Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

Not doing too much in the garden these days, although I will have to get back to work soon. I need to spray dormancy oil on the peach tree, chelated iron and zinc on my Meyer Lemon tree, Safer's insecticide on my two flowering plants and diatomaceous earth on my eggplant. By the way, I have two huge eggplant that need to be harvested. I bet they are delicious. Maybe they'll be part of dinner tomorrow. I also have two beautiful yellow bell peppers. Amazing!

Monday, December 28, 2009

I decided to work in the garden a little. I piled dirt and compost and the new potato plant. What a surprise that plant was! I guess if failed to harvest a potato in that location, because I now have a new potato plant.

I also cut off lots of dead broccoli leaves and the tops of the broccoli plants that have flowered. Then I cut off a lot of dead and diseased leaves from the eggplants. I have two big eggplants which I will harvest in a day or two. There are a few more to come. I then force sprayed the leaves--tops and bottoms. There is still evidence of spider mites. Tomorrow I will use the diatomaceous earth to hopefully kill off the last of the spider mites and whatever else is eating up the eggplants.

Still have some peppers. Tomorrow I will harvest two yellow bell peppers and it looks that I will soon have some more jalapenos.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

So, I pulled out the last of the tomato plants in Garden #1. Ate the last 2 tomatoes tonight. However, I have 3 tomato plants on the hillside. I could still possibly get some tomatoes from them. Amazingly enough, my pepper plants are still producing. I think I will have two yellow peppers in a day or two. I also have two eggplants to pick. Should I fry them, or make eggplant tapenade to put on crackers or bread.

The arugula is amazing. The plants are still going strong. I planted about 15 new arugula plants. They have finally come up. It will be a while before we have arugula leaves from them.

Have to check on the garlic. The green leaves have not fallen over yet and turned brown---a sign that the garlic will soon be ready.

Still dealing with the spider mite on my two flowering plants on the patio. I have to get rid of it or it will spread to the vegetables. I cut off most of the leaves from both plants. Keep your fingers crossed!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

One Correction

Yesterday I mentioned that the chelated zinc/iron would get rid of the scale. I was mistaken. This amendment will strengthen the plant, get rid of the yellow leaves and help the plant to fight off scale. Sorry for the misinformation, but gardening is all about learning from our mistakes, and trying not to make the same mistakes in the future.

Monday, December 21, 2009

I have been sick for 3 days so no gardening to speak of. I have picked up the occasional leaf, pulled off a couple of dead leaves on the eggplant, cut out a few dead tomato vines, but not much. Now that I am feeling better, I can get back to work. I only have two tomato plants (from the original six) in Garden #1. There is nothing to save. I am pulling them out today or tomorrow. Then I will put the supports in the gardening garage, so the wooden stakes don't begin to rot in the wet soil. I am going to let the ground go fallow for 1 month, before I start planting new crops.

News Flash! Don't feed sick plants. I just learned that I should not have given fish emulsion to the Meyer Lemon tree since it has scale. Just cut back the scale and try spraying with a chelate iron/zinc amendment to get rid of the scale. Will do!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Yellow Leaves!

Both the Meyer Lemon tree in the back and the "regular" lemon tree in the front have some yellow leaves, soooo, I gave them a good dose of fish emulsion mixed with water. I have noticed that some of the other plants and flowers have some yellow leaves. Time to fortify with compost and fish emulsion. Yes!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

No one came today!

Oh well, I guess it's the holiday season and everyone is busy. Raksha would have come to work in the garden, but when she called this morning, I told her I didn't think anyone else was coming. And frankly, there is not that much to do. I took apart one of the tomato supports and put it back in the garage. Did some weeding. Put newspaper in the compost bin and turned it a few times.

Tonight, I sprayed my poor Meyer Lemon tree again for scale. The leaves are still pretty yellow. I better feed it tomorrow. Ate a tomato from the garden tonight. It was just okay. I guess it's getting pretty late in the season, plus the cold weather from last week. The skin on the tomato was leathery. However, the broccoli I cut and prepared tonight was delicious.

No need to water anything. The soil is still wet from last week's rain.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I didn't work in the garden today. Have to get ready for Christmas! My daughters are coming. I am so excited. Hopefully tomorrow I will have gardeners working in the gardens. I want to plant more winter squash, arugula and basil.

What to do about the scale on the lemon tree? I am going to do some reading tonight to see what else can be done.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I didn't work in the garden today. The earth is soaked through and through. You can't step on the soil without hearing it squish. The newly planted spinach seedlings are looking happy. No sign from the newly seeded arugula or winter squash. Perhaps later next week.

Now that the rain is over, I really have to attend to my Meyer Lemon tree. I fed it, I sprayed it for scale and aphids, but it is still looking really sad. I will have to see what else I can do for scale.

If you're wondering, scale looks like a shiny overlay on the wrinkled up, curled up leaf. Not good.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

See, I told you it was raining hard!

Another Rainy Day!

Whew! It is really raining today. Great for the established plants. I just hope the seeds I planted last week don't wash away. My two 50 gallon rain barrels are full. I should have bought two more. Maybe that's what I'll do this afternoon. Rainwater is the best for the plants--no chlorine and lots of nutrients.

Friday, December 11, 2009

No work in the garden today! It's wet and cold.

I have two new gardeners for Saturday. Yeah! Welcome Penny and Debra! I think I will have one more the following week. Things are picking up. Looks like I'll be busier gardening this winter than I thought.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wet Pepper!

Just looking at some old photos. This one of the pepper in the rain is great! I must remember to take some photos tomorrow during the rain.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Beautiful day to work in the garden.

Two artists came to work today. I think the possibility of rain kept a few people away. Meanwhile, it turned out to be a beautiful day--cool, but sunny. I cut down and pulled out another tomato plant. Now there are only two in Garden # 1 and three on the hillside. Ginger picked up a huge bagful of brown leaves for later use in the compost bin. Juna trimmed and pruned the eggplant and cleaned up dead leaves and debris in both Garden #1 and the Raised Bed. Ginger also weeded the hillside and cut off dead branches on the hillside tomatoes.

I didn't plant anything today because it's been so cold at night. Next Wednesday it's supposed to be in the 70s. If it is, I will plant more winter squash and radishes.

The green onions are coming up and I think we will have a lot of eggplant in a couple of weeks.

Nevertheless, even with the cold rainy weather we still had quite a lot of food to distribute: two heads of arugula, radishes, two small tomatoes, green onions, rosemary and limes from my neighbor's tree. I am still waiting for my avocados to ripen. There are 30 - 40 on the tree. I can't wait!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Gardens Beginning of August

1st & 2nd Garden in June

It's Raining!

It has been raining all day, so no working in the garden. I am so glad I got all that work done the last few days. All my vegetables are so happy I am sure with this rain. I turned off all my soaker hoses and sprinklers. I also have two 50 gallon barrels catching all this rainwater. I am sure the barrels will be full before the end of the day. They fill up fast.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

So it's Sunday, but this is Saturday news!

No time to blog on Saturday, but it was a great gardening day! Yes, we are now gardening on Saturdays. So many people said they wanted to participate, but Wednesday was a work day and they couldn't make it. So we will try gardening both Wednesdays and Saturdays.

