Thursday, December 30, 2010

It's been cold and rainy for the last 2 weeks. Not too much to do in the garden. I have planted all the winter crops I had planned, plus the cover crop on the hillside. The cover crop is thriving. The peas are up, but growing slowly. Potatoes have appeared from where I planted them last summer. The new potato plants have not yet shown their green sprouts. The Swiss Chard and kale are doing fine, as are the arugula and lettuce. The spinach is just beginning to show its primordial leaves, as are the carrots. I have seen signs of broccoli and radishes. The radishes will be ready to harvest in a week or two.

I am enjoying the winter garden in more ways than one. It's beautiful in its own way and it's less work than the summer garden. I need a break!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It was a cold, drizzly day in Los Angeles. Yes, it is December, but not usual LA weather. (Sounds like the beginning of a novel or bad movie made for television.) Was anybody going to come and garden? I sent the Email out late Tuesday evening. Getting no response, I Emailed this morning that although it was drizzly, we could plant. Yesterday, Rodney had worked 1 1/2 hours mixing compost with the soil in one area of the raised bed. The soil was ready. All we had to do was put in the seeds. I started planting and Juna showed up around 10:30. We planted broccoli, rapini, turnips, parsnips, Daikon radishes, beets, spinach (Tyree) and bok choy. It's been cold. However, after one day of no rain, we are going to have 4 days of rain. Great for the garden!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Anaother beautiful day in paradise!

I feel so lucky to be living in LA. No, it's not perfect, but it's close. It's 75 outside and sunny. Another great day to garden. Gathered up lots of brown leaves from my big tree. I must have 10 large gargabe bags of leaves by now. Great for compost!

Rodney dug up the soil in the raised bed. I wanted to plant more turnips and parsnips, but Rodney said I probably needed more compost. I will buy some on Monday and plant on Wednesday.

Watered everything and that's it. Not too much to do today.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What a day to garden!

You couldn't have asked for a more perfect day to be in a garden--sunshine and 70 degrees. Warm, but not too hot. Today was planting day! We planted, and then, we planted some more. Rodney took the bench away from the corner of the raised bed, added top soil, tilled well and planted spinach and bok choy. Then he planted flat red onions on the south wall of the raised bed. Juna arrived earlier than usual, ready to work. She planted bunching green onions all along the north side of Garden #1. I had already planted green onions and radishes in a little corner just next to this area.

John Lyons creator of Home Grown-Culver City, stopped by today. He is an amazing gardener and landscape architect, who I am fortunate to know. We will work together soon. He just stopped by to see what I have done. He liked the soil. Yeah! I have worked hard to amend the soil. It's all about the soil--good, healthy soil and everything else will come!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I don't normally work in the garden on Sunday, but I couldn't help myself. I watered all the newly seeded areas, including the hillside. Everything is starting to come up, although more slowly than during the summer months. I used the water from the rain barrels. Problem: The barrel by the house is fine, but the barrel behind the studio seems to be a breeding ground for mosquitos. I put a screen over the barrel and the cover, but somehow the mosquitos got in. In addition, there are "things" swimming around in the water--mosquito larvae--who knows. Must find out. I fed the 2 orange trees in the front yard and the gardenias (not food for the body, but food for the soul, in their own way). Still need to spray the Neem oil on the plum and lemon trees in the back yard. The plum tree has some sort of rust and the lemon tree has scale. It's always something!!! (Roseanne Roseanna Danna-Saturday Night Live)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

It was a cloudy day. None of the seeds we planted last Wednesday have come up, but that would have been a miracle. They need more time. It's supposed to rain tonight. I planted kale and arugula in Garden #1 where the Roma tomatoes used to be. Trying to plant different vegetables in order to regenerate and amend the soil.

Reading and researching Root-knot nematodes, of which I had many this year. All the tomato plants, save one, and many of the other vegetables, had these bulbous protuberances. Not good. It's hard to get rid of them, but French Marigolds help. Must plant the marigolds among the tomatoes next year. Also, pull out all the infected roots and turn the soil, in order to expose any remaining roots to the cold weather, so they will die.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's a beautiful day today!

It's going to be 70 degrees today. What a great day to garden! I'm going to pull out the last 2 tomato plants-Romas, add some top soil, maybe pull out some fresh compost and plant some spinach and lettuce.

Well, it turned out that we planted a lot of vegetables. Rodney created a raised area by adding 2 bags of topsoil in Garden #1 and planted 3 or 4 rows of carnival carrots. Juna and I amended the area next to it with 2 bags of topsoil and planted one double row of bok choy, crispy winter greens, Batavian endive, spinach, mesclun greens, salad bowl blend. Ginger worked in the raised bed and added topsoil. Then she planted purple green beans and Walla Walla sweet onions.

A good day for planting. And it's supposed to rain this weekend.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

It's Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend. I wasn't sure anyone would be available (family obligations, out of town, etc) and I was right. Only Rodney and I worked in the garden. We pulled out the last heirloom tomato plant (still have to pull out 2 Roma tomato plants), all the bell peppers and the eggplant. Harvested 3 eggplants.

We planted, or should I say Rodney prepared the soil and planted almost 5 lbs of potatoes (Yukon Gold and fingerling potatoes). Don't buy 5 lbs of potatoes next year. It was too much. Also planted a cover crop on the hill. There was extra seed, so we planted it around the peach and orange tree in the front yard and planted some where the heirloom tomatoes were planted this year.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Didn't garden today. It was too cold. I hope it warms up a bit by Saturday. I bought all these potatoes (Yukon Gold, Fingerlings and Red, white and blues) and I need to plant them soon. I also bought a cover crop for the hillside.

Unfortunately, the first cover crop I planted probably has little chance to flourish. My gardener raked up the whole area and disposed of the pine needles and whatever else. I had just planted the cover crop a week ago. Maybe a few will survive, but I can't count on it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pulled out a few more tomato plants today. The root installation is going to be spectacular. I must have 20 - 30 roots by now. Where the big tomato plants were, I pulled out 3 tomato plants plus the cherry tomato plant. I planted peas along the soaker hose line. That should add nitrogen to the soil for next year. In the raised bed Juna and I planted carrots in between the basil plants and red Walla onions in a triangular section near the arugula and parsnips.

Still waiting to see the pak choi, broccoli, and other carrots and onions come up. Maybe next week. Harvested Swiss chard, Daikon radishes, cherry tomatoes, 2 Roma Tomatoes and 3 small heirloom tomatoes. Actually one of the tomatoes was fairly large, but not like this summer.

Collecting lots of brown, dry leaves for the compost bin. That tree on the south border of the house is a treasure-trove of dry material come autumn.

Monday, November 8, 2010

It rained last night! Great! I planted so much the last couple of weeks. The rainwater is just what they need. This Wednesday I hope to plant some more winter vegetables. Have to order the vetch--times a wasting! Get on it girl!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

What a great day!

I accomplished so much in the garden today. I planted so many winter vegetables, including Batavian endive, winter greens, green bunching onions and Walla red onions. I harvested cherry tomatoes, beets and arugula. I pulled out a watermelon vine that was up on the hill. It was very long and big, but I don't think I was every going to get any fruit fron it. I picked up a lot of brown leaves from the large tree on the south border. I packed them up in a plastic trash bag to dry more. When they are dry I will add them to the compost bins. I have been needing more brown for the compost pile.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

November 3- 96 degrees farenheit

It was hot today. Juna and Ginger came to help. We cleaned up all the dead leaves around the bell pepper and eggplant. Juna cultivated, added compost, sprinkled with water, Super Thrive and Fish Emulsion.

In the raised bed I harvested the last of the pak choi and I planted pak choi and broccoli. Watered everything.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

It was a beautiful day today. We have had several days of rain, but the last couple of days have been clear. # people came to work in the garden. One new person I met at Home Grown Culver City. We pulled out all the zucchini and tomato plants on the hillside and dug up the soil. I plan on planting vetch to restore nitrogen and other minerals to the soil there. The tomatoes, zucchini, squash, watermelon and cantaloupe did not do well up there. The soil needs to be amended for next spring.

Pruned all the tomato plants. I am going to have some great roots for my root installation exhibition. Planted a row of carrots and a row of green onions in the raised bed, where peas were formerly planted. Harvested lettuce, cherry tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, carrots, green onions, rosemary, oregano and pak choi. Have to plant more pak choi next time around.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Saturday-Home Grown Culver City

Plant It Forward-the starving artist project had a unique opportunity to publicize its work at the first Home Grown Culver City on Saturday, October 23 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Media Park in Culver City. Closeup photos of the vegetables, a video showing interviews with the artists and two journals (the artists' journal and the creator's journal) were on display.

