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.