Sunday, February 21, 2010

Garden Pictures #1

Here is the "north" garden (one of two sections I have planted so far). Here are some sugar snap peas, snow peas, broccoli, various lettuce, and spinach. all sprinkled with a bit of sluggo to keep those icky beasts out of this area.

Here is the 4-in-1 apple tree (Gala, Early Summer Red, Fuji, and Granny Smith). I don't have a close-up of this tree, but some of the buds are starting to swell! Very exciting, tho I don't really expect any fruit this season since I just planted it in the ground. we'll see.

The apple tree is in the foreground and a Nectazee is planted in the background. Nectazee is a dwarf nectarine tree that, if left untrimmed, will not grow taller than 8 feet. I plan to keep it around 6 feet for easy fruit access.

Currently the Nectazee is in full bloom and is hardly 1 foot tall. It is so exciting to see all the blooms - I wonder if I will get any fruit during its first year in my garden....

Garden Pictures #2

Here is the little Nectazee tree and the European plum tree behind it. Notice how small the Nectazee tree is (I think it is barely a foot tall).

Here is the plum tree and the 4-in-1 cherry tree in the background. I am trying to keep this plum tree (and the cherry tree) between 5 and 6 feet tall to keep it manageable and easily pickable. Dave Wilson nursery ( has great photos and information about how to keep a backyard orchard manageable. key is to prune about 3 - 4 times a year, and especially early summer when the growth of fruit trees explodes. It will, of course, affect the amount of fruit I get off the trees, but who needs bushels of fruit?? Even with this tree size, (if I take good care of it) I will still probably have to give away some of the fruit. But really, that is the best part of the whole backyard edible gardening for me - sharing the bounty.

Finally! Some proof of life in my plum tree! Ready to possibly produce some fruit for me this season?? Please?? It's been 2 years since I first planted you and so far not a single flower/fruit. :-(

Here is the 4-in-1 cherry tree (Bing, Black Tartaine, Vans, Lapins). I didn't get a closer shot of it, but there are some buds starting to swell! It may fruit this year, but I'm not getting my hopes up. Some cherry trees take a few years to bear fruit.

And on to the "South" garden...

Garden Pictures #3

This lovely tree is my all-in-one almond tree. It has been in the ground for about 2 years now. From the very first year I planted it, I got some great almonds. (It was the first time I ever saw how almonds grew on a tree!) I would have gotten some almonds last year, but due to pregnancy/baby/life, the squirrels got to them faster than I could. I am contemplating on either putting up something that would scare those buggers away, or just let nature take its course...

These are some garlic plants starting to grow. I know they are supposed to be started in the fall of the previous year, but this was a last minute effort to grow some garlic. They are growing pretty well so far (11 of them). This garlic was sold at a supermarket and the tag stated that they were grown in Gilroy, so I am thinking they could probably grow up here too. I love the idea of planting one clove and getting a whole head of garlic in return, don't you?

Ahhh. What is a winter/early spring garden without peas! I've always had great success with peas - snow peas and sugar snap peas here. I have about 14 plants total (7 of them in this area of the garden). I just love their dainty leaves splashed with white spots.

The "south" garden. This side gets more shade than the "north" garden. I just wanted to see what does better where. In both gardens I planted the same things - broccoli, various lettuce, spinach, and peas. The garlic, however, was only planted on this side. I'm hoping for the best for them!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

they got planted!

This morning I was finally able to plant my cherry and apple trees in the ground. i also planted my spinach sprouts in the garden - among its lettuce/pea/broccoli brothers and sisters. i hope i can harvest some this time around - last time my spinach seeds never grew (i think i planted them to late).

i also did more WEEDing. last time, i said i WEEDed only 1/16 of my garden. i think now i have done about 1/3 of my gardening area.

i was thinking about planting more cool weather crop seeds, but i think i'm gonna stop while im ahead (and things are growing happily). besides, we are planning to go on a trip late april, so i won't be able to harvest much around that time. and once i get back, i'll be planting some warm weather crop seeds into the ground. yipee!

