Monday, August 29, 2011

Garden Updates, Aug 27th, 2011

I checked my blog this morning and realized the photos were not uploaded correctly, I'm sorry for the technical errors!

It's been INCREDIBLY HOT these past few days! Temps hovering in the low 100's! Going outside has been a daunting task. August...It's always been tough month for the plants. Bugs take over usually this month and it's hard to gain back your ground.
On a positive note, the tiny little Mango Tree has fruit almost ready! Here's the tree next to 2 compost bins.
Behind the tree is an over-grown white Rhubarb enjoying the rich compost from the bins. The Rhubarb has been around a while, it was given as a gift to my Mom from one of her friends. Being asian, we just never had much experience with this plant, and don't know what to use it for. I know the leaves are not edible and the stalks are. The red-stalked varity is used for strawberry-rhubarb pies, but this one's not a fun color like red.
Does anyone have any good recipes for Rhubarb out there?
Yay, Mango!
We had to clear the Tomatoes, it was just too far gone. I've tried planting tomatoes in the next bed where the cucumbers have grown, but since we didn't grow a nitrogen fixer before the tomatoes, we'll see how they do with just the horse manure compost I got at a local produce exchange.
White Guava tree and under it grow Myoga. It's myoga season right now, where the flower buds form a bulby structure very close to the ground. You have to keep a look-out for them before they get tall. The aroma is unique, the texture is somewhat like a raw bulb onion.
Oca is surviving, but not thriving... The only one that seems promising is in the "Pond" herb bed. There the roots are kept cool under the rosemary bush. It's my first year growing these, so I can't say I know what I'm doing! It appears they don't really like our hot, dry climate.
This area is crammed with all kinds of edibles Valencia Orange tree, New Zealand Spinach, Garlic Chives, Green Onion, Bush Bean, Eggplant and Amaranth!
Here is a view of the "Pond" bed, near the back. Garlic Chives line the row, then the burdock. The burdock seem to despise our heat and are really thriving under the palm branches. I've planted some Corn inbetween the Burdock in the area where they are not thriving, hoping to use up the space.
More peppers. This photo is a bit old, the production rate of the peppers has dropped this past week due to the heat. That and me not having time to give them more nitrogen. The leaves are looking a little anemic now.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Garden Updates, August 23rd

As you can see from our harvests, our little fig tree is an amazing producer

Here's a view of the little fig tree" that can" It's about 7' tall and about as wide. It's an unbelievably small tree for the amount of fruit it supports
Here's our Zucchini bush that keeps going. It grew out and is now resting on a path.
Here is a sweet potatoes and corn bed. Trying this companion planting to see if it works.  The concern is, corn is a very nitrogen hungry plant, yams are not. Yams supposedly don't produce well in their tubers if you supply too much nitrogen. All you get is leaves. So, currently we are only giving compost to the corn's "feet" and not the sweet potatoes.  Let's see how it turns out!
Cucumbers, which I train the vines almost daily
A view from one angle. There's Kabocha pumpkin in the bottom left, carrots and onion bed in the middle, okra on the left side mid area, 
Lettuce hiding in the shade
Burdock and Amaranth
Onto the front garden: This is the divide between our neighbor and us. Asparagus was planted earlier. Now we have Corn, Bush Beans, Dill and Cosmos growing there.
These Fuji's are looking mighty fine!
Satsuma Mikan (mandarines)
"Alauria" the peach tree gifted from our neighbor is growing pretty well. We've had a few problems at first, peach tree borers which lay eggs on the branch tips and the larvae bore their way into the new branches. I just kept pruning off the infested parts and boiling them before throwing them in the compost. We'd also had white mildew but we stopped watering so much and the problem went away. Under the peach tree, I have a rare purple sweet potato growing.
This is the Haas Avocado. Under it I've planted some Royal Purple and Green Lake Bush Beans, Blue Basil, Purple Orach and some Cosmos. Two voluntary vines of sweet potato have also sprouted, since we had planted them there last year. We're not sure if we have enough time for the Sweet Potatoes to properly grow tubers, but we're just letting it grow.  Maybe there's a streak of purple in me. Most of these plants have purple tones!
Here's one of the Akane Apples, we just have a few this year. I think 7 was the total. Last year we had 3.

