Tuesday, August 30, 2011

As August Ends...

As August comes to a close, I realize that I need to get on uploading pictures. I don't know what my problem is when it comes to doing such a simple task...

Also, my tomatoes are finally starting to produce enough to make salads, pizzas, sauces, and have enough left over to freeze. My one recommendation when freezing tomatoes is to boil them for about a minute and slip the skins off FIRST before freezing. If you try to make sauce out of frozen tomatoes that you never took the skins off, you will have curly skins floating around your sauce as it cooks...you could do that and just pick the skins out as you see them, but I'm trying to be more proactive this year! It really was a pain to find them all...

zukes and most of the green beans are slowing down production so I will be pulling them up this week. I've started a few seeds - lettuce, broccoli, swiss chard, peas - and the rest I will direct seed - carrots, turnips and kohlrabi(first season for me), and maybe some collards. I have to remember to save some room for the garlic that I ordered from seedsavers!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Check on your corn!

Wow, after seeing my corn stalks turn red and the ears on my stalks feeling "empty", I decided to pick one yesterday morning, and I wouldn't have believed it if I didn't see it with my own eyes...There were yellow corn on them cobs!!!

Well, some of them were just pure starch then since I thought I wasn't picking any corn this year but some were out of this world sweet! I wish I picked most of them sooner! I don't know, but for some reason, I believed that due to unseasonable cool weather and the fact that my ears never had that "filled out" feel to them, I would be just chopping down my stalks and putting them in the compost.

To my delight, I picked 10 ears, boiled as much as was still rather edible, and cut them down to corn kernels. Yum! If you've never had fresh corn picked from your yard and eaten within seconds of harvest, you've never had real corn. I urge anyone to try it at least once!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

On Coming Back...

Hi, it has been a while...I was thinking about converting to Wordpress, but my laziness has been my hinderance in that migration project, so I think I will bring over my one (and only) post from over there to here later.

The vegetable garden is in the production business now...I am out there picking beans every day (and I swear I pick the almost-ready beans the previous day too!), the butternut squash is coming along nicely (this is my first season growing this, so it's exciting!), the apple and nectarine trees are near full of ripe fruits, the tomato plants are full of green tomatoes, and the zucchini plants...well, they are just doing their own thing and growing crazily, as they are known to do.

I've also got a few cucumber plants and they are growing well, but so far no cukes.

Oh, and I've harvested my first purple viking potatoes a few weeks ago...the next harvest will probably be this weekend. I have pictures that need posting, yes!

I have been working on another project for the past month - one that entails part of my front lawn. I'll post pics and more info about that later.

I just wanted to say that I am back to this blog and I'm hoping to be able to start posting more soon!

Take care.

PS: I have been updating my harvest numbers as often as needed, so if I don't post anything here, my harvest numbers will reflect the latest!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

weekend of rain and growth

This weekend, I was barely able to get in some dirt work - I still had the south-side garden to finish up with loosening the soil, covering with compost, then some cardboard, and a layer of mulch/compost on top of that (called "lasagne" method) - but I got it in late this afternoon. now all the beds have been composted! (late, i know...).

So I have a few more beds ready for something to grow, but I have no seedlings that need placement. I do have a few crowded garden beds that I want to space out, so I'm sure I'll have something to plant. If not, there are always more seeds wanting to be planted!

The zucchini plants are really starting to get large now, very quickly. I think it must've been the heat that we had on Thursday/Friday. The tomato plants (especially the Early Girl that I received free from some real estate people wanting to sell properties) are becoming greener and larger. I also found 2 volunteer tomato plants popping up - one is a san marzano, I believe, and the other one is a cherry tomato.

T planted a whole bunch of nasturtium seeds and I see them all popping up everywhere. We will have to work on his spacing technique, but I can't wait to see them all flowering - it will definitely be a beautiful sight.

The corn plants are growing well. It is now that I realize how terribly close I planted them all together. I just hope they are okay with the snug space they have. I just loved the corn we grew last season!

