Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Weather Update from January 17-22:

Southern California, and all of California really, has had a major storm traveling through it during this entire week. The rain began as we were planting our Spring 2010 Garden on Sunday, January 17 at around 2pm. It has continued with only a few breaks each day. By Wednesday, January 20th, we had a hail storm and we've had no breaks in rain for about 24 hours. The winds have also continued to pick up today. It has been a long time since we have had this much rain!

I am concerned with the carrot patch planted in particular. I do believe at this point the seeds may have floated away. I will wait for another week or two and then plant more. I do hope all is well in the garden. It is definitely a very brutal storm!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Day #1 Step-By-Step Photos of Planting My Spring Garden 2010

January 17, 2009

Above is the full view of my Winter Garden 2009. I can't believe it has been 3 months since I planted it, although my harvest is proof. We have been eating an abundance of broccoli, chard and carrots for the last month! My beets and onions are still growing into mature plants, so I have held off on harvesting any just yet.
Below, you can see my stalks, which are annual flowers, are yellowing a bit and have lost a lot of blossoms. They continued to re-bloom for a couple of months and have slowly died down now. I also noticed that they have some aphids, which I think may be finally sucking their nutrients and luster.

I decided to replace my stalks in the front with pink tulip bulbs. Last year, I wanted to add tulips to my garden, but didn't get them in time. I really wanted to put them in this year and got lucky when arriving at Merrihew's to see they had some 6 packs! I actually may go back and get more for the boarder of my new carrot patch and around the chard bed.

My four broccoli plants at the end of my left bed have produced about 8 large heads of broccoli! We have been eating from these plants for about a month now and I think it is time to harvest them entirely. The reason being is they are pretty full of aphids and beginning to affect other plants around them with aphids. The other two broccoli plants around my beets are still doing great and just beginning to produce broccoli, so we still have more to come from those as well.

One of our many harvests below!

I decided to turn the broccoli bed at the end into a carrot patch, as you can see below. This time we planted Danvers Half Long Organic Carrot seeds. They are crispy, sweet medium length roots and will take about 70 days to mature. However, I am concerned with my patch because we had a huge storm come in right after planting this and I'm afraid with the heavy amount of water, many seeds have washed away. Carrots do not need to be planted very far down in the ground (1/8"), so they could have easily floated away at this point. NOTE: If they have not sprouted in 7-21 days, I will plant more.

From afar my fox glove and snap dragons look okay. However, I have been battling an aphid and rust disease issue on all of them for a couple of weeks now. I have really been mild with my approach to rid them, which I think may have been a mistake because they are out of control as you can see from the pictures below. I cut a lot of the fox glove and parts of the snap dragons back and sprayed them with hard water, washing the aphids away, every time I came to water (about every 4-5 days). But, they seem to be back in full force. I am afraid it is time to harvest them as well. I just don't want to affect my whole garden.

Black Aphids busy at work.

Rust Disease.

Instead, I have replaced this area with Champagne Bubbles Classic Iceland Poppies, as you can see below.

This was the last of my wonderful, abundant Thumbelina carrot patch. We have eaten, literally, hundreds of carrots and it was a great source of vitamin A for the whole family! I have now harvested all of this patch and started my new patch, as I mentioned earlier.

Our last harvest of carrots!
I replaced this carrot patch with 4 Blue Kale starters. Kale seems to do great in this cooler climate and I am excited to have it in my garden again!

This empty bed was once where my basil was. I never put anything in its place after harvesting it in December. I have finally filled the spot with Cilantro and 2 more Blue Kale starters.

My Spring Garden 2010!! (I do plan on planting more next week, in order to fill in some spots.)

Welcome! I'm 30 weeks pregnant tomorrow!

I left my onions and chard from my winter garden because it is still producing.

I also left my beet patch and 2 broccoli plants.

My sweet peas are almost ready to bloom!! I re-staked them onto the trellis when there.

PLEASE NOTE: We also used a 3 cubic foot bag of Harvest Supreme Soil Amend, 5 lbs. of homemade black soil compost and compost juice before planting anything. We dug about 3 feet down in each area, in order to loosen the soil and removed all debris.

Updated Pictures: January 10th Harvest

This is our 2nd harvest of chard and plenty more is growing in the garden!

Our broccoli heads got HUGE and are delicious! We have 4 more heads coming! At this point, I am 28 weeks pregnant! Exactly 7 months!!

Our 2nd harvest of carrots and plenty more to come as well!

Shown here is our 3rd harvest of chard with the broccoli and carrots!

Updated Pictures: December 20th (Happy Solstice Tomorrow!)

First harvest of carrots!!! Sweet, great size for Thumbelina's and many more to come!!

My snapdragons and fox glove are still doing great!

As you can see below, my carrot patch after harvest is still full of more carrots. I like to pick only the amount we'll eat and keep the rest growing, in order to preserve their freshness and nutrients.

As you can see below, I chose to harvest my sweet and Thai basil finally. After a day of rain in December, the Thai basil lost a lot of leaves and became quite woody. It was time to let it go.

My chard is HUGE! It is time to start eating, eating, eating!!!

My stalks are starting to get long and a bit straggly. I continue to dead head them several times a week, which helps, but they still are beginning to lose their luster a bit. They are annual's after all and will only last a season or two.

My sweet peas are starting to get larger on the trellis! At this point, I've staked them twice with wiring to keep them from falling over.

My broccoli and beet patch are starting to pick up after using compost juice on the area a couple of times.

Beets are slow to get going, but they'll get their. I'm actually happy they are growing at different speeds, so that I can harvest them at different times and have beets in our meals for a longer period of time.

The broccoli's are getting HUGE! And as you can see, they are starting to flower!!!

They do have aphids however and I have been washing them off every few days with a very hard spray of water until I see they have been washed away. I will keep you updated on this problem. I also could use oil or soapy water to clean the leaves and rid of them in a more organic way.