Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mulch: I Never Seem to Buy Enough

This year I am finally getting around to mulching our garden beds. It is something I should have been doing a long time ago but it's taken me some time to get on the mulch bandwagon. Yes, I know that it's great for helping to conserve water, suppress weeds and is aesthetically pleasing but it's a big pain in the butt to get from the garden center to our home. Why? We don't have a truck or an SUV. I have the largest vehicle in the family and that's a VW Jetta. It's not exactly a work vehicle but it does have a lot of truck space. We have used it to haul bags of pea gravel, though that took a few trips to get all the we needed and almost destroyed the car. And, it can easily handle a bag or two of potting soil or compost. But, when it comes to mulch, I have discovered that you always need more than you think you do. For example, the garden bed (partially pictured above) really needed six to seven bags of mulch. I thought five would do it but I was obviously wrong. Hence, there is a big empty spot waiting for its mulch. So, now one of my errands this week is to go back to the garden center and get more mulch. I'm starting to think that I just need to stockpile it.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Slow-Roasting Cherry Tomatoes

This past Friday, since it was the end of the week, I was debating all day about what to make for dinner that evening. And, part of that debate was trying to figure out how to make the best use out of the produce that we had left-over from previous Saturday's foray to the Pasadena Farmer's Market. Lo and behold, we had some cherry tomatoes that were a bit past their prime. I hated the idea of giving them to the worms since they were still edible. But, they were bit too ripe and there was not a lot of them. Really just a couple of handfuls and I have small hands. So, I'm was trying to figure out what to do with them and I finally remembered reading about slow-roasting tomatoes in Molly Wizenberg's book, A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table. Molly is the blogger who created OrangetteIt's one of my favorite food blogs and I loved her book. So, I went searching for the recipe. Well, the recipe is really for roma tomatoes and not cherry tomatoes. But, what the hell, I was willing to give it a try. And, I'm glad that I did, they were delicious on our gorgonzola stuffed hamburgers that evening.

So delicious, that I am making another batch today. This time though, I'm using romas.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Spring in the Garden - Part III

It's still spring but just barely. In just a couple of more weeks, the solstice will bring us the beginning of summer. But, for now, we are still enjoying the spring weather. We have June gloom. It's overcast and cool in the morning and then gets sunny and warm in the afternoon. And, this weekend we are even experiencing a bit of heat wave with temps in this part of Los Angeles up into the high 80s and low 90s. The veggies are loving it. We have harvested our first little bunch of bush beans. It wasn't that many so we combined them some from the farmer's market to make a full side dish for last night's dinner.

Oh, that's not a bush bean. It's a shelling bean. Or we hope it will be shelling beans. They are Jacob's Gold. They are supposed to taste similar to Pinto Beans. We are cautiously optimistic that the plants will produce enough so that we can actually use them for chili at the end of the summer.

Our Dwarf Meyer Lemon has started producing fruit again. I've counted 10 of them so far. And, we are hoping for a few more. Unfortunately, they won't be ready to harvest till late fall or early winter but it is fun watching them grow.

And, last but not least, we are trying to grow at least 9 tomato plants this year. We did end up ordering seedlings since the ones that we have been trying to start from seed were not doing so well. So, this is a photo of an Isis Candy plant that I picked up at the farmer's market. Isis Candy is a yellow-gold cherry tomato with red marbling. They are supposed to be rich tasting and sweet. They are an indeterminate variety, so we are hoping it will produce well all season long.

And, I have good news about some our little starter seedlings, a few of them look like they are going to survive. I may even be able to start transplanting them next week. The more tomatoes the better! I dream of being able to can some my own homegrown ones.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


We have waited for months and months for our tangerines to ripen enough to harvest. Finally, the time was right. So I started picking some of them this past weekend. They are very decepetive since they start turning orange in February but it takes until late May for them to develop any sweetness. As you can see from one of the photos, they have a ton of seeds in side. So far, I have only used them for juice but I'm thinking of making tangerine marmalade with the rest.