All except one seed potato that I planted have sprouted, and are gaining speed very quickly. It is so exciting to see a new type of vegetable (to me) flourishing in the first season! I just wonder how high I can mound it and if the hight I can go will be enough for a good harvest. I think we may be getting a pound of potatoes per plant...we'll see.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Garlic Success!

The garlic plants that I planted near the cherry tree were looking a bit wind-swept, yellow, and nearly lying parallel to the ground, so I thought they were probably ready to harvest. It is just the beginning of May so it could've been a bit too early, but...

Sunday, my son and I dug up 20 nice heads of garlic! some were quite huge too! I left the leaves on and braided them all together (thought I'd try, although from what I've been reading, I think I should have let it dry a bit first in a cool/well-ventilated area first before doing so...oh well....learning adventures!) and hung them out on an unused trellis, next to the house where it gets very little sun. The rest of the week should be rather hot and dry, so they should be okay for at least this week.

Now I have to think what I can plant back there...I have some tomato plants in front of that area, so I may plant more back there...or the rest of the peppers that I still have to get into the ground... :-) decisions, decisions!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

milestone reached: all plots weeded!

YEAH! I weeded all of my plots! Even all of the grasses and vetch that overwintered in my south garden. They were much easier than I anticipated to pull up with my bare hands. I have left them lying on top of the ground and I will do the lasagne method on them with some cardboard and what I have left of soil amendments (I only have 2 bags left...:( ). I'd love to use my own compost instead, but I just don't generate enough for all plots...plus the stuff I have in that bin are not quite ready. I may just use it anyways.

Oh, and thanks to freecycle, I got some awesome compost tea for free!! score! Note to self - dilute it 10:1 (water:tea) ratio before use!

I've started more seeds in hopes that I can still grow some vegetables from seed on my own. I'm getting a little impatient, but I am telling myself that I've spend enough on the garden that I don't needs to spend more on plants, when I have the seeds for it. It's soooooo tempting tho. If I do find exactly what I want at a nursery, I may but it tho...we'll see.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tough Learning Lesson

My seedlings grew great with the lighting fixtures and the heat mat...but once faced with the outside elements, some died! :-(

Most of it was my fault tho. Next time, try to acclimate seedlings by placing them outside (during the day only) for 2 - 3 days, then after that, up till at least a week, leave them outside.

Also, this year, its been weird weather (when is it NOT during spring????). Through March till now, we've had highs up to the low 80s and lows to the low 60s to mid 50s. It is near the middle of april and the day temps are around low to mid 60s. this weekend it should go into the low 70s.

**It may be best to plant veggies starting mid April (if you can wait till then), which means to start hardening seedlings off during early april.

**Start seedlings around late February, and plant every 2 weeks thereafter.

The time I started seedlings this year was good. Every 2 weeks was good because sometimes some seeds don't sprout, sometimes it takes longer to sprout certain seeds (like peppers and eggplant!!!)

Well, during the planting of veggies, it looks like I may lose most of my tomato plants, I lost ALL of my cucumber plants, and I believe my zucchini plants are fighting to survive...at least they haven't shriveled up completely like the cucumbers. And its been a week or so since planting, so I think they will make it.

I have some rapini that have NO problems with being moved out. I haven't planted them in the ground yet since I'm not sure exactly where to plant them, but I will this weekend.

There are a few other plants (my peppers, eggplant, some butternut squash, some corn, some okra, a couple of zucchinis, maybe a couple of tomato plants too) in containers that have been acclimating this entire week, so I hope to find homes in the ground for them.

**BUY: I don't like the idea that I will be purchasing more for the garden (I spend probably $300 - $400 on the garden already ($200 of which is reuseable), most of which is for amendments...I need to get another compost container).

I will buy some cucumber seedlings (I may try to grow mine first...one more time), some tomatoes, and a good six-pack of corn.

Nectarine tree has the peach leaf curl...make sure to spray ground and tree next winter (january) with the copper fungicide.

I got a few plums, almonds, nectarines, and cherries (YIPEEEEEEE!!!!) growing. I see buds popping on the apple tree, and not just on the part that I got 3 apples from last season...so that is also exciting!

