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