Friday, December 31, 2010

Last Post for 2010

The lights are all setup in the greenhouse and I covered the shelves with reflective emergency blankets to keep in the heat and light. I'm all ready to start my seeds. 2011 growing season here I come!

As for bed 3 I started the "water" project yesterday but it started to get so cold out I had to come in. I'll try and get it completed this weekend.

I wish you all a Happy and Healthy New Year

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bed 4 - Strawberries - Greenhouse

I finished installing the water line in bed 4 today. I just need to add the drip lines once I know what I'm going to plant in this bed. I still need to install the water line in bed 3. That one will take some thought as the water source is about two feet from the bed unlike beds 2 and 4 which were right next to the beds.

Bed 4

 I transplanted some of my strawberries into the 2x3 foot bed next to the kitchen and covered them with bird netting to keep the squirrels and mice out.

New Strawberry Bed

We were able to get the second greenhouse setup right before the next rain storm hit this afternoon.


Sweet Husband built two sets of shelves for me while I was working on bed 4. All I need to do now is setup the lights and I will be ready to start my seeds.

Inside second greenhouse
Tomorrow I hope to get bed 3 done and install the lights in the greenhouse.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Bed 1 Clean Up

The holidays are behind us and the 2011 growing season is right around the corner. I spent the day out in the sun pulling the tomato plants out of bed 1. Below are before and after photos.

Bed 1 before

Bed 1 after

Now I need to figure out what I'm going to plant in there. I was thinking maybe summer squash.

With this week off on vacation I'm going to get my popup greenhouse setup for seed starting. I will also finish adding water lines into the beds and turning the compost bin. All weather permitting.

In other garden news the avocado tree is doing very well and is putting out a lot of new growth.

 The banana has also been putting on new growth. This spring I will try to separate two of the pups from the mother plant and re-pot them into their own containers. I'm hoping this will help the mother fruit this next summer.


The ginger on the other hand is not doing as well. I'm hoping it will put out new shoots once the weather warms up.
That is it for now.. Need to go plan my 2011 garden :-)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Greenhouse and Update on Water Project

The weather sure has gotten cold for our area of California. Temperatures dipping down to 30's and 40's this week for our lows and only a high of 60 later this week. We are also getting much needed rain.

Because of the low temperatures I have pulled out the popup greenhouse a little earlier then the last two years, not for seed starting but to protect the banana and avocado trees as well as the ginger. The past two years the banana has come inside for the winter but it is getting too big for my little living room and it had a bad case of mites last year.

While I was putting up the green house I was wondering what I was going to do with the trees once I needed the room to start my seeds. Well something would come to me when the time was right.

Plenty of room for the trees and I still have room for the rosemary and mint .
On Sunday I had to make a run to OSH (Orchard Supply Hardware). I always take a walk through the garden area even if I don't need anything just to see what's new. Much to my surprise I saw a popup green house just like the one I have now for $99.95. This is the first time I have ever seen them in a store let alone for that price. I bought mine on line three years ago and paid more than $100.00. So I did some checking on line this morning to see what they are going for and they are ranging from $129.00 on sale to $179.99. Can you say early Christmas present. Sweet Husband is off the hook for going Christmas present shopping for me this year. This is all I need and want. Oh there is one more thing I need but it's only a $10.00 item and it's for the kitchen. He gets off easy this year in the gift giving dept :-)

If you are looking for a good small (6'x6') greenhouse I can recommend this one. Easy to setup and easy to store away.

Water Project Update

With my schedule and the weather I have not been able to complete my project of adding water lines to bed 2. But I am far enough along to know that it's going to work out just as I had hoped. Here are a few photos.

Water line installed.

Ends capped for easy flushing.

I can add three different means of watering. Overhead for lettuce and carrot seeds, drip and soaker lines. 

I tested the overhead sprinklers and was pleased with the results. I can't wait to finish all the beds. Watering next season will be much easier and free up some of my time.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

New Bed

Finally found some time to work on bed 2 today. I took apart the old bed on Oct 31st and today sweet husband made me a new bed to replace the old one.

Before bed size 9x3

 All the wood was free and recycled. The redwood was left over from the new fence that was built over the summer. There is not enough to build the bed entirely out of redwood so the ends of the bed will be built using some of the wood from the old bed.

It didn't take much time to build the bed and it turned out so good.

Adding hardware cloth to the bottom of the bed was the most time consuming part of the project. But it was worth every minute to keep the moles out of the bed this spring.

The bed is now ready for me to install the water lines and soil. Would love to get that completed tomorrow but looks like it's going to rain all day.

After bed size 8x3

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

It's That Time of Year...

