As part of homeschooling this month, our kids are going to be completing the Tops Learning System Green Thumbs: Radishes activity book.
I think this book is a good choice because they will be able to see a seed turn into a plant. Radishes are fast growers, so even the younger children won’t get impatient wait to see the end.
I think much of people’s issues with growing plants is not understanding how they work. Hopefully the kids will be able to understand plants more through this, and use it during their lives.
I am going to attempt to show their activities and the radishes growth. They have daily activities so I will do my best to post them every day. Today is already day two. Later today I will be showing what they did for days one and two.
I was negligent in posting garden pictures last week. I have some animal, I think an opossum or racoon, that likes to dig in my garden beds. It seems to be going after beetle grubs that live in them. Unfortunately, that means a lot of uprooted plants and seedlings. Last Wednesday, it dug a lot. There were a number of destroyed plants so I didn’t feel like taking pictures.
This last week, we have had typical beautiful San Diego weather. The May grey I spoke about last time has continued into June Gloom. I am sure you will all feel very sorry for us. It has been a bit overcast with temperatures in the low 70s. Very gloomy I know. It is ,however, perfect plant growing weather.
First I have tomato pictures because my mom really wants to have fresh tomatoes. The second picture isn’t very good, but it is a Wagner Blue Green tomato. I grew those last year, and they were a favorite for every one that ate them. I think this is my only one that survived this year though.
Pay no attention to the weeds in the background. All the extra rain this year has made the weeds go crazy. I have cut them much more then I have had to for years, but they keep coming back. In this garden bed is green beans, peppers, purple basil, and some flowers. The crazy plant in the back is our New England Sugar Pie pumpkins.
The pumpkin plants are spreading all over the ground, and already have pumpkins growing.
This bed has more beans, Desi squash, patty pan squash, carrots, and some cauliflower plants that is still hanging out.
The Desi squash is a lot like zucchini, except they grow round rather then long. They are at their best when they are about the size of a baseball. We are starting to get a couple of Desi blossoms.
This week I picked 5 wax beans. Mostly there are just blossoms on the bean plants though.
Last week, my 3 year old daughter and I picked out some flowers to plant. She wanted to be like her 3 biggest brothers and have her own garden bed. Her favorite color is purple, so there is a number of purple flowers in her bed. She also went with some pink since that is also a nice color.
My 13 year old’s garden bed is going well. He mostly has corn and each of the plants has some healthy looking ears on them. His plants are pretty short though, so I am hoping that is just due to the type of corn.
My 10 year old’s bed is doing well. He has been dug up multiple times, killing many of his plants. Finally, it seems like his plants are getting ahead and growing well. In particular his Madhu Ras melons are doing well. They have blossoms on the plants right now. He is really looking forward to eating the melons. I added some Swiss Chard to his bed to replace some of the plants that were dug up. Between his chard and some others I plants, we will soon have chard coming out of our ears.
Everything in my 8 year old’s bed is growing well. He is very excited about how tall his corn is.
The last pictures will just be some random ones from the beds.
I hope that all of your plants are growing well right now.
Our little garden is growing really well right now. This is a great time in San Diego County for plants. The sun shines for well over 12 hours a day, and the temperatures are generally mild. We did have some fairly extreme temperature jumps this week. Last Wednesday our high was only 67 degrees, but by Sunday it was about 95 degrees. I had to make sure I kept the soil from drying out and allowing my seedlings to die.
I also had a problem with something digging in my garden beds. I have some sort of beetle grub that lives in the soil. The grub seems benign, but occasionally there will be holes dug all over the garden beds when some animal decides grubs are on the menu. At least I think that is what is going on. When I find dug up spots, I just attempt to put the dirt back in place and resettle the plants. Generally, the plants do OK, but I do miss out on seeds sprouting when they are disturbed.
Our lemon tree is growing and putting out many lemons. Three years ago the lemons looked diseased and were inedible, now there are more lemons then we can keep up with.
I think we might actually get blood oranges for the first time. The fruit seems to have set and is growing larger right now.
The key lime tree I bought at Costco has blooms all over it. I planted it near the end of the summer last year, and got a few limes off of blooms that were on it when I bought it. I think we will get a lot of limes this year.
My Anna Apple tree is blooming again. I was surprised to see more flowers on the tree. It is the first year I have this tree, so I have no idea what to expect from it.
The almonds continue to look good. They really don’t look like almonds at all though. The part we eat is safely protected inside of its large fuzzy shell for now.
I really hope this plant is an artichoke and not some lesser cousin. I think the seeds blew in from my neighbors yard, but I haven’t been able to ask them yet.
This garden bed has a large cauliflower plant in it that I think is finally going to give us something to eat. There are also green beans, carrots, Desi Squash, Patty Pan Squash, Long Beans, Pok Choy, and Swiss Chard. I had some Kale plants, but lost them when that part of the bed got dug up. I might have a couple pepper plants going, the seedlings look like peppers, but I planted the peppers so long ago that I am not sure.
