Friday, January 20, 2012

Market harvest

We have 6 avocados that are soft now and 6 more that will be ready in about a week. Come early if you want a soft one.
We'll have a little bit of leafy Bok Choy

We have some young and tender Swiss Chard

And some nice basil

The green arrow peas are looking great, we should have a couple baskets

And we'll have 2 heads of cabbage.
We have a garden guest and Gidget is speechless.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

We're getting ready for the warm season

We're up to 10 hours and 17 minutes of daylight now and that will keep increasing each day so we're excited that we'll be able to produce more vigorous and productive crops soon. The winter months did allow us to grow some tasty food but the production is much less impressive when the days are shorter. Even the rooftop isn't as sunny as I expected it to be because of buildings and trees around us that block the sun during certain times of the day. That is all changing 2 minutes at a time and each day we are getting a little more of the precious sun back in our garden.

We started some seeds yesterday to prepare for an early spring planting and we are getting some warmer season seeds started now too. Now that we have a nursery license, I am starting some extra seeds to sell as well.

Blue podded shelling peas
My best advice when planting seeds is to plant them at the correct depth. They should be buried in the soil at about twice the depth of the seed. Peas seeds are fairly large so I'll plant them at about 1/2 inch. If you're planting broccoli seeds, you'll notice they are tiny little seeds and you'll want to plant them much closer to the surface of the soil. Seeds planted too deeply are prone to rot in the soil.

I'm using these handy 6 pack containers that I've been saving from my nursery visits
Don't forget to label your pots. I like setting them in a tray that's a couple inches deep so I can water the tray and the pots can absorb the water from underneath. This helps prevent damage and disease to your tender seedlings once they emerge. 

We invested in this small "greenhouse" from to start our seeds in

"You can't grow chickens like that!" Where are my chickens?"
The seeds we started are:
  • Peas
  • Purple peppers
  • Cabbage
  • Purple basil
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
We're also going to get some zucchini, tomatoes and cucumbers going soon too. We'll have some for sale in a few weeks if all goes well.  

Friday, January 13, 2012

Market harvest post

We have peas

and bok choy if you please.

Snowball cauliflower and

even better... cheddar!

Rainbow chard

and winter tomatoes in the yard.

Green cabbage that is hip

and avocados to make dip.
Gidget thinks this post is sad, no chickens to be had.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Roses, a learning experience

Roses grow quite well in San Diego if you plant them under the right conditions. They can be a pain in the neck if you don't. I didn't plant my roses in the best possible place because I wanted them where I wanted them, not where they may have wanted to be so I struggle more than necessary to keep them looking nice.

My first mistake was that I did not find varieties that are disease resistant, specifically resistant to fungus. In the future, I plan to walk around the rose garden at Balboa park to find the varieties that don't show problems with fungal disease before buying new plants for our garden. Secondly, I did not choose a spot with good air circulation, which further exasperates problems with fungal disease. Another mistake I made was to mulch with landscape rocks around the base of the roses and that is not allowing the roots to breathe.

Even with all of these mistakes, our roses still look gorgeous during much of the year.
Last spring when the roses were looking fabulous - even a random stray cat thought so
I planted them along my fence because I wanted people walking by on the sidewalk to be able to stop and smell the roses in front of our garden. The problem with this location is they aren't getting enough air circulation. I cut the roses down to the canes in January and the picture above is from April. 

It didn't take long for the roses to start showing signs of fungal disease. Powdery mildew and rose rust soon set in and I ended up pruning two of the plants down to the canes again in July. They did well again for awhile until recently with the rust and powdery mildew again. I have been trying to control this with a powdered milk solution and a natural garden fungicide made from essential oils.

The roses on Monday after the most recent set of blooms opened and expired.
I planned to cut the roses down to the canes at this time anyway because they'll come back fuller and healthier if you do prune them down at least once a year. In San Diego you can get away with not pruning them like this but your roses will probably look better overall if you do. January is a good time to do this.

I gathered up the tools I needed for the job, leather gloves, boots and pruners.

We definitely have a rust problem going on
I'm going to cut the plant all the way down to the bare canes
I make my cuts at an angle and try to keep the cuts as clean as possible. This can be difficult with really thick canes and a ratcheting set of pruners may help.
I made sure to pick up the leaf litter off the ground so the rust and powdery mildew does not continue to infect the soil.

Here are the roses all cut back.
Now I will go though and expand the area around the base of the roses that is open. I'll move a lot of the rock away and cut the landscape fabric away to make the exposed area of soil larger around each of the the roses. I will work some powdered milk and corn meal into the soil to help control the next generation of fungus and then add worm castings and mulch heavily. Hopefully this will help the roses stay healthy longer.
"It seems like you have much better success with avocados, maybe you should stick with that."

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Photo of the week

The avocado on the right weighs 1 lb. and 1 ounce. Any guesses what the one on the left weighs?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Market harvest

It's going to be a nice harvest week.

We have some awesome avocados.
The warm weather is making the tomatoes ripen up so we'll have quite a few .

More winter tomatoes.

We'll have one bunch of baby Swiss Chard.
This will be our first week with broccoli at the market. We'll only have a little bit.

This gorgeous cabbage will be coming too.

We'll bring a ginger scented geranium plant as well.

Gidget is dreaming of something that most likely has nothing to do with vegetables.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New garden tool

We splurged on a new wagon for the garden this week. Our old one was just getting too rusty, squeaky and old and it's really only useful as a decorative plant box anymore. We always wanted an authentic Radio Flyer so I brought one home yesterday and Farmer D assembled it in no time flat. 

A good wagon will be a valuable back saver for your garden chores and should last you a very long time so a small investment will pay off. We bought our last wagon at a yard sale when it was already very well used.

Our authentic Radio Flyer
You can find yours as well as a very large selection of other Radio Flyer products at City Farmers Nursery.

"That looks like fun!"

Sunday, January 1, 2012