Other exhibitions included workshops and demonstrations, food vendors, designers of edible gardens, specialists in the fields of composting, vermiculture, permaculture, bee keeping and backyard chickens.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Not doing too much with the garden these days. Down to the last few heirloom tomatoes. Still quite a few bell peppers. Only see 1 eggplant.

However, all the fall vegetables are doing fine: pak choi, Swiss chard, lettuce, arugula. I planted more radishes, broccoli and lettuce last week. It has been raining a lot the last few days and everything is coming up. No gardening today due to the rain.

The turnips and parsnips are up, but not ready to harvest. The kale will be ready soon.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Didn't end up planting anything on Saturday. Just pruned and watered. However, today, I planted radishes, broccoli and royal oak leaf lettuce. Harvested beets, pak choi, arugula, cherry tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, Brandywine and Beefsteak tomatoes, thyme, rosemary and bell peppers. A good day! Juna came to work--thank goodness!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Planting fall crops

I'm here alone today. Not too much to do. I will prune a little and plan on planting more carrots, onions, broccoli and what else? I will have to look in my box of seeds. More later.

RAIN-Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday

Yes, it rained for 3 days. Filled up both 50 gallon containers behind the studio with rainwater diverted from the roof. I had just planted carrots and lettuce, so this rain was great.

Monday, October 4, 2010


I pulled out all the rapini. It just bolted and never produced any vegetable. Haven't had much luck with rapini. It is supposed to be a cool weather crop, as is broccoli (the broccoli didn't come up at all). Guess I will try again. Buy more seeds? Better check.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

2 caterpillars and 3 grasshoppers. Yesterday it was 7 caterpillars, no grasshoppers. Where are all these insects coming from? You hardly saw any all summer. I guess it's the heat wave--there all coming out for one last hurrah!

Did lots of pruning of dead leaves on the tomato plants. Pulled out two of the smaller tomato plants, which were not in the main garden.

Harvested lots of Roma tomatoes, carrots, arugula, red leaf lettuce, eggplant, bell peppers.

Planted more carrots and arugula. The parsnips and turnips are looking good, as is the kale and pak choi. I only planted one row of each. Last spring I planted two rows each of the kale and pak choi and it was too much.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Great day today! I started by feeding all my acid loving flowers (gardenias, camelias, azaleas, roses) with iron and soil acidifiers. Then Juna arrived to harvest cherry and plum tomatoes. When Katherine arrived I asked her to help clean up the eggplant and bell peppers. Lots of yellow and dead leaves. Then we added compost to the area around the eggplant, bell peppers and tomatoes. Juna harvested beets, carrots, green onions. Marjan arrived to help with mixing the compost into the soil and adding newspaper to the compost bin.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


113 degrees Farenheit. Whew! That's hot. I watered all the vegetables this morning in preparation, but of course, I didn't know it was going to get that hot! Most everything is fine. Some of the leaves on the tomato plants had some damage--drying out or burning up. However, the leaves were drying up little by little anyway. The rest of the vegetables are loving the heat. The bell peppers are getting red and yellow. It's about time. But most of them are a little smaller than last year, and that I expected. They were supposed to be maturing by July and continuing to bring forth peppers into October and November. Well, I don't think that's going to happen.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Lots of pruning today. The leaves on the tomato plants are fading fast. While pruning the cherry tomato plant near the workshop I found 4 very large caterpillars. Yuck! We added compost to the area where the corn was planted and the corner near the Roma tomatoes. Harvested eggplant, beefsteak tomatoes, basil, rosemary, bell peppers and arugula.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Juna and I got a lot done today. We pulled out the pea plants (powdery mildew) and the dead or dying zucchini and squash plants. I pruned the tomato plants yesterday. Picked cherry and plum tomatoes. Cultivated the earth around all the plants and watered well.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The garden is winding down. It's been a difficult year for the garden. For the past 3 years I have only see bigger and better. However, this year, the weather was colder, we had overcast mornings (the sun not showing its face until 11 a.m. or 12 p.m.) Yes, I got vegetables, but not in the abundance of former years. And now, it seems to all be coming to a close. I keep pruning the tomato plants--so many yellow and dying leaves) This didn't happen until October last year. I have planted arugula, parsnips, turnips, lettuce. I may get a good harvest. But the bell peppers are still struggling. Thinking about winter vegetables and also planting the whole garden with vetch and waiting for next spring.

Oh well, as I said before, gardening is a humbling experience. You are dealing with the forces of nature, of which we have no control. Think you have all the answers---Noooooo. You can only do the best you can. Nature decides if you will succeed or not..................

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Wednesday, Sept 8

Only two people showed up today, but that's okay. There wasn't really a lot to do today. I pruned the tomato plants, we watered and added newspaper to the compost pile. Went up on the hillside and tied up the tomato plants, cut off a lot of dead leaves, pulled out a dead squash plant. Just a lot of cleanup work.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sprayed Neem Oil on the tulip tree, tomatoes, arugula, eggplant, peppers--everything. The tulip tree is again infested with red spider mite. I cut off all the leaves and they came back healthy, but in a very short time, the red spider mite was back. Two weeks ago I sprayed with Safer's Insecticide, but to no avail. Don't want that spreading to the vegetables and other plants and flowers.

The tomatoes, eggplant and peppers are really badly infested with whitefly. I learned something this summer. I started spraying with Neem Oil and then I bought lady bugs, lace wings and pretosium to eat the bad insects. The problem is, they are not enough. Also, after you have the beneficial insects, you can't spray with Neem Oil, because that will also kill the good insects. You have to decide--one or the other.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Saturday, September 4

One day late in posting. Two gardeners came today, but they arrived fairly late and it was in the 90s today. We watered, harvested some tomatoes, eggplant, arugula, rosemary. I pruned the zucchini and squash.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

All the tomatoes are turning red! While that's wonderful and long awaited, it would have been nicer to get them in spurts. What is one to do with so many tomatoes at one time. I have already made nine containers of tomato sauce and given away dozens of tomatoes. Lots of Roma tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, too. The peppers are starting to turn the proper colors also. I had a purple bell pepper tonight for dinner. It was delicious.

The eggplant are wonderful this year. I have harvested about 4 or 5 and there are many more on the vines. Had to put in stakes and tie up some of the eggplant. The branches are so heavy from all the eggplant.

Planted two rows of turnips and one row of Belgian endive. Watered well with Super Thrive and water.

Actually saw one more zucchini. The zucchini and squash have been a real disappointment this year. The hillside doesn't seem to be very conducive to healthy, fruitful plants. The powdery mildew covered everything earlly on, even though I sprayed Actinovate religiously. I am going to harvest all there is to harvest in the next couple of weeks. Then I'll pull out all the plants and plant winter squash. Meanwhile, I have a watermelon plant that is thriving. No watermelon yet. One can only hope.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Starting to prepare for the fall

It's really hard to imagine, but the weather is such that I feel I should start planting fall and winter crops. We had a week of 90 degrees, but not it's down to cool and breezy again. The artist/gardeners came today. Pulled out the last of the bug infested kale. Can't keep those plants forever. We cultivated where the kale used to be, added compost, and planted parsnips and red kale. Then we planted a row of royal oak leaf lettuce (a real favorite this year).

Had two of the ladies for lunch, plus my visiting younger daughter. It was a delicious lunch- fresh garden salad )royal oak leaf lettuce, red onion, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, with a sprinkling of parmesan. Delicious!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Didn't do too much in the garden today. It's soooo hot! Watered everything really well. Katherine came by and helped me harvest cherry tomatoes. Then we planted more carrots in garden #1. All the tomatoes are going crazy. They were just waiting for the heat. I have so many red tomatoes.

Tomorrow I am making boatloads of tomato sauce. Don't want to waste any tomatoes.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Yes, we are having the first Plant It Forward barbecue for the 2010 season. I am preparing London broil, Tuscan chicken, zucchini, large heirloom tomatoes with red onion and basil from the garden, a green salad with royal oak leaf lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers--all from the garden. Mojitos made with mint from the garden. What else? I will have to add to this blog later.

Other guests brought rice dishes, dessert, fruit, cake and paella. The weather was perfect. Ofunne deejayed. The last guest left at 2:30 a.m. I went to bed at 3 a.m. A perfect party!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

So, I'm reflecting a bit these days on the garden. Except for this year, every year the garden has been bigger and better. And by that I mean, it has physically grown, and due to my learning and experience, up until this year, my harvest has only been more bountiful. That doesn't mean there weren't failures (ie. potatoes last year, eggplant), but the weather has taken its toll. The cold mornings and evenings, the overcast mornings have produced a harvest that is less than bountiful. There are still enough vegetables to give to the artist/gardeners , but I had over 30 containers of tomato sauce last year. I don't think I will have any extra tomatoes. Let's see. If the weather gets hotter (as it has been for 3 days) I could get a few extra tomatoes, but not like last year. I think I need to start planting cool weather vegetables (turnips, broccoli, parsnips, lettuce) so that I can get some kind of harvest.