Garlic are growing well...we'll see if we get any bulbs. I counted about 30 plants out there.

I am planting potatoes this season for the very first time. I am growing them in 32-gallon sterilite tubs (safe plastics are 1, 2, 4, 5...these sterilite tubs are 5's)...4 of them. NOT ENOUGH. I bought to kinds of potatoes - the purple viking and the german butterball. 5lbs total of spuds, and could BARELY plant a 1/3 of it. I will try to dig up the merlot grape and see if I can plant a few back there.

Oh, and I dug up the concord grape! I gave it to a co-worker (the merlot one will be going to him too...I just have to dig it up). I bought a ruby seedless to take it's place. If I don't plant potatoes where the merlot is, I'll look for another seedless table grape...maybe flame seedless. but I am not in a real hurry.

Monday, March 14, 2011

seed starting - NOT an easy task

I told myself I wouldn't buy very much for planting in general...I mean why do plants need to be pampered? They have done without for a long time...Well, since seed-starting this year, I've bought 2 (yes, TWO) shop fixtures and 4 bulbs for them, and one seedling heat mat. *sigh*, talking about breaking down! but my entire setup has been under $100. The shelving unit that I am using was already in place in our garage.

After all this, I must be having a bunch of seedlings growing crazily, right? well, read my title for this post again. :-( out of about 36 peat pellet "pots", less than half have sprouted. okay, so some of my seeds are 1 - 2 yrs old, but wow, I expected at least half!

Well, one thing is for sure...this whole experience has humbled me. Seed starting is not a simple process.

But I am not an easy quitter...I have planted a few more seeds, in hopes to get more germination from snow peas (the earlier bunch had 0 germination (that is a ZERO), jacob's cattle beans (also a ZERO germination from the previous planting), butternut squash (I got 1 out of the last planting, yay!), cucumber (I had 2!), I believe it is a celebrity tomato (I haven't planted any of this type before, but I have at least 4 tomato plants from the previous planting), and butternut squash (I may have 1 plant from the previous planting). So, we'll see what the end of the week brings.

*keeping fingers crossed!*

PS: the weeding and bed preparation in my garden is well under way, but I have only managed to finish 1 out of 7.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

More Seed Starting

Yeppers...last night, since I actually bought myself a seedling heat mat (*gasp*...I never thought I would buy one of these things...but it is freezing in our garage!!), I decided to plant more seeds:

snow peas
sugar snap peas

and the rest are all bush beans:
blue lake
royal burgundy
dragon langerie
jacob's cattle

Jacob's cattle is the first shelling bean I am planting. I chose this one because if I wanted to, I can also pick them early as a snap bean and eat whole.

why bush beans? well, basically because the trellises/cages that I do have, I use for grapes, tomatoes, and peas. plus none of my cages are big enough.

so far, only one of my previously planted seeds have sprouted...I did log what I planted where, but there seems to be a mix up. That peat pot log states that it is a sugar baby seedling, but its too small for a watermelon seedling...it looks more like a sage. we'll see soon. (and fingers crossed that all my seedlings will now grow because of the extra warmth!)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Harvest 2010

Snow Peas: 4.5 handfuls (1 handful = 30 pods)
Super Sugar Snap Peas: 2 handfuls (1 handful = 30 pods)
San Marzano Tomatoes: 200+
Australian Yellow Onion: 30
Zucchini: 29
Strawberries: 27
Corn: 17 ears
Eggplant: 27
Jalapeno: 16
Zucchini Squash: 11
Garlic: 9 (tiny heads)
Anaheim Pepper: 10
Lettuce (various): 6 salad bowlfuls (adult, side salad amount)
Bell Pepper: 9
Apples: 4
Cucumber: 4
Beans (blue lake, dragon's tongue, royal burgundy): 9 lb(s)
Soybeans: 0.5 lbs
European Plum: 2
Nectarines: 2
round tomatoes: 15
Charantais Melon: 1
Concord Grapes: 0.5 lbs
Broccoli: 2.5 lbs
Carrots: 2
Asian Lettuce: 2.0 lbs
Spinach: [FAILED]

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Season 2011 has begun

Whoa...it has been waaayyy too long since I last posted to this blog. since September 2010? Shame on me!!