A new person came to the garden--Penny. She is a songwriter. I decided we should plant arugula where the tomatoes used to be. I pulled up three of the plants. Penny mixed in the compost and planted the seeds--watering with a mixture of Super Thrive and water. Meanwhile, I picked up more brown leaves for the compost bin and pruned t he other tomato plants on the hill.

Then we added compost to the lower hillside garden, in front of the wild strawberries. I made two small hills and we planted winter squash-- specifically, Delicata Honey Boat Winter Squash. One of my artist/gardener friends, Ginger, gifted me some seeds, among other things, so I decided to plant them before the rains which are supposed to come Sunday night.

I sent Penny home with a head of broccoli, two heads of arugula, radishes, green onions, a small tomato (yes, I still have a few) and some limes from my neighbor's tree. My neighbor, Carolee, has a lime tree in her front yard, and a lemon tree in her back yard and doesn't pick the fruit. I asked her if it was okay for the gardeners to pick the fruit. She said yes. Great! Now we also have some fresh citrus!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Garden #1 plus the Raised Bed Garden

The Garden in May

Before & After

So, I was just thinking about the transformation of my back yard and all that has happened since January, when I started planning this gardening project. It's been wonderful. I have learned so much, made so many good friends, fed so many people. And the people who have worked in the garden not only went home with vegetables, they went home with better friendships and a sense of connection with our earth. Look at the before and after images.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Day After

I was so tired this morning after carousing until 2 a.m., celebrating my birthday. However, I did do some work in the garden. I sprayed all the eggplant with diatamaceous earth. Hopefully that will keep the aphids and red spider mites in check. Then I sprayed the Meyer lemon tree with Safer's Insecticide (it's organic and not poisonous, you can spray up until the day before harvest). After that I sprayed the oregano and nearby rose bushes for powdery mildew. I may just have to cut out the oregano that is infected. They say it's really hard to get rid of powdery mildew once you have it. The secret is to prevent it from ever appearing. I do not seem to have much luck in that area.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Hey, it's my birthday!

So what did I do? I worked in the garden, of course. Turns out there is lots more to do than I realized. A perusal of the garden turned up infestations of bugs. My eggplant have aphids and red spider mite. I washed all the leaves down with water sprayed forcefully from a water wand. Tomorrow I will dust with diatamaceous earth. The Meyer lemon tree in the backyard is also in distress. Aphids, yellow leaves, scale. I fed it Cal/mag liquid and also added some citrus food. Tomorrow I will spray it with Safer's bug spray (it's organic).

Two gardeners showed up today: Marissa and Juna. I had them severely cut back the tomato plants, pulling out two of them that had seen their day. They also pulled out some jalapeno and bell pepper plants that weren't producing anymore and were infested with bugs, etc. I cut off dead leaves from the tomato plants on the hill. The spinach is doing well up there.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Glad to be back!

It was great working in the garden again. Yesterday, a friend came over and we worked in the garden for about an hour, pulling out dead zucchini plants, pruning tomatoes, my peach and lemon tree and mixing up the compost.

Today, Juna and Ginger came over to work. Before they arrived, I was working on the hill, pruning the 3 tomato plants. Juna added compost to Garden #1, by the tomatoes and planted spinach and green leaf lettuce. Then she planted some thyme in the herb garden. She superthrived everything. Ginger pulled out the old basil plants. (I'm making pesto tonight) and replanted. I decided to try some purple dark opal basil that I bought from Gardens Alive. I hope it takes. The days are warm, but the nights are very cold.

While Juna and Ginger were working, I pruned the tomato plants and did all around maintenance. I completely pulled out one tomato plant and heavily pruned the others. The gardens are looking more like themselves again. Even though Ginger and Juna came once a week to check on the gardens, it's not the same as working on them every day. I also fed the orange tree and lemon tree in the front yard. The orange tree has quite a few oranges. I hope they are sweet.

Monday, November 23, 2009


I worked a little in the garden today. Lots of cleaning up to do. Dead vines, leaves, weeds. What should I plant next. The evenings and early morning are quite cold. I don't think that is too encouraging for seeds--thank goodness I bought a second heating pad for the new plantings. I am going to need it.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I'm back--where did I go?

Are you wondering where I have been? Well, I have been in Brazil. But I'm back now and there is so much to do. The tomatoes need pruning. There are weeds everywhere, the old basil plants need to be pulled out, as do some of the broccoli plants which have bolted. Time to buy those winter squash seeds and get them planted. I also want to try cultivating some more basil. I may need to use my heating pads to get the seeds going.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The new broccoli seedlings are really starting to grow. I think the two feedings of fish emulsion helped. I decided I have to pull out these plants near the tomatoes. They never produced cauliflower or broccoli. I can't remember which anymore, because I replanted both so many times and the leaves look the same to me. However, they have all these round white things on the backside of the leaves. They will only infest all the other plants. I think it's also time to spray some more diatomaceous earth.

The peppers are starting to produce less and less. I was hoping the two feedings of EndRot (calcium and magnesium) would spur them on to produce more peppers, but no such luck.

I am thinking of planting winter squash. Why not?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Easy day in the garden

I only added newspaper to the compost bin and turned it once. The soaker hoses kept all the new seedlings moist and the newly planted seeds wet. I hope this cold weather doesn't hurt the new plants.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Quite chilly today!

Juna, Ginger and Marissa came to work in the gardens today. There was a big wind storm last night and early this morning, so there was a lot to clean up. Leaves and pine needles everywhere. I was happy about the leaves. We gathered them all up and put them in bags to be added to the compost later.

Marissa worked on the hilltop, cleaning off pine needles, cutting off dead leaves on the tomato plants and watering the chard and spinach seedlings with a water/fish emulsion mixture. I think the extra nitrogen will be good for the new seedlings. We also watered all the new broccoli, garlic and onion seedlings with the same mixture. This is their second feeding of this type. The leaves on the lemon tree in the backyard was looking a little yellow. I also gave that a dose of fish emulsion.

I added more compost, burying the potato plant. Then I cultivated the soil near the potato plant, mixed in compost and planted two rows of pak choi. I watered with Super Thrive, of course.

I was concerned there might not be enough food to share, but there was. All the gardeners went home with a big bunch or two of arugula, a tomato, jalapenos or bell peppers, green onions, radished, rosemary, oregano and mint.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

There hasn't been all that much to do in the gardens. But that's okay. I needed a little break. God bless all my artist/gardeners, but they only come once a week. 24/7 it's me. I did water today. It was extremely windy and the ground got very dry. I still have lettuce that hasn't come up yet.

The garlic really is doing great. So is the transplanted broccoli. It's been about a week. I think I am going to give everything the water/fish emulsion treatment.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

This morning I worked for several hours in the garden. I picked up a huge bagful of brown and dried leaves for the compost bin. I also cut away more dead vines and leaves on the tomato plants. I did pick 3 more lovely tomatoes.

This evening I mixed beneficial nematodes with water and sprayed the gardens and lawn. It takes quite a while because you have to wet down the area you are going to spray before and after. It was getting quite dark by the time I finished. However, they should help with the cutworms and other unwanted pests. I'm tired.

The broccoli I planted long ago is producing beautiful heads of broccoli. I may have to prepare broccoli tonight.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Gardening, gardening, gardening!