The large plants you see in the bed are New England Sugar Pie Pumpkins. We grew this type last year and got 19 pumpkins out this small area. There are also 3 kinds of peppers in the background, and green beans in the foreground.
The brown plants in the back of this bed are my garlic. They look bad, but seem to be growing well. There are also three types of flowers, mustard greens, kohlrabi, and some kind of cauliflower.
This is my long bed. It has a number of things planted in it. Unfortunately, this one got dug up pretty badly twice. I probably lost the carrots I planted in here and some of the green and wax beans.
My 7 year old’s garden bed is growing like mad. Some of his corn plants have corn on the stalks already. Earlier this week I harvested two of his beets to make room for the other beets. One of his cauliflowers was eaten by caterpillars so I replaced it with two chard plants that I bought. His other cauliflower is getting chewed up by caterpillars too, even though I try to look for bugs to kill on it every day.
My thirteen year old’s garden bed is also growing well. His corn is also starting to have fruit on it. His cilantro didn’t like the mid 90s temperatures from the weekend and looks like it wants to bolt. Cilantro is very heat sensitive, which I find interesting because it seems only be eaten in places where it is warm. His Black King Pansies have started to bloom a little.
Here are some pictures of a tomato plant since that is what my mom and my wife really want me to grow.
There isn’t much growing right now that we can eat, since I didn’t do well in the transition from winter to spring. There are a few things that I was able to pick.
This afternoon we had a decent sized California Kingsnake on our driveway. I wasn’t able to get much pictures or video of it since it quickly slithered into our ivy. There are a number of gopher holes near the snake, so I really hope the snake slaughters some gophers.
I hope that everyone that read through all this enjoyed the pictures, and I hope your planting endeavors are doing well.
Today our second oldest child turned 10 years old. Having two kids in double digits makes me start to feel old.
We have had great weather the last week here in San Diego county. Traditionally the month of May is cool and has many overcast days. It is often called May gray, and that is followed by June gloom. The last few years we have not had May gray, but instead very hot weather. In fact, last year there was even some large wildfires in May. This year we are experiencing May gray, and even have had rain this month.
This is great weather for my plants. There is a perfect blend of low 70s temperatures, sun, and some natural dampness.
The pomegranate tree continues to flower. Many of the older flowers have started to turn into fruit. I think we are going to have many more pomegranates then we did last year.
I am finally getting somewhere with my tomatoes. I lost many plants to pill bugs and had to start over. In one of the pictures there is a clear plastic cup. I had to put those over some of my seedlings to protect them from the bugs. Eventually, I had to resort to using a little bug spray to thin their numbers. In large numbers, pill bugs are seriously destructive to young plants.
I have a large artichoke plant growing in my yard. It is a volunteer from my neighbors garden. I have had many of the plants grow in the last few years, but didn’t know what they are so I pulled them up. I really wish I had know what they were before.
The plants in my 8 year old’s garden bed are growing well. He had one cauliflower plant get eaten by tiny green caterpillars, so I replaced those with some store bought chard.
Somehow I got my thumb in the picture of my 13 year old’s garden. His is also growing well, even the petunias are looking healthy.
My newly minted 10 year old’s garden is starting to make a comeback. His has been the bad luck garden bed. First we had the miscommunication where he cut back most of the plants. Then he had bug issues requiring more replanting. I also put some chard and store bought flowers in his bed.
My own garden beds are finally planted. I am starting to see seedlings poking through the ground. Since I got a late start, I planted mostly things that can deal with the heat that could show up at any time. As the plants take on their individual characteristics I will put pictures of them up.
I had to trim a few branches off my lemon tree so I could have a shed put in the driveway. Since it is lemon season for this tree we now have many lemons. Soon we will have many times this number ripe and needing to be used. I think we need to do some lemon themed recipes.
I also was able to harvest a few Pok Choy, strawberries and chives. I am thinking a stirfry using the Pok Choy and chives would be good. The strawberries are already gone.
Today there will not be as many pictures as last week. While working in the garden, I had my two oldest come to cull their plants. I wanted them to cut out the extra plants that came up with some scissors. I guess I gave my nine year old bad instructions or he miss understood. His beet seeds produced a few plants per seed. I wanted him to trim each spot where the beets came up to only one plant. He thought I meant every square that he had planted. So he cut most of his beets and many of his carrots down. After I discovered what happened some crying happened, and I now felt like the worst dad in the world. I helped him replant where needed, and now I have to hope his plants still do well before the summer heat kicks in.
So here are the pictures I did get to take.
Our lemon tree is doing well so far this year. I think Lynn is going to need to do a bunch of baking with lemons in the near future.
The Pomegranate tree continues to put out flowers. I think we will have many fruits from this tree this year.
I am experimenting with strawberries in one of my raised beds. There is some fruit on them, but I am mostly hoping they survive the summer. I want to get runners off the plants and have a raised bed full of strawberries.