Just goes to show you--man is only so powerful. Just when you think you've got it all figured out, the universe slaps you in the face!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I've been waiting for the heat and it came yesterday. Today was 91 degrees Farenheit. Whew! I wanted the heat for the vegetables, but it's hot out there! Had quite a few gardeners today. Nathalie came for the first time. She harvested cherry tomatoes and cleaned up the area around the strawberries of pine needles and dead leaves. Then she watered well.

Gave the tomatoes a 2nd dose of calcium/magnesium. Harvested kale, lettuce, Roma tomatoes, one Beefsteak tomato, rosemary and radishes. Juna taught Nancy how to plant spinach. She did a great job. Marjan and Ginger planted arugula and Swiss chard. We watered and watered. The ground is very dry.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Lots of maintenance today! I tied up three different tomato plants where the branches needed support. Also found 3 more caterpillars who are now in caterpillar heaven. Artists came to work in the garden today. Katherine made wells around 3 or 4 tomato plants and filled them with much needed water. Maggie cleaned up dead leaves, added newspaper to the compost tumbler, tilled the soil around the vegetables in the raised bed and then watered those areas.

We harvested rosemary, oregano, lavender, spinach, royal oak leaf lettuce, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber, Roma tomatoes and two beautiful beefsteak tomatoes. I have to take photos of the larger beefsteak tomato. The bottom side looks like a face. I am going to do a series of tomato "faces."

Thursday, August 12, 2010

PG 13

I may have to start posting signs. Maybe PG 13 isn't enough--R???

Meanwhile, I pruned the tomato plants. Several will be ready to pick in a few days. Foliar fed all the vegetables with Bill's Fertilizer, Spray N Grow and Coco Wet. While spraying I noticed way too many white fly among the eggplant (especially) and tomato plants. I captured 5 caterpillars, of varying sizes, one leaf hopper and 3 albino grasshoppers. I never saw a white grasshopper before.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Another day in the garden!

I started working in the garden about 9:15 a.m. I went up on the hillside and pulled out all the dead and decaying squash plants. About 10 a.m. Juna arrived. Then Marissa. I had them both till the soil up on the hillside and add 1 cubic foot of topsoil plus the last of the compost and worm pile I had in the yard. The squash just got too infested with powdery mildew. I don't understand. I sprayed Actinovate on a regular basis, which was supposed to prevent powdery mildew. Maybe it was the overcast mornings. Who know??? After adding all the worms, soil and compost, Marissa watered everything well.

Added a bucket full of the worms and compost to the other two beds. Planted two more rows of vegetables next to the broccoli in the raised bed. One row of Mache and one row of Pak choi. Marjan arrived late. She pulled out all the yellow and/or dead kale leaves and watered the garden. Juna watered the rest of the garden.

We harvested radishes, green onions, mache, arugula, swiss chard, kale, cherry and Roma tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini and squash. Not a bad day. However, last year at this time, the harvest was much more abundant.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Tied up some more tomato branches and cut off some dead ones. Harvested a lot of cherry tomatoes. Thank goodness for the cherry tomatoes. The other tomatoes are really taking their time turning red. Found 3 - 4 caterpillars who then went to caterpillar heaven!

Had to include a photo of my latest tomato. What a crazy looking thing!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

I started gardening a little later this morning than usual. It was so overcast and cool, plus the fact that I was out late last night at a girlfriend's birthday party. I started by tying up the loose branches of the tomato plants, and what did I find? Lots of caterpillars. In one case I found three large ones all together on the same branch and leaf. I must have pulled off 7 caterpillars at least.

Planted a row of leafy greens next to the Royal Oak Leaf Lettuce. Also, planted 1/2 row of Daikon radishes and 1/2 row of red radishes where the first row of peas used to be. That row never came up. The 2nd one did and is about 1 foot tall now.

Katherine harvested a basketful of cherry tomatoes and cut off all t he dead leaves on the zucchini and squash plants. She harvested a beautiful zucchini and cucumber. I found a beautiful beefsteak tomato, all red, ready to eat. The 2nd of the season. I think all the tomatoes will start ripening now. I hope so. Last year at this time, I was flush with tomatoes. It's that cool weather.

Friday, August 6

Got my second order of lacewings in the mail this afternoon. I spread them around the tomato, bell pepper and eggplants. Hope they eat all the white flies and aphids.

Thursday I watered all the tomato plants and fed them with fish emulsion and a mixture of Cal/Mag. The lower leaves on the tomatoes were turning yellow (veins still green), which means they have a calcium/ magnesium deficiency. Hope this helps. Had the same problem last year, but I added the cal/mag too late.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

In the area of the raised bed where we pulled out the last of the cauliflower, Marissa and I worked hard tilling the soil, breaking up the hard clumps and smoothing out the soil. Then Marissa planted two rows of broccoli, one rapini and the other regular broccoli. We watered first with Super Thrive, of course. While Marissa planted broccoli, I planted Flat of Italy red onions in the space between the basil in the raised bed. Still lots of empty spaces to fill. Must buy more Pak Choi seeds.

Then, Marissa worked up on the hillside tilling that soil. I brought her soil from the worm/compost pile and she mixed it in. I also added the same soil to the strawberries. We watered well.

Katherine arrived a little late, but I put her to work. She tilled the soil where the Scarlet Emperor beans were growing. Then she planted Royal Burgundy string beans. (They're purple, not green)
Afterwards, she tilled the soil all around so the water would sink in better. We both watered all the gardens well.

Harvested: cherry tomatoes, mache, rosemary, oregano, spinach, swiss chard and kale.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I'm starting to find tomato hookworms. Last year I called them caterpillars. Now I know better. I found 1 medium size and 1 tiny hookworm. Two days ago I found 4 or 5. I bought and put out the Trichogramma, but so far I haven't seen any results. In addition, I don't see any lady bugs. Maybe they flew away or maybe they're hiding, but I don't seem them. You hardly ever see the lacewings. However, I get two more shipments of them. Maybe future lacewings will help bring down the white fly population.

Sprayed Actinovate, especially over all the zucchini and squash. The powdery mildew is everywhere. I'm really surprised because I sprayed the Actinovate religiously and the mildew still appeared. Oh well.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Not a bad harvest today!

Wow, did we work hard today! It was time to pull out the cauliflower and beans. The Scarlet Emperor beans weren't producing flowers or beans any more. Going to replant regular string beans. The cauliflower gave a few lackluster heads of cauliflower. Some didn't produce any cauliflower. Others were starting to bolt. Juna and I pulled out all the plants. I will plant broccoli where the cauliflower use to be.

Meanwhile, while pulling out the potato bin, I discovered 4-5 large red potatoes. What a pleasant surprise.

Juna planted mache and spinach in the rows where they already existed, but the plants hadn't come up.

Saturday we will plant the beans and broccoli.

Harvested mache, spinach, swiss chard, red potatoes, radishes, cherry tomatoes and the last of the green beans and cauliflower.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Yes, I did it. I bought some small herb plants. I couldn't find seeds for Italian parsley and my last 2 attempts to start thyme and regular parsley failed. I don't know why. It's been a strange growing season this summer. Overcast in the morning, cold at night. I started everything else from seed, because that's how I like to do it. Then I know the plant is organic because I buy organic seeds. But sometimes you just have to buy the plant. So now I have Italian parsley, regular parsley and golden thyme growing in my herb garden. Yeah!

My flowering tree had spider mites so 2-3 weeks ago I cut off all the leaves and sprayed with Neem oil. The leaves are all back now and so are the spider mites. Not as many as before, but they're there. I sprayed the leaves, trunk and branches with Neem oil again.

Put out the rest of the lady bugs today. Hope they do their job!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Saturday gardening

Small group today. Just Katherine and myself. Katherine watered with compost tea. I put compost which had lots of mycorrhizal fungi in a barrel with water and left it for 2 days. Take out the compost and use the water in the garden. It's very beneficial for the plants. This is the third time I have done it. No more compost tea for now.

I tied up more of the large tomato plants. Saw lots of droppings of hookworm, but only found one worm. Took photos of all the lady bugs in the garden. Cool to see so many of them there.

Spread my worm pile among the various gardens. There are still quite a few worms and compost left. I want to get rid of that blue tarp in my backyard which is holding all the worms and compost.

Friday, July 23, 2010

I wasn't planning on doing that much in the garden today. I watered in the morning--a very overcast morning, as we have had for a week. However, the products I ordered from an organic catalogue company arrived today and I couldn't wait to apply them. The products were alive--lacewings, lady bugs, nematodes and trichogramma pretiosum. More later.........

