Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Garden Updates

It's been a while since I've done a Garden Update! Here's a new bed being prepped, still lots of garden trimmings being thrown in, and layered with soil and compost. The corn and bean bed is doing ok, the corn didn't get as tall as I had hoped, and they have already flowered.
Another angle on the same area, in the foreground are strawberry planted in pots, on the right of it are the corn and bean bed, behind the strawberries are the Kabocha pumpkins all sprawled out. Behind the pumpkins are the tomato bed with Amish Paste and Peacevine Red Cherry toms. To the right of the tomatoes are the cucumber/zuke bed that has been mostly turned over and I planted some more tomatoes.
Here are some Amish Paste tomatoes still green
Valencia oranges are ripening
A view of some of the rear raised beds
Okra blossoms
Chard is still happy because the Mikan (mandarin) tree gives them shade in the hottest times of the day.
The sweet potato and okra bed
Alma Paprikas
Cute little fiery orange flowers on the edible canna (canna edulis)
The "Salada Musume" gobo (burdock) had a rough start having their leaves constantly eaten by snails and night time caterpillars (don't know what those pests are called) Notice that the shady side of the bed has larger healthier leaves. Since they are Japanese plants in origin, I'm guessing that they don't like our SoCal scorching sun.
Mangoes, YES! I picked on small one off. It was about 4" long since it wasn't growing as fast as the others, brought it indoors and placed it on a ripening banana and lo and behold it ripened up enough for us to eat it! It was a bit tart, but my son and I loved it! Can't wait for the regular sized fruit when they are ready to pick!
Blackberry bramble. There's a small Sapote tree we grew from seed, on the bottom left side of the pic by the blue basil. Can you spot it? It's been growing really well this year with the extra nitrogen rich compost. 
Blackberries ripening

Chaya Spinach tree (Cnidoscolus chayamansa) blossoming this year!

Herb Garden
Tree Collard/Kale
This bed had kabocha pumpkin, black radish going to seed, cilantro going to seed and Komatsuna greens. It's all done now, so I chopped up the dead dry branches from the black radish and cilantro and currently drying the remaining leaves from the komatsuna.
Taro root has established itself and is really taking off. Before it takes over the garden, my Mom wanted to plant the Bitter melon vine(the pale green plant). on the right of that are the Chinese Yams (dioscorea batatas)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Homegrown Meals

Curry flavored Fried Rice with HG zukes, carrots, green beans, green onions and bell peppers. Other ingredients are organic (O) ground turkey, (O) bulb onion, (O) white rice, sea salt, black pepper and (O) curry powder.
Spagetti with meat sauce: HG tomatoes, HG zukes, HGbell peppers, HG oregano and HG basil. Other ingredients include (O) brown rice noodles, sea salt, mushrooms and (O) bulb onion
Veggie Soup: HG swiss chard, HG zukes, HG carrots, HG tomatoes and HG rakkyo(Allium chinense). Other ingredients include (O) bulb onion, (O) home-made chicken broth, sea salt, (O) coriander and pepper
Turkey hamburger steak, HG swiss chard greens and roasted (HG) carrots and (O) onions

I'll do a Garden Update soon, I promise!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Harvest Updates

Hi everyone! I'm back! My father-in-law generously gifted his clan with an all expense paid Alaskan cruise, so we were gone for a week! During that time, my mom looked after our garden, and she said she ate LOTS of produce and gave a lot away too, so no pictures of those.... :-(  These harvest pics are from before the trip.

Smile for me!
Thinned carrots

Shiso, Eggplants, Orange and Pepper

Peppers and eggplant
We're starting to taper off on the strawberries as the plants are producing runners now

Below are the harvests AFTER we came back from the trip:
Currently we are harvesting: Kyohou Grapes
A day's bounty (OK the grapes got a shot in this one too, it's the same bunch)
cherry tomatoes, strawberries, thinned carrots, peppers, zucchini, green tomatoes, cucumbers, and one walking onion
New Zealand spinach
Shiso(perilla), kabocha pumpkin, figs, blackberries, strawberries, tomatoes, green beans, and zucchini
Eggplants, peppers, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, figs, strawberries and baby corn

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Homegrown Meals

Veggie Stir Fry with Turkey Bacon
Shimesaba (vinegared mackerel) locally caught at New Port Beach pier along with pickled Komatsuna (Tsukemono) on rice

A lovely exchange from an awesome friend. I gave her a jar of homegrown strawberry jam and she offered me a bag full of homegrown potatoes! Yum!
I make potato salad with the above potatoes; HG carrots, HG cucumbers & HG sunchokes in there as well. Num num!
Some potatoes made it to a 4th of July BBQ too! The BBQ'd veggies have some HG zucchini, HG tomatoes, and HG peppers too.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Diseased Tomatoes

Of course, our garden isn't perfect. Especially the new raised beds, the soil there is new and there are still a lot of nutrients missing from it. These tomatoes are suffering from blossom end rot. It's a common disease and the only problem is the lack of calcium in the soil.  I'll grind up some calcium supplements to amend the soil for now. Grinding up egg shells will take too long for the calcium to leach out at this point. Sea shells ground up will work too but it will also take time to leach into the soil. I use Calcium Lactate, it's much more soluble than Calcium Carbonate, and it's better for your own bones too.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Garden Updates, July 3rd, 2011

It's been HOT! Summer has really kicked in! Happy 4th of July everyone!

Corn and Bush Bean bed is doing well, except for todays blazing temps. 97F!
Scorched bean leaf
Kyohou grapes turning color
Here you can see Swiss Chard(they are shaded half the day by the Kumamoto Mandarin tree and seem to love it that way), Carrots & Onion Bed, Sweet Potato and Okra bed (with Marigolds), Pepper Bed, and a corner of the Pumpkin & Corn bed. You can also see the Valencia Orange, Fig and Kumquat tree against the back wall.
Sunflower seeds are forming, it's amazing to think 1 sunflower seed can make hundreds!
Taro plant has taken root well and is sending up new leaves
Chinese Yam vine ( Cinammon Vine; Dioscorea Batatas) starting to climb the trellis, can't wait for the tiny "air" potatoes!
close up on the Pumpkin & Corn bed
Eggplants and Pepper Bed doing pretty good
We are always incredibly amazed at the prodigious productivity of this little fig tree!
The volunteer Tomato is also incredibly productive!
Here's a close up on the carrot + onion bed
Sweet Potato, Okra and Marigold bed
The Burdock are suffering from severe damage... :-(  It seems this bed (the one in the former pond) is a difficult one to maintain. Always something wrong. We lost all the echinacea seeds, the carrots had root-knot nematodes (we sprayed organic wild sesame seed oil: Dragon-Fire SSP and that resolved the problem)
Adjacent to the Burdock bed is thriving! Here's the Edible Canna (Canna Edulis) I grew from seed. Behind it on the right is the Oca (Oxalis Tuberosa), on the right of that is a Kidney Bean plant, and behind it are Edible Chrysanthemum. To the left is a Pelagornium.
Mango! I think our *hope* is growing!
White Sapote we grew from seed. Behind it are the Thornless Blackberry