More cutting back on dead vines and leaves. Gosh, every day there are more and more leaves and vines to cut. We are basically talking about the tomato plants. It's interesting, because last year, they were healthier for a longer period of time. These Brandywine and Beefsteak just seem to be fading fast. The 3 Beefsteak on the hillside look very healthy, though. They were planted about 2 - 3 weeks after the other tomato plants in Garden #1.

The garlic is looking perky. All the broccoli I transplanted is looking really healthy. I think the Fish Emulsion was a really good idea. I bought more seeds today--carnival carrots, pak choi and pea snaps. We will plant the pak choi and carrots next week. The pea snaps are for next spring. Because of a pending bill which would eliminate all organic gardening, I always try to buy organic seeds I think I might need or want.

Went to an Otis Alumni gathering at the Koplin del Rio Gallery in Culver City. Found two more people who want to work in the gardens.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Well, it was 9 a.m. and no one had arrived yet, so I got to work. I decided I should transplant the broccoli seedlings, which were planted about 3 weeks ago. Since we put 2-3 seeds in each hole, there were many places where 2 or 3 broccoli plants came up. You can't leave them so close together, or you'll get really scrawny plants. They need room. So I moved the ones I could, so they would be at least 6 inches apart. There must be 20 broccoli plants now. Then, I watered them all with water mixed with fish emulsion, a great source of nitrogen. Then I decided to water all the new seedlings (garlic, onions, radishes) with a water/fish emulsion mixture.

Finally, my artists arrived. Ginger watered the chard and spinach on the hillside garden with the same fish emulsion mixture. Juna planted carnival carrots and your garden variety, orange carrots, in the raised bed. She also planted green leaf lettuce in Garden #1. I cut back lots of dead vines on the tomatoes in Garden #1, and branches and dead leaves on the eggplant, basil and arugula.

Raksha gathered up a bagful of brown leaves from the lawn and patio for the compost bin. I also added shredded newspaper to the bin, and gave it a couple of turns. It's getting really hard to turn the bin--it's getting very full and heavy.

Raksha also harvested arugula, royal oak leaf lettuce, beets, green onions, basil, tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapenos. Then we decided to cut some of the herbs. So we had oregano, basil, rosemary and mint to share. I decided to pull out another big basil plant. Raksha washed the basil and put it on a towel to dry. Tomorrow I will hang it in the garage to dry.

Later in the evening, I foliar fed (sprayed) the peppers and tomatoes with Endrot, a product which contains calcium and magnesium. I also cut back more dead vines on the hillside tomatoes. Noticed a lot of white fly. Better spray next week. It's getting dark now-time to go in. It's only 6:30 p.m. Nevertheless, all together it was a very productive day.

Next week we will plant pak choi. I need to buy more seeds.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

All of a sudden there seems to be so much to do. The artists come tomorrow. We have to add soil and bury the potato plant, transplant broccoli seedlings, plant carrots, bok choi, radishes, more spinach. We also have to cut off more dead leaves and vines on the tomatoes. I found a huge caterpillar on one of the dead vines. Must have gotten lost--the green vines are much more tasty.

Also, have to pick up all the dead, brown leaves and put them in the compost bin. Busy day!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Autumn Leaves

So many leaves. The wind today just blew leaves all over my yard, but I am not upset. I gathered up 4 basketfuls and threw them in my compost bins. Yeah, brown material. Finally I will get some balance between green and brown.

Pulled out 2 more crrokneck squash plants. No more squash from them. There is one plant on the hill that looks really healthy. Just have to wait and see if I get any more squash.

Caught 2 more caterpillars. It seems I find 1-2 caterpillars a day. They are always big and fat from eating my tomato leaves and flowers. So I'm not only feeding people.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Great eggplant. It's now in Ofunne's stomach.


I keep trying to tell myself that I am just transitioning into fall and winter, but it's so sad to cut off all those tomato vines and leaves. I don't think they'll last until Thanksgiving like last year. So much dead stuff. But I still have quite few tomatoes and they are delicious.

The zucchini plants are just about toast. Between the powdery mildew and the fact that it's October. They are on their last leg. But what great zucchini! I grilled so much zucchini this summer, and made 7 loaves of zucchini bread. A good year!

Lots of garlic coming up. The broccoli and chard are also doing well. I need to transplant some of the broccoli seedlings. Amazing number of jalapenos. There is also a tremendous amount of arugula.

The big tree on the dividing line between myself and my neighbor is starting to drop leaves. Hurray! I finally have enough brown stuff for the compost bin. Every day I go out and gather all the fallen dried and brown leaves and throw them in either the compost tumbler or the compost bin. I am going to have some kick-ass compost this year.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

O Salon was last night, so I didn't do too much in the garden. The spinach is coming up on the hillside. I did have to water it. It was so hot yesterday. The other seedlings are doing well, too. This morning I saw some garlic sprouting. That's exciting. I planted about 80 cloves, so I should have plenty of garlic for all my gardeners.

I will probably water this afternoon. Just harvested 5 beautiful tomatoes. I am so happy I am still getting tomatoes. I also picked some beautiful red and yellow bell peppers.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Very wet soil!

The rain the last two days was great for all my little seedlings. They are all looking very perky. However, some of my large plants and trees fell over. I guess the soil got too wet. My large eggplant in the raised bed had fallen over completely. I had to put a six foot 2" x 2" stake next to the plant and tie it up this morning. My bougainvillea fell over and the roots were showing. I used another stake for it. I still have a very tall (10') podacarpus (yew pine) to support. It's next to my fence. I will do the best I can. Thank goodness I have a gardener. ( he comes on Tuesdays) He can help me with the podacarpus if I can't do it myself.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

No Gardening Again

Wow, 2 days with no gardening. It rained all day and sometimes pretty hard. That's actually wonderful for the garden. Nothing better than rain water. I pulled my 55 gallon barrel out from under the house to catch the rainwater. It is now full. I wanted to buy another one yesterday, but did not get the chance. I am hoping to figure out some way to catch the rainwater before the rains come this winter. One company wanted $8,000 to set up 3 tanks holding about 1,800 gallons and 1 pump. Can you imagine? Someone suggested getting plastic tanks elsewhere. I think that's a good idea. I could save a lot of money. If only I could remember where he said to go to buy them. Oh well, I am sure I will figure it out eventually.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Rainy Day!

It's raining today, so no work is being done in the garden. I am actually very pleased to see the rain. My newly planted broccoli, chard, onions and spinach are also pleased. Can't speak for the garlic. They have not yet shown their heads above ground. The hot temperatures this weekend will also be a bonus.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Nothing to do today

Quiet day today. That's okay. I am tired of gardening for the moment. Just need a break. The soaker system watered the garden and it was overcast all day, so no need for me to water the just- planted chard, spinach, garlic and onion. It is supposed to rain tomorrow. That will be great for the vegetables.

Had another great dinner tonight from the garden--grilled bell peppers, grilled zucchini, Brandywine tomatoes sliced with basil from the garden, plus oil and balsamic vinegar. I also roasted small potatoes with sage and rosemary from the garden. I did add a couple of lamb chops (not from the garden). What a great dinner!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Praying Mantis

Last of the Inverviews--yeah!

