What the heck?! Blogging sure has dwindled down to a small trickle just like the flow of the good ol' Kern River. Even though the drought is taking its toll, production in the garden continues. Here's what's going on:
As for the drought, I have very strong opinions that I'll save for another time.
Afterthought: I forgot to list the biggest resident in the garden this summer - tomatoes! Here's the variety, the amount, and where they came from:
Better Boy (6 plants from Floyd's) - These are planted in a bed that has been solarized to kill root knot nematodes. 4 out of 6 plants are thriving. As the temperatures have increased, the plants are looking healthier.
Big Beef (1 plant from the Tomato Lady at the Haggin Oaks Farmers Market) - The Tomato Lady needed to reduce her inventory; so a dollar bill won a healthy plant to try out.
Champion (6 plants from Floyd's) - These are living up to their name. All the plants are growing vigorously with many blossoms and tomatoes (non ripe yet).
Gold Currant (1 plant from a bird pooping at the front step) - Several years ago, a co-worker gave me an heirloom plant she started from seed. The thing would never die; so Farmer MacGregor had to yank it out during the winter. Each year, it sprouts somewhere in the garden. The current Gold Currant sprouted last year at the front step and thrived through our mild winter. It grows a top hedges (see header photo) for about 8 feet and has been producing grape tomatoes the entire time. It's a keeper.
Super Sweet 100 (1plant from Walmart) - What the heck. These were out on a rack at the entrance to the dreaded Walmart; so I made the trip a little bit more enjoyable by picking up a tomato plant. We'll see.
Friday, June 5, 2015
Saturday, March 14, 2015
Soaking the garden dirt off the fresh carrots and beets that were harvested this morning. Everything was hosed off; but there's some left behind. The water will be dumped on an azalea.
Carrots will be blanched and frozen with some reserved for Farmer MacGregor's corned beef. The beets will be pickled and set up in jars. There's still more out in the garden yet to be harvested.
Two beds are ready for tomatoes. I'll need to hit the sidewalk sale at Floyd's and get started tomorrow. Summer is here.
UPDATE: Looky here what I found in my haul of carrots. Hope this puts a smile on your face. If it doesn't, go out and pull some weeds.
Thursday, March 12, 2015
Wow! Wisteria is loaded up on the pergola with soft purple petals falling like sweet scented confetti. That perfume blended with all the citrus (grapefruit, orange, lemon, & manderin) and sweet alyssum is fabulous. It makes the transition from nice, cool weather into steamy armpit weather just a bit more tolerable - for now anyway.
Last weekend all the trees and berries were fertilized and the broccoli and cauliflower were pulled.
This weekend's tasks:
Harvest more beets (pickled) and carrots (frozen) to store for later.
Prepare some beds for summer crops.
Plant tomatoes IF I can make it that far.
Sunday, March 8, 2015
Out in the garden this morning before it gets too hot. Gardening is my meditation - similar to swimming laps. My mind has no specific focus but my body is on auto pilot to get the task done (kinda). I'm unplugged (kinda), with the exception of my iPad, speaker (70s radio from Rhapsody this morning).
While the weather is somewhat tolerable (70s - like my taste in music this morning) I need to get the beds ready for summer. That means pulling the spent broccoli/cauliflower bed. Most of the plants have bolted producing yellow blossoms the bees are loving. The bees will have plenty of other pollen in the garden - citrus, stone fruits, apples, wisteria, and danged old dandelions.
Pulling that bed revealed strong, healthy roots with no signs of damage from nematodes. Good. This bed was solarized last summer. So far, that process looks successful OR the buggers just don't like broccoli like George H. W.
Speaking of roots, my current time soaker is genealogy. It's most interesting, but there should be intervention for this jig saw puzzle like quest. One of my garden gnomes and I recently travelled to a genealogical conference in Salt Lake City. Wow. There is a huge community of geneaddicts (I just made up that word. Don't bother to look it up. Yet.).
My break has lasted long enough. Time to meditate some more.
