Thursday, November 4, 2010

Last Harvest Before Frost

We are expecting our first frost tonight, with it dropping into the upper 20's by Saturday night. So this evening Antonio, Julia Belén and I went outside to harvest all the remaining tomatoes. We brought in 162.4 ounces.

While we were in the garden Antonio recognized the carrot tops protruding from the soil, so he pulled out two that looked ready. And Julia Belén was very excited to bring them into the house.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tonight's Dinner

Tonight's dinner wasn't anything special, but I did like that more than half the contents were home grown.
A bed of lettuce with cilantro, radishes and lemon basil topped by taquitos and sour cream with minced dried cayenne peppers (from last years garden), rice and a beer. We are not home-brewing our own beer yet, but that is a dream of mine, some day. So if you couldn't guess the non home grown ingredients: taquitos, sour cream rice and beer. But we have talked about making our own taquitos, I think that is very feasible. The next time we make some homemade tortillas we just need to save a few to wrap and then fry as taquitos (although this leans heavily on Julia's expertise, mine tends to run more for the outdoors).

Monday, May 24, 2010

Pikey Lot

Today I walked the dogs over to the Pikey lot to take a look at where I had sowed some watermelon, winter squash and pumpkin seeds. I wasn't really expecting much, but to my surprise 8 little seedlings have sprouted up. I am excited to see what they are, as I can't remember which I planted exactly where.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Raised Bed Vertical Support

Two weeks ago, Antonio and I went out to the Pikey lot, and sowed some watermelon, pumpkin and winter squash seeds. Hopefully they come up, but we shall see, since this is going to by a primarily unmanned garden that we may check once in a while.

Last weekend Antonio and I bought ourselves a few plants for our garden. Some of the plants we bought were a Strawberry plant, that had two strawberries ready for picking already on it, Lemon Thyme, and Stevia. Julia and I decided to give Stevia a try (although we grew it once years before, we didn't do anything with it then). We plan on possibly using it instead of sugar when possible. It can be done with either the green leaves, or by drying and then grinding the leaves into a powder (if we have enough, we may plan on doing both). Approximately 6 large leaves chopped finely is a substitute for 1/2 cup of sugar for baking or in cooked recipes. 1 teaspoon of ground stevia is equal to 1 cup of sugar; 2 drops of liquid essence is equal to 1 teaspoon sugar. Antonio and I also picked up a Citronella Scented Geranium, we'll see if it works in keeping the mosquito population away from our patio some. Here is a picture of one of our two blueberry bushes at the end of April.

This past weekend I transplanted the majority of my tomatoes into the garden, most going into the raised bed. And on Sunday night I put together the vertical frame for the raised bed, which the tomatoes and cucumbers will climb up. Antonio is very excited about the progress of the radishes in the raised bed, which he is currently confusing with a tomato (probably due to its color).

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Easter Garden

Our garden has slowly been coming around as warmer temperatures of spring have finally arrived. Here are pictures around the garden from Easter weekend. Our blueberry bushes have tons of blooms on them, hopefully that means we'll have a decent yield of blueberries this year.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Garden Reduction

My garden this year is going to have to be reduced in size by slightly more than a half of the size that it was at its largest last summer. First, the portion of the garden that was growing on the berm behind our yard, I am not going to use, as it drew too much of the eye of our HOA, and I would rather remain below their radar if possible. It also turns out that my neighbor that didn't use her yard, and allowed my to use the space last year, does not want me to use it this year, as her father (who watches her kids for her) wants to do something. My first reaction was to be upset, but in all honesty, I can't be upset, the space is technically behind her house, so if she doesn't want me to use it, she has every right to. I will just have to be patient and wait until we move to a house with a real yard to really start growing the amounts and varieties of plants that I would love to grow. Below is a picture of my neighbor's garden space I was using from last summer (that is her door that is barricaded by a couch in the middle of the picture.
And below is a picture of the watermelon and summer squash I had growing on the berm last summer.

