Thursday, June 14, 2012


     Today was a weeding day.  Illijana and I got to spend time out in the garden weeding together...this is one of our favorite activities, working together in the garden.  We weeded a large perennial bed out back of our house, and took the weeds over to our perennial compost pile - the one pile we don't turn or do anything with.  Every few years we pull compost from its lower reaches and spread it on the garden beds.
     The other event of the day was the discovery of rabbit damage in the garden.  There has been a large rabbit hereabouts for several weeks, and I think that the damage done to brassica plants is due to this rabbit.  Time to get out our Scarecrow water sprayer to ward him/her off.
     Here is a photo of a portion of the weeded bed, and a photo of the compost pile with the new weeds on top.  Click each to enlarge.
weeded bed
compost pile

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A day in the garden and a new roof

I did my usual practice in the garden today, starting with opening the greenhouses in the morning, watering seedlings and plants, picking 13 different fixings for a salad, washing and assembling the salad for lunch, then doing more watering in the afternoon.  Here is what it looked like:
The final salad
(click on the pictures to enlarge them)
The makings of a salad

Broccoli almost ready to pick
Quinoa experiment
1st zucchini
The quinoa growing experiment is going well with seedheads forming.  We also have our first zucchini, a light green type with a creamy texture called Cavili.
We spend alot of time here watching birds.  The Stellar Jays are particularly present at the moment.
Stellar Jay
Our house with new roof
Finally, we had a new roof put on the house last week.  This entailed taking off the solar panels before the roofers did their work, and the re-installing the panels.  I think it looks good. You can see the bottlebrush plant, the angelica plants, and the rust covered garlic in this photo.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Remay, covering peas and beans, parsley pesto

I noticed that several voracious stellar bluejays were hunting around where I had planted peas a few days ago.  Normally I cover the peas and beans I plant from seed with a covering like Remay fabric, but I had not done so yet.  Spotting the birds (who will eat the yummy seedlings) spurred me to get going.  So I covered the peas today, and checked on the beans I planted awhile back (and had covered).  Here is what it looked like.
Uncovered but already planted with peas
Covered with fabric

Bean seedlings under cover
One other pic I'd like to share shows a section of beans planted two weeks ago that have been covered with fabric.  It is so much better to have this kind of germination than to come out and find the bean seedlings decimated by birds.
      Finally, here is a picture of our parsley.

 We have been letting it self-seed for a few years, and now have a bumper crop.  What to do with it?  Make parsley pesto!  I used a recipe created by Annie Somerville of Greens restaurant in San Francisco and found at  It uses parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, roasted pine nuts, and a touch of water in a blender to make a wonderful pesto sauce.  Here is a pic from the blender (before we used it as a salad dressing).
parsley pesto

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sometimes it is just work

What a busy day in the garden and yard!  We have been wildly weeding some of the garden beds over the last week, dumping the weeds on the grass by the beds.  We haven't been keeping up with the lawnmowing until today.  In order to get the lawn mowed we needed to unload the compost tumblers of their loads of compost in order to use the grass clippings for more compost.
Yesterday, my wife Illijana weeded the artichoke bed.  I then unloaded the compost tumbler and put the compost on the bed.  I also put compost in the rose bed, around the roses by our rose gate, and around the Queen Cox standard apple tree.
As Illijana mowed the lawn I weed whacked the edges and then used the grass clippings mixed with redwood sawdust, coffee grounds from Starbucks, and a mix of secret herbs and spices (blood meal, bone meal, cottonseed meal, and chicken manure) to fill the compost tumbler.  It will probably be composting at above 140 F by tomorrow, and will be ready to use in 3 to 4 weeks.
The yard looks great now, and it is raining, so we got the lawn done just in time.
There are some plants that need to be planted out shortly.  Here is a pic of the plants in the greenhouse. Click to enlarge.
lettuce starts
The picture on the right is a close-up of the small leaved basil growing in the greenhouse.  It is almost time for pesto making!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Bearded Iris

We have been trying for some years to establish consistently producing bearded iris plants in our gardens. We have had some wonderful plants in most years but getting all the ones we have planted to bloom successfully has not happened until this year.  We are, of course, unsure of what we did or did not do to make this year such a good bloom time.  Here are a few of the iris.  A few of the pics emphasize the beards. Click to enlarge.