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Bagrada bugs threatened the survival of broccoli a few months ago when the weather continued to be warm. Diatomaceous earth was applied; but I know it was the onset of cooler weather that really brought them down. Today, about a dozen heads were harvested with only one looking sickly (translation: compost bin). More is left to be harvested another day. This cold, foggy day is reserved for freezing the broccoli.
Before freezing, the broccoli needs to be blanched. Blanching helps green vegetables stay green and not turn brown. Gross.
1. Start a pot of water to boil. (I used a pasta pot to easily remove the hot broccoli.)
2. Prepare a large bowl of ice water.
3. Rinse broccoli to remove any debris.
4. Cut flowerettes from stalks.
5. Add a pinch of baking soda to the pot of boiling water. This punches up the green color.
6. Place flowerettes in the boiling water for 2 minutes.
7. Remove flowerettes from boiling water and place in ice water for 2 minutes.
8. Remove flowerettes from ice water and place on a towel.
9. Place cooled flowerettes on wax paper lined cookie sheet.
10. Place cookie sheet in freezer 30-60 minutes.
11. Put broccoli in labeled freezer bags.
When fresh, cooked broccoli is needed, remove from bag and use. Only a brief heating time is required. Use steamed, stir fry, or casseroles. Blanched broccoli just won't work for Super Bowl dips.
Sunday, December 14, 2014
The Calabrese Green Sprouting Broccoli is an Italian heirloom brought to America in the 1880s. It should produce many side shoots and produce heads 5" - 8". *
|Waltham 29 Broccoli|
|Red-Cored Chantenay Carrots|
|Sunshine Blue Blueberry|
There is lots going on in the garden during the most wonderful time of the year.
* Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.
Sunday, November 2, 2014
|Grapefruit - Rio Red|
Grapefruit is my favorite citrus. Rio Red is delicious. My dwarf tree is weighted down with the most fruit ever. That little tree should give enough fruit to last through the winter months. No scurvy here.
|Navel Oranges - Robertson|
|Lemon - Pink Variegated|
|Leaf Miner Larva|
|Asian Citrus Psyllid|
|Lettuce - Cimmaron|
Friday, October 24, 2014
|Carrots - Chantenay Red Core|
|Lettuce - Cimmaron|
If more time could be dedicated in the garden, it would really be a Jeffersonian organization. But I live in the real world and simply do the best I can. Martha Stewart I am not.
|Apples - Granny Smith|
Thursday, October 9, 2014
|Flying Saucer Morning Glory|
Dorothy (Soil Sister of the San Joaquin), up in Visalia, was bragging about her beautiful morning glories back in early September. I was always under the impression that morning glories were like weeds in the garden and my measly vines weren't growing much at all. Kind of an ego crusher. But Dorothy seems to be able to grow pretty much any kind of flower. Then the calendar page turned to October and my measly vines are coming right along.
Most all the flowers are blue and white. Of course, nature throws in a peculiar nonconformist once in a while. Almost perfect except for the blotch of something at one o'clock. I'm glad I tried to grow these weeds called morning glories. So far, no regrets. I may change my mind once the seeds start to explode.
Enjoy your October skies wherever you are.
Monday, October 6, 2014
|Granny Smith - store bought & garden grown.|
Since publishing this post, I have found out that the "scab" is called russeting and is caused by humidity as the apple develops. The example in the image above is an excellent example of very low humidity russeting since California is in the midst of an historic drought. Chemical supplements can be applied to have apples of more consistent size with a pleasing appearance. I found this interesting post regarding russeting. UC Davis also has an interesting explanation of russeting on apples. Scroll down to page 4 and read the article regarding russeting. Irrigation after the petals fall and there after seems to be important in avoiding russeting. This is similar to cracking in tomatoes when soil is allowed to dry out then water is applied. The plant sucks up the moisture and as a result, stretch marks are created.
All the fruit trees and berries have been fertilized and given a layer of compost to tuck them in for the winter whenever it arrives. The apples are the only fruit left. Once the leaves start to drop, I'll have a better view of the limbs to enable some pruning before Farmer MacGregor applies the dormant spray. Until then, we're still dreaming about some cold, wet weather.