The last three people (Ofunne, Wendi, Marissa) came to be interviewed about their participation in Plant It Forward thus far. Now we can start working on the final videos. Can't wait to see how it all turns out. Ofunne made a good comment and one that I have been thinking about lately. The key word for the project is "Forward." What next Linda? The project has to move out of Beverly Hills and the community of artists to the world at large. I am thinking about education in the schools, planting much more food to get out into other communities that do not have easy access to organic food. It's time to think about Stage 2 of the project and beyond.

After everyone left, I went to work in the garden. I pulled out all the carrots. They were ready to be harvested and the aphids were starting to increase in numbers. I also pulled out all the huge cauliflower in the Raised Bed. No cauliflower and taking up a lot of space. I think I will plant broccoli and rapini there.

I found a praying mantis in the tomato plant closest to the house. What a surprise!

Friday, October 9, 2009

I didn't do very much in the garden today. All is going well. It's gotten a lot colder now and I am worried about the garlic and onions, since I just planted them. The broccoli is up, but not getting taller with any great speed. The chard is starting to show a few green sprouts. The lettuce I planted never came up. I should plant some more.

I think I have to pull up the cauliflower. It got really big, but no cauliflower. Maybe it was planted too late. I don't know. I think I am going to get some eggplant though. The plants look very healthy.

Tomorrow we finish the last three interviews of artists who have worked in or for the garden. Can't wait to see how they all fit in for the final exhibition video. The closeup photos are turning out so well. 30" x 30" images of erotic, sensual vegetables. Can a vegetable be erotic. Wait and see!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Like that video?

That was just an introduction. Wait until you see the long version! It will be fabulous. Meanwhile, in the garden, I am just watering and watering. I have planted so much, and I need to keep the ground moist so the little seeds will germinate and become seedlings. Still getting some great tomatoes. I am so glad I planted those last 3 tomato plants on the hillside. I am getting great tomatoes from them. One of the tomato plants in Garden #1 seems to be fading. I don't see any more yellow flowers. I think the caterpillars did it in. Or maybe that Beefsteak tomato was just exhausted. The brandywine seem to be flourishing.

The arugula is amazing. I didn't have too many artists working in the garden this week. I had hoped to pass out a lot of the arugula. Well, Saturday we finish the videotaping. That's when I will share the bountiful arugula.

Peppers, peppers and more peppers. I had peppers for dinner tonight and saved the rest. How? Put them in plastic, sucked out the air and put them in the freezer. Come January and February, I will have lots of frozen peppers to thaw out and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Plant It Forward-Introductory video

Less to do?

I thought that there would be less to do come fall, but there is still plenty to do. I started about 9 a.m., cutting off dead leaves on the tomato plants and eggplants. I decided to feed the tomato plants with fish emulsion. That is a nitrogen-based food which normally one would use several times in the spring, but the tomato plants last so long here in southern California. In Chicago, there probably would be no more tomato plants. Here, I could have tomatoes as late as Thanksgiving. So I decided they needed more nutrition.

At 10 a.m. Michiko arrived. We went to work up on the hillside. We hoed and pitchforked the soil to loosen it up. Then we added a large bag of organic compost. We made two rows for planting and watered with Super Thrive. Then we planted the back row with chard, and the front row with spinach. Then we watered again.

Michiko helped me hang the basil that I had cut earlier that morning. I cut down a whole plant, washed it and then cut it up to hang in the workshop garage to dry.

I took new pH levels of the gardens. The other gauge was broken. Some of the numbers, in the 1st reading, showed the soil to be too alkaline, but it wasn't as bad as I first thought . Unfortunately I have read that it is easier to make acidic soil more alkaline, than it is to make alkaline soil more acidic. Maybe I overdid it in trying to make the original soils less acidic.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Jalapeno Heaven

If you like jalapenos, my place is the place to be. I just harvested a whole basketful of bright red, spicy jalapenos with many more in various stages of maturity still on the vines. Lots of red bell peppers, too. Didn't get quite so many yellow bell peppers for whatever reason.

The radishes and broccoli are coming up strong and green. Can't wait for the broccoli. I haven't had any since last year. They are so tender when home grown.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Getting ready for winter

I worked so hard yesterday--Sunday--the day of rest. I was out there about 3 hours. I spent some time on the tomatoes in Garden #1. Every day there is more dead and yellow stuff to cut off. I did harvest 4 beautiful tomatoes though. I even found 2 caterpillars--one really large one and one medium size.

Spent most of my time on the hillside. I haven't spent as much time there as the other gardens. It's easy to forget about that area or put it off, since it's sort of out of the way and more difficult to get to. I pruned the 3 tomato plants and tied up the hanging vines. Got 3 beautiful beefsteak tomatoes. All the corn has been pulled up. There are still some zucchini and crookneck squash plants. This Wednesday I think we have to concentrate on the hillside. Plant some chard, broccoli, lettuce, etc.

Watered the newly planted garlic and onions. Lots of jalapenos. Who wants jalapenos?

I took pH levels all over the gardens. Everything came up 7--way too alkaline. However, since all the readings were basically the same, except for one, I think the pH probe is broken. How could all the earth samples come up the same? Especially the raised bed vs. Garden #1 which I have been amending for 5 years. I think the probe is kaput!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Planting, planting and more planting!

What a great day to work in the garden--sunny, but not too hot. I was out there for about 3 hours. Meanwhile, I had so much garlic to plant, I didn't know what to do with it all. I bought 2 packages of garlic and divided up the cloves. The package instructions said to plant the whole clove and the enclosed instructions said to break it apart. ?????????????? Based on what happened last time--I got the same amount of garlic as what I planted, I decided to break up the cloves. We shall see. I also planted all the onions. You can never have too much garlic and too many onions.

The broccoli and radishes we planted last week are doing well. All the seedlings look so green and healthy. I planted lots of broccoli. Can't wait. Last year's broccoli was so delicious!

I found the largest caterpillar on top of one of the tomato plants. They are eating all the flowers--no more tomatoes????????

Friday, October 2, 2009

New Plantings

I'm so excited. Who knew vegetables could do that to me? My order from "Gardens Alive," an organic catalogue company, came in. Red Wethersfield onions and Inchelium red garlic. I'm planting tomorrow!!! Whoo hoo! I may even plant more spinach and carrots. It's a whole new garden.

Not to mention that my closeup shots of vegetables for my exhibition are going to be amazing. 30" x 30" sensual images of tomatoes, etc. Will I be the Georgia O'Keefe of vegetables? Maybe---if I'm lucky. If I'm reee-al lucky.

Garden Humor

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Starting Fresh!

Yes, I know my post for Wednesday was done on Thursday, but I don't know how to change the date. Meanwhile, it's Thursday and all I seem to be doing is cutting off dead tomato leaves, pulling out corn, pulling out the last of the cucumber and watermelon vines. Pulling out all the summer crops. However, with the new bare ground, it's time to think about more fall and winter plantings. Maybe not as exciting or less variety, but wonderful nonetheless.

Another surprise, after all my plantings and replantings, the eggplants are huge and I have 2 eggplants already. Can I get more throughout the fall? I hope so.

I made a huge batch of tomato sauce. I love that sauce. It's very simple, but oh so delicious--ripe tomatoes, garlic, basil, oregano, red wine, tomato paste, olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook for 30 minutes and voila--magnificent tomato sauce!

