Monday, February 27, 2012

Maximizing resources in a small garden

Other than compost, space, sunlight and water are some of the most important resources in a small San Diego garden and I spent the morning working on some things to help me get the most out of our small space and the promised afternoon rain.

We have an avocado and a banana tree in our back yard which do take up quite a bit of space but it is easy to claim back some of that space by growing some things around the drip line of your tree in pots. It is not advisable to grow anything directly under the tree in the ground, especially with a heavy feeder like bananas because whatever you plant will compete with the tree for root space and food. 

About once a year, I have to expand the perimeter of the pots around the tree so I can maximize the amount of sunlight my potted plants are receiving, I pull the pots out just beyond the drip line so they are not shaded by the leaves of the tree. I did that today by adding 4 new pots. I also use the potted plants as a barrier for my dogs who love to dig for beetle grubs in soil.

Expanding the potted plants, I used the new pots to plant tomatoes and basil. 
Then since I knew it was going to rain, I fertilized plants that needed it, and planted more seedlings so I could take advantage of the free water that was on the way. I did not need to water any of the new or fertilized plants because the rain is taking care of it for me as I type.
I fed the tomato that volunteered outside our fence in October.
Then I planted some tomato seedlings in our smaller raised bed.
I also fed both the lemon and lime trees, the roses and our passionfruit vines.

Gidget spent the morning greeting people in the coffee shop parking from the rooftop garden.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Market harvest

This week's harvest will look a lot like last week. Yummy.

We'll have some pink lemonade lemons.

There are 11 avocados this week. Our supply is dwindling so we'll only have them for a few more weeks. 

There's lots of basil, some sage and rosemary.

The Swiss chard is fabulous, we'll have a couple bunches. 
There are some peas from the newest crop.
The strawberries are taking off, if we don't have any tomorrow then we should have some next week. 

Gidget finds this conversation extremely boring and is dreaming about chickens instead.
These broccoli starts really need a garden because we are at our cruciferous limit in ours. They'll be on special tomorrow.


It's been nearly a week since I posted anything on the blog but not because there hasn't been anything to post about; I've been busy in the garden and my Dad is here for a visit so I just haven't taken the time to sit down and show you what we have growing on.

I'm up to my eyeballs in seedlings right now and may be taking a bit of a risk with some of them because I've got some early warm season stuff going before the actual warm season is guaranteed to hit. The average temperature in March is only 66 degrees which is too cool for tomatoes to really thrive but not by much and with record highs in March of 93 degrees, it's really anyone's guess what will happen. The worst thing that will happen is my plants will grow very slowly until the temps warm up. I'm okay with that. One of the great things about gardening in San Diego is we had productive tomatoes all the way through December and we're able to get a head start on the rest of the country by starting more in February.

I planted these tomato seeds on January 16
It's been about 5 weeks and some of them are already ready to transplant. Once they have their first set of true leaves they are ready.

This handy butter knife never did much for me in the kitchen but it works great for sliding my seedlings out.

As much as possible, I try to bury the initial leaves in the soil. Tomatoes like to be planted deeply.
I transplanted many of them into larger pots so they can get bigger before we take them to sell at the market.
The greenhouse on the roof is working well for us. It gets consistent sun throughout the day so the seedlings are not leaning towards the sun and I close it up tight at night so it stays warm enough for good root development.

I took some of the other seedlings and planted them in large pots  for our garden.
They would all be just fine if SOMEONE didn't trample one.
"Why you lookin' at me?"

We started some other warmer season plants least week, these are zucchini and cucumbers.

I have more broccoli than I can plant so I hope someone will buy these plants tomorrow. 

Yesterday we put in some eggplant and more zucchini seeds. 
I'll be back later this afternoon with the market harvest post. Have a great Friday!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Market harvest

We have a pretty harvest for tomorrow.
The Swiss chard is still fantastic.

We'll have 1 basket of peas.

The basil is doing great, we'll have a few baskets.

The last of our bok choy.

We'll have 1 loose head of cabbage.

There are a few a few pink lemonade lemons.

And we'll have avocados. We only have 2 that are ready to eat now so come early if you want them. 
There's an awesome smelling ginger scented geranium.
Some broccoli starts
And some cauliflower starts.
Gidget thinks that if she cries and pouts, she'll finally get her chickens. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

How to watch hummingbirds

Hummingbirds are a lot of fun to watch and fairly easy to attract to your garden. A hummingbird feeder will make seeing them more likely. As far as hummingbird food, I like to simply use sugar and water. I dissolve 1/2 cup sugar in 2 cups hot water, allow to cool to room temperature and fill my feeder. 
It helps to have a 30 foot avocado tree that hummingbirds are known to hang out in but it's not necessary.
It also helps to have flowers nearby that hummingbirds like. This is a sun orchid and Kalanchoe delagoensis.     

I put my feeder on one of the lower branches of the avocado tree. When I want to watch the hummingbirds eating and frolicking, I  make some time on a beautiful afternoon towards dusk.

I sit in one of the incredibly comfortable chairs my dear friend gave to me and relax in front of the feeder.

I express gratitude to God and to the person who planted this amazing tree half a century ago while I wait for the hummingbirds to show up.

I also tell Gidget to stop hunting the hummingbirds, explaining that she doesn't have a chance.
I wait for the clicking sort of chirping sound that hummingbirds make and then sit back and enjoy the show.

This post is dedicated in loving memory of T.G.S. - you are dearly missed. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Warm and cozy

Gidget says, "It's gloomy out again. I'm not working today."

Frijole says, "Yeah, me either."

Fleck says, "Sounds good to me."
We'll be back tomorrow. Stay warm and cozy. We are.