Harvest Updates

It's been a while since I've posted, I apologize. There are many things in my life I'm trying to juggle, one being the gardening, the other being a wife and mom, also trying to find freelance work to bring some income in, and now I'm a newly minted homeschool mom!  You could say I took a leap towards self-sufficiency in that realm!

Here are our current harvests, enjoy!

Zucchini, Eggplants, Basil, Peppers, Tomatoes, Green Beans, Strawberries, Figs and the long skinny tendrils towards the bottom are "Dragon Whiskers"-Chayote greens
Carrots, Peppers, Figs, Eggplants, Tomatoes, Green Beans!
I was feeling artsy...
Peaches!!! Num num...These were given as a gift from our neighbors since gifted them with figs!
We have okra and blackberries too (although the berries are TART!)
Starting to harvest some kidney beans

Akane apples with worms in them. We cut off the bad parts and the rest was good! Akane has a very spicy aroma to it, which I like. A good balance of sweet and tangy.

LOTS of figs, and some oranges too

Monday, August 8, 2011

Bugs & Insects, good and bad

OK, for those of you who are squeamish about bugs, I suggest you skip this post! I used to be squeamish too, but I had to get over it! When you farm, you are surrounded by nature doing it's thing! Insects claim the most species on Earth so might as well accept that they will be around! ;-)

I saw one of these the other day! It's a Robber Fly.  It eats other bugs voraciously! Although they probably eat honey bees too if they catch them. This photo is not my own.

Pic of dead June beetles. Why are they dead and such large numbers you ask? I drowned them in a bucket of water... Just plain water. They can't fly out of water since they seem to need to kick off in order to fly or be falling off a branch/leaf to fly. They are very attracted to the over-ripe figs we have and I grab them with gloves, since the june bugs have sharp exoskeletons that hurt! Then put them in the bucket. Once they die, I spill the bucket under the fig tree. Then let the ants scavenge the remains. The exoskeletons will stick around for a while, so you'd have to crush them to help aid decomposition. We don't have chickens to eat these bugs. Though I don't know if they'll eat these, they're kinda big; they are at least 1.25" (3.175 cm) long.

Here's a good bug! A honey bee! She is pollinating the cucumbers

We are having problems with Flea Beetles nibbling on our Eggplant, see the tiny holes?

Next 3 pics are of the spider mites that have taken over our Tomatoes.  While I was gone for the Alaska Trip, they took over. Not enough moisture encourages these buggas. Not enough deep water will bring them over. I spray my tomatoes with water each morning, but my Mom didn't while I was gone.
I used my son's microscope to see if the Neem/Tea Tree/Orange oil concoction had worked. It appears the adults have been killed, but as you can see there are LOTS of eggs! This was educational for my son too! I took the photo with my old Cannon PowerShot A20 through the microscope eyepiece.
More eggs, and in the bottom middle you can see a baby mite. It was moving. It appears to have just hatched. I guess I'd have to either keep spraying more of the concoction I made or rip out the tomatoes. So sad.
Here's more. They seemed dead. Not moving about at all.

©2001 Janice Kubo

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Homegrown Meals

Beef Veggie stew with HG swiss chard, HG carrots, HG zucchinis, HG tomatoesm HG green beans. Other ingredients include O grass-fed beef, FM(farmer's market) Onion, FM celery, O black pepper, sea salt.
HG swiss chard stems & HG amaranth leaves and stems sauteed with garlic and butter(Earth Balance).
Salad: HG lettuce, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes. The red stuff on the upper right is the chard and amaranth sauté from above. (O) rice and Coho Salmon were purchased.
Mabo Tofu with HG eggplant and HG peppers.
(O)tofu, (O)ground turkey, (O) garlic and (O)rice were purchased
(O)Natto with HG okra and HG green onion.
The natto, seaweed, shirasu and (O)rice were purchased
I made HG tomato sauce, with this, I made Chili and Spaghetti sauce.
Here's the HG Chili with LOTs of HG tomatoes sauce & HG peppers.
Other ingredients are: (O)Kidney beans, (O)black beans, FM round onions, (O)grass-fed stew beef, (O) chili powder and sea salt.
OK, this isn't HG, but I just wanted to add it: Homemade Moca Latte. I save $5~$11 a day by making it myself! Sometimes I have 2 to keep my energy level up. (I used organic coffee, organic coconut milk, organic vanilla extract and stevia drops, oh and a dash of organic cinnamon too!) Yummy :-)