... when I start thinking of new projects for the garden... and yes I have two maybe three so far.
One I already mentioned.. adding water lines to all the beds. I have picked up a few supplies to test out the idea and it looks like it's going to work.... and while I was working out the water plan the second idea came to me. I will be reconfiguring bed 2. It is currently a 3x9 bed that is 8 inch high. I want to bring it down to 8x3 and add 6 inches of height to it. I may add a trellis to the end of it as well. Bring the bed down to 8 feet will give me a little more walking room to get to bed 5.

Bed 2 3x9
I'm hoping it will not rain Saturday so I can start taking apart the bed. I would love to knock this project out this weekend. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Water and Seeds


I spent the weekend at a good friends house scrap booking. We both love to garden and every time I go over to Victoria's house she has something new to show me. Well this time was no different.

She has been wanting to put in some raised beds outside her kitchen door and the last time I was at her house we worked out a design. The area outside her kitchen is on a bit of a hill and she would need to terrace the beds and put in some stairs. Well much to her surprise when she arrived home from a two week vacation with her grand daughter her boyfriend Bill had built her beds. He took our idea as a starting point and came up with the most beautiful raised beds.

Beautiful raised beds

While taking a tour of the garden I noticed Bill had put water lines in all the beds. He is the Master of water. I have been wanting to get water lines into my raised beds for two years now but could not come up with an idea. I have sprinkler heads that I had capped off when I put the beds in and knew I could use them some how to bring water into the beds. I just couldn't see how until this weekend. I told Bill what I had to work with and he gave me a solution! My next project... WATER! I can't wait to get started and the best part, the water line is already on a timer!


I'm sure most of you are familiar with Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds If not be sure to check them out. In June of 2009 they opened a store in Petaluma, California. Located in the historic Sonoma County National Bank building. The store is just one and a half hours from my house and guess what lucky girl gets to go to the new store on her Birthday this Wednesday? Yes that would be me!

Inside the Petaluma Seed Bank in Petaluma, California

I am so looking forward to the 2011 growing season!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Still here.....

Hi All!

Nothing worth posting going on in my garden. I have however been working in the Haven House garden. I finally posted photos of the new raised beds that VISA built for us back in July. Be sure to go check it out at the
Haven House Garden blog

We have had two more groups come out to the garden in the past few weeks... I'll be posting photos soon so make sure to sign up as a follower so you don't miss any of my updates.

Happy Autumn

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Yes I'm Still Around

Sorry I have not been posting. Life has been busy and not much to report in the garden. Well... is that really true?... If this blog is to be a journal of my garden journey then I should be posting on how things are going this year.

Why there is not much to report is because we have not had much of a summer here in the Bay Area (CA) this year. The tomatoes are taking a long time to ripen as well as the bell peppers. Mildew hit the garden early and all the winter and summer squash is covered with it as well as the cucumbers. Speaking of cucumbers... compared to last year are non-existent....I did get a few. I did get a better crop of onions this year compared to last year and the pole beans were out of control. I've had to start freezing them cause we couldn't eat them fast enough.

Lets see anything else... oh yea... the squirrels have been relentless and the blue jays love my raspberries. I can't wait for next season! :-)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Haven Garden Project Blog Update

Click on the link for a quick note on the Haven Blog

If you are following my progress over at Haven be sure to sign up as a follower so you don't miss anything.

Happy Gardening!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

End of July Garden Review

There is something about July where I just don't feel like posting. Same thing happened last year. I know it's not the heat because we are not having any. The temps have been in the 70's for the last two weeks.

The garden this year is not doing as well as I had hoped for. The cucumbers are only putting out one or two cucumbers at a time and the plants are really small. The mini bell peppers are loaded with fruit but are taking a long time to ripen (they're red and yellow). The full size bell peppers only have two or three per plant but are still pushing out blooms. The crookneck squash just can't seem to get the timing of male and female blooms right. I get all male or all female. I'm having to pick male blooms and put them in the refrigerator until I get female blooms and then hand pollinate (Thanks Granny).

As for the tomatoes, the brandywine has no flavor but I did hear they do better in areas with high humidity which we don't have. The Cherry and the Roma's on the other hand are doing well. Loads of fruit but are taking their sweet time ripening. Early potato yields were very low and the main season potato plants died off early. I haven't dug around to see if there are any potatoes in that bin. As for the mid season potatoes they seem to be doing better than the others. I'll let them go until Sept as I'm getting a second wave of vines and flowers on them. The sweet potatoes are looking good but what do I know, it's my first year growing them.

The acorn squash has one nine inch fruit on it and a few smaller ones. I don't think I will get more than three or four out if this one plant which is OK with me. Again my first year growing them. I think I will grow them again next year. Bush bean did OK but now that I have grown pole beans I don't think I will waste the space with bush beans. I'm harvesting one to two pounds of pole beans every two to three days with about 20 plants. I'm having to freeze them since there is just the two of us we can't eat through them fast enough. I'm giving away some to my sister and mother.