Lacewings-Chrysoperla rufilabris is a voracious predator for aphids, whitefly. I spread the eggs, which arrived in a small box, all over the tomatoes, eggplant and green peppers. The lacewings come in 3 shipments. Yes, you have to reapply.

Lady bugs- come in a soft cotton bag. They instruct you to put them in the refrigerator for a while to cool them down. Amazing. I opened the bag and spread them all around the garden, after misting all the plants. I guess the lady bugs do better on a wet leaf. Instructions say they will be ready to eat. What? White fly and aphids.

Beneficial nematodes- I sprayed this on the ground in the spring, but I guess I needed another dose. Some of the carrots were coming out deformed. That could be due to hard ground or pests that are causing the deformation. The nematodes come in a sponge. You put the sponge in 2 quarts of water in your backpack sprayer and spray the ground.

Trichograma pretiosum-I have never used this before. It supposed to be good for tomato hookworm and corn earworms. I don't have any corn right now. It's all bee harvested, but I do have lots of big tomato plants and I am starting to see the droppings and the hookworms. This product came on a brown card (eggs) in a plastic bag. You put the brown card in the small cardboard box all the products arrived in and put it inside the leaves of one of the plants. They are attracted to light and will crawl out of the box after hatching.

I was supposed to spray Actinovate today, but I can't do everything. Maybe Sunday. Plus, who knows if this fungicide is bad for all the insects I just put in the garden. Meanwhile, I am concerned about the DE I sprayed last week. Don't kill my good bugs, please!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Yeah gardeners! We had 6 people today: Juna, Ginger & her mother inlaw, Becky, Katherine,Nancy & Marjan. Juna planted two rows of beets and 2 rows of celery. Nancy gardened for the first time. She cultivated and hoed. Katherine, Juna and Ginger moved earth to the hillside to cover the zucchini and cucumbers. Becky watered the tomatoes and strawberries. We harvested cherry tomatoes, kale, swiss chard, mint, mache, green beans, zucchini and cucumbers. Come on beefsteaks and brandywines--turn red already!

I don't know if the cucumbers and aluminum foil are working yet. I do know that Leelu is trying to eat the cucumbers!

Monday, July 19, 2010

White Fly

Just read an article about white flies. So exciting! They tap into the veins of plants and suck up the juices (phloem sap). Can't ignore them or you end up with an infestation you can't get rid of. I put up all the yellow sticky papers I had, but I don't have enough. I ordered more of the potstickers (yellow sticky paper), but they are on back order. Can't wait. I sprayed diatomaceous earth on all the leaves (top and bottom sides). Hope that helps.

Put sliced cucumbers on aluminum foil under and around the lettuce, cauliflower and swiss chard. The combination of the two is supposed to create an odor that slugs and snails don't like--hence, no more munching on my leaves!

Harvested a few more cherry tomatoes--not a lot, but they're coming. Some of the branches have 20 cherry tomatoes.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Have you ever seen anything so beautiful. This is swiss chard with a red vein.

Everything is doing really well in the garden. The 2nd set of corn and peas is coming up. The basil I started from seed is finally taking off. Just in time for all those tomatoes I am going to have. Even the arugula I just planted is showing its primordial leaves. Can't wait for the tomatoes. Meanwhile, it is very hot, so I keep on watering.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

It is hot!

The garden is going to be so great this year. It's already great, but now we have the heat we needed for things to really get going. Starting to get cherry tomatoes. I had about 10 of them for dinner yesterday in a salad. Then I cut some zucchini flowers and small zucchini and sauteed them in olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper--yummy.

Pak choi is done. Time to plant some more. Same with the broccoli and beets.

Ginger and a new gardener, Katherine came today. Katherine is a musician and composer. Katherine weeded, made wells around the tomato plants and filled them with water. Ginger journaled, took photos and helped harvest some vegetables: Swiss chard, kale, rosemary, oregano, lavender, two plums and a couple of cherry tomatoes. Come on, cherry tomatoes----turn red. We're ready.

The other tomato plants are full of green tomatoes. The bell pepper plants are flowering and producing peppers. The eggplant is also flowering--lots of eggplant this year. The peach tree is done producing peaches. I was a little disappointed with the peach tree. The peaches weren't that sweet, I didn't cover them and the birds took quite a few. Oh well, maybe next year will be better.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Watered early this morning and about 4:30 this afternoon. It's hot. Which is great f or the vegetables, but they need water. Added Fish Emulsion to water for one of the flowering plants.

This afternoon I added HB101 and water to the orange tree (20 drops in 5 gallons of water). The miracle food.


Got a lot accomplished in the garden today. Harvested the rest of the corn and cut down the stalks. I would have pulled them out, except for the fact that I planted new corn in between the stalks (pull out the stalks, pull out the new corn).

Pulled out the last of the pak choi, the royal oak leaf lettuce and the arugula. Where the arugula used to be (south side of the raised bed) we planted 2 rows of arugula and one row of green onions. Lauren, a new member, did the cultivating and planting.

We have potatoes. Can't believe it. I thought the plants died, but Rodney started digging into the mounds and found so many beautiful Yukon Gold potatoes--30 maybe? Spread the dirt from the potatoes around the garden.

Watered everything very well. The June gloom is over and the sun comes out very early in the morning. Hot, hot, hot!

Rodney basically built (I helped) the supports for the tomato plants. Just in time, I might add. They were getting so big. The stake I put in the ground for each of the plants has worked well so far, but soon it would not be enough. Thank goodness we have the supports now.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Ordered the Gardens Alive products to help keep my plants healthy. Beneficial Nematodes for the carrots, 10 packages of pot stickers, lace wings (to eat the aphids and white flies) (3 separate shipments) and Trichogrmma pretiosum which fights corn earworm and tomato hornworm. Never had anything to fight the big caterpillars on my tomatoes before. Hope this stuff works.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Quite overcast again this morning. I hoed the garden today, loosening up the soil and watered well, including a mixture of water and mycorrhizal fungi. Good for the vegetables. Harvested more corn, beans and a beautiful squash.

Oh, and don't forget the peaches. I made a yummy peach crumble. I think I am going to have plums this year, too, even though it's just the first year for the plum tree.

I think I have to order more products to prevent corn earworm and tomato hornworm (Trichogramma Pretiosum), aphids & whiteflies (green lacewings) and root-knot nematodes on carrots (Beneficial Sf Nematodes)

Meanwhile, the garden is doing so well. Just flourishing! Must take some photos--tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

It's been so overcast and misty, no, I correct myself, I think it was actually doing more than misting. Anyway, the vegetables seem to love the extra moisture. Flora came today to work in the garden. She planted corn kernels in between the corn stalks so we will have a second harvest of corn. That corn is so good. I am having my 2nd day of corn on the cob with butter, cayenne pepper and lime, roasted on the barbecue--delicious.

I pulled out the last sage plant and planted thyme and more sage. I also moved my worm bin into the herb garden. To explain, I had a compost pile which was moved out of the compost bin into a blue tarp. Many months later, due to the dark, wet conditions, all these worms appeared. I have this huge pile of worms and compost--great for the garden.

Harvested corn, kale, pak choi, swiss chard and oregano. I prepared saueed kale for the first time. I think I added too much salt--way too salty. However, the addition of wine vinegar was good.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Sprayed Neem Oil over all the vegetables. This product stops aphids and white flies, which I seem to have an abundance of in the garden. Turns out I should be spraying every 2 weeks and it's been over a month. I have some catching up to do. More sticky yellow patches to catch the little buggers.

Meanwhile, the powdery mildew on the zucchini leaves is going crazy. There is so much more today. I cut out a lot of the infected leaves, but there are still so many more. What to do????

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Harvested the rest of the peas and planted new ones. The old ones had powdery mildew. Don't want that spreading. Put the compost bin around the one potato plant in the raised bed and filled it with 6 cubic feet of topsoil. Wow, that stuff goes fast.

Planted corn among the already established corn stalks. Have to buy more corn seed.

Lots of peaches now. Mmm good!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Foliar fed all the vegetables today. While spraying the zucchini, I noticed signs of powdery mildew. I am so upset. I have been spraying Actinovate religiously (it's supposed to prevent powdery mildew, among other things) and then there it is. I also have it on the peas.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Quiet day in the garden. It's overcast this morning. I tied up two tomato plants on the hill, weeded, harvested one zucchini. Some of the zucchini are rotting on the vine. Hmmm? Have to figure that one out.

I am going to reseed broccoli where I pulled out all the mature plants. The heads of broccoli were very small. Maybe the sun was too intermittent. The sun is higher in the sky now, so hopefully too much shade won't be a problem and I will get bigger heads of broccoli.

