glad i picked them when i did. plus i believe they were ready. they have already started to split. here are the pictures:

Friday, September 12, 2008

today i harvested a few beans, jalapenos and these...these actually have been my best carrots so far. the one closest to my hand has to be the longest and straightest carrot that i have harvested to date!
i was finally able to spend some time in the backyard yesterday after work. here are some updates:

1) soybeans: on the oldest plants, i already see soybean pods developing! how exciting! i could actually get some to harvest before fall really comes upon us.

2) green beans: with my schedule, i haven't been able to pick beans as often as a should, which leaves large beans on my plants...meaning they are a bit over mature. when that happens, the plants think that its time to slow down with bean production. so some of my plants have produced less over this past week. i have some new plants planted so hopefully i get some green beans all the way into october/november.

last night we ate green beans and spam (yum!) flavored with pepper, salt, garlic cloves, shoyu and a touch of tabasco.

3) watermelon: i have one really growing strong (but slow) and i now also see 3 others getting bigger. we'll see if i will be able to harvest those before the cooler weather does the plants in.

4) sugar snap and snow peas: still growing strong. nowhere near big enough to show any flowers, but i see some tendrils reaching out for the trellis. these guys like cool weather, so i might actually be able to plant these all through winter. i may just start planting new seedlings around the heirloom tomatoes. so when the tomatoes are ready to be dug up, it will become a pea bed.

5) broccoli/swiss chard/michihili/pac choi/spinach/lettuce/beets: some are growing strong, some have died. i have more seedlings growing to over-plant what has died. i will probably continue to plant seeds for these for at least another month or so.

6) onions: it looks like all have taken well. most, if not all, have started growing a second set of "leaves". we'll see what time brings (they are still small so they are still very fragile plants).

7) fava beans: a little less than 2 weeks for germination, and i have about 4 fava bean plants sprouting. these guys can grow up to 6 feet tall! not only do they produce edible pods, but, like all bean plants, help condition the soil and add nitrogen. they also add a lot of green "food" to the compost pile.

8) garlic: i am still waiting for my garlic heads to come. i got an email 2 weeks ago saying that their crop will be about 2 weeks late. i hope to get them very soon. im trying to save the last cultivated plot for those garlic cloves, but i may just be tempted to use it for other things...

9) new seeds/plants: i bout some new flowering plants for the front of the house (i haven't done anything, planting-wise, to the front area) so i plan to plant them this weekend. i also received more seeds that i will start growing - radish, a heading lettuce variety, a cover crop to help with soil development and i think 2 new carrot varieties best for clay soil.

what my tasks are for this weekend:

- turn the compost pile
- plant the new flowers in front of the house
- pull weeds
- plant new seeds in peat pots
- plant seedlings into the ground
- pull up some dying tomato plants
- fertilize
- harvest (i hope!)

and if i feel up to it, i was thinking about building one of the raised beds, just to see what the process is like - if its doable/a hassle, how it actually looks, how much soil/mulch is needed, etc.

i also want to really think about what i want to do with that right strip of front lawn and how im going to do it. i want to convert it to a flower/veggie bed. it will be an ornamental garden (not meant to be eaten) but some of the plants will be edible. i want to try to do it myself, but i really dont know if its plausible. (its a 9ft x 22ft area).

can you tell gardening is a outlet for stress-reducing for me? ;-) it has to be. i wouldn't do this if it added more stress to my life!! that's for sure!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

my harvest this morning...

yesterday, i also got the seeds that i ordered a little over a week ago. these make up about half of the stuff i want to grow this year and next (most of them are vegetables i plan to grow next spring). look at the cute packaging! these are seeds from pintree garden seeds (superseeds (dot) com). they have some of the best pricing of seeds (and i compared prices from 4 different seed catalogs), and shipping was very affordable.

Friday, September 5, 2008

OT (off topic): There just was a small earthquake at 9:01pm today. It felt/sounded like something hit the ground first and then the shaking began. Any san francisco bay area people out there also felt that?

this was my second earthquake i've felt since we moved here 5yrs ago.
my harvest from yesterday...

my newest seeds that have been planted - lettuce, fava beans, red and yellow onions, sugar snap peas, snow peas, chinese cabbages, broccoli...etc...

my california native plants are still alive. i will eventually have to find a spot for them.

one of the locations in the left garden where i have cultivated the soil. i planted a fava bean seed there last weekend. i'll probably give it another week to germinate. i seriously want to remove all the plants in the left garden (except for the european plum tree) and thoroughly cultivate that area, like i did for the right garden. i think because i didn't do this in the first place, the plants in this area are having a harder time to grow. the soil is just too compacted with the clay. i just may do this in the near future...

