Friday, July 31, 2009

I stand Corrected! It's Edible!

According to Wikipedia: Celosia cristata is a member of the genus Celosia, and is commonly known as cockscomb, since the flower looks like the head on a rooster (cock). They are annual plants of tropical origin, and their leaves and flowers can be used as vegetables. They are often grown as foods in India, Western Africa, and South America.

Our Predators

Red Dragonfly, they eat mosquitoes
Praying Mantis eating a moth
Wasp looking for caterpillars in the Kale

Our Dinner

Brown Rice with Blanched Komatsuna greens(Home Grown), salted cucumbers(H.G.) and Pan Fried Koho Salmon.
Dessert: Petit Gris de Rennes Melon(H.G.-this one was good!) and Kyoho Grapes(H.G) Delish!

Today's Harvest

Bitter Melon, Figs, Komatsuna(brassica), Tomatoes, Kyoho Grapes & Eggplant
are you wondering what we're doing with all these figs we're harvesting? We're just throwing them in the freezer since we can't keep up with eating them fresh. I plan on making some of it into fig jam to use for the muffins and some for the yogurt we eat for breakfast.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

What we ate for Dinner

Bitter Melon, Carrots & Zucchinis scrambled with Organic Turkey Bacon and Organic Tofu. Along with Organic Brown Rice. "C" thought it was really bitter and didn't enjoy it, but we had watermelon for dessert, and we told him he can't have the watermelon without eating the dinner first. He did eat all his food!

Today's Harvest

Mostly Fruits, Asian Pear, Figs, Strawberries, Tomatoes, and one Eggplant

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Garden Updates

The Herb Garden plants are filling in. The back is still empty, we've decided to try another round of Kabocha Pumpkins. (we actually didn't plant much towards the back in the first batch.) THe pumpkins will be planted there along with Corn and Beans(Native American "3 Sisters" companion planting) The 3 Sisters methods uses the unique characteristics of the 3 plants to aid eachother. The Pumpkin vines keeps the soil shaded for the Corn which requires a lot of moisture in the roots, the Corn helps the climbing Beans as support, and the Beans nourish the Corn and Pumpkin by fixing Nitrogen into the roots. The Corn gives some shade to the Pumpkins during the hottest times. Symbiotic relationships are everywhere in Nature. We humans cover acres and acres of field with one crop (monocropping) which requires more resource input: more water, more fertilizer, and pesticides)
Figs in full swing
Meet the new member of our Garden family: the Celosia. (It's the bright hot pink one, it's not edible tho) It was a gift from our next door neighbor, she grew it from seed. We planted it amoung the Broccoli & Jack-o-lantern Pumpkin to give that area a splash of color.
Zucchini growing fast!

He really wanted to pose for me!

Here is Happy posing for the camera, just a few seconds earlier, he was in the concrete paved area and I had the camera pointed at him. He sniffed the camera, then he got up, trotted over to the lawn and promptly sat down, then waited, as if to say, "ok, I'm ready now, this scenery is much better than that hard concrete" He's a good ol' boy.

Thai Catchai Watermelon Review

We had this for dessert tonight. It was delicious! The sweetness was concentrated in the center, the rind area was pretty bland but overall it's a great watermelon. The texture was firm and not mushy. I am definitely going to be growing these again.
I didn't take a pic of the dinner since none of the ingredients were homegrown, except for the garlic. We had Gobi Mutter with Tofu (Indian Dish with Cauliflower and Peas).

Today's Harvest

Dinner Tonight

This spaghetti was made with homegrown tomatoes, onions, garlic and basil. The non homegrown stuff was: the noodles, olive oil and the organic chicken. The sauce was cooked in the SunOven as well. It was yummy

Today's Harvest

The heat wave seems to have accelerated the figs & tomatoes ripening. However, the Tomato's blossoms seemed fail to set new fruit because of the high temps. The Eggplants are suffering from infestations flea beetles and tiny spider mites.
Sweet Basil
This watermelon decided to harvest it's self today by falling off the vine. I'm glad it didn't crack! I am very pleased with this variety of watermelon. It never succumbed to any of the powdery mildew even though the watermelons were right next to the Petit Gris Melons covered in the powdery mildew.
Update on the Petit Gris Melon: The 1st melon smelled wonderful, but the flavor was rather bland. I think it has to do with how the leaves which suffered too much from the powdery mildew attack. Leaves are the plants solar panels that convert light into useable energy as sugars. Since majority of the leaves were damaged, the plant didn't have much to work with and couldn't send any sugars to feed the melon. I hope the watermelon is as good as it looks. It certainly sounded good, a hollow sounding tapping is supposed to be a good sign.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Dinner Last Night