Friday, February 19, 2010

So last week, I went to my favorite local nursery (it's not a big box outlet type), and bought 2 fruit trees - it would've been 3, but I forgot to take the stroller out. One is a 4-in-1 apple tree (Gala, Granny Smith, Fuji, and Anna (i think) a early summer red apple. I really wanted the Granny Smith apple since my husband and I just love eating and savoring its tartness.

the other tree is a 4-in-1 cherry tree (Bing, Lapins, Vans, Black Tartain). i LOVE cherries, but i haven't been able to talk myself in to buying them at the store because they are just so expensive. if this tree can supply me with great sweet cherries, it will be SO worth it.

i was hoping to get them planted in the ground last weekend after buying them, but I never got to. my main goal this weekend is to do just that. i have to do more WEEDing (it is coming along, tho!) and then planting the trees can begin. i feel the pressure of planting them soon because the buds on it are starting to swell. my plum tree seems to be slowing waking up as well!

the nectarine tree i planted a few weeks back is starting to flower and show some leaves. the pink blossoms are just gorgeous! my almond tree is also flowering now with its pure white blossoms.

not much else is going on in the garden. the peas are growing well, broccoli are growing slowly, so is the lettuce. my spinach seeds have finally sprouted...i need to get them into the ground too. im wondering if i should plant some carrots...dunno.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

this past weekend was successful!

oooh...getting behind on the blogging - bad!

no, i didn't buy anymore trees for my "little orchard", but i do have 3 in mind. there was not much free time this past weekend due to super bowl eating/planning/partying, but i did get some things done.

1) i did more WEEDing. i had to. because,...

2) i planted all sprouting veggie plants. yup - broccoli, sugar snap peas, snow peas, various lettuces...the spinach hasn't shown itself yet, so that is still sitting in the peat pots (now that i write about it...i wonder where i put them...hmmm...(bad)

3) look upon everything else in the garden. that was the fun part! the almond tree - its starting to bloom! i forgot how beautiful and delicate its white flower's are! no green leaves, just blooms. the nectarine tree i planted 2 weeks ago, is also starting to show some color - the flowers will be PINK. very pretty! they haven't opened yet, but the buds are vivid. the garlic i planted 2 weeks ago are showing some green sprouting up - about 5 out of about 10 i planted. grape plants and the plum tree are still hibernating. (is that the right term for a plant?)

that's about it. this weekend, i plan to go to my favorite local nursery to look for my 3 fruit trees (an apple tree, a cherry tree, and a pear tree - all of which are self-fruiting). i also plan on starting more seeds. don't know if i want to start it indoors or just put it directly into the ground in the garden. we'll see.

im hesitant to start warm weather plants right now, since my other starts came out leggy. i just don't have the right lighting. so, i'll stick to the cool weather crops - more of what i've already planted. im also eyeing another garlic bulb we have that we are not using....

Monday, February 1, 2010

productive weekend!

wow, after a few weeks of continuous rain, we actually got weekend full of sun! i started off my weekend by going to my favorite "small" garden nursery in san leandro to look at their plants. i went without a definite plan on what to buy (bad thing!), but i knew i wanted to see what kind of fruit trees they had (especially the multi-grafted ones) and what kind (if any) veggie starts they had.

well, they had no veggie starts. but i've started my own cold weather veggies anyways (and they are all, except for the spinach, sprouting!! in under a week! that's a record in my books!). with the fruit trees - not only did they have a TON of fruit trees (both single and multi-grafted ones), but they were on sale!!

i was looking at the ones i love to eat - pears, nectarines, cherries, and granny smith apples. no multi-grafted pears that i could see (*sob*), no nectarine ones either, BUT, i spied a dwarf variety of nectarines called Nectazee. it grows up to 5' to 6' if left untrimmed! and the tag stated that is self-fruited (a MUST for me). i had to get this one.

there was no end to the multi-grafted cherries. i had my eye on the bing, black tartaine, rainer type but i chickened out at the last moment. i may go back and buy it but you'll have to stay tuned for that one.

they also had multi-grafted apple trees too, but none with granny smith. apparently granny smith apples are not so popular, but i love their tartness. not only can you eat it fresh, they are great in apple pies (and i have a GREAT recipe for one that i found on!). i did find a single granny smith apple tree, but for some reason never got it.

there were multi-grafted asian pear trees but i wasn't really into them. dont get me wrong...asian pears are delish! but the fruit can get pretty big and i usually can't finish one in a sitting. i like the smaller fruit. i don't know my asian pear varieties, so i decided to stay away. there were single pear trees - my fav is bartlett and d'anjou pears. but they need a pollinizer so in this case, multi-grafted pear trees would be ideal. i think i'll wait to see if i can find one.

so after all that, i just came home with my nectazee. im not at all complaining because i had a wonderful time looking at all the plants.

on sunday, i dug up WEEDS from a few spots in my garden to get it ready to be planted in. i planted my nectazee tree near my european plum tree, and i planted my sprouting garlic (yes, i know its a bit late to plant these - normally you plant garlic in the fall, but oh well) near the plot where i have my small mandarin orange tree. we'll see how both do.

WEEDING - done in a few spots
PLANTED something - yes! a new fruit tree and garlic.
SPROUTED something - yes! all of my lettuce seeds sprouted, as well as a few broccoli seeds and my peas that i started sprouting in a container with wet paper towels are starting to break the soil surface. nothing from the spinach seeds yet.