For the winter, I am planning on cultivating spinach, arugula, lettuce (of all sorts) radishes, green onions, chard, parsnips, potatoes. What else can I cultivate? Any ideas anonymous?

Another Wednesday!

Only Ginger showed up today. Oh well, maybe the excitement about the garden is over, or maybe people are just busy. Anyway, Ginger and I worked hard. Ginger cleaned up the dried thyme while I pulled down the supports for the beans, and pulled out the bean plants. Before she arrived, I pulled out all the corn stalks on the hill. Next week I will plant lettuce and chard there and see what happens. Meanwhile, where the beans used to be, we planted two rows of chard. Surprise, surprise. In digging up the earth where the potato bin was, we discovered about 10 potatoes. How nice. However, that was a lot of work and compost for 10 potatoes. Live and learn. But we have two small potato plants nearby. We covered up the two plants with earth. Try again.

The radishes and broccoli we planted last week are already coming up--amazing! I am going to plant broccoli rabe next week, too.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

There are lots of little holes in the eggplant leaves. Also, the basil. I decided to start a search and found many little caterpillars eating away at my leaves. Time to spray Oil Supreme---you little buggers. I'll get you.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Finally Eggplant

I planted so much eggplant this year, and nothing. First it was the soil in the raised bed--too acidic. Then, who knows--it just wasn't taking. Now the plants are huge (3 1/2' tall) and the eggplant are appearing. I am so happy.

Lots of arugula. It is a cool weather plant, even though it hasn't been that cool, it is officially fall. The taste is incredible. The spinach has been having a hard time. I will plant some more on Wednesday when my artists come to help.

We planted radishes last Wednesday, and they are already coming up. How exciting!

The tomatoes are looking scrawnier and scrawnier. The bottom is denuded (I have cut out all the yellowing leaves), and the tops are nice and green. There are still quite a few tomatoes, but not like a few weeks ago.

I have started putting together the exhibition of this project. Meanwhile, last Friday, September 25, 2009,the Beverly Hills Courier did a 2 page article on my project. Please check it out at:

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Bell Peppers--yes!

Not as hectic in the garden as it was a few weeks ago. Not so many tomatoes or squash. Maybe I'm getting tired and not working as hard. There is something to be said for 4 seasons Chicago style. Work all spring, summer and early fall. Rest up late fall and winter. Come spring you're ready to go again.

I pullled out an eggplant plant after harvesting my one and only eggplant so far. The eggplant looked great, but the plant itself was all white and mildewy. We'll see how the eggplant is. I harvested carrots and arugula today and had an amazing meal. I hope I get more eggplant. The raised bed garden was originally so acidic, it took a while to raise the pH level. Hence, the eggplant were planted late. I hope it's not too late in the season to harvest more. We shall see.

Meanwhile, the lettuce, arugula, endive, radishes, chives, bell peppers and jalapenos are going crazy. No one seems to want the gardening to end.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Only 3 of us working in the garden today, but we got a lot done. First we moved the extra compost from the potato bin in the Raised Bed to the area that formerly was covered with butternut squash. After mixing in the compost, we planted broccoli and two rows of green onions. In Garden #1 I cut off more dead leaves and vines. Then we harvested most of the radishes and planted red and white radishes in 3 different areas. I also planted leaf lettuce in the open spaces between the lettuce plants.

The arugula is going crazy. So is the basil for that matter. Lots of peppers all of a sudden, too.

Tonight I will spray the corn and surrounding tomato plants on the hill for insects.

Basil & Italian parsley pesto-mmm good!

Goat Cheese & Tomato/basil on baguette rounds

Monday, September 21, 2009

Basil pesto, zucchini, peppers and more!

A Great Success!

I am writing this Monday, because the Harvest Dinner festivities didn't end until 11:30 p.m. or so. I was exhausted, but happy.

Meanwhile, 20 people came. The night was balmy. There were candles everywhere--on the table tops, in lanterns on the ground. I even had 3 small torches on the lawn between the gardens. We feasted on an appetizer of toasted baguette rounds smeared with fresh tomatoes, goat cheese & basil. Lots of wine, beer and soft drinks, too. Then on to dinner. I roasted zucchini and bell peppers and served them with a delicious Valbreso French feta. We had a mixed green (arugula & Royal Oak Leaf lettuce) salad with lots of tomatoes and a balsamic vinagrette. I also served gemmeli pasta with a fresh pesto made with basil, garlic and Italian parsley from the garden. I made a 2nd salad of tomatoes and basil, because the first one went so fast. Then I grilled marinated flank steak and a variety of sausages. Laura brought a paella and we had lots of fresh fruit, Chinese cookies and a cheesecake for dessert.

Ofunne deejayed, but the music got too loud and the police came. I guess that's a sign of a great party! Everyone danced and didn't want to leave.

There are still lots of vegetables in the garden, plus the fall crops will be ready for harvesting before too long. Next Wednesday I want to plant more broccoli, lettuce, spinach and anything else that grows well in cooler temperatures.

Friday, September 18, 2009

So much to do. The Harvest Dinner is tomorrow. 20 people are coming. I harvested tomatoes and bell peppers. I pulled out a lot of the corn. It just didn't do well, and much of it is infested with ants. Lots of ants this year. I also cut back the cucumber and watermelon vines in the Raised Bed. I mistakenly cut one wrong vine and lost a possible watermelon. Oh well. Lots of beets, arugula, carrots, radishes, lettuce. I am waiting to see what happens with the eggplant. The plants are huge and there are lots of flowers.

I sprayed the tomatoes for white fly and aphids. I used a Safer product. Still lots of tomatoes, but not the numbers I had a few weeks ago. And the basil--I'm going to make lots of pesto sauce.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Harvest Dinner

3 artists came to work in the garden today and we got a lot done. In the raised bed, I had cucumber, butternut squash and cantaloupe vines all entwined and starting to decay. The butternut squash was amazing this year. So much produce, but the vines are exhausted and the insects and powdery mildew are taking over. Sooo, we cut back all the vines, down to the bare minimum. It's always a little sad to say good bye to vegetables that have produced so much, but it's time. I also cut back more dead growth on the tomatoes. Thank goodness I decided to take the 3 extra seedlings from way back in May and plant them on the hillside. They are younger than the tomatoes in Garden #1 and doing a great job of producing beautiful tomatoes.

Harvest Dinner is this Saturday. My original plan was to have the Harvest Dinner some time in October, but the vegetables can't wait. It's now or never to have a bountiful feast! I am planning on serving pasta with pesto made from basil, Italian parsley, garlic, pine nuts and olive oil. Everything except the olive oil, pine nuts & wine are from the garden. I will also grill zucchini and bell peppers. Oh the bell peppers. They are in great form. We will have a dozen or more to grill. What to do with the jalapenos??? I also have to figure out what I what to do with the butternut squash that will fit in with the menu. It's sort of Italian/ Mediterranean style fare. Any suggestions, anyone? I will also prepare marinated flank steak and a variety of sausages. Dessert--cantaloupe and watermelon, plus some desserts guests are bringing. Oh, and my zucchini bread! Hopefully someone will bring something sweet & chocolate.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Crashing Computer

My computer crashed Thursday night, so it's actually Sunday and I am just now catching up with gardening news. Not so much to do in the garden right now. I will foliar feed the bell and jalapeno peppers tonight. There are still tomatoes, but not in the same abundance of weeks past. Lots of carrots, beets, lettuce, arugula and butternut squash. I just harvested 3 cantaloupe and it looks like I will have a watermelon soon. I was really expecting the watermelon and cantaloupe in August, but oh well, what can a gardener do.

