Monday, October 29, 2012


My friend, Louise, sent me orchids on the 2nd day of surgery. Anyone coming & going through my room commented at how beautiful they are yet no one could offer any growing tips. When I was finally reunited with my iPad, I was able to start educating myself.

There are mounds of information out there only to match the mounds of varieties available. I'm looking for a good source of information to help me successfully grow these beauties. Until then, it's minimal water and even less light.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Happy Birthday Louise

Today is my friend's birthday.  We are road trip best buds.  She is Louise to my Thelma. We are such good friends that we would even share our Tom (Selleck).  Hmmmm mmmm. It cannot be garden talk all the time.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Marina Del Rey Espalier

Took some time away from the garden to get a couple of back surgeries taken care of.  The surgeons call it fusion.  I call it grafting.  Soon I hope to have a much stronger trunk allowing me to be as graceful as an espalier pear. At least my room has a patio.

Kickin' back in Marina Del Rey.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Mustard Greens Recipe Search

I was fighting a battle with the garden squash bugs.  Each morning or evening I would cruise the pumpkin patch and squash the squash bugs along with any of their eggs.  My back had other ideas; so bending down to fight this war just wasn't happening.  With that, the squash bugs continued to breed like, well, bugs.  They took over and sucked the vines dry.
Squash bugs winning the battle AND the war.
Only a few pumpkins were salvaged while the rest met their doom in the green waste. The pumpkin patch needs to make way for more winter vegetables like the mustard that has just sprouted.
Squash bugs have been living the high life.
Four varieties of mustard have been sown in the old tomato bed. It's supposed to repel nematodes; so that's why I picked up some seed packs down at Floyd's.  The cashier made a "nummy" sound when she saw the picture of mustard greens on the packets.  I've never had mustard greens.  In fact, I haven't had much Southern food at all.  Fried chicken is about it. 
Chinese Gai Choi, Florida Broadleaf, Southern Giant Curled, and Tendergreen Mustard varieties look like they will be filling the bed for the winter.  At least, they can be chopped under for green manure. At most, I will use the baby greens in salads and try mustard greens - IF they grow to maturity and I find a decent recipe.  Mushy greens don't sound appealing to me; but I need to understand why the Floyd's cashier made the "nummy" sound.  I'm sure bacon must be involved.

I've been searching for recipes that look good.  Having personal recommendations of recipes is so much better though. If anyone has a mustard greens recipe to recommend, please share.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Boysenberry Clean Up

This year five bare root thorn less boysenberries were planted in a keen bed that Farmer MacGregor constructed.  To make the bed symmetrical, a sixth plant that was in a pot was placed with the others.  Every plant produced berries...some more than others but berries there were.  Netting had to be draped over the canes to keep the birds away.  The netting worked beautifully and was reused for the apricots then the peaches.  Once during the summer, the canes that produced berries were cut down to the ground and removed. Four or five new canes were tied to the support.  These canes will produce next year.  The plants were left for the summer to grow stronger to support the bumper 2013 crop.  Regular irrigation and infrequent fertilization was the only maintenance...apparently.

Fall clean up has begun.  Farmer MacGregor is deep into painting chores.  Seeds for the winter garden have been sown and thinned.  Wisteria has been cleaned up.  The final fruit tree pruning for the year is done with minimal pruning to follow.  The boysenberry jungle has been left until the weather became bearable and that day was today.  Here are some before and after shots of the three plants on the west side of the berry bed:

A good number of the canes on the ground had started to form roots.  Waiting much longer to clean this up would have made the job more difficult.  If you plan on planting bare root berry canes this winter, make sure you have enough room and plan to keep them in control - unless you would like a berry jungle.  Consider a raised bed for control of shoots and less bending.