Friday, April 27, 2012

Planting, tilling, and an experiment in quinoa

I did get to spend the entire afternoon gardening today.  I first rototilled several sections of the garden to prepare them for planting.  I had to put plants in the ground because they were getting a little overgrown in their seedling containers.  I planted four or five types of lettuce, other varied salad greens like tah tsai and endive, and then planted my big experiment of the year, quinoa, a grain generally grown in South America.  Here are a few pictures.


Concrete bed is full!
For dinner tonight, I picked a lot of asparagus, gave a bunch to a neighbor, and still had plenty to eat over a piece of toast with alfredo sauce.  We also had steamed beets and beet greens also picked today.  Yum!  I love that we have lots of lettuce and other greens as seen in the photo of the concrete bed.
Planting peas tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tomato jungle to be, and greenhouse madness

Today I planted tomatoes in the ground in the hothouse we built out of used windows, and I am sure it is going to be a tomato jungle in no time.  I wanted to get at least one of each type of tomato I had started as seeds, and I left a couple of seedlings that started on their own in the hothouse.  I dug holes with a hand trowel, watered the hole with Maxsea, transplanted the plant, then put a cage around it.  Here are two pictures of the result.

You can see one plant which I allowed to overwinter (middle left) which has already set a few tomatoes.

I also worked on transplanting some of the seedlings in the greenhouse.  I'm way behind in the transplant department, but here are two pictures of the plants in the greenhouse today. Click to enlarge.

Friday, April 20, 2012

A year in the rhododendron world and blooming flowers

It has been a year since I planted the rhododendron bush that I blogged about here: planting a rhododendron .  The plant seems to be doing quite well.  It is growing (not flowering yet) but I thought I'd show you a picture of the plant after a year in the garden.
purple rhodie
There are quite a number of flowers blooming away in the garden
these days.  Here is a sampler.
pink rhodie

dutch iris

mixed daffodils and tulips


Friday, April 13, 2012

Weeding, weeding, planting

I had plants that needed to get in the ground today.  These were primarily cole crops (broccoli, cauliflower), chard of different colors, collards, and a bit of lettuce which I had seeded and raised in the greenhouse for the last 6 weeks or so.  They had several sets of true leaves, and I didn't want them to get root bound in their six packs. (Check out the picture in the previous post.)  In order to plant them, I needed to do some weeding in the garden beds.  So with my trusty hand hoe I went out and weeded three garden beds and then planted the plants.
We have one bed which is strictly a "no till" bed.  We try not to break up or mix the soil levels in this bed, and I planted this bed extensively.  I watered them in with Maxsea fertilizer, then used some Sluggo Plus slug and snail bait (iron phosphate and spinosad bacteria) to protect the plants.  It was fun to be outside in the sun!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Transplants, lunch, dinner

hardening off outside
I worked in the greenhouse this morning, transplanting teensy baby plants (primarily quinoa plants and mixed salad greens) that had grown too close to each other from the April 1st planting.  To do this required washing out six packs to reuse, adding potting soil, using a dibble to prick out the little plants, and then labeling them before setting them back on the heat mat in the greenhouse.  There are some plants from earlier seedings that are ready to go out into the garden.  Here is a picture of some of them. I usually put plants out of doors for a few days to harden them off when ready.
Soon to be hardened off
One other nice thing about gardening is the ability to eat the results of our work with nature.  Yesterday, I made lunch from different salad greens and dinner from the asparagus patch and from some young beets.  Yummy!  We had the beets simply sliced into rounds and steamed, the asparagus steamed in an asparagus cooker, and quinoa, all with an alfredo sauce.
Here are pictures of the produce before the meal preparation
kale, chard, beet greens, spinach, radicchio, green  lettuce, red lettuce

asparagus, beets

Friday, April 6, 2012

It is too wet to till

It was a beautiful, sunny day here on the northern coast of California today, and I got to get outside and garden for awhile today.  I needed to weed a section of our front vegetable bed and then spread a batch of completed compost on the weeded area.  I also planted out some red cabbage plants I had waiting to get in the ground.
I tried to rototill part of the upper and lower gardens today, just to see if the ground was ready.  It wasn't.  Sometimes this early the ground is still too moist to till, and tilling only clumps up the soil.  I tried two small areas and checked out how the ground looked afterwards.  It was too "chunky", so the rest of the tilling will wait a few more weeks (a week free of rain would help.)
Here is some of the compost before spreading (and the weeds before weeding.) Click to enlarge.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Over the last two days I've been on a planting frenzy.  I usually put 2 seeds in each cell of a 6 pack.  I've been doing three cells for each variety.  There is more planting to come tomorrow with summer and winter squashes.  Here is a picture of the envelopes of seeds that were planted in the last two days.  (Click the pic to enlarge.)