Problem: too much kale. Why did I plant two rows? Have to find more recipes so I can use it up. Pak choi is just about done. Plant some more? One row?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The garden is getting so big. Everything is so tall. Saturday we will plant more broccoli. Today I planted red and white radishes, more carrots and spinach. I also have to find a place to transplant the small basil seedlings that have come up in pots.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Back from Denmark

I have been gone for two weeks. Three gardeners, Ginger, Juna and Marjan helped with the weeding and watering while I was gone. Now I have to catch up. Tuesday night I tied up the tomato plants. They were staked before I left, but they have grown substantially. I also cut back the cherry tomato plant in Garden #1. It is huge and will cause problems for the beefsteak tomatoes nearby.

Cut all the leaves off the tulip bush--red spider mites. Can't get rid of them. The only solution is to cut off all the leaves and see if they will disappear. If that doesn't work, I will have to pull out the whole plant. Don't want to do that.

One helper today--Juna. I had her pull out the two sage plants in the herb garden and save the seeds. She cut off the branches with seeds, then planted more sage in the same spots using the seeds she had just harvested. Tonight I will harvest all the seeds. So there, Monsanto!

Harvested all the snap peas and then pulled out all the plants--powdery mildew. I poured Actinovate and Super Thrive in the area before reseeding with Burpee peas.

Harvested very small heads of broccoli. I think the sun was too spotty. There is full sunshine now. I will reseed the broccoli. First I have to buy more seed.

There is a potato plant amongst the broccoli. Poured 1 cubic foot of topsoil around it. Doesn't look like I did anything. Will pour more soil around the plant tomorrow. Only have one bag. Must buy more!

The basil is finally coming up in the pots. I will transplant either this Saturday or the following Wednesday.

June 8

Even though I foliar sprayed Actinovate yesterday, I decided to use diatomaceous earth today. The white flies are increasing--and it's only June. What to do! I hope the DE works.

Monday, June 7, 2010

I sprayed Actinovate over all the vegetables and rose bushes. It helps stop powdery mildew along with a host of other horrible things. While spraying I noticed white fly in the beans and some of the other vegetables. Will it ever stop---the infestations! It's making me crazy.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Staked all six tomato plants. Put in two extra poles for the snap peas. They are getting so tall that the original supports aren't working as well as they should.

Weeded, harvested all the turnips and beets and planted red walla onions in their place. Still have to plant 2 more rows of carrots.

Watered everything.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The garden is flourishing!

Juna came today. We piled 7 cubic feet of topsoil and compost on the potatoes. Harvested so many turnips and radishes. Planted green and red onions and more carrots. Carrots seems to be very popular. Need to plant even more.

Looking for recipes for kale and kohlrabi. I have decided to make a cookbook--a book of recipes for the garden vegetables I am cultivating. So many people don't want to take a certain vegetable because they don't know how to prepare it. They have no experience with that vegetable. For example--bok choy, kale, turnips, kohlrabi. I am investigating new recipes so that everyone can take advantage of all the vegetables in the garden. I will put a book together eventually. Am also asking the gardeners for t heir favorite recipes. We have artists from Japan, Korea, Argentina, Iran and Nigeria to name a few. I am sure they all have some great recipes to share.

Tuesday, not Wednesday

Tuesday, June 1--I foliar fed all the vegetables and fruit trees with Bill's Fertilizer, Spray N' Grow and Coco Wet. The garden looks great. Much more advanced than I would have expected so soon, it's only June 1.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Ginger & Marjan worked in the garden today. Ginger helped me put up a wall next to the potato plants so we could mound the soil around them for support. I need to get a lot more soil. Three bags plus 1/2 bag of compost hardly did anything.

Marjan weeded and watered everything. It was her first time harvesting vegetables. She was really enjoying pulling the turnips, lettuce, beets and radishes out of the ground.

No sight of insects anywhere and no powdery mildew. The Actinovate and Neem Oil are really doing a good job or keeping problems in check.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

It was misting and drizzling today--great for the garden and for the cherry tomato plant I transplanted yesterday. I think it is going to survive. I may lose a branch or leaf, but it looks as if the plant is going to survive. Hurray!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Got a lot done in the garden today. I transplanted another cherry tomato plant. Turns out it was too close to the other tomatoes. It's looking rather droopy. I hope it survives. Juna arrived around 10 a.m. We planted more lettuce, mache, and spinach. I transplanted 4 bell peppers in the front yard while Juna watered the whole garden,

Tomorrow I have to figure out how to make a wall for the potatoes. I planted them too close to the edge and they need a wall to push the dirt up against. I have 1/8" luan board. Now I have to find some stakes to support the wall. Bought top soil to mix with compost for the potatoes. Hope it works.

Harvested snap peas, lettuce, radishes, turnips, bak choy and chard. Good day!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Monday & Tuesday

Monday-I sprayed Bio Tiller on all the soil. It changes the texture of the soil, makes it easier to absorb water. Today I foliar fed Neem Oil on all the vegetables, fruit trees, roses and some other flowers to prevent bug infestation. Already the potatoes seem to have one too many white flies and it's only May.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Monday & Tuesday

It drizzled both days. Great for the garden! Didn't have to water. Didn't work at all in the garden. Ginger is coming to water this Saturday. She might bring a friend to help. Everything looks so healthy. Next week I have to foliar feed all the vegetables and fruit trees.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I built up the mounds around the potatoes today. They still need lots more earth around them, but the compost I purchased is hard to break apart, sort of like hard peat moss.

Have to spray copper on the plum tree tonight to get rid of the peach curl.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I've been busy. Worked 2 1/2 hours in the garden today. Transplanted one of the cherry tomato plants to the hill with the zucchini. No room in Garden #1 for it. I still have 4 tomato plants and two bell pepper plants. What to do with them? I think I will put them in the front garden.

Yesterday, I sprayed Bio-Insecticide on the potato and turnip plants. Seems I have a white fly infestation. The day before I sprayed Actinovate on everything. It a once a month foliar spray for powdery mildew and other such fungus.

Meanwhile, I have snap peas, radishes and lettuce. I think the turnips are also ready. Time to make a great vegetable soup.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Jasmine is blooming!

The jasmine are starting to flower--the fragrance is heavenly! The whole backyard smells so wonderful, so healthy, so invigorating. I worked alone in the garden today. Sometimes I really like it like that. It's so meditative. Everything is doing so well. The radishes and lettuce are ready to harvest. The turnips (mmmm-great soup) and pak choi will be ready very soon, as will the snap peas. I planted more carrot seeds in the rows where the carrots didn't come up. One row of lettuce just didn't come up, so I decided to plant some spinach. And what about the jalapenos--no sign. I planted some jalapeno pepper seeds in pots. I need some jalapenos. I hope these new seeds will come up.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Good day in the garden. First I fed the hydrangeas and azaleas. Yes, I do have flowers in my garden. Then I reseeded where some of the plants did not come up--arugula and basil. I had planted basil in little pots, but no luck. This time I put them right in the garden. Hopefully, the soil is warm enough. Mache is coming up, as is the kohlrabi, pak choi, kale, cauliflower, turnips, royal oak leaf lettuce, carrotz, radishes, corn and tomatoes. I seeded green onions where a row of carrots did not come up. It's going to be a great garden this year. Meanwhile, everything on the hill is also thriving-zucchini, cucumber, watermelon, yellow squash, spaghetti squash, and cantaloupe. I transplanted what I think is a bell pepper in Garden # 1. Some of the gardeners did not mark the small pots, so I don't know what I have. Everything pretty much looks the same when it's small. I guess I just transplant the other seedlings where ever I have room and see what comes up. Watered everything. Next week I need to foliar spray Actinovate. Maybe Tuesday. Don't forget.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Did a soil drench of Actinovate on the hillside, after spotting some signs of powdery mildew on some of the zucchini leaves. Then I foliar fed all the plants with Neem Oil to stop any upcoming infestations of insects or fungus. The garden is looking good.

Tomorrow, I must spread some more Escar-go around the broccoli seedlings. I must also use some fish emulsion on some rose bushes and other plants in the garden. I will also buy 6 bags of compost. I should buy stock in compost.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Worked alone in the garden today. Transplanted the beans from the middle row. The rows were way too close. No way to get inside the middle rows to do anything. There were only five plants in that row anyway so I transplanted them into another row of beans. I put the wood rounds as stepping "stones" in between the row of peas and the row of beans. Planted beet seeds where half of them did not come up. Watered everything. Also, added some wood rounds to form stepping places between two rows of corn. I need more of those wood rounds.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Foliar-fed all the vegetables and fruit trees today with Spray N Grow, Bill's Fertilizer and Coco Wet. Pulled out one of the fences for the beans. The rows are too close and this row only has 4-5 plants. I will transplant them tomorrow in another row. Then I should put the wood stepping stones in that area. I might also have to reposition the soaker hoses.

