This garden season began with sifting the compost. We applied it generously to the beds, hoping it would replenish the nutrients in the soil.
Look at all the worms in our compost! It’s great to have a giant worm bin. See the worm egg in the picture below? However the downside is that the seeds that are in our composted food are still viable; we’re constantly picking baby squash and tomato plants out of the garden.
We decided to just go with it, in the bed below, and see what sprouted. I also transplanted a couple Sweet Dumpling squash, and direct seeded soybeans, bush beans and a couple of other squash that I don’t remember. We’re interested to see what the squash look like, and may do some thinning after we get our first female flowers.
Today, to make space for pepper plants, I pulled out two giant Laciento kale plants. We still have three in the ground, so we won’t be deprived of this popular superfood. The harvested kale will become a salad that we’re bringing on our friend’s boat. Some will also probably be frozen, made into kale chips and go into our soup.
I also pulled out beets, pearl onions and a lonely garlic.
We planted strawberries earlier this winter. We bought two different varieties, and then found three that randomly sprouted in our gardens. David and I have eaten a few berries this year, although the slugs and other critters have eaten more than us. I’m sure putting down straw would help. It’s not high on the priority list and keeps slipping my mind when I’m outside.
We also planted a thornless blackberry, which is growing its first berries!
We sprinkled wildflower seeds last year. The California poppies have been blooming for a month now. Aren’t they a little bit of sunshine?
The tomatoes are all planted (well, except for the two that I’m not sure where to plant). This yellow pear has some nice little clusters of flowers. You can also see that it’s dropping a few flowers; fish emulsion is happening soon. I also spent some time this weekend clearing out dead leaves and stray branches, which will hopefully prevent disease and powdery mildew.
This winter’s red mustard has gone to seed. I pulled out two of the three plants today. They’re now drying in the garage, where we will hopefully catch all of the mustard seed to make our own mustard! I was hoping to leave the mustard in the ground a bit longer, while it matured, but it had to come out for two reasons. 1. I needed the space to plant peppers, lettuce, radishes and carrots. 2. There have been finches perched on it recently, although they have been eluding the camera.
We left the mustard in the back that is still flowering. Hopefully I’ll be able to get this pulled out without disturbing everything that was just planted around it.
We’ve started to pull out and eat our onions. This is our first time planting onions (other than pearl and green onions) and we’ll do it from seed next time, not sets. I was tempted by the cute little bag of onion sets. Many of them have started to flower and they don’t seem to be forming very big onions- they are more like giant green onions, with a slightly swollen red bottom (I know there’s a spanking joke there).
The kale here is still quite healthy. (All of the other kales have been getting aphids, and keeping our ladybugs busy.) Below the kale is a random catnip plant that Shadow hasn’t yet discovered, and a handful of leeks.
I spent some time today getting our pots ready for plants. One now has tomatoes and basil for my sister’s balcony, and another has Button Box Zinnias. I’ve been growing the zinnias at school, and they are the perfect size for pots! I can’t wait!
Today I also worked on cleaning up the tomatoes and tomatillo plants in the back yard. Our Florida Weave was holding up nicely, until this week when it seems to have flopped over. While the plants were on their sides, I decided to thin them out a little and inspect for baby tomatoes. I found lots! And I also picked about 10 tomatillos, so we’ll be making our first small batch of salsa verde of the season (with poblanos from school and jalapenos from the front yard).
We direct seeded some Rat’s Tail Radishes at the end of the drip line. It seems that only one sprouted. And it may even be a weed. We’ll find out soon. I love close ups of our soil because you really can see all of the egg shells and avocado leaves that we put into it.
Under the apricot tree I planted a chocolate habanero plant, which I grew from seeds we saved last year. Unfortunately, something keeps eating it. Any idea what it could be?
We have picked most of the apricots already. Here’s one of the few left on the tree. Most of them were cracked this year, which I hear is from uneven watering. And sadly, this will be our only year that we get to harvest apricots, as we’ll be moving soon… more on that to come!
Here’s the back area, where we have baby long beans starting to climb the fence. There are also 3 eggplants (all different kinds, I hope) and 4 (stunted) zucchinis. Today I also added Cream of the Crop acorn squash, delicata squash and little leaf cucumbers. I planted a couple of basil plants after taking the photo. Notice how the apricot tree is spreading into this area… I’ll have to post a picture of the whole area and how impressive our tree has become!
One of my favorite plants, borage, has self seeded under the apricot tree. It’s about to flower.
I caught this no-spot lady bug keeping the long beans clean. There were loads of aphids on them earlier this week. I said, “thank you” as I snapped her photo.
The eggplants have begun flowering. I saw a flower earlier this week and it looks like it’s already growing into a fruit. We’re growing the Japanese eggplant and Rosa Bianca that we grew last year, as well as a couple of other varieties that we haven’t put in the ground yet. I did plant a mystery eggplant that I found laying around the greenhouse at school, and I’m waiting on 3 more to grow bigger.
It’s so interesting how the different variety of tomatoes all look extremely different as they grow! I harvested the beets from in between these tomatoes and planted more golden and Bull’s Blood beets, as well as transplanted some lettuce heads. There are a few Asian greens and radishes on the left.
Here’s our peppers that went in where the mustard used to be. As I was getting ready to plant, my neighbor’s friend helped plant a few of the seeds- it’s always great to meet people who want to get their hands dirty! We now have 4 Shishito peppers and 4 Pepperoncini plants, with carrots, radish and lettuce seeds scattered around them.
The red pepper that was there had this larvae on it. This will be a ladybug, right?
We’ve tried okra a couple places in the yard before. The first year it was in the front, and the pods got giant. We never ate them. Last year we planned on having pickled and dried okra, so we planted a handful of plants in the backyard. They did miserably. I think we ate two pieces of okra. This year I planted three plants in the raised bed, which seems to always get enough sunlight and water for plants to thrive. We have our fingers crossed that we’ll be cooking with okra this summer!
We are starting to get cucumbers. We had a great crop of Little Leaf Cucumbers on our wood ladder, so this year we planted there again. I used a different variety, as it was what I had handy. I think it’s Delikatesse, which I’ve heard great things about. The plants are just reaching the ladder now, and starting to flower prolifically.
I planted a couple of Thai Red Roselle plants in the front flower bed. They looked a bit shocked at first, but recently they’ve really taken off. Once I get this area weeded and mulched, I think it should help them out also.
I just scrolled down to see if there were more pictures. You see, the outside is only half of the story. This weekend I also did a little cooking. I brought home apples from school and made 9 jars of apple sauce and 10 little jars of vanilla rum apple butter. We also made a huge pot of chicken stock, some of which ended up all over the freezer as I tried to freeze it in silicon muffin cups. It’s now safely being frozen in ziplocs. One day we’ll pressure can…