Sunday, December 13, 2015

Fava beans, December 2015

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I grow fava beans for my winter garden. I soak seeds overnight in water and plant where I had the summer tomatoes. I suppose my hope is that this will help replenish the soil as fava beans are known to contribute to nitrogen fixation.

Family: Fabaceae; Vicia faba

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Flowering black chia

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The black chia seeds, organic, came from Costco. I throw a tablespoon or two into plain Greek yogurt to create a nice chia pudding.

This summer, I threw a handful of seeds in a corner of my garden. I did get one plant to grow over the summer, amazing considering the limitations from our horrible drought. One is enough. I was surprised it flowers so late in the year.

Sunday, November 29, 2015


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Cilantro looking healthy and happy in the cooler weather. I planted these in October. The seeds seem to germinate better when they are seeded close to each other. I cover very lightly with soil. Family: Apiaceae, Genus: Coriandrum sativum.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Tomatillos: it takes two

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My first attempt at growing tomatillos from seed resulted in only one plant. I planted the one, and it did spectacularly well: tall with flowers galore. It overtook its allotted spot, spreading into the neighbor's side. But, strangely, there was no fruit. I checked the seed package; it made no mention of needing two plants to get fruit.

I turned to the Google, and, whoa, it turns out tomatillos need another tomatillo plant near by in order to produce fruit because they don't self-pollinate in the same way as tomatoes. This left me somewhat annoyed because I really wish this little piece of information had been on the seed package instructions and because it is getting late in the season. I hurriedly bought and planted another seedling. Several weeks later, while I don't have an abundance of fruit, it looks as though some cross-fertilization happened. I have some baby tomatillos on its way. Relief. Moral of this story: it takes two [tomatillos] to tango.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Scarlet runner bean flowers

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Finally have flowers on the scarlet runner beans. I did not take a photo of the leaves but I think the birds have discovered the leaves are tasty. At least, I think it is the birds who are destroying the leaves. Here are photos of the early stages.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

First Green Zebra

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These were grown from seed. The first of the green zebras of the year are coming in. Given our predatory squirrel population as they have figured out to wait for the tomatoes to turn red, I wanted to try growing green tomatoes. Maybe I'll have some tomatoes to harvest because they stay green when ripe. Hah.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The tomato patch, mid July

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My tomatoes grew into one very large mound. They were planted around 1.5 feet apart. Obviously, this was not far enough apart. Because of the horrific drought we are experiencing here in California, I water judiciously, usually once per week of deep watering. The tomato plants still grew very well. I may cut back the watering even more once I see more fruits developing. We'll see. For comparison, here is a photo I took earlier this month.

Friday, July 31, 2015

First Black Krim

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The very first tomato of the 2015 season, not surprisingly, is a Black Krim. They are very nice tomatoes, especially for our coastal region, a bit smoky and salty in flavor. Mine do not get very large but that is okay because these are perfect for salads. Black Krim, at least in my garden, start early and end late. I'm very happy with these and save seeds every year.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

First Brandywine developing

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First Brandywine developing. I have a shot of the plant in this photo, right side. I generally have noticed the Brandywines in my garden in past years do not produce many tomatoes. However, the fruit that develops tend to be quite large. Due to the predatory squirrel issue, I'm thinking this year I will harvest any tomtatoes earlier than I would like. This is not my preference but if I don't do otherwise, I will not be able to enjoy any tomatoes.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Watermelon, emerging

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I am trying watermelon this year. The seeds were planted into a 15 gallon bucket. I cover the soil with one layer of newspaper to reduce evaporation. I realize this is a bit late to plant watermelons but we'll see. We usually get our extremely warm weather towards the end of summer which I hope we'll get. Right now, we still have morning fog, a bit chilly for most plants, due to our coastal climate.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Scarlet runner beans, one week later

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No flowers yet but they are rapidly climbing up the poles. Late start this year. Here is what they looked like about a week ago.