Garlic was a bust for me this year but my onions are bigger this year than last year. I still have not pulled them but will most likely do so tomorrow as they are not putting on any more size. There are onion fields not far from where I work. I can always tell when it's harvest time as the air is filled with the scent of onions. That time was about two or three weeks ago... I think :-)

Since the weather has been so cool I think I will try a late season sowing of lettuce. I will only have sun on my bed for another three months so I might as well give it a try. I have some carrots planted but think I will plant some more.

The Haven Garden is doing well and looking great. VISA had a team of volunteers build us four raised beds for the expanded garden I planned out earlier this year. As soon as VISA gives me permission to use the photos I took I will update the Haven Blog. If you have not yet signed up to be a follower be sure to stop by and do so. I have a few more plans I'd like to put in place but don't know if they will happen this year.

Below are some random photos I took on July 24th. Be sure to click on them for a larger view.

Friday, July 9, 2010

New Blog

I've started a blog for the Haven House Garden project...
go check it out... click on the link below.

             New Beginnings Organic Garden

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The July Garden

June gloom is over! We are four days into July with temps in the mid to upper 80's. We really are at the mercy of Mother Nature and I'm not the only gardener in my area feeling the pain of a late start to our growing season. When walking the dog the other day I stopped to talk to one of my neighbors who has turned not only their back yard into a vegetable garden but their front yard as well. We were comparing notes and she was relieved to know it wasn't just their garden that was getting off to a slow start. She like I have only been at this vegetable gardening thing for two years now. The first year is all about beginners luck but you still go into the second year feeling a little cocky... then Mother Nature flicks you in the back of the head. Yes Mother Nature I know you are in control and there is nothing I can do about it.

Up until just yesterday I had no male flowers on any of my zucchini or squash. I had to pick a male crookneck bloom from the Haven garden to bring home and hand pollinate five female blooms. Hey you do what you gotta do. This time last year I had already harvested over 10 pounds of cucumbers. Total so far this year 12.3 ounces!

All of the following photos were taken this weekend.
Click on photos for a larger view.

Garden view from the roof.
July 2, 2010

Photos below: Bed 1. The tomatoes are suffering a bit in the heat. I put up shade cloth to give them some relief.

Not the prettiest thing to look at but it works great. The tomatoes did much better today.

Photo below: Brandywine tomato. The only disappointment with the tomatoes is the brandywine. One plant has two tomatoes and the other has nine. I'm thinking the poor performance is due to the weather.

 Photo below: The roma's on the other hand are putting out tomatoes like crazy. Two plants and they both have over twenty tomatoes with more on the way.

Photo below: Cherry tomatoes. This photo was taken on Friday. I have still not picked this seemingly ripe tomato and it continues to ripen. It just keeps getting deeper in color. I'm thinking the lesson here is patience. When you think it's ready to pick... give it a day or two more.

Photo below bed 2:   I wasn't sure what to do with this bed after I pulled the broccoli. I already had cucumbers planted so I put in one upright raven zucchini and two butternut squash.

Photo's below: English cucumber and baby cucumber.

Photo below: The raven zucchini is putting out both male and female blooms.

Photo below: I also gave bed 2 some shade. The cucumbers and lettuce seem much happier now.

Photo below: Between beds 1 and 2 is an arch with pole beans growing on it.

Photo's below: Bed 2

Photo below: Unlike the tomatoes the peppers are loving the heat.

Photo below: Just in case you were wondering how I'm still growing lettuce and carrots in this heat... Yes that is right, shade cloth. I'll pull the rest of the lettuce tomorrow morning.

Photo below: Moving on to bed 4...

Photo below: I was going to pull all the onions this weekend but noticed some of them were still putting some size. So again patience is the word of the day.

Photo Below: Bed 4 pole beans. I'm picking beans every other day from both the bush beans and pole beans.

Photos below: Bed 5 is planted with one acorn squash, one cucumber and three sweet potato. The acorn squash is putting out a lot of female blooms. I'm hoping to see male blooms soon.

Photo below: Sweet potatoes.

Photo Below: My June bearing strawberries didn't do much in June but are going crazy in July.

Photo below: In bed 6 I planted my first ever seed mats of carrots. I also made lettuce seed mats for later this summer.

Photo below: Seed mats covered and watered...

...shaded and protected from the squirrels.

Photo Below: Fun with onions. I put this next to one of the patio chairs... and yes I did... when my sweet husband was outside I walked out and screamed snake! He jumped! LOL I waited all day to do that.
Oh come on it was funny :-)

Photo below: Friday's harvest of  pole and bush beans, strawberries and the last of the raspberries .

Hope you all had a wonderful Independence Day!