Sunday, February 28, 2010

Last Day of February

It's the last day of the month and I couldn't be more thrilled. I know that this is weird but I'm just not a huge fan of February. For that matter, I'm not too keen about January either. I am not really sure why but I have been this way all my life. I love the other 10 months but not those two. They just seem rather dull to me. Post holidays and pre-spring, there just doesn't seem much to them.

But, I digress, this is really about today's end-of-the-month harvest. Sure it won't exactly feed the family for a week but it is something. We finally got more arugula, three beets, five radishes and two carrots (damn...they take forever to grow). At least with the beets, you also get the beet greens and not just the roots.

And, sadly, our arugula bolted. So, I spent some time today tearing it out and sowing new seeds. Fortunately, arugula is a fast grower so we are hoping to have new crop making its first appearance within the next week or so. We may even be able to harvest some baby arugula by the end of March. And, I also sowed more seeds for the radishes, beets and the chard. Oh, the chard, how it mocks me. It just won't grow more than a couple of inches before it just stops, I cannot figure out why. But, I'm going to keep trying for another few months. Just not ready to throw in the towel yet on this veggie.

Just a few more weeks till the official start (March 20) of spring...can't wait.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

So Many Seeds, So Little Space

This spring/summer planting and growing season will mark our second year at trying to grow some of our own food. And, instead of purchasing transplants from a local nursery, we are going to try and grow at least 90% from seed. This way we have access to a lot more variety, and plants that will hopefully work best for our growing situation and climate.

Right after the New Year, I ordered a number of seed catalogs (Tomato Growers, Seeds of Change, Seed Savers Exchange, Johnny’s Selected Seeds and Burpee). When they finally arrived in late January and early February, I thought I had died and gone to gardening heaven. I started referring to them as “gardening porn.” I read them like novels but marked them up like textbooks. After several weeks and a lot of second-guessing myself, I finally decided what to order. So, now the deed is done and I am anxiously awaiting the deliveries (hoping for the first or second week of March).

Here’s the list of seeds:


  • San Marzano
  • Yellow Canary
  • Isis Candy
  • Super Sweet 100 VF Hybrid
  • Sioux
  • New Big Dwarf
  • Better Bush VFN Hybrid


  • Early Sunsation Hybrid
  • Peto Wonder Hybrid
  • Chilly Chili Hybrid
  • Jalapeno M


  • Vittoria PS Hybrid
  • Fairy Tale Hybrid


  • Diamant


  • Sugar Sprint


  • Ornamental Gourds (mix)
  • Honey Bear
  • Waltham Butternut OG
  • Rouge Vif D’Etampes


  • Cocozelle


  • Blue Lake
  • Roc D’Or


  • Jacob’s Cattle Gold


  • Orange Fantasia


  • Santa Fe

This doesn’t include the selection of seeds that I already have and have been growing from since the fall. Now, I have to find new places to grow everything since there is no way that I can fit everything into four 4’x4’ raised beds. I will need to get creative with containers. I am eyeing parts of the front yard for the peppers and, may be, the eggplants. And, I may dig up some of the backyard to make room for the squashes and pumpkins since they have a tendency to take up a lot of space.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Some Early Signs of Spring

February is ending and March has yet to begin but there are more signs of spring showing up in the garden every day. The French Lavender that is in the front yard is bursting with blooms and covered in bees.

The fig tree that is in the backyard is just starting to show its first leaves. Oh, and I didn't say what kind of fig tree it is because we are not really sure. Might be Black Mission or it could be Brown Turkey. It's really hard to tell. All I can say is that the figs are really really tasty but you have to get to them quickly before the squirrels do...little bastards.

And, finally, our plum tree has started to produce a few blossoms. Though I expect that there will be an explosion of flowers on it within the next week or two. Then, we can look forward to plums in May and June. That is if the neighbors don't steal all of them first. Which is a problem when your two plum tress are planted in a parkway strip and they are fair game for the neighborhood.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Spring Has Sprung?

Has spring come early to SoCal? We had rain and cool temps last month and even this month. But, in the last several days, there has been a high pressure system over the west so now we have unusually warm weather. It's hard to complain too much about gloriously warm days (70s and 80s) and sunny skies when the east coast has been blanketed with snow, but the plants are confused. And, the most confused seem to be our apple trees. They are blooming and it's mid-February. This is not normal. March, yes. February, no. They look beautiful though and are a buzz with bees. But, I worry about how they will fare when the weather gets cool again and rains return...which should be later this week. But, for now, we are enjoying the show.