the plum tomato plant...its scragly but hanging in there, if those small beetles like things dont damage all of my tomatoes.

the chaotic growth of the sweet 100 tomatoes. tomatoes are still being producte but this plant sure has seen better days...anything that i can do to help it?

the new pea and bean bed.

as with the last group of soybean plants, THIS is the only flower-looking thing i have seen so far on these plants. they look like buds, but i never seem them actually open. maybe they are a night-blooming plant?

salad mix. the reason why they are so bunched up like that is that i had them growing in 2" x 2" peat pots and i have planted them all together here, in the pea/bean bed

here is an overview of that pea/bean bed.

cucumber plants - for the most part, they are growing strong with a few cucumbers popping up here and there.

my last hopes in eating some bell peppers from my garden. these two were grown from seed and planted between the two grape plants. they look quite strong *knock on wood* and they are now blooming so here is to hoping! the bell pepper plant that had the peppers growing on it...well, something is happening to it. it has wilted. ive stopped watering it for a week no changes...i started watering it a bit more this week, so far no changes...i have no idea what is wrong with it. so i think i am starting to give up on those plants in the left garden.

our small 2-plant vineyard. no grapes this season, but maybe next.

i think the sweet potato plant is the MOST happiest plant in the ground. very prolific, nice ground cover...im just wondering what is growing below the soil...it has not started to flower yet, which seems to be a sign that potatoes are growing. i think its supposed to start dying back before i try to search for edible roots. i have to do some researching...

more pea and bean plants. i also have a carrot bed between the first two bean plants.

the watermelon plant. it has that small watermelon there, but no changes have occurred to it. i'm leaving that one on until i see the vine, which it grows on, start to die.

the new zinnia plant that i bought last weekend. it should bloom soon.

more pea and bean plants.

the almond tree with more bean plants and some lettuce growing underneath it. i have seen the outer shell on some of the almonds start to open up...its no where completely open, but i see a slight crack...we'll see what happens. (and if the squirrels around here leave my tree alone!)

these are pictures of the very first plot i planted with fall crops...(this is a spinach plant)

michihili and pak choi

broccoli, pak choi and beets

beets and pak choi

broccoli, beets and swiss chard

this is from the 2nd planted plot...swiss chard and beets

broccoli and swiss chard


this is the latest cultivated plot. it is still waiting for the garlic cloves that should be coming in any day now. it still has some time to work in the nutrients from the compost and organic fertilizer i placed on it after cultivation.

the latest planted plot. in this plot there are all the red and yellow onions that sprouted for me, plus a few carrot sprouts.

right plots overview

just a few pictures of flowers from an orange marigold and spanish tarragon growing between one of the right garden plots.

so the tomato plant that i am unsure of what the name is, is starting to grow some really large tomatoes. i was told from the seller of this plant that it could be ernie's round, so i guess i will stick with that name...its just that from what i've read, this heirloom variety is rather rare, which makes me doubt that this is, in fact, an ernie's round species.

to my german readers...(the rest of the post will be in german since it pertains only to them).

liebe deutsche besuchern...

weil ich versucht habe, mein blog zu uebersetzen, es braucht einfach zu viel zeit fuer mich es weiter zu tun. es war viel spass, deutsch zu ueben, aber zwischen fast 3 jobs (dieses semester unterrichte ich 2 klassen), den garten, 8 voegeln und meinen mann, zeit zum uebersetzen alles was ich hier schreibe habe ich leider nicht viel.

ende september ist das schulsemester vorbei. naechstes semester unterrichte ich nur eine klasse (stat dieses semester mit 2)...ich werde wahrscheinlich mehr zeit haben um mit deutsch uebersetzungen weiterzumachen.

gute ernte, alle!
in this post, i want to post some of the problems that are showing up in some parts of the garden. (what is a garden without its problems, right?) i just want to document this to reflect on next year.

small bugs with large black spots outlined with either a sliver or whitish color have been congregating on my plum tomato fruits. They seem to be eating it, but there are no outward signs of penetration...the only thing that happens, that i can see, is that the tomato becomes very soft. i can lightly press on the tomato and it gives - almost like pressing on a water balloon. i'll try to get them on camera.

the majority of the tomato plants that i am growing are showing some outward signs of stress. for example, the cherry tomato plants are slowing drying out, although i have been watering them the same amount as before. maybe its due to the extreme production of tomatoes on these plants? maybe some nutrients in the soil have become depleted? i will be giving these plants some organic fertlizer and maybe some compost and see if that helps.

