Wednesday in the Garden: 06/07/2017

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.

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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.

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The pumpkin plants are spreading all over the ground, and already have pumpkins growing.

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This bed has more beans, Desi squash, patty pan squash, carrots, and some cauliflower plants that is still hanging out.

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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.

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This week I picked 5 wax beans.  Mostly there are just blossoms on the bean plants though.

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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.

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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.

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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.

0607 Matthias bed

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Everything in my 8 year old’s bed is growing well.  He is very excited about how tall his corn is.

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The last pictures will just be some random ones from the beds.

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0607 arugula0607 mustard kohlrabi0607 monstreaux spinach

I hope that all of your plants are growing well right now.

-Joshua

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Wednesday in the Garden: 04/05/2017

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.

Poppy

 

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.

Mcarrots
Carrots
Mbeets
Beets
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Madhu Ras Melons in foreground, beets in background
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Cauliflower on left, carrots in middle, beets on right, corn in the back
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Cauliflower and corn
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Many carrots sprouting
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Marigold, beets, and corn
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Dill and corn.  The orange things are from the neighbors pine tree
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Cilantro and Corn

I hope that anyone that reads this enjoys the pictures, and that your garden adventures are going well.

-Joshua

Easy Raised Garden Beds

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.

PlanterWallBlockI 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 garden

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 gardenMatthias 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 gardenIan’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.

 

-Joshua

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