This celery plant took a long time to sprout. I had planted it in the fall, but it took months to finally start to grow. I like the color of the stalks because they are such a vibrant dark green. The celery from the store is always so much more pale then this. I wonder if that is because they are a different type of celery or just that the store bought is picked to early.
They pansies that we planted have started to grow. I never grew these plants from seed before, so I am interested to see how they look as they grow.
Our square foot garden raised beds are starting to look really good. This is such a good way to grow a garden in the urban/suburban setting.
Hopefully, next week I won’t have my son kill his garden so there will be more pictures. I hope all of you that read this are having success with your gardens, and that you enjoy many tasty fruits and vegetables.
Spring is my favorite time of year. All the plants are starting to grow like crazy, and the sun is shining but not overly hot yet. Living in San Diego County, our spring is a bit different. Today, the temperature were already in the low 80s. With a lot of sun and good temperatures I have many plants growing. I like to document the growth of the plants for my own enjoyment as much as showing them to other people.
I am going to attempt to put up garden pictures every Wednesday. Some of them may be taken on other days, but doing one day of pictures is better then a barrage all the time.
My pomegranate tree has tripled in size since I bought it. It really likes our warm dry weather.
For me one of the scents of spring in our area is Jasmine. It is another plant that does really well in our climate, so many people grow them. Mine is doing well, and getting close to covering the wall I have it growing up.
The California Poppies continue to flourish.
This Creeping Black Sage is my first native plant to start to grow and flourish. It has done well with the extra rain we got this year. One of my long term goals is to fill my yard with native plants to attract bees and humming birds.
My newly planted apple tree has blossoms though I don’t expect any fruit. I just think the flowers look nice.
Last year I got 3 almonds from my tree in its second year in my yard. This year looks to be a much better year. I was able to count over 20 almonds growing on the tree right now.
This poor little blood orange has been in the ground for 3 years, but has been been eaten twice in that time. However, it keeps on trying to grow. This year it seems pretty happy and is trying to put out some oranges.
The raised garden beds I planted with my sons last week have many plants sprouting. I hope all of them do well. Some of them like cooler weather, but I let the boys plant what they wanted so they would enjoy the process.
I hope that anyone that reads this enjoys the pictures, and that your garden adventures are going well.
One of my gardening goals for this year is to get my oldest three children more involved. I want them to learn how to grow their own food, and not just eat what dad grows. I think it would be sad for them to grow up without any ideas how to grow plants, and think that it is a hard thing that only a select few with “green thumbs” can do.
Since I needed to build three garden beds, I wanted to make beds that were quick and easy to put together. Fortunately, I saw a product at Home Depot that happened to do exactly what I wanted. It is an 8in x 8in x 6in block with slots that a 2×6 board can slide into. There is a small hole in the middle of the bricks that a piece of rebar can go into to help hold the bricks together or stack them to the ground. Each brick costs $2.97 at my local store.
I also bought my redwood for the sides of the bed at Home Depots. I wanted each bed to be 4ft by 3ft. Of course, Home Depot doesn’t sell boards in those sizes so they have to be cut down. Home Depot does do limited cutting for free, mostly to make the boards fit into customer’s cars. I bought 8 foot boards that I had them cut in half for me for the 4 foot side. I also bought 12 foot boards that I had cut in half for transportation. I have my own table saw so I cut them into 3 foot sections myself. I had to pay for one cut at Home Depot, so I paid 75 cents for my wood to be cut.
Getting these blocks and having Home Depot cut the wood for you is an easy way to build a raised garden bed. If you don’t have the ability or tools to build your own garden bed I highly suggest doing it this way.
Once my boys and I put the beds together, we filled them as close to the Square Foot Garden method as we could. That is 1/3rd vermiculite, 1/3rd peat, and compost. Vermiculite is very expensive so I never quite make the 1/3rd on that.
Then I let the boys plan out what would be in their garden beds. I bought a few new seeds for them in addition to letting them picks seeds from my collection. We made a grid on paper and wrote out what seeds were going in each square foot. I want them to remember what what they planted and see the different stages of growth for each type.
Corran doesn’t want to grow vegetables because he doesn’t want to eat them. I grew corn last year in one of my raised beds, and it actually did pretty good. I picked a blue corn because I liked the color. We ended up with a number of ears, but they were not particularly edible. Corran does like corn so he picked a yellow sweet corn to fill most of his bed.
Matthias really likes carrots so he mostly went this those in his bed. The Madhu Ras Melons are a type of honey melon from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. They are supposed to be from India and grow well in hot dry areas. Our summers are very dry and tend to be fairly hot. Hopefully, this melon will do well here.
Ian’s garden has the most variety. He wanted to do corn to be like Corran, but does enjoy a few types of vegetables that he really wanted to try to grow.
I was able to plant Ian’s garden about a 5 days before his brothers. Our weather has been nearly perfect for sprouting seeds so all of his plants have sprouted. He is very excited about his garden, and the plants that are growing in it.