Tomorrow I will transplant some more tomatoes on the hillside and seed beets. Only half the row came up.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


Today was transplanting day. All my little seedlings are big enough to move out of the small containers and into the garden. On the hillside I transplanted one zucchini, one butternut squash, two watermelon and two cantaloupe. Then I transplanted eight eggplants into Garden #1 near the bell peppers and tomatoes. I put Actinovate (a fungicide) and Super Thrive in the water and soaked all the plants well.

The weather is getting warmer again, so I watered the whole garden this morning after the transplanting. Tomorrow I will see if there is anything else I can transplant. I also want to plant the chamomile and thyme. The sage has flowered, so I probably need to plant more of that too.

Yesterday, I put all the dry herbs (lavender, rosemary & oregano) in small plastic bags, with the name of the herb and date. They are all finally dry enough to put in the bags. Ready for my gardeners the next time they come.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Just worked in the garden by myself today. I always enjoy the time I spend there. I watered all the areas that were newly seeded. Then I planted a row of chard in Garden #1 where it didn't seem to take. I also fertilized all my gardenias. I do love gardenias. The scent is intoxicating!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Info on Days of Emergence

Mache (10-20 days)
Salad Greens (7 - 10 days)
Swiss Chard (10- 15 days)
Kale (5 - 18 days)
Kohlrabi (no info)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The garden is just about planted

Just doing the finishing touches to the garden. Planted 2 rows of lettuce where it failed to appear in Garden #1. Transplanted Brandywine, Beefsteak and Roma seedlings into Garden #1 along with Tomatoes Alive and SuperThrive. Also transplanted some jalapenos and bell peppers.

In the raised bed, planted 2 rows of Kale and a circular section of kohlrabi. Kohlrabi is supposed to be like a radish. Never cultivated it before. We shall see.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Spraying, and more spraying

Today was a spraying day. The first thing to spray on was the Neem Oil, which prevents powdery mildew. I am determined not to have powdery mildew all over my zucchini, squash and cucumber leaves this season. Then mixed up some Actinovate with water and poured it on all the new seedlings and also where I seeded. Finally, a mixture of Spray N Grow and Bill's Perfect Fertilizer, mixed with some Coco Wet to help make it stick and my plants should be growing by leaps and bounds.

I have to remember to do this every two weeks, except for the Actinovate, that's once a month. The back pack sprayer is so heavy, but thank goodness I have it.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Cold Morning

It was cold this morning and very overcast. It's 2 p.m. now and the sun is shining. Thank goodness.

Ginger arrived around 10 a.m. to help in the garden. We put up five trellises for the peas and beans. They are looking great! Also planted beans where the seeds did not sprout. I did the same for the peas a few days ago.

Planted celery and arugula near the peas and beans. Super Thrived all and watered all. The corn is looking great. All the zucchini, cuke and squash seedlings took up on the hillside. The cherry tomatoes that I transplanted are also doing well. Can't say the same for the bell peppers-3 survived & 3 didn't. Thank goodness I have more seedlings that will soon be ready for transplanting.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Planting, planting, planting

Only one helper today, Juna, but boy, did we get a lot done. Made a trench for 6 Yukon gold seed potatoes in Garden #1. Covered them with soil and made a mound for each. Planted another zucchini on the hillside. The other plants are all doing well. Planted a 2nd row of broccoli next to the other one in the Raised Bed. Then we planted 2 rows of cauliflower, followed by 2 rows of pak choi. I also planted more peas where they failed to come up. Of course, I Super Thrived everything.

Some of t he transplanted peppers did not survive, for whatever reason. Good thing I have more seedlings which will be ready for planting very soon. I also planted basil in 3 containers. We had so much basil last year. I must remember to make more pesto sauce and freeze it for the winter.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Seven mounds of earth on a hillside. Each one has a little treasure: zucchini, squash and cucumber all growing on my hillside. That was the project for today. They are all doing well. Also, watered everything. The soaker system seems to have survived one season. Sometimes they get clogged up. So far, so good. I now have seedlings f or corn, turnips, beets, carrots, peas, beans, cherry tomatoes and bell peppers. The Brandywine and Beefsteak seedlings are starting to sprout in their little containers. They will be ready to transplant in a few days. I hope it rains tonight. It would be so good for the plants.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Gardening day again, and it didn't even rain this morning. Although, I hope it rains tonight or tomorrow. It will be so great for all the newly planted vegetable seeds and seedlings. Three people and myself worked in the garden today. We transplanted 5 cherry tomato seedlings and seven bell pepper plants into the gardens today. We planted radishes and broccoli. We added compost, mycorrhizal fungi, mulch and watered everything with Super Thrive. For the tomatoes I put in 2 Tbs of Tomatoes Alive in each hole before transplanting the cherry tomato.

Sprayed everything, even flowers with Neem oil, which is a fungicide, insecticide and miticide. (2 tsp per gallon of water, foliar). Best to prevent infestations before they begin. However, in the herb garden I found leaf hoppers. It looked as if they had all just hatched or were about to. The Neem oil didn't seem to affect them, so I gave them a dose of Diatamaceous earth, that powder that kills insects. Let's see what happens in the next few days.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I'm so excited, I just can't hide it!

Everything is starting to come up in the garden. I must admit that I'm excited. In the ground, there are peas, beans, turnips(only planted last week) and corn. In small pots-cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, zucchini and eggplant. It's still too soon to transplant the newly emerged seedlings. Maybe next week.

Hoping to garden tomorrow, but the forecast is for rain. Great for all that's planted, but I have so much more to plant--broccoli, cauliflower, pak choi, radishes, potatoes.

I even have worm castings to add to Garden #1. Those hungry voles ate my earthworms. Darn them!

What a garden we're going to have this summer!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wow, did we work hard today!

And we got so much done. First, Mazyar worked on the hillside, where I will soon be planting all the zucchini, squash, watermelon, cantaloupe and cucumbers. He mixed in gypsum (to improve the texture of the soil) and compost. Then we planted all the above vegetables in small containers to be placed on the heating mat, to be transplanted later. Nisha and Flora turned the large compost pile in my yard and then they, along with Juna, planted mache, salad bowl lettuce, royal oak leaf lettuce, beets, chard, turnips and carrots.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Just puttered around the garden today. Didn't plant any more vegetables. I did feed the jasmine near the fountain and I watered everything. I put the cherry tomatoes in the sun today. It's so great to see the little seedlings and the blossoms on the fruit trees.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Moving Forward!

So much to do, so little time! I planted French marigolds in between the tomato plants. Apparently, they attract aphids, so the aphids don't eat your tomatoes. Sounds good to me. Tore down the last of the tomato supports. They were so poorly constructed. Have to start all over. Pulled out the last of the arugula, red onions and most of the garlic. Still about 15 -20 garlic plants left. Planted 3 rows of carrots near the tomatoes in garden #1.

Watered everything! Spring has sprung. The peas are coming up, as are the cherry tomatoes. Blossoms on the plum tree, orange tree and the avocado trees.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Good day in the garden!

Four people worked in the garden today: Juna, Mazyar, my daughter Lauren and myself. We got a lot done. Lauren & Juna worked on the fruit trees: plum, 2 avocado, 2 lemon, peach and orange. They added compost and fertilizer, and mixed it in well. Mazyar and I added compost to Garden #1, the west side, and planted 3 rows of Argent Sweet Corn. Then, we added 3 rows of beans (green beans, royal burgundy beans & Scarlet Emperor bean pole runners) next to the peas in the raised bed. I had planted alyssum along the north border of Garden # 1 and there were a few bald spots. We planted seed there. I like the alyssum because they attract beneficial insects. I will plant marigold flowers for a similar reason-they fight root-eating insects.
We watered all the newly-seeded areas with water and Super Thrive.

Corn (5-10 days to emerge)
Green, royal burgundy & scarlet emperor beans (10 days to emerge)

Tonight, I took my dog, Leelu, out and much to my surprise, saw the earth move in Garden #1. Gophers or voles! Damn, I thought I got rid of those. Oh well. So I sprayed both garden areas first with water, then witha mixture of castor oil & water, and then more water. Hopefully, that will take care of the problem. Gophers and voles hate castor oil.