Last night's dinner was Mabo Tofu with Peppers and Eggplant. Some of the peppers(ones that were not eaten by the pepper weevil) made it into our dish. The eggplants are all homegrown. I don't really have a recipe readily, since I do everything by memory and taste, but here's the ingredients list:
Toasted sesame seed oil
Potato starch to thicken broth
Ground Turkey(optional)
Chicken broth(optional)


Bitter Melons are great because they never get the powdery mildew issue even though it is a curcurbit family member. The fruit is usually eaten immature when it's bitter as the name suggests, but I've heard that some people eat after it's ripened, and that it's sweet.
Remember the Kumquat that was transplanted to make room for raised beds? It survived and is gung-ho about producing fruit. I really didn't expect this tree to offer any fruit next season because of the transplant shock, but the mighty lil tree is proving me wrong!
Sapote sapling grown from seed
Avocado sapling grown from a Reed Avocado seed
The new set of tomatoes underplanted with a quick-growing Komatsuna crop we use for pickling.
Finally growing 2 Zucchini plants, late in the season
Second set of Thai Catchai watermelon(top) and Japanese Cucumbers
Kale plants in middle with bushbeans on the side. Peppers in the back

Today's Harvest

Bitter Melon, Millionaire Eggplants, Petit Gris Muskmelon, Tomato, Asian Pears and figs.
A Happy Camper taking a fig(he actually does not like figs raw, but will eat them in muffins)

Evil Pepper Weevils

Pepper Weevil: Anthonomus eugenii Cano, decided my peppers are delectable and eat most of them. I've never had problems with Pepper Weevils until this year. Maybe my Farmer's Market Peppers had some in there and I unknowingly composted them?(photo is not my own)
First inspection, the plants I had grown from seed look very healthy. But if you look carefully, the new leaves and blossoms are full of tiny holes. I hunted them down and squished each bug. I opened up all the infested peppers and killed the larvae too. Hopefully that should do the trick. I keep chekcing every morning to see if there are any new weevils. So far after day 3 of extermination, I haven't seen any new ones....yet.

Fruits of Our Labor

Tomatoes finally coming in. We have a somewhat shady spot this year, that's probably why it took so long to ripen.
Figs are coming in season, Fig muffins here we come!
Black Beauty Eggplants
A finally ripe Petit Gris Melon. I hear it's very delicious. I haven't eaten it yet! I'll let you know if it's as good as I've read the reviews to be.
Kyohou Grapes almost ready for picking

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Homegrown Strawberries and figs in homemade yogurt(soy). It's very yummy!

Today's Harvest

Yummy Figs, Asian Pears, Rugen Alpine Strawberries, Cherry Tomatoes, Japanese Cucumbers, Strawberries, and Millionaire Eggplant.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Half Homegrown Dinner

Let's see, starting with the cucumber and going clockwise: we have homegrown cucumbers, tomato, homegrown cucumber Kimchee, grilled eggplant, some hijiki(type of seaweed) with homegrown carrots and greenbeans inside. The beef, rice, organic chicken and hijiki are not homegrown of course. I'm trying to eat locally as much as possible, but hijiki(by the way is very rich in minerals) is hard to grow here in dry Southern California.

Today's Harvest

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Harvest Updates

Lame little broccoli head. Ours never turns out looking anything close to the market ones. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
One day's worth of harvest(the onions were technically harvested earlier to dry tho)
Carrots that finally look like carrots and not gnarly gnomes! Still small though.

Garden Updates

It's really hot now that we rolled into July. Temps are in the 100+ these few days, and the plants are struggling too. The first set of cucumbers are almost tired out. This evening I transplanted a few more cuke and thai Catchai watermelon plants for the next round. I picked a Petit Gris melon that looked more pale than the rest. The vine is ravaged by powdery mildew and lost most of it's vigor. The aroma was very nice, but the taste was bland. I had sown carrot seeds a few weeks ago, but most of them failed to sprout because of the heat.
Tomatoes that were transplanted a few weeks ago are doing so-so. Tiny sprouts of Komatsuna are growing around the tomatoes until they get overshadowed.
Bushbean seedlings and some kale in the middle
Zucchini seedlings. We thinned down to 2 plants already
"wild" Rugen Alpine Strawberry growing in half-shade.
Cilantro slowing down with the heat. I've read that as soon as the root temps read 75 degrees F, the plant starts flower buds to set seed.
Japanese Cucumber doing nicely except for the tunneling worms in the leaves invading
Petit Gris Melon