I have been cleaning things up a bit around the garden--cutting off dead leaves and vines, pulling out vegetables that aren't doing well. I have lots of compost to spread around the gardens. It came from the potato bin that produced no potatoes.

The harvest dinner is this Saturday. I couldn't wait any longer or I might not have enough produce to have a "harvest dinner." I think it will be great! I am inviting everyone! Want to come?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I just watered today, picked a tomato and got rid of another caterpillar. I'm not feeling that well today so I didn't do much in the garden. Seems like the castor oil did the job. I don't see any more evidence of gophers. Just have to keep an eye on the area in case I have to do a second spraying. I need to spray more End Rot (calcium) on the peppers tomorrow night. I just don't have the energy tonight. It's also too late. It's dark out already. Fall is coming, the days are getting noticeably shorter, although not cooler.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Winding down?

Someone called me today and asked if there were any more vegetables in the garden. Is he kidding? There is so much food--tomatoes (some weigh 2 lbs) basil, radishes, zucchini, butternut squash, arugula, endive, Royal Oak leaf lettuce, chives, rosemary, sage, thyme.

However, no potatoes. The artists came to work in the garden today, so we opened up the potato bin and dug down deep. All we found were 2 little potatoes. And I mean little. The deeper we dug, the more clay-like was the soil. That might have been part of the problem--the potatoes & roots couldn't get through the clay. We spread the extra earth elsewhere in the garden--no reason to waste good composted earth.

The corn was also a disappointment. I harvested a few cobs of corn and opened them up. The kernels were hit or miss. I don't think they got enough sun and probably the soil wasn't quite right. I will plant corn in Garden #1 or the Raised bed next year. It's all about learning what works and what doesn't.

I have to start planning the harvest dinner. It will probably be in a few weeks. Saturday or Sunday?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Just watered my plants and cut a few more tomatoes. The skin on the tomatoes is so thin that you have to handle them very carefully. They also don't hold up too long outside of the refrigerator. I made some more tomato sauce with my homegrown garlic, basil and oregano. It was delicious. I will give away lots of tomatoes tomorrow when the artists come to work. Tomorrow we open up the big container holding the potatoes I have been cultivating. Hope there are lots of potatoes and that the bugs haven't gotten to them. Tomorrow we'll see.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day

Not here. I'm taking it easy today. I did plant some spinach in Garden #1 and some thyme in the herb garden. I wanted to trim more, but my thumb on my right hand is all swollen and black & blue from using the shears the other day.

I will water this afternoon and take care of the gophers this evening. I use a product made of castor oil. The gophers hate it. You wet down the ground, hook up the bottle to a hose, wet the ground with the product and then water it once more. A lot of water, unfortunately, but it is a non-pesticide way to get rid of the gophers.

Found 4 more caterpillars. Yuck, I hate those things. When you're pulling them off the vine they squirt this green liquid at you. One got me in the face! That is the one thing I hate--getting rid of the caterpillars!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

It's a Holiday Weekend!

I didn't do too much today. It's a holiday weekend; however, I worked really hard yesterday and so eliminated a lot of work today. Tomorrow I will do some plantings and harvest more tomatoes. I think I have to start cutting more of the herbs and drying them. I am thinking about the mint (newly planted), the rosemary and the oregano. Yes, the oregano. I cut the oregano back a lot only a few weeks ago, and dried it all out. It all came back, and I have just as much as before. Okay, lots of oregano is good--I cook Italian-style, or is the current phrase-Mediterranean.

Have to start thinking about the winter. Just got the Peaceful Valley catalogue. I am planning on putting vetch in most of the gardens. Vetch is a cover crop that puts nitrogen back in the soil and helps prepare it for the spring. I also hope to cultivate lettuce, arugula and broccoli this winter. There will be less to do, but that's okay. I need a break. That way, I will be looking forward to gardening again this spring. Coming from Chicago, I guess I am just a 4-season girl. Plant and garden in the spring, summer and fall. Rest in the winter.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Seeing is Believing!

I cut back a lot of the squash, cucumber and zucchini leaves that had powdery mildew. There is so much butternut squash. I only found one caterpillar today-a big, fat one. Am I getting ahead of the caterpillar infestation or just not finding them. I didn't find one grasshopper.

I have six 12" plates full of large heirloom tomatoes. I made a huge pot of tomato sauce with garlic, oregano and basil (all from the garden), but I still have so many tomatoes. I harvested about six today and there are six or more to harvest tomorrow. It seems like I am being deluged with tomatoes, but I don't think the plants will last as long this year. Last year I had tomatoes until Thanksgiving. Maybe not this year. This is the first year I have cultivated Brandywine tomatoes. 2nd year for Beefsteak. It's the Beefsteak vines that are looking the saddest.

Friday, September 4, 2009

So I've Been Complaining About Insects!

Yes, it's true. I have been complaining about white fly, aphids & caterpillars. They are a pain in the butt, but oh so necessary. It's the balance of nature that we are going for in sustainable agriculture. Don't kill all the insects, just keep their numbers in some sort of balance. Meanwhile, I got rid of 4 more caterpillars today, and a different kind of caterpillar on the pepper leaves. I also found 3 grasshoppers. One was as big as by little finger. Now I know why I have all those holes in my lettuce, pepper and eggplant leaves.

I foliar fed the peppers and tomatoes with End Rot. This product is actually calcium. I also sprayed the tomatoes because they need calcium too and they are growing right next to the peppers. No signs of End Blossom Rot yet with the tomatoes, but it is only a matter of time.

I also sprayed the two rose bushes next to the garden for powdery mildew. This is something that spreads. My poor zucchini and butternut squash leaves are slowly getting covered with PM. I will spray them tomorrow. It's already 7:30 p.m. and getting dark and I haven't had dinner yet.

I forgot to spray the 2 new gopher holes in the front yard with the castor oil spray. Oh well, at least they are in the front yard. The vegetable gardens are nowhere near. But I don't want them affecting the fruit trees. Tomorrow--I won't forget!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Happy gardeners!

Gardening Day!

Today we not only gardened, we videotaped interviews with the artists as to their views on the project. Not as many people showed up today as I would have liked. I want a diverse group's opinions. I may have to do another taping.

So many tomatoes today. Everyone went home with 2, 3, 4 tomatoes and lots of basil. The plants are starting to look a little scrawny on the bottom. I am going to foliar feed with calcium in a day or two. The bell peppers really need it. Some are getting End Rot.

We also pulled down the last sunflower in the hillside garden. I will miss them, waving so proudly in the wind. Meanwhile, the sunflowers in the flowerpot on the patio are starting to come up.

I also noticed that the arugula and Batavian endive and Royal Oak leaf lettuce will be ready to start harvesting next week. A few plants are large enough to harvest already. Lots of radished too. They are quite large. Oh, and I almost forgot. We have Yukon gold potatoes!