Garden in early July 2015

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The tomato seedlings have flourished this year. I am happy with their growth. Black Krim is in the back to the left. On the right is the Brandywine. On the front left is the Paul Robeson. There are a few developing tomatoes but they are hidden in this photo. I did plant them around 1.5 feet apart, but this does not appear to be enough room. The Black Krim and Paul Robeson are cooler climate tomatoes, perfect for our coastal region with morning fog in the summer time. I don't have much space so I have only planted one of each so far. They are all from seeds I have harvested in past years.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Monday, June 22, 2015

Sunflowers luminous

 photo IMG_1638_zpsktilnxr3.jpgOnly one plant made it; this one is at the edge of my plot and greets anyone on the pathway. In the mornings, the flowers are luminous.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Tomatillo: new to my 2015 garden

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This tomatillo plant was planted from seed this year and transplanted to my garden a few weeks ago. It resembles a tomato plant somewhat. Somewhat, but as you see here, the flowers are a bit different.

Family: Solanaceae (same as the tomato and potato); Genus & species: Physalis philadelphica

Odd that the species is named after Philadelphia. According to Wikipedia:

Tomatillos were domesticated in Mexico before the coming of Europeans, and played an important part in the culture of the Maya and the Aztecs, more important than the tomato

Maybe these would throw the predatory squirrels for a loop.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

First Black Krim of the year

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Late start this year to the tomatoes. Today I spied this one hidden in the leaves! We are having the morning fog but the evening temps rarely drop below 60 which makes it fine for tomatoes.

Friday, January 23, 2015

New limes

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My lime tree is still producing well. Here are the new limes for the new year.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

On planting chile peppers for 2015

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Inspired by Mark over at Mark's Veg Plot, I decided to expand my chile horizons for this year. Last year, I had one chile negro pepper plant, and my one plant was quite successful. This year, I decided to focus on two different varieties: early Jalapeno and banana pepper. As I don't have much space in my community garden plot, I will likely plant only one of each.

I am treating the seeds as I do my tomato seeds. I soak them over night in a bit of water. Next, I plant at home where they are in the window sill where there is plenty of light and warmth.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Sungold tomatoes still hanging in there

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In the interest of space and time and everything else, I will likely pull my Sungold tomato plant soon. While they are still setting fruit and still blooming, I need space for the winter garden, which is actually quite late in the planting.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Roasted chile negro peppers

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The chile negro peppers were roasted in the oven at a low heat for several hours and then stored in a container. I am now researching mole recipes so that I can actually make use of them. I suppose I could use them in any recipe calling for a mild chili. Here's what they looked like before.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Emerging yarrow

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In the drought-tolerant portion of my garden, I rarely water which works well enough for Southern California native plants in my garden. Today I found the yarrow emerging, a reminder our native Southern California flora finds winter as one of the most active growing seasons.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

California poppy leaves

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In the drought tolerant portion of my garden (that is, the no-watering zone), the California poppies have self-seeded as I have noted in the past. Today, I admired their delicate fronds.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

New potatoes for the new year

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I harvested these tasty treats from one pot. Not much, for sure, but just enough to accompany a small meal.

Friday, January 9, 2015

And a fava new year to you as well!

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After a cold start, the fava beans appear to be thriving. The plan is to plant more in the next week in the spots where the tomatoes grew, my version of crop rotation when space is limited. I alternate Solanaceae family (tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes) with Fabaceae members (snow peas, fava, green beans).

Today in the gardens, I was excited to hear the extremely high pitched whistle of a Costa's hummingbird, normally a desert resident, in our beachside gardens. Then he flew by and flashed me, the thing that hummers do with their plumage. Male, of course. He was too speedy for me, alas, so no photo. Calypte costae

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New year's tomato

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It has been cold for southern California, with overnight lows in the low 40s F. I finally picked this today, New Year's day, to ripen at home. This has been the last Black Krim. I still have some Sungold (no photos) but the quality of the fruit drops when it gets chilly. I'll probably pull that one soon as well.

To all, wishing plenty of happy new year thoughts and all the best for a good gardening year!

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