Checking on the baby plants

It’s hot in the garden. Okay, well it feels hot.

Spring in Los Angeles ranges from highs of 60 to 80 and lows of 50 to 65.  Today, it’s sunny, 75 and feels hot.

When I went outside to inspect the flowers, with Rosie, I found a tail under the fire pit.

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The tail moved a little as Rosie’s ball ran into it, and I saw Mardi roll over on his back.  I decided to go in for further inspection.

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Clearly he approves of the firepit.  We know he enjoys the garden, as we’ve spotted him looking for a spot to call his litterbox.

As I continued to walk around, I was happy to see that the nasturtium seeds I planted ages ago have popped up.

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These little ones are so beautiful, with the red edges along the leaves.  I believe these are the ones with creamy yellowish flowers, and they’re more clumps rather than trailers.  We’ve been trying to plant flowers amongst the food, to help attract pollinators and good bugs.

I love looking at close ups of our dirt!  (Just like the background picture of the blog.)

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One row of squash and melons is finally planted!  David will build the trellis within the next month, as these babies have a while to grow. I gave them a dose of fish emulsion this morning, to help them get going. From front to back these are: Pinnacle spaghetti squash(2), buttercup (3), sweet dumpling (2), and sugar baby watermelon (1).  I think they’re fairly close together, but I’ve never trellised squash before.  We had so many varieties of seeds, and haven’t had space to grown winter squash and melons before. I’m so excited for these!
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We finally planted our first eggplants in the eggplant section. At the top of the picture are two Japanese eggplant.  The Rosa Bianca should be ready to go in this week!  This picture also has borage (left), marigold (center), fenugreek (3 on right), and acorn squash. Everything is planted pretty close together, which we’re hoping will allow us to maximize our food production space.

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In the front yard, our pot of calendula seeds are coming along nicely!  We have more plants to put in pots, but right now all of our pots of full of mulch that still needs to be spread.  I spread some in the backyard yesterday, and then decided that making beer and hanging out with my friend was more fun!

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In the raised bed garden, when I showed the picture of the white radishes that were ready to harvest, I didn’t point out all of the cosmos that have popped up behind it and are ready to transplant.  I have a few place where they may be able to go, and should do it before they get too big. Perhaps this evening, we can walk around the yard and pick a place.

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I noticed today that our dragonfruit cactus has a new shoot.  This guy really needs support and a new place, so it can grow big and droopy.  We got the cutting from a friend a couple years ago and it’s fun to watch grow, but I don’t know if we’ll ever get fruit off of it.

A few years ago, David got some corms (like bulbs) of a plant that attracts hummingbirds to the front yard.  We believe they are Chasmanthe. It flowered in February and during full bloom we had a hummingbird come by about every five minutes!  The plants have multiplied in our herb bed, and we plan to dig them out and move them as soon as they die back.

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Currently the little red seeds are dropping all over the place.  Between the fan palm seeds from above, and these guys, we have lots going on below. This is why it’s almost time to mulch!

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And lastly, I recently reorganized the plants on the front porch, and found a new place for Jethro Troll. The succulents are looking great this time of year!

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Project update

This evening, while bringing out an egg carton to add to the compost, I heard the alarm call of a bushtit.  It reminded me of the noise the squirrels make when they’re trying to get avocados and Rosie is protecting the tree.  I’m not sure if the bird was annoyed by Rosie, Shadow or me but the cats have figured out that the nest is there. David and I are thinking that when it’s fledgling season, we’ll have to try to keep the cats inside.

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I’m not sure Mardi knows there’s a nest yet, but  I caught him staring up at the angry bird. Notice the nest on the right side of the picture; he’s pretty close!

I’ve been meaning to post pictures of the garden growing up.  We have so many little projects happening right now, I wanted to update on those first!  We’ve had two days of rain, which is a special treat in Los Angeles.  Our front yard is watered with the sprinkler irrigation system, and the back yard with a hose or watering cans.  It was nice to not have to worry about watering the back yard for a few days, although it’s back to needing it.  Just today, while I weeded our freshly sprouted Scarlet Runner Beans, I flushed out a whole mess of ants.

Because of the rain (and the sprinklers), our seedbombs in the front yard are starting to break down!

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It’s great to see the clay breaking down and the seeds being revealed! This bomb is right next to our wildflower mix/ sprouted compost mystery garden.

The mystery garden was devoured by snails, and then re-sprinkled with seeds about two weeks ago.  Here’s what it looks like now:

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Notice the seedbombs and sprinkler in this picture.  The two nasturtiums were not eaten by the snails when everything else was, so that’s why they’re a little bigger. I also recognize cosmos and calendula.  Hoping to recognize some more flower friends soon!

David spent a day prepping the sink that was full of sauerkraut.  He recently purchased a 5-gallon crock and the cabbage is now fermenting in it.  Five gallons?  Yes! He wants this to be the only crock he ever needs!
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David also purchased weights and lids but they were backordered until next week, so he’s getting creative with the bag of water and saran wrap.  It’s been working out pretty well so far.  We were worried the cats would climb on the top of the crock, as they like sitting on things, so we covered the top with a towel.  I don’t think they’ve been sitting on it, but we did find the towel soaked in cat urine…. ew.  (We have three cats and cat pee is sadly part of our life.)

Sauerkraut should be ready for eating and storing in two weeks! We’ve been storing away as much food as we can, and we (David) just finished making two jars of nasturtium “capers”.

Last weekend, while I was deadheading the roses, I noticed that we had a nasturtium plant that was dense with flowers.  When I looked underneath the plant, I was able to easily pull off handfuls of fresh, young seeds. David helped me pick and clean them, and then we looked up the recipe I had read earlier this year for nasturtium pod capers.

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The recipe itself was simple. Picking the seed pods was a bit time consuming. Between David and myself picking over this one plant, we were able to triple the recipe! It was great timing on our part, and if we like them we will have plenty for the next batch when these finish flowering.

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We cleaned the pods, separated each of them, and soaked them in salt for 3 days.  Tonight Dave heated up the vinegar and sugar and we put them in a jar. Can’t wait to try them! I hope they’re not too strong for me.

We’ve also been spending the week eating chard. I pulled out one plant to eat, and there’s another one that has to come out. We’re making room for one more tomato plant. We have three more tomatoes to plant: Prudens Purple, Black Krim and Abe Lincoln.  I’m not sure which will go in the raised bed or where we’ll even put the other two, but they still have a little ways to grow.

P1010563If you look at the chard compared to the coffee maker, you can get an idea of how immense the leaves and stem were. We ate it that night with pasta and last year’s tomato sauce from the freezer. The stem and more chard went in our quiche cups, which is my daily breakfast.  The stem has such a nice crunch!

The yard is starting to bloom more and more. The succulents, herbs and tomatoes are all flowering.

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The daffodils by the front door are blooming, one at a time. This was our first year planting the bulbs, and it’s a fun treat to see them blooming.

P1010542Mardi can’t resist a camera!

We’re excited to get more projects underway and to see how these all pan out.  Our new mason bee house just arrived in the mail, and we’re brewing beer this weekend. As if we didn’t have enough to keep us busy…