The DE seems to be doing the job. I still have white fly, but their numbers have dramatically decreased. Found 4 more large caterpillars today.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

DE & other exciting things

Found lots more caterpillars. They were really eating up the tops of the plants. That, of course, is where all the new tender leaves are. They're no dummies.

I dust sprayed with DE for a second time. Hope this helps the problem. I have been force spraying with water, but it wasn't doing enough. Of course, it doesn't help that my neighbor's hibiscus is still filled with white fly.

The artists come to work in the garden again tomorrow. We are videotaping interviews with each of them. Lots of tomatoes to distribute to all who come.

Big Caterpillars

Monday, August 31, 2009

More caterpillars!

Yes, I found 3 more caterpillars today. They seem to be everywhere. I see the droppings and the vines that have been denuded of leaves. Tomorrow I spray for white fly. It has been one week since the last spraying.

I don't like the coating they leave on the tomatoes. But it does wash off easily enough.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

All is well in paradise

Didn't do too much with the garden today. I watered all the vegetables. I also cut off a lot of dead leaves and vines from the tomato plants. Seems to be a lot of dead material. I hope the plants are okay. It might just be the heat. Getting lots of radishes and peppers, especially the jalapenos. I am told they are very hot. (I don't eat jalapenos) I now have six huge platters of tomatoes. Time to make tomato sauce.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

BIG Caterpillars Everywhere!

It took to the end of August, so I guess I can't complain, but I just disposed of 7 large caterpillars within the last two days. They are 3" long and 1/2" thick. Yuck! They are mostly at the top of the tomato plants where the leaves and flowers and young and soft. I still have the white flies, but I sprayed them with water and will dust spray with the DE in a few days. Meanwhile, lots of tomatoes, so many that I feel I must start making and freezing tomato sauce immediately.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The gardens are doing well. I am cutting off a lot of dead or yellowing lower leaves from the tomato plants, but that seems to happen towards the end of summer any way. I disposed of a huge caterpillar (size of my middle finger) this evening, and one not so big. I couldn't find the 3rd one, although I know he's there. I saw the droppings. Tomorrow I will find him. Also, got rid of a huge locust yesterday. He's been eating my tomato flowers and leaves.

Not as many zucchini as I usually get, but I planted them on the hillside (the earth is newer, less amended) The corn on the hill did not produce good corn on the cob. The peppers are doing well, but too many branches are so heavy with peppers that they are breaking. Next year I must support them better from the very beginning. Lots of butternut squash--lots of butternut squash--and they are so big. I will take another photo of all the vegetable, especially the tomatoes. They are my pride and joy.

Meanwhile, I will soon have cantaloupe. This is the first year I have cultivated them. No watermelon yet, even though I planted a lot of them.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

It's so hot today! I guess the plants love it, but I don't. I will have to fill the watering can from the rain barrel. The soil looks pretty dry. Lots of tomatoes. I am sure they will all be turning red soon. I should have been counting them to see how many I get this year. Too late now!

Guess what? I still have white fly!!! I am so disappointed. I thought the diatomaceous earth would do the trick. I will try spraying again tomorrow. Is that too soon? Anonymous- you seem to be my expert. What do you think?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Food for Everyone!

Gardening day again. 7 people showed up--Ginger, Marissa, Juna, Michiko, Flora, Wendi & Jason. Thank goodness I have lot of food to distribute. First off I asked Marissa to cut down the sunflowers on the hill. They are way past prime; however, we may get some sunflower seeds out of it. Then, she tied up a younger sunflower farther down the hill.
We harvested radishes, beets, cucumbers, jalapeno peppers and all the chard. Didn't plant any more chard because the squash, cucumber and cantaloupe vines don't leave any room. Next year, I will have to plant all the vine vegetables on the hillside.
Michiko & Juna harvested the sunflower seeds & also put the dried oregano in small bags-dated, of course. Jason spent all morning shredding a large cardboard box to be divided betwen my 2 compost bins. Compost always needs a balance between green & brown and not too wet, not too dry. Right now we have green & too wet. The brown shredded cardboard will help until all my leaves on my big tree turn brown & fall to the ground.
We pulled up the thyme (all dried out) and planted dill. I will have to find thyme seeds or perhaps buy a small thyme plant. So, we watered, harvested and everyone went home with huge tomatoes, zucchini (or crookneck or butternut squash), cucumbers, green bell peppers, jalapenos, radishes or beets, chard. What a good day!
Meanwhile, everyone enjoyed a piece of zucchini bread with either coffee or lemonade.

Tonight I check the tomatoes for white fly. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Yeah technology & the internet

It was so easy to spray the DE on the tomatoes. The sprayer worked so well and so easily. I had to put it together, of course. Nothing comes ready to use any more--you always have to put it together. Nevertheless, it was easy. Hopefully, one problem solved. Now on the powdery mildew--it has moved from the hillside squash to the squash leaves in the raised bed.
My diatomaceous earth and dust sprayer arrived today! Yeah! I can spray for white fly tonight. Who knew DE could be so exciting. Must say something about my social life! The white fly is better anyway, since I have been force spraying the tomatoes with water since I first spotted the white fly, but this should really take care of the problem. More later!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday-rest day! I watered and enjoyed the garden. However, I did find another huge caterpillar at the very top of a tomato plant in Garden #1. He was removed and disposed of. I also cut back a lot of the squash vines and leaves in the raised bed. The squash is overtaking the garden, so I am trying to keep it in control. I also wanted to remove the leaves affected with powdery mildew. Tomorrow I will spray.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Basil, soon to be pesto!

Today was a good day! No hard work. I just picked lots of juicy red tomatoes. Then I picked basil, Italian parsley and took out the garlic I harvested last week so I could make pesto. What a great dinner! Fresh pesto with linguini and fresh slices of heirloom tomatoes. Mmm good!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Powdery Mildew

It's a l w a y s something! So said Rosanna Danna. Yes, my zucchini and crook neck squash leaves have powdery mildew. I sprayed at the first sight, but it's hard to get rid of. I just sprayed again tonight and cut off the really bad leaves. Amazingly enough, I still get a lot of good vegetables. It doesn't seem to affect them.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sunflower seeds!

Great Gardening Day!

6 people came to work in the gardens today: Ginger, Marissa, Juna, Flora, Jason & Raksha. It was cool and overcast the whole morning. Great for working outside. We planted spinach, radishes, Pak choi, dill. We weeded. We watered. We harvested butternut squash, tomatoes, basil zucchini, Pak choi, chard, Royal Oak Leaf lettuce. We got so much done.

About the white fly situation! I force sprayed water on the tomato plants 2 days in a row. There are less white flies. Yeah! I am still going to use the DE (diatomaceous earth) I will dry dust it on the tomatoes.

This is a tomato???

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Take that, white flies!

Unfortunately I still have white flies, but thanks to anonymous, I may have a cure. I just ordered diatomaceous earth. The white flies eat it and the sharp edges of the shells, cut them up and dry them out. Sounds horrible, doesn't it? Survival of the fittest. Meanwhile, the good bugs live.

While I am waiting for the diatomaceous earth to arrive, I force sprayed the heck out of the tomato plants with water. So many white flies in the air!

