Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice is upon us and you know what that means... The days will start getting longer little by little.

Garden News

Not much to report. I received my seed potatoes on Friday. They will be planted in about 4 weeks into the new potato bins.

The transplanted lettuce in the new bed is putting on new growth. Also, all the spinach and lettuce seeds I planted two weeks ago are sprouting. I think this bed will do me well.

Saturday I harvested three brocolli heads. We had them with our dinner Sunday night. I have to say they are so much better than the store bought.

That's it for now.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Jack Frost is in Da House!

Woke up this morning and it was 26 deg. (F). I know this is not unusual for much of the US but you have to understand we don't get many days like this in the Bay Area. We even have a little snow on our local foothills. It's very pretty to look at on my way into work.

I'm so glad we built the mini hoop houses over the weekend. I even put another layer of row covers on all the beds yesterday just in case. I'm sure most of what I've got growing, which isn't much will be just fine. I got home from work after dark tonight so I couldn't really see how the garden faired. We will have another cold night tonight, dropping back down to the upper 20's. The temperature in the garden as I write this at 7:15 P.M. is 38.

I took this photo this morning. If you click on the photo to enlarge it you can see the frost sparkling on the row cover of bed 2.

Stay Warm!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Ready for Winter

Our first frost date is Dec 5. This morning there was light frost in the garden.
Tonight’s forecast calls for temps in the mid to low 30's and rain.

Today we built hoop houses over bed 2 and 3 to protect the onions, garlic, carrots and broccoli not only from frost but from the squirrels.

Photo below: Bed 2

Photo below: Beds 2 and 3

Photo below: The winter garden.

Photos below: On Nov 29th while I was making pumpkin pies sweet husband built potato bin number 2.

I will be planting potatoes in about 6 weeks. I can't wait!

Friday, November 27, 2009

A New Raised Bed

The last few days I have been thinking about putting in a small bed next to the kitchen door. This area cannot be seen from the living room as most of it is hidden behind the curtains.

So today I cleared the area for my new 3x2 bed.

Sweet Husband built me a very nice bed with some free wood we picked up a few weeks ago for the potato bins. This area will get a few hours of morning sun and about an hour of afternoon sun in the winter months. In the summer it will get about six hours of sun with shade in the late afternoon.

The new bed will be perfect for lettuce and baby spinach in the Fall and Spring, and in the summer months for my cilantro and basil, freeing up some much needed space in the main beds.

The spinach I planted in Sept in bed 4 is not growing at all due to lack of sun...

... so I transplanted it into the new bed along with some lettuce from bed 4. The rest of the bed was seeded with more spinach and lettuce.

The next step is to build a critter cage over the bed to keep the squirrels out.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hiding in Plain Sight

I was working in the garden today doing some much needed clean up when I went over to bed 3 to see how the brocolli was doing, when I came upon a leaf that was nothing more than a skeleton of it's former self. Knowing only one thing that could do this much damage I started my hunt...

Right there hiding in plain sight I found it...yes that would be a cabbage looper. As I kept searching I found a total of six on this plant and one more on another. I really should have sprayed BT earlier in the month when I came across the first looper.

As I was hunting loopers I also found gray aphids happily sucking the live out of my brocolli floret. Nothing a good sharp stream of water couldn't handle. I will need to check on the brocolli more often to keep these peats at bay.

On a more pleasant note the sugar snap peas gave me a nice little harvest today.

This English cucumber will be ready for picking in a few days. This will be my last one for the season.

The brussels sprouts in bed 1 are growing very slowly. But what can you expect when they are only getting one to two hours of sun. Yes sadly it is that time of year when I have little to no sun in the garden.

Photo below: Brussels sprouts

Photo below: Bed 2 at 1:30 this afternoon. This is the bed that gets the most sun this time of year.

Bed 2 at 3:00 this afternoon. I planted some lettuce and spinach in some of the empty squares.

Photo below: It's getting too cold for the basil so I pulled out what was left.

Photo below: The carrots in bed 3 get about two hours of filtered sun.

Photo below: Bed 3 all cleaned up and ready for spring.

Photo Below: Bed 4 gets no sun at all. I had planted lettuce and spinach but they are slow to grow.

I may get one or two small harvests out of bed 4.

Photo Below: Butterhead lettuce.

This weekend we will finish building the potato bins. I promise to post some photos when they are completed.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I Just Can't Help Myself

I have been trying to figure out how to get more growing space out of my little backyard. Last week while at work I had a flash of an idea. Re-do the back garden area where the potato beds are.

I would have to pull out the yellow angels trumpet and pull the beds apart. So that is just what I did today.

I started this angels trumpet from a 5 inch cutting a few years ago. This guy grew to be over 12 feet high. Don't let anyone tell you they are hard to grow.

I had Sweet Husband cut down the tree to about 4 feet.

Then I had to get the beds moved out of the way so I could start digging it out.

It took about an hour to pull this bad boy out.

The beds are out and now it's time to lay out were the new wooden potato bins will go. The long season potatoes will go straight back against the side fence where they will get the most sun. The mid season bin will go to the right against the back fence.

This will still give me plenty of room for a 5 x 3 bed along the back fence.

Tomorrow we will frame out the new bins and put them in their new homes...

Photo below: The new bed is completed.

Sweet Husband put up an old trellis I had lying around.

I'm thinking I will use half the bed for early potatoes and the other half for something I can trellis... maybe some winter squash.

Photo below: I put some potted plants in the open area for now. Looks cute.

Other garden news....

Photo below: I still have some cucumbers growing.

Photo Below: My brocolli is starting to form flower heads.

Photos Below: Sugar snap peas are a good Fall crop for my garden.

Photo Below: Pink angels trumpet

Next post... Completed potato bins.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

It's Official...

Today I harvested the rest of the spaghetti squash, all 27.9 lbs of it.
I have now officially grown over 100 pounds of produce. 120 lbs and 7 oz's to be exact.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Random Stuff in the Garden

Todays harvest gave me...
3 baby cucumbers 11.2 oz's
1 english cucumber 8.1 oz's
1 spaghetti squash (it fell off the vine) 1 lb 8.8 oz's
9 pole beans 1.9 oz's (a nice addition to tonights dinner)

My total harvest is now at 98.8 lb. I still have 11 spaghetti squash to pick. I will definitely make it to 100 lbs of harvest for 2009. Nice!

This weekend we will start to build one of two potato towers. I was able to score some free wood for this project. Below is a photo of where the towers will go. The long season potato tower will go up against the fence where it will get the most sun. The second tower will replace the small brick potato bed used this season for early potatoes. The second tower will be used for the mid season potatoes.

Photo below: I found a bed for the sweet potatoes. This area was not being used for anything...

... so I cleaned it out and dug in some home made compost. I will build up the front with one more layer of bricks to make it a bit deeper. This area gets great sun most of the year.

Photo Below: The garlic is doing very well. I think I will have better luck this time around. The onions in the back of the bed are also looking happy.

Photo Below: The brocolli in bed 3 is getting bigger everyday. Though I do seem to have one runt in the bunch.

Photo Below: I am so happy to see how well the sugar snap peas are doing. They have started to flower and I should have peas in about a week or so.

Photo Below: Bed 3

Photo Below: Pole beans.

Photo Below: The brussels sprouts are growing very slowly. I guess that is to be expected with only a few hours of full sun.

Photo Below: The last of my Fall raspberries. I was really surprised at how sweet they were. Much sweeter than the spring crop.

Photo Below: I let my main strawberries keep their runners. I planted some in a container between the two potato beds.