On a side note, I took over some freshly harvested broccoli to her, as some of it came from the space behind her yard, as well as a good portion coming from my yard. She took it from me, and and asked what it was, and then thanked me and gave it back, saying that she doesn't know how to cook it. Weird. . .  But oh well, I was trying to share, and be nice.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Square Foot Raised Bed

Last weekend Antonio and I built the frame of our raised bed, and mixed and then filled the bed. Our mix was from the Square Foot Gardening Book, which is 4 cubic feet of peat moss, 4 cubic feet of mixed compost, and 4 cubic feed of vermiculite. The vermiculite was the hardest to find, it took me a while to finally find it. Luckily my local nursery (Woody's Nursery)  got some in stock the day I had decided to finally build the raised bed. The hardest part was mixing the ingredients, they got quite heavy, and Antonio was only able to help so much.
This weekend I finally transplanted the brocolli and cabbage that had been growing under my light shelves, and sowed more cilantro, lettuce, spinach, radishes and carrots. So the Spring Raised bed is done, and everything will grow well, and be ready to harvest before the summer plants need to go in. You can see more information about the plants that I have in our Square Foot Raised Bed by following its link to MyFolia website.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Carrot Harvest

Back in the end of February Antonio was very excited to show Julia the carrots we were growing, and when we told him that he could go ahead and harvest them, he was really excited. When he showed them to me, he told me "como George" referring to the episode of Curios George where he grows carrots in his yard.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Cinnamon Buns

A couple of weeks ago (I know, I have been bad about posting lately) Julia made a batch of delicious cinnamon buns from scratch. Antonio helped out, and of course we are all helping out in eating them. Julia made enough that we have batches still in the freezer, that we all look forward to pulling out and enjoying on the weekends.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Tomato & Sugar Snap Pea Sowing

I went over my tomato seed stash, and ended up picking out 12 varieties that I am thinking of growing, although two of them are small tomatoes (Black Prince and Tumbling Tom) that I plan on growing hanging baskets. I am excited to try them, as all but one of the varieties are new to me this year. I just don't know where I am going to grow them yet.
Over the past few days I have finally gotten around to sowing the seeds, and setting them up in my light-shelves.

Like most things I tend to do (ask Julia), I don't account for how long they will actually take. On my task to-do list was to sow our sugar snap peas outside. I finally got to it after helping getting the kids ready for bed, while Julia was reading them a bedtime story, I was outside with my headlamp quickly preparing soil and sowing 40 sugar snap seeds. Hopefully these do better than my fall planting did. The unseasonably long span of below freezing days we had in January did them under. They had just all started blooming, with their white flowers opening up, promising fresh sugar snap peas, to only wither away.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally

I am currently reading the book 'Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally' I am enjoying the book thoroughly. I just came across a quote that makes a good argument for eating locally (outside of that fact of having a smaller footprint), when the author is talking to a registered dietician and spokesperson for the American Dietetics: "Food begins to lose nutrition as soon as it is harvested. Fruit and vegetables that travel shorter distances are therefore likely to be closer to a maximum of nutrition. Nowadays, we know a lot more about the naturally occurring substances in produce. It's not just the vitamins and minerals, but all these phytochemicals and really powerful disease-fighting substances, and we do know that when a food never really reaches its peak ripeness, the levels of these substances never get as high." pg. 228

The nutritionist recommends gathering fresh foods at their peak, freeze or can the surplus, and consume them within six months. We as a family have started trying to eat this way as much as we reasonably can for about a year now, although no where as near as strict as the authors of the book. But it is not always easy, the convenience is sometimes hard to resist, and it has become routine and habit for many, but we have to think about the future, is it really more convenient when our health may be on the line?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Lemon Blueberry Skillet Cake

Today I harvested one of my Meyer Lemons, and took out some of the blueberries we had picked ourselves from a local farm this summer, out of the freezer, to make a recipe that I saw recently in the garden blog Chiot's Run.  I had a lot of fun baking it with Antonio's help. He always helps Julia out with the baking, so he was able to tell me what to do at each next step. It was my first attempt at baking something from scratch. I was really happy with how it turned out, and everyone in the family is really enjoying it.