Two more pressing problems: I have to blow out the soaker hoses and rebuild the tomato supports. I have time for the tomato supports (the seedllngs haven't even appeared), but I need to start thinking about how I want to do it. I also bought a couple of fences for either the peas or the beans.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Only Mazyar came to work in the garden today. I had already watered the strawberries and begun to fertilize the avocado tree when he arrived. I almost used a whole box on one tree. I will need about 3 more boxes at this rate. I asked Mazyar to add gypsum to the raised bed. First he wetted down the soil, then I spread a bout 3 lbs. of gypsum over the whole bed. Mazyar mixed it in well and then we watered again. Tomorrow I will plant the beans there.

Yesterday I bought a bamboo fence for the peas. Can't wait to set it up. I may spray the nematodes on the gardens today.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The season has begun. Not too much to do until now. There was a lot of rain and not that much growing. Every day will be important from now on. I watered all my newly planted seeds this morning. It was quite cold last night. I hope they will all be fine. I know the pots on the heating pad will be okay--but what about the poor little seeds in the ground. Time will tell.

I added dolomite lime and compost to the raspberry plant. Forgot to do it last Wednesday. Also watered with Super Thrive and water, of course. Am working feverishly on the plan for the garden. Artists come this Saturday to plant more seeds. Where to put them all? The seeds, I mean. That is the question.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Good work today!

3 people came to work: Juna, Raksha & Ginger. First we added compost and dolomite lime to the strawberry beds on the lower hillside. We mixed it in well and watered it with Super Thrive. Then we planted 3 kinds of tomatoes in Garden #1. I moved the area for tomatoes to the east side, since I have been planting tomatoes on the north side for far too long. We planted Brandywine, Beefsteak and Roma seeds and watered with Super Thrive. Then, we planted one row of Burpee peas and one row of Sugar Snap Peas behind it on the south side of the Raised Bed. I chose that spot because I had formerly cultivated chives and onions there and that is supposed to be good for future cultivation of peas. We set up the heating pad in a protected area behind the house and planted red and yellow bell peppers, jalapenos, eggplant and cherry tomatoes. The extra 10 degrees the heating pad will produce will help the seeds germinate. After the seedlings come up, I will transplant them into the garden. But where? That is my next project. Figuring out where to put the rest of the vegetables.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Gardening tomorrow!

I found out that Gardens Alive cannot ship Grub Away to California. I wonder what that is all about. Maybe it's not as organic or as safe as I thought it was.

Meanwhile, part of my order from Gardens Alive arrived--lawn fertilizer, seeds, Escar-go. Still waiting for the beneficial Nematodes. They will arrive later this month.

I worked in the garden for a while today. Decided where the tomatoes, corn, peas and beans will go. I marked out the spot for the tomatoes with small bamboo stakes. I also started taking down the large tomato support (the one closest to the studio). I will be planting corn there, so the support has to go.

I took pH levels for all the gardens:
Garden #1 (from 7 - 7.8)
Raised Bed (6.9 - 7.5)
Top Hillside (7.2-7.5)
Lower Hillside (6.7-6.8)
Herb Garden (7.1-7.5)

So, tomorrow we should harvest the last of the chives, garlic and red onions and some of the arugula (where the corn will be planted), pull out the large tomato support, add dolomite lime to the Raised Bed and Hillside gardens, plant tomatoes, corn, peas and beans directly in the ground, prepare the small containers with potting soil and plant all the peppers, set up the heating pads, turn the large compost bin. Wow, we have a lot to do.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sprayed Actinovate over all the gardens in preparation for the spring planting. I just ordered some Grub Away from Gardens Alive. Too many grubs in the gardens.

I will start planting next week--tomatoes, peas, beans. I plan on using the heating pads to start the peppers. Almost spring--can't believe it!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Worked in the garden again. Turned the compost pile and dug peat moss into the herb garden. I also cut up some avocado branches and leaves from pruning the avocado tree. I added the clippings to the compost bin. It was a beautiful day to be working outside.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Amend, amend, amend.

Yesterday, I had the gardener help me mix 1 1/2 bales of peat moss into the raised bed. The soil is still too clay like. The peat moss will help change the texture.

Today, 3 gardeners came. We mixed 3 bags of compost into the same raised bed. We also harvested 1 bunch of chard, carnival carrots, chives and arugula. My neighbor still has lots of lemons and limes, so we picked those also. And I shared my last two avocados with the gardeners. I hope I get more avocados next year. They seem to be a real favorite, and there just weren't enough this year.

It sprinkled a little today. I hope it rains more tonight. I must remember to order the things I need from Gardens Alive, no later than tomorrow. (Seeds, Spring Lawn fertilizer, Escargo, what am I forgetting?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Rain Is Returning!

I was hoping to finish spreading the peat moss on the rest of the gardens and mixing it in on Saturday, but it is supposed to start raining Friday night. No gardeners will be coming to help out. Sooo, I spread the rest of the peat moss myself. I didn't mix it in yet with the rest of the soil, but one thing at a time.

I sprayed castor oil to get rid of the gophers/voles, and it seems to have worked. No more signs of the little critters. I will have to keep a close watch.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Amending the Soil.

It's that time of year--preparing the gardens for the spring planting. Four artist/gardeners came today to work: Ginger, Juna, Mazyar and Bahareh. We harvested spinach, chard, red onions, arugula, avocados, rosemary, sage, parsley and lemons. Today we concentrated on the upper hillside garden and Garden #1, near the patio. We added 7.6 cubic feet of peat moss to each of the gardens; breaking up the peat moss and digging it into the existing soil. Next we have to add compost and gypsum to the hillside. Compost was already added to Garden #1 a few weeks ago. The gypsum is necessary because the hillside soil is still very clay-like. We also need to add gypsum to the raised bed, whose soil is less clay-like, but still too clumpy.

Saturday I hope gardeners will come and we will finish up adding peat moss to the raised bed, lower hillside garden and the herb garden along the side of the house. Hope I get another 4 gardeners. It will really make things so much easier.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Before you know it-it will be spring!

Spring is fast approaching. I bought 4 bags of peat moss (they weight 40 lbs. apiece) and 6 bags of compost. We will be amending the soil in the gardens this Wednesday. I can't believe how fast the time goes. Before you know it, I will be planting seeds in little containers and putting them on a heating pad in a protected area of my patio, getting ready for summer.

I have gophers and/or voles. Yep, I have seen the mounds and cracking in the soil. The soil should not normally be cracking after all the rain we have had. Yes, it's little critters. Fortunately, I have my Gopher Chase Away castor oil to spread around. That will take care of the little buggers.
I checked for worms in Garden # 1. Hard to find. The gophers and voles eat them. I need worms, not voles and gophers!!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Soggy Ground

Still waiting for the soil to dry out a little, so I can get to work. I have to harvest what's left of the vegetables and mix compost in to the rest of the soil. Then, I need to use some of the new products I bought to get rid of the bad nemotodes, cutworms, etc. Must not forget to check the pH leverls and do soil tests. Busy, busy, busy. I have to check last year's journal to see when I should start the new seeds. I think it was March or April. I have two warming pads now, so I can get twice as much started.

A lady rabbi stopped by to see my gardens today. She wants to start a garden for her temple to create community among the temple members and students from the various schools, and she wants my help. That's right up my alley. Plant It Forward is moving forward--yeah!

I ate one of the avocados from my tree--Deelicious! I harvested about ten of them today. They are quite hard now, but will soften in a week to ten days. They are so good!

The peach tree is blossoming. It is so beautiful!

Friday, February 5, 2010

It's raining, it's pouring.....

Can't work in the garden today. However, my products arrived. The first one I am going to use is called Actinovate--more later!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A couple people said they were coming, but by 10 a.m., no one had arrived. I figured I was working solo. So much to do. You have to understand, gardening is an early morning, late afternoon kind of gig. Normally, artists arrived at 8:30 or 9 a.m. to begin work. However, artists did begin to arrive after 10--Juna, Gaia, Ivy and Ginger. I had already watered the plants that needed watering, done some weeding, harvested some vegetables, pulled up the stepping stones (actually circular blocks of tree trunks). So I got them started on harvesting the arugula, garlic, chard, radishes. Then we broke up the soil and added compost, after killing off the errant snail or cutworm. There were actually a lot of them. We got a lot of the ground cleared and soil amended with compost. I have some products coming in the mail which will continue the process of amending the soil before we begin the spring plantings.

We still have arugula, chard, garlic, carrots and spinach growing in the gardens. We will harvest them in the next week or two. I want the ground to lie fallow for a while before we begin planting again. Gosh, I wanted a break before the season began again, but I think I will only have a week or two before I begin planting seeds in small pots on warming pads, replanting seedlings into the garden, spraying for insects, foliar feeding. Yikes--it all begins again.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Saturday's post on Sunday

Sorry this post is late. I worked in the garden with Nisha and her friend, Gaia. There wasn't a great deal to do, but it always helps to have a couple extra gardeners around. We turned the compost pile, weeded the hillside and harvested spinach and chard. I pulled out the last of the flowers near the infested eggplants. We also harvested arugula (found some snails on the leaves--ugh!) and the last two white radishes. I also pulled out some red onions that had the general shape of green onions.

