Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Planting time!

Today I went planting-happy with the seeds. I planted Bell Peppers, Okra, Cilantro, Basil and lots of Awahia Onions. I'll post pics tomorrow.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Harvest Updates

Here's a spread of the Brassicas: Kale, Broccoli Greens and radishes that got too little sun so they didn't develop their red bulby roots. Oh, and some Mint on the bottom left.

Baking Day

Here we're making Banana muffins.

2 loaves of Gluten-free bread

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Accidental Heritage

I recieved my new packet of short-day bulbing onions from the University of Hawaii. I've discovered these are rare Heritage seeds!

The Seeds of Diversity, Heritage Plants Database says,

Awahia Onion
Seed Availability:
Not currently propagated by Seeds of Diversity's seed-savers.
Available from only a few mail-order seed companies. Very difficult to find.
Not maintained by the Canadian gene bank.
Maintained by the U.S. gene bank.

I'm proud to have these seeds. I hope I am able to keep this line of Awahia onions going. I want to save it's seed for next season. I hope I can do it successfully.

Bees in our garden

It's warm and of course all the trees are blossoming. The bees are busy making honey, but more importantly, many are swarming and making clusters to start new hives. One swarm decided to start a hive in our front yard sprinkler system box. This box is not in use as we've turned off the system for the winter months, but now we're wondering what we should do with these bees. I've contacted a local bee club to see if these bees might be AHBs (Africanized Honey Bees) but they told us if they were, they would be attacking you if you were close enough to take that picture. of the box. We are considering learning how to keep a hive. Does anyone know how?

Crop gift and Harvests

These gorgeous bananas were a gift. They were grown locally in Hacienda Heights! Can't wait to ripen them. We're putting them in a brown bag with some apples in hope that they'll ripen. Does anyone know a different way of ripening them?

Here are some gnarly carrots and a few overwintered cherry tomatoes

Garden Updates

This strawberry looks deficient. The leaves are yellowing. Does anyone know what it might need? I added some fresh compost mixed with well aged manure about 3 weeks ago. Maybe it's time for more?

Fig tree is in full-swing leaf production

Our brassicas: Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Komatsuna & Radishes

Seedling nursery: Roma Tomotoes, Romaine Lettuce, Spinach, Peppers, Basil, Green Beans, Violas, Kabocha Pumpkins, Petit Gris Melons, Sweet Alyssum, and more I can't recall right now.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Spring Blossoms

I wanted to share with you our Spring Flora. It's so wonderful to see the displays of God's Beauty. The images are mine and I have full copyright to them.
Green Cimbidiums

"Sunshine Blue" Blueberry

Orange Glowing Clivias

Navel Orange blossoms

"Crown of Thorns"Euphorbia milii(top), Red Kalanchoes(bottom)

Shinseiki Japanese Pear Blossoms

hot pink Verbena

innocently white Freesias

hot pink Pelargoniums. Most peopl call them Geraniums

Lavenders and Orange Gerbera Daisies

I don't know what these are called, but the open a medium purple then fade to white. So each tree has different shades of purple. It's gorgeous.

Red and Yellow Sparaxis. Thanks Katie for the the identification!

deep magenta Pelargonium

orange Kafir Lilies

Friday, March 20, 2009

More updates

The Strawberries are trickling in...

...and we have an early crop of Loquats coming in. Back in January, we had some flux in the weather where the temps were in the 90's and the trees thought it was spring already. So the Loquat blossomed and produced an early set. There's a second set that bloomed in early March as well and those are small fruitlets right now.

Here's a potato salad made with homegrown potatoes and parsley

More homegrown potatoes, kale and parsley in this soup.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Harvest Updates & Home Cooking

Here's some lovely kale I picked. It's not much, but it'll make a nice soup or a sautee.

Here's just some of the herbs I collected for making home-made "sausages". We're trying to live a more simple life, be less dependent on markets and stores. We still have a long way to go, but we were buying ready-made sausages that were 10 oz/box, costing $4.59 each and going through about 6 boxes a month. So, each ounce costs us $0.459. It may not sound like much, but add up 6 boxes and you have $27.50. I bought some ground turkey from the Co-Op, and made a 36 0z slab of patty that I cut up. Each ounce of that cost me $0.202, which is a 56% cost cut! So if I were to "buy" 6 boxes worth of my own sausages, I'd be paying $12.12. I can live with that! Sure it's more work, but any little bit of money will help, esp now-a-days.

Here's the finished "sausages" being cut up. I *could* roll the ground turkey mixture into nice little sausage shapes, but that'll take many more hours than spreading the stuff onto the sheet! I've gotta make things easy for myself since we make so much stuff from scratch already!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Last of the Kumquats

I just wrote the title and it reminded me of the movie title: "Last of the Mohicans". Imagine little Kumquats in Native American attire and you get the picture...lol. This is the last batch of kumquats since we transplanted the tree and it will be in shock for at least a year before it starts bearing fruit again. A few strawberries trying to blend in, maybe one of them is Kevin Costner...

Busy, busy, busy!

Here's both of our SunOvens. One is roasting a whole chicken, then other is baking some yams for snack-time.

Here are some of the plants that have moved FROM the HH house in the front rows, the back rows are plants that are supposed to go TO the HH house to fill the spaces of the plants we dug up. Why the swap? The front row plants are all edibles, the back row plants are not.

We're making room for 6 raised beds that are 3' x 8'. There will be a seventh bed that will be about 2' x 12'. Here's the first of the 6 that are going in. T is digging the ditches to make space for the second one. Thank you T for working so hard. (He had sore leg muscles the next days from digging so much!)
Here's another angle
In order to make room for the 6 large beds, we decided to move the Kumquat tree after much thought. We hope it will survive the transplant as it is getting warmer already. Dig, dig, dig and dig some more... whew!
Yes! We did it!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Harvest Updates

We are definitely enjoying spring here. Tangerines are coming into season now at the Hacienda Heights house. We are still tying up loose ends over there so we go often enough to harvest the fruits there too. The pics below are from West Covina's garden. The potatoes were dug early because we were seeing a lot of leave damage to the plants and thougt the land could be used better if other things are planted. We'll probably replace them with Peppers.
Strawberries, just a few...

Potatoes, lots of small ones

Monday, March 9, 2009

lots of new compost!

Here's all the smaller branches that were cut from the Pepper tree, in the back mound, and the front spread is all the lawn we dug up for the apple tree areas. We're letting them dry out some before we throw them into our large pit we dug in the former pond area. Happy the dog(golden retriever/cocker spaniel mix) is checking out the grass thinking this would be a great bed! Later on, when the grass was dried out, Happy and Lori (the cat) were found sleeping on the "hay", then Happy decided to poop on it. Geez pooping on your own bed...dogs...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

New Stead Harvests

drying the Parsley

The New "Stead"

This is the front of the house before we cut the Pepper Tree down, it's pretty, but the tree was growing really fast.
I planted a little boy!
Preparing the bed for the apple trees

This is after we cut it down...it looks sad, very sad right now.

Here's the front yard with the Pepper tree stump, and the newly planted tiny Apple Trees.

Here's the backyard from one end of the yard.The white bare branches are the fig tree's. Behind it is the Navel Orange

Here it is from the other side. There used to be a pond where the rocks surround a patch of dirt. We are planning to plant pumpkins and summer squashes here.

Asian Pear Trees and Loquat Tree

Here's some Potato Plants growing

Kumquat tree