Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Announcing "RIPE West Covina"

I'm VERY excited to announce:

RIPE stands for :


Exchange of
West Covina

Who are we and what do we do?
We’re your neighbors who have extra produce to share & trade.
We’ll also have workshops on Gardening and other Earth
Stewarship Skills later on as our group grows

What will you do?
Bring your extra fruits & veggies to trade and meet some great neighbors!
Local and organic produce swap with your community.
Network and trade ideas and goodies!

Invite your friends and neighbors who grow veggies and fruits and join in the fun!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Garden Updates

Happy Spring! Spring has definitely sprung here in SoCal. Here's a snapshot of our back raised beds. The fig tree is vigorously leafing out and has already started fruiting. This is actually a very unusual thing for our fig tree. Last year it had 2 fruits that came out with the new, spring growth, this year we seem to have at least a dozen. Normally, fig trees will spout their leaves first, then the fig "flowers" come later.
 Here's the "pond" I dug out most of the burdock except a few so we can  hopefully get the burdocks to flower, then set seed. I seeded the rest of that back(left side in this pic) with sesame seeds since we found quite a bit of root-knot nematode infestation. I also sprayed a generous amount of Dragonfire SPP in that area as well. I will be growing marigolds there just to top it off and hopefully get rid of most of them. This "pond" soil is VERY sandy since the soil was brought in to fill the hole. Root-knot nematodes love sandy soils.
 Clivia under the Navel Orange tree is in full bloom!
 Valencia Orange tree in bloom
 Lori sitting by the white, delicate Azaleas
 Freesias in a pot next to the raised bed of lettuces
 Here are the lettuces, tender and enjoying the day after the rains
 This area will end up having 2 more raised beds, but for now, we have soil mixed with compost for potting. I also have a few stray plants that have decided that it's a great place to live. (Potatoes, black radish, spinach and a few strawberry plants)
 Starting the Solanaceae and the Apiaceae families in the "green house". I'm also starting the peppers and eggplants. I have a special trick I'm trying this year. Placing the seeds in a ziplock bag with a moistened, paper napkin, then closing the bag and taping it to the back of my iMac. (constantly warm behind there!)
 Now, onto the front garden: Red roses in full bloom!
The Kyohou grape has broken dormancy and is happily climbing towards the top. It looks like it has a good number of flower clusters too.  :) 
 Pansies and edible Lupines (Lupini) under the persimmon tree
This is the divide between the neighbor and our property. It's been widened from about 1 ft to nearly 3ft wide over the winter and gated off so the animals don't do their "business" there. We have broad-beans, peas, cosmos, asparagus, and nasturtiums planted here.
close-up on the broad-beans (fava)
Close-up on the peas
 Here is the view of it from the other end. We placed some stepping stones inside so we can tend to the plants. On the right side of the stepping stones is "Alauria" the peach tree. She has flower buds for the very first time!!! :)
 Our ornamentals
Apple: Fuji always seems to wake up sooner than Akane.
 Japanese Maple in front of Plumeria
 Delicate, yellow, thornless rose vine; A cutting was given to us from our neighbor and mom has grown in to 6 ft in height now.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Harvest Updates, Monday March 19th

Happy Spring Equinox! I apologize for my absence, life is just sooo busy!! Between spring planting, harvesting, spring cleaning, homeschooling and working freelance projects, I hardly have time to post, let alone sleep sometimes!  Here are our most recent harvests. Enjoy!
Orange Calendulas, green onions, baby carrots, Valencia orange, lettuces, blue basil and strawberries
A small harvest of potatoes from the Russets that survived the frost-kill.
 These 1/2 dozen eggs and Kafir Lime leaves were a lovely exchange for some of our romaine lettuce, new zealand spinach, and blackberry canes that Tim had dug up. I'd say this was a VERY excellent exchange. 
 This bag of key limes was an exchange for blackberry canes.
Do you see a green "cookie monster"? I sure do!
 Yu mai tsai (Chinese Lettuce), bunch onions, bok choi and yomogi.
 Romaine lettuces :)
Dug the rest of the Russet Potatoes that survived the frost
 More Lettuce!
I didn't get a chance to take a pic of the Day Lily before it was cooked, so here it is as a dish. It's saute├ęd with gobo, soy sauce and sesame seeds. Yum!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Homegrown Meals, March 19th, 2012

Mabo-tofu with homegrown tree-collard greens and green onions. There are bell peppers in there as well, but from the farmer's market.
 Hot pot with some homegrown carrots and shungiku
 Natto with kimchi. Homegrown shiso sprouts
 Homegrown Mitsuba, Spinach, Gobo and Daikon along with homegrown lemons in this hotpot.
 Homegrown apples in the pie!
 Freshly squeezed orange juice
Our son helping clean the garlic chives (nira) for dinner
 Here's the dinner, Mabo tofu (with nira) on the left and homegrown bok-choy and carrots with purchased bamboo shoots.

Homegrown mitsuba, shungiku and gobo
 In celebration of "Girl's Day" in Japan, here are some cherry blossoms
 Mom made mochi in dyed in natural dyes. This one is beets and purple orach. The back bowl will be yomogi (green)
 Here is the "hishi mochi" made with the above sweet rice.
 Here are the "girls day" dolls :)