I have three avocados I need to cut open and try. They are pretty hard, but maybe they'll be moist, soft and green inside. One can only hope!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I worked in the garden today. Time to pull out all the stuff that should be pulled out. Time to let the ground rest, add amendments and other organic additives to make the soil rich and healthy for the spring plantings. What did I pull out? Four eggplants whose fruit was not ripening and whose leaves and stems were full of red spider mites, the broccoli that flowered once, but now are not giving me full heads of broccoli and one jalapeno plant that was actually full of jalapeno peppers, which I harvested, before pulling the plant out of the ground. I also pulled out some carrots and a couple of garlic plants. I don't know what happened with the garlic. They look like green onions in shape, but they smell strong like garlic. However, I am not getting the head of garlic I was expecting. Oh well, next year!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Wow, it's Tuesday already!

I actually worked in the garden yesterday. I turned the compost pile that was pulled out of the tumbler and the bin. It's finally starting to decompose. I also pulled out the broccoli plant on the corner. No broccoli, just flowers. Cut back the eggplant. Checked the garlic--still not ready. I pulled out all the markers for the rows. Pretty soon I will let the garden rest in preparation for spring planting.

Bought seeds for organic peas. I want to harvest a lot more peas this year! I also want to plant different kinds of vegetables-- even more variety.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Rain, rain and more rain!

Yes, it's true. It has been raining a lot here in southern California. We do get some breaks, but when it starts to rain, it pours. Thank goodness, I live on a hill. All the rain washes across the property to the street. I wonder how all my vegetables will fare.

Today is normally a gardening day, but I cancelled it. Even if it wasn't raining this morning (which it wasn't until after 10:30 a.m.) the ground was way too wet to walk on. Nothing to do, except wait for the rain to stop. But I am not unhappy---we need the rain.

My two 55 gallon barrels are full of rainwater. I should buy two more tomorrow. Rainwater is so good for the vegetables, and it's free!

Monday, January 18, 2010

It rained buckets today!

Wow, did it rain today. Great for my transplanted strawberries. They are looking very happy. Hope all the other vegetables do as well. We have 4 more days of even heavier rain to come.

Meanwhile, check out some photos of the Plant It Forward exhibition preview.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Open House for Plant It Forward!

The photographs are ready and hanging on my studio walls. The video has been edited and is ready to be seen on my laptop (hopefully a larger screen for the exhibition). My daily gardening journal is typed and resting comfortably in a three ring binder on a table in my studio. The artists' journal is ready for viewing and I cut out the article from the Beverly Hills Courier so anyone who is interested can easily read it.

Unfortunately, it began to rain just before the Open House began. So I know that dissuaded some people. Others called or Emailed with their regrets, but still, I had so many people who braved the weather and came to see the preview of Plant It Forward. Thank you all.
I was so busy working in the garden yesterday, that I forgot to write. One person came to work with me in the garden. It was his first time here. I started him watering the spinach seedlings. Then he mixed compost in the two lower hillside beds and we transplanted strawberries. Watered with a Super Thrive mixture, of course, to give them a better chance of surviving. The rain comes Sunday night, so that should help them get over the transplant.

Then I pulled out some eggplant. One was covered with red spider mites. In fact, I through a large plastic garden bag over the plant before pulling it out to prevent the mites from spreading more than they would otherwise. It's time to pull out a lot of plants and just let the soil rest. I have some amending to do. I have bad nematodes, as evidenced by the gnarly, bulbous root structure of the tomatoes and peppers.

However, even with all the problems, I harvested arugula, eggplant, chard, bell peppers, lemons, rosemary and parsley.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

One Year Anniversary of Plant It Forward

Yes, it's been one year since I started Plant It Forward-the starving artist project. My first journal entry was January 13, 2009. "sprayed dormancy oil on peach tree. Planted 1 1/2 years ago." I didn't write much, but it was the beginning of a project that has blossomed and grown. I didn't start the blog until May 19, 2009, but I documented everything I did in the gardens in a journal. The blog was an afterthought, but a good one. I now plan on making a soft cover book of my daily activities as artist/gardener.

Meanwhile, it rained this morning, so no one came to work. I really needed the help today. Eggplant and peppers to harvest, alyssum to be pruned, compost to be added, fish emulsion to be added to water for the new spinach and arugula, strawberries to be transplanted. Looks like I'm going to be busy the next few days because I want everything to look great. Why?

I am having an Open House this Sunday to preview my exhibition. It will include four 48" x 66" photos showing the transformation of the gardens, eight of the eleven 30" x 30" closeups of tomatoes and other vegetables, a seven minute video interviewing the participating artists and two journals--mine and the one the artists wrote in each time they came to work in the garden. I still have to create a soil installation. Where does the time go? Just not enough time!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Water everything!

It's been very dry lately and pretty warm for January--in the 70s. I watered the newly planted spinach and arugula on the hillside. No sign of either yet, but it really is too early. The spinach planted last month is doing well though. I also watered the strawberries on the hillside. I think I need to transplant some of the new little strawberry plants I have from the suckers.

The arugula in Garden #1 is coming up, but slowly. The chard in the Raised Bed looks great! And of course, the arugula in Garden #1 and the Raised Bed which was planted in the fall is still going great.

I think this Wednesday I will have to harvest the last of the peppers and pull out the plants. Still waiting for the garlic to be ready to harvest. I am going to have so much garlic. I would like to figure out how to make those braids of garlic you see sometimes.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday--work day?

Yes, I worked today in the garden. I was hoping to empty both the compost bin and tumbler and have all this amazing compost, but alas--no. Most of the compost was not decomposed and extremely wet. The ratio of green to brown and not too wet or too dry has to be maintained. So, all the material in the tumbler and bin was piled onto a 9' x 12' blue tarp. We mixed in 5 - 6 bags of brown leaves and poured about 1/2 gallon of fish Emulsion and some water on top of it all. Mix well and cover with another tarp. I will have to turn it over in 3 - 4 days. Hopefully, I will get some compost in a few weeks. My plan is to use all the homemade compost in the vegetable gardens in preparation for the spring planting.

Even so, I did get a wheelbarrow full of compost to be used in the future. It is resting comfortably in my workshop garage.

I also cut back the raspberry plant and added a lot of compost. I didn't get any raspberries last summer, but maybe that's because I just transplanted it. Hopefully, next year I will be inundated with raspberries. I love raspberries!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Three people came to work in the garden today: Juna and two new people--Nisha & Ivy. We worked solely on the hillside. Pulled out the last 3 tomato plants and discovered all these white flies and brown spiders within. When plants are done, they just seem to get infested with something.

This hillside soil is still very clay-like. Nisha took the pitchfork and loosened the soil for a new planting bed and around the already established spinach and chard plants. Also added compost. We planted a row of spinach and one of arugula. Superthrived well.

I pulled out a couple of broccoli plants in Garden #1. They just kept flowering. No new broccoli heads. However, I have about 10 broccoli plants in the raised bed which will be ready soon. Also, pulled out a couple of bell pepper plants and some brown and dying basil. The eggplants are going strong. Can't wait for the garlic--a couple more weeks at least!

The gardeners went home with a huge head of arugula, chives, fresh rosemary and dried pumpkin seeds, oregano, basil, thyme and parsley. Oh and a basketful of lemons and limes from my next door neighbor. She never harvests any of the fruit, so I asked if my gardeners could pick the ripe fruit. There will be kumquats soon.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

With the help of a friend, I pruned my peach tree. Thank goodness I had some help or I would have ruined the tree. Deciding which branches to cut and which to leave is quite a project. Too bad I missed the tree pruning workshop at Tree People last month. That would have helped a lot. Oh well, I will go to the next one. Anyway, after each well-pondered cut, I pasted the cut area with Morrison's Tree Seal, which aids in healing. The peach tree looks very short now. I hope it grows a little taller this spring.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Spray, spray and feed

I have much to do in the gardens. I decided I better get started. I sprayed dormancy oil on the peach tree, the plum tree and avocado trees. I also sprayed the two flowering plants that were covered with spider mites.

Then I fed the Meyer Lemon tree with a chelated zinc/iron mixture (4 Tbs to 1 gallon of water) Tomorrow I will foliar feed the lemon tree with the same mixture.

Looks like I might have quite a crowd working in the gardens this Wednesday. I must plan tomorrow what we will do so I can keep everyone busy. What to send them home with?? I hope I have enough food!

I picked these Yesterday! Tomatoes in January!