the watermelon plant's growth has slowed and some yellowing of a few leaves have happened. water amounts have not changed. i have given it some fertilizer yesterday so i'll see if that helps. is it a bug problem? too much water? too little? does it have enough nutrients? i went out into the garden one morning this past week and it was very chilly. i usually can just go out there with a short-sleeved shirt and shorts, but that morning, i had to jump back into the house and put on a long-sleeve pullover and long pants. it was chilly enough to blow smoke without even trying. maybe that cold weather hurt the plant?

most of the days this past week have been seriously HOT. upper 80's to upper 90's. we have not had rain since around April of this year so i have been trying to water my plants (at least the seedlings, new transplants and the watermelon plants) every morning and every evening. if with this set up, i've had a few seedlings dry up on me. it makes me realize that i have to continue to sprout more and more seedlings just in case!

my latest planted seeds include fava beans, snow peas, sugar snap peas, broccoli, lettuce, chinese cabbage (pak choi and michihili), red and yellow onions, and spinach. i think i will not try to grow any more soy beans and green beans since they are hot weather lovers...plus i don't think i have any more room. the fava beans are cool weather lovers, so this will probably be something I will try grow more of now.

i took some pictures of the garden and the harvest i had yesterday and i will post them up soon.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

the slow food victory garden has been extended till November! woohoo!
der slow food victory garden bleibt vorm rathaus bis November! woohoo!

Read the original story here

Monday, September 1, 2008

wow...its already the first of september! currently, i am harvesting different varieties of tomatoes, green beans and cucumbers. (sorry, no photos of harvests this weekend).
wow, es ist schon den 1. september! jetzt ernte ich verschiedene sorten von tomaten, gruene bohnen und gurken. (verzeihung, keine fotos von der ernte genommen)
i planted most of my sprouting seeds over the weekend. the onions went into the plot that was cultivated and has no bean plant growing from the middle of it. i also had a lot of carrot seedlings, so i planted them in the other half of that plot.
dieses wochenende habe ich fast alle pflaenzlinge im boden gepflanzt. zwiebelpflaenzlinge sind in einem grundstueck (wo es kein gruene bohnenpflanz hat) eingepflanzt. ich hatte auch viele karrotenpflaenzlinge, deshalb pflanzte ich die im zweiten teil des zwiebel-grundstuecks.

i planted the rest of my pea and bean seedlings in the top garden. the salad mix and buttercruch lettuces also went into the ground in various areas.
erbsen- und bohnenpflaenzlinge sind im boden in top-garten gestellt. die salatmischung und buttercrunch-salat sind auch in ein paar orten im garten gepflanzt.

i turned the compost. added to it.
die kompost ist umgedreht. ich habe auch was dazu gemischt.

i bought more compost (mine probably won't be done until next year) and more peat pots for seed starting. i also bought some fava beans - they are known to help condition the soil. today, i bought a dahlia (i am starting to love these flowers!) and a zinnia plant. they should help attract more beneficial bugs into the garden. i planted both of them in different spots in the top garden.
[ich schreibe spaeter fertig]

i started more seeds this weekend too. a bunch of fava beans, sugar snap and snow peas, broccoli, michihili, pac choi, spinach, salad mix, buttercrunch lettuce, and red and yellow onions. now i just have to figure out where to plant these guys once they start sprouting...

my garlic bulbs that i bought online will be coming in 2 weeks. i also have to find a spot for them. they will probably go into the last plot which today i cultivated, covered with a few inches of compost and covered that with a layer of mulch. i am expecting about 10 heads of garlic, and each one consists about 6 - 8 cloves. (if you don't know, each clove can turn into its own head of garlic). i may need more space for that too!

i may probably end of digging up my cucumber plants to use that space. the plants are slowly finishing up their season anyway (i harvested just 5 cucumbers this weekend).

i wonder when the sweet potatoes will be done. that plant is slowly taking over its spot, the grapes area, the watermelon area and the carrots area. its really a great, dense ground cover, but i can't wait to see what the potatoes look like (and if i have any). at least its very happy!

labor day...it was a lot of garden labor, yes, but lots of fun. i didn't get to taking pictures, sorry. i will try to get some on thursday. oh, and did you know? the slow food nation victory garden in front of san francisco's city hall was dug up this weekend. i wasn't about to get crushed by the number of people that they planned would attend. but i hope they had a good harvest. it just didn't seem like much of those vegetable plants were ready for any kind of harvesting...