The tour continues…

When David and I moved into our house three years ago, we were so pleased to see this beautiful row of roses!  During the past years we’ve added mulch to the ground to soften up the soil and help replenish nutrients, pulled out the random canna lilies that were located in the middle of the row, and pruned them back for the past two years.  The first time that David pruned them, he cut off piles and piles of dead, thick wood, cutting them about a foot tall. It seemed like they hadn’t been pruned in years!  This past January he pruned them to about three feet tall, and we’re getting our first bloom now!  Finally the stems are long enough also, that we can start cutting them to bring into the house!

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Somewhere in this stretch of roses, we hung one of our praying mantis egg cases!  Last year this is where we released lady bugs and hopefully the two will coexist!

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Growing under half of the rose row is the most delicious mint!  David cut it all back this winter, and we tried to get out the Bermuda Grass that is growing in amongst it.  The mint grew faster than I could dig out the grass.  This mint looks like it’s time for our first round of spring mojitos.

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I’ll let you in on a secret (which isn’t too big of a secret if you realize that Rosie is a Golden Retriever).  When Rosie is in a picture, and looking like this, her ball is somewhere near me and the camera (which for this photo shot was my iPhone 5). Often you’ll actually see her ball in the picture, or her running at me it.

This part of the garden is where the canna lilies used to be.  We grabbed a ladder that was left here by former tenants, and planted Dragon’s Tounge shell beans (which someone has already been munching on), lettuce (peaking up from behind the shade of the ladder) cucumbers, nasturtiums, and marigolds.  Garlic chives are right about where Rosie’s ball would be, if you could see either of them.

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These tomatoes have been in the ground about two weeks.  This raised bed was the first bed that we added to the yard and it will be our third summer planting in it.   We freshened it up with compost, potting soil that had been laying around, and a few bags of composted steer manure.  Over the past few months, I’ve been reading up on companion planting and we’ve decided to interplant marigolds and basil with our tomato plants.  Someone’s still taking little nibbles on the Reisentraube tomato in the foreground. This year, in the side yard, we also planted a Jaune Flamme, Isis Candy, Indigo Rose, two San Marzanos and a red bell pepper.  The bed also contains cilantro, dill, cabbage, chard, beets, leeks, lettuce and three different kinds of radish.

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A close up of baby cilantro, planted in between two tomato plants.

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The second half of the raised bed.  This section is what we were using for the last part of winter (brocolli and cauliflower were on the far end and they finished growing back in March). These cabbages are ready to be picked!  I’ve grown savoy cabbage before, but never this kind- Copenhagen Market Early.

Which reminds me: I enjoy growing heirloom varieties.  Perhaps it’s more than enjoy… I believe in it.  David and I are currently not buying seeds. We somehow have a bunch laying around from the past few years. We’ve had to place a moratorium on that type of shopping (I am also not allowed to buy any new tea). However, we agreed that we could skirt this ultimatum buy getting free seeds from friends. David picked up a 100 pack of small plastic bags from Michaels, and I sat for about an hour with my friend Sheila’s seed collection. I did the same thing at school, after bringing in all of our tomato and pepper seeds as a trade.  Trading seeds is the way to go!  I have a student who offered me blue corn, which I’ll be trading him for Mexican Sour Gerhkin seeds as soon as they arrive.  In the future, we plan to join the Seed Library of Los Angeles.
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The chard is gianormous!  Each leaf is longer than my arm.  I tucked Rosie’s ball in the picture for scale.

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We tried to grow a few leeks this winter.  Two survived.  One of the leeks is big and strong and the other little and slow to grow; it’s kinda like that Schwarzenegger/ DeVito movie, Twins.  I’ve been piling up the mulch around the base of this guy to help the white part become larger.  Soon, we’ll cook with our one leek.

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This area is our wildflower/ compost garden.  It’s a newer area, where last year we grew giant cosmos flowers and sweet peas.  This year we decided to sprinkle it with a wildflower mix that I bought for school, and to let our compost sprout.  We’ve already noticed nasturtiums, cosmos, and sunflowers.  This should help with our weed identification also!

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Our front door herb garden.  The cilantro self sprouted, the sage is new this year and the oregano is taking over!  We also have lavender, rosemary, basil, tarragon, parsley and thyme.  The daffodils, hyacinth and the chasmanthe are wrapping up for the season and it will soon be time to dig them up.  Ugh, I’ve never had bulbs that I’ve had to dig up before. To be fair, we don’t have to dig up the chasmanthe, but we want to move most of them since they’re taking over our herb bed.  When it was flowering this past February  we had a hummingbird come by every 5 minutes!

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We’ll be planting more pots as we fill up the garden.  Right now we have three pepper- jalepeno, cayenne (which we didn’t mean to buy), and banana pepper. In between the peppers, we’ve planted green onions.  Currently we have two other pots planted- pineapple sage and calendula.

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Doesn’t everyone love ladybugs?  These were chillin’ on the banana pepper.  Dave told me that the one without spots hasn’t had babies yet.  I thought they were different subspecies.   Well, I looked it up, as I needed to know. Ladybuglady.com says,

“Do the spots tell you how old they are?
A. No. Different ladybugs have different numbers of spots. Some have no spots while some have as many as twenty four. Ladybugs generally complete their life cycle within one year. The spots are with them all their life. They don’t get more spots as they get older, nor do they lose spots.”

I guess they don’t mind being together on the same plant.

IMG_1816Here’s the nursery area, set up at the bottom of the driveway next to the garage.  The squash and melons are waiting for the last lasagna bed.  The eggplant are slowly coming, and the other containers hold various flowers, and herbs. I also took a cutting of our citronella plant.  On the back right is our praying mantis hatchery, made by an art teacher at our school.  I’ll be bringing this egg case to school next week!

Thanks for sticking with me for the tour.  In the future I’ll give updates, as well as fill in some of the stories of how things go this far!

Happy gardening!

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