Life has had its moments since then and since my work life deals with me being on the computer all day, I kinda lose the interest of going on to a computer when I get home. But, that's besides the point!

The point of this blog is to keep a log of my journey into edible gardening. This year, I am starting my plants from seed...I tried to do that last year, but a trip overseas made me donate my plants to a school's garden. And I ended up coming back and buying most of my veggies.

Why the sudden post? Well, I actually started my seeds today...actually I just finished it a few minutes ago...yippee!!! I bought a jiffy greenhouse thingy (very flimsy but I had excellent results with it last year) with 72 peat pellets. I also set up a light fixture to place lights above my seeds to give it some natural-type light. It won't offer heat, but rather just the light. I know that the seeds need more warmth than anything right now so i've kinda snuggled them onto a warm towel under the light and have the plastic cover over the seeds. they are in the garage right now. i may have to bring them into the house during the night tho...it will get too cold.

What have I started? well, of the 72 peat pellets, I have only started 24 of them. (Can you imagine planting all 72 at once?! that would be overkill...think succession planting!). I have started:

California wonder
Kaleidescope Pepper

Note: I've had really bad problems with sprouting and growing peppers in the ground...I don't know if it's because I don't water enough, the soil is not their type or what, but I'm trying again. I'll plant them in a different spot this time.

Butternut squash (dated 2008 and 2010)
8 ball (dated 2008 and 2010)
zucchini vegetable marrow
zucchini gold rush
black zucchini

Note: I've had great success with the vegetable marrow and the black zucchini. I wasn't too diligent with the others, therefore they failed for one reason or another last season. This season, I will be (at least try harder to be) more careful with these guys and hope I get to see some on my plate this season.

Banana legs
German orange strawberry

Note: I found that I LOVE my paste tomatoes. Of the three listed above, only the banana legs are said to be a paste type, but the Riesentrauben (translated to "huge grapes") is a large grape tomato type (duh) which I also love, and the German orange strawberry (name sounds weird, doesn't it?) looked really beautiful and I wanted to try grow it myself. I actually don't have any other paste tomato seeds...I'll have to look for some. I've tried the roman candle, speckled roman, san marzano, and the roma. All great! I really loved the roman candle, however, because of its beautiful yellow color and firm flesh. I do want to grow a black tomato type...we'll see if I get my hands on one.

Golden Bantam Corn

Note: I had a blast growing these for the first time last year. I bought it as small plants and all 12 plants gave me at least 1 ear each. They were super tasty and I would pick them, shuck them and throw them directly into a pot of boiling water to par boil them (to de-ear them) or boil/steam them to eat, OR even better, just eat them straight from the garden. yummy! my son and I enjoyed the latter the best. With growing them, I also learned a lot of how they grow and develop the corn kernels. I didn't know that each silk strand was connected to a corn kernel and it's the silk that catches the pollen (that grows out of the top of the corn plants), fertilizes and becomes a plump kernel. amazing. its one of the reason why I love to plant new things!

Burgundy okra

I don't know if I like okra (I shudder at all the comments from people who complain about the slime....ewww), but I read that this plant is also very ornamental. So even if I decide that okra is not for me, at least I can enjoy the beauty of it.

Suyo TK

Last year I was lazy at watering them often, so some of them came out rather bitter. This year I will try harder (much harder) to keep them happy and productive.

Sugar baby watermelon

Two years ago, i had some success at planting this from seed. I realised that they need to be watered EVERY DAY. I'd like to eat some watermelon again, so here goes nothing!!

Ping Tung eggplant

I kinda like eggplant...but last season we had too much so I'm making sure we don't plant too much.


I missed having this in my garden last year. i didn't realize that they are perennial plants. I had them in my garden back in 2009, but i guess from not watering them often enough, it died. I'd love to use fresh sage in my cooking again.

Well, that's all the seeds I planted in my 24 peat pots. I'll plant more (different things) next week, and do a double sowing of this week's seeds in 2 weeks.