New project--teaching people about sustainable agriculture. Just finished helping Melissa set up her first organic herb garden. We bought established plants-basil, sage, rosemary, lavendar, parsley and repotted them all in organic potting soil. Fed them with Super Thrive ( a vitamin booster, makes the plants grow like crazy) She placed them on her balcony. Good luck Melissa!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Attack of the white fly!

One would never guess that I spent all that time yesterday spraying my tomato plants to get rid of the white fly. They are there in great numbers. I hung yellow sticky paper on each plant to hopefully catch some of the little guys. Let's see tomorrow. I think I have to buy more lace wing eggs. Someone anonymous suggested lady bugs, but I read that they are only good for aphids. I am not seeing too much of those.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I decided I had to spray the tomato plants with Oil Away Supreme which is a cottonseed oil spray. The white flies and aphids are going crazy. So far they haven't affected the tomato plants, but it only a matter of time. I filled up the backpack sprayer and sprayed away. I will check tomorrow. Hopefully things will be better. I plan on putting the sticky paper up tomorrow.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Not too much to do today except water and look for new insect infestations. I think I have to use the Oil Spray on the tomatoes tomorrow. The lace wings are not doing their job. I think they have eaten themselves (they are cannibalistic) instead of the aphids and white flies. My luck!

Better also keep checking on caterpillars. I think I found more droppings on one of my 8' tomato plants.

Friday, August 14, 2009

new images

Linda Kunik

Plant It Forward-the starving artist project


Up until today I have found only one caterpillar in the garden. It was on the hillside garden. Not too big.

Then, today, I was again working on the hillside with one of the tomato plants and I started to notice huge droppings on the leaves and on one of the tomatoes. I started looking around, but to no avail. Just as I was about to give up, I looked up, and there he was on the very top of the vine, six feet up. The largest caterpillar I have ever found in my five years of gardening. He was the size of my middle finger and did not want to let go of the vine. Yuck! I hate pulling caterpillars off the vine and then having to kill them, but what is a gardener to do. They eat the leaves and flowers of your tomato plants. It's either them or me.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thursday-Not too much to do today since all my artist gardeners came yesterday. They mixed in compost, planted sunflower seeds and white radish seeds. My problem now is white fly. My neighbor has an infestation on one of the trees and the white flies have found my tomatoes. I sprayed a cottonseed oil on the plants twice already in the last 5 weeks. Then I ordered lacewing eggs. The eggs are supposed to hatch and become larvae that eat the white fly. Well, I don't think they are doing their job. I also bought yellow sticky paper. So far I have caught 2 white flies. I am afraid to use too much sticky paper because I might catch the lace wings too. What do you think?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Harvest & Eat

The barbecue last Saturday was a great success. 14 people came to work in the garden and harvest the vegetables while Ofunne deejayed. After we picked all the vegetables we prepared a delicious dinner which included: grilled zucchini spears, butternut squash sauteed in olive oil, garlic, salt, raisins and cranberries, tomato with basil and mozzarella with an oil and balsamic vinegar spalsh, an arugula salad with green onions, white radishes, Beefsteak tomatoes cut in wedges, pine nuts and a delicious Italian dressing. I prepared teriyaki flank steak and Tuscan chicken with rosemary (from the garden). Others brought rice, quinoa, potato salad, home baked apple pie and home baked blueberry crisp. Of course, we had wine, beer, lemonade. A veritable feast. All vegetables came from the gardens.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The garden is doing well. The tomatoes are starting to turn red. They are so delicious. The zucchini are over a foot long. Big and fat! The red and yellow bell peppers will soon be ready. I have already harvested some jalapenos. Good eating.

Barbecue on August 8. Are you a member of Plant It Forward? It's the only way you can attend.
Don't miss out--it will be great!!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

5 artists working the garden today. We tied tomato vines to stakes and supports--they are over 6' tall. We planted spinach, arugula, beets, radishes and lettuce. We harvested green beans, spinach, arugula, beets, carrots and tomatoes. Everyone went home with a bag full of food. Artists working today: Rodney, Ginger, Raksha, Juna and myself.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Can't do too much in the garden today. I got started too late and it's way too hot. I did add some posts to the tomato supports. The Plants are getting way too big. I had to tie up several vines so they wouldn't break. But I am going to get lots and lots of tomatoes.

Got lots of people coming next Wednesday again to work in the gardens for Plant It Forward-the starving artist project.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Plant It Forward-the starving artist project

What a great day! 6 artists including myself worked in the garden! Rodney, Marissa, Ofunne, Ginger, Juna. Suzanne videotaped the artists adding compost, mixing it into the soil, adding mulch and compost around fruit trees. Ofunne and Ginger took photographs, too. Everyone went home with spinach, arugula, endive, butter lettuce, green onions, zucchini or squash, tomatoes, rosemary and even some sprigs of lavendar. We drank lemonade and ice tea and ate corn chips with salsa made with tomatoes from last years harvest.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

May 19

The garden is doing so well. I am already harvesting arugula, mesclun greens, spinach and radishes. I will have peas soon. The 6 tomato plants are almost 3' tall. I also have zucchini, yellow squash, onions, garlic, beans, chives, watermelon, cantaloupe, corn, peppers, pak choi, cucumbers, potatoes and wild strawberries. I get tired just thinking about all those vegetables to take care of.

Plant It Forward-the starving artist project

Plant It Forward-the starving artist project is a multi-dimensional, inter-disciplinary project which examines a sustainable, agricultural practice as it relates to the barter system, while referencing the patron/artist relationship. None of thee practices or systems are new ideas; however, considering the state of the world today, I feel it is time to revisit these concepts and see if they can function together in the modern world.
Plant It Forward is about establishing community, while reconnecting with our earth. In the process, we create art by working in the gardens and transforming the landscape. The initial transformation was that of a typical backyard into a sustainable agricultural practice. The transformation continues as the day-to-day gardening practice creates an ever-changing canvas. Working together in the garden, the artists learn about sustainable agriculture, forge relationships with fellow artists and depart happily with a bagful of vegetables, fruit and herbs. My hope is that this project will promote a dialogue between and among artists, audiences, and their communities, about getting involved in their own cultivation, buying locally produced fruits and vegetables and starting community gardens. Future plans involve distributing food to neighboring communities and educating youth on sustainability.
Five large gardens have been created around my home, replacing flowerbeds and lawns, in order to plant vegetables and herbs. Everything is done with sustainability in mind. No harmful pesticides or herbicides are used. The soil has been amended with compost and manure, and continues to be amended with nutrients depending on the needs of the vegetables being cultivated and the condition of the soil. Whenever possible, recycled materials are used. A compost tumbler makes new compost from yard waste and vegetable leftovers. A drip, soaker-hose system makes watering more efficient and cost-effective. All vegetables are cultivated from organic seed, except for the wild strawberries, which came from the forest.
The barter system works as follows: Artists work in the gardens for one to two hours in exchange for a recycled bag of whatever produce is ready to be harvested. In essence the artists become and help create the art project. Each artist signs the Plant It Forward Artist Journal, documenting his or her experience. If an artist does not want to work in the garden, he/she can barter other skills necessary for the project in exchange for food. Finally, a harvest dinner will take place in the fall.