saving seeds


IMG_0599 (1068x799)This is the third generation of beans, saved for seed, from what was originally two packages of store bought bush bean seeds.  Unfortunately, I left the beans sitting on top of the refrigerator to dry, until today.  They did not all make it.  The dark ones have a pretty purple flower, the white ones have a white flower.  Will sort them before I plant them. Right now, they are in the fridge “cooling” off.  Am hoping at some point to be able to grow enough to have green beans to eat, dried beans to eat, and seed beans for the next year.  I do have some pole beans to plant also, but find the bush beans grow, harvest, and are pulled out – several plantings worth – before the pole beans are yielding.

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earth day plus 3

we are having a very unexpected and welcome rain storm.  It has been a very long time since we’ve had a good rain in April, much less several days.  Yesterday it came down in torrents for awhile, unfortunately the big tank was not yet hooked up Sad smile

water As soon as it was over, my dear sweet guy got this jury-rigged to dump what ever else comes this weekend directed into the tank.  This will also give us the chance to see how well it works before we make final decisions on how to do this.  Right now, its just dumping water into the opening at the top where there are two screens. One lives in the tank opening, while another sits over it and is removeable – just lift it out and dump off leaves and stuff that end up there.  Then the top can be put back to secure the tank from evaporation until our next possible rain, which could be July if usual patterns follow.

Garden is loving the rain, forest is loving the rain.  After a wet winter we were already settling into a dangerous fire season with all the spring vegetation starting to dry out.

right now it is drizzling, with thunderstorms predicted for later today, tonight and tomorrow morning.

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Earth day plus one


Today continued with getting seedlings in the ground.  In the main garden planted 4 spaghetti squash and 24 roma tomato seedlings.  To get all the seedlings in, dug out the single turnip I had in there. The turnip looked more like a parsnip, but had the greens for lunch and got those tomatoes planted.  Covered the entire row with screening which acts as shade cloth and helps hold some heat and water in. although I may cover the end of the row tonight just to be sure

In the south east garden planted some purchased eggplant and pepper seedlings as well as some Thai basil.  Seems to have a little more bite than regular basil.  Also planted some marigolds.  Hooked up the chlorine filter on the hose for the eastern gardens, and gave everything a good soaking.  Now to cover everything for the night

See some new growth on the fig tree and the pomegranate both of which had been repotted this past weekend.

I was going to say that I think this is the earliest I’ve had plants in the ground, then I remembered how hot it was last year and went back and see I made no notes about when I’d planted – only that on May 3, I put up the shade cloth already because the seedlings were struggling so!  But as I look through the posts for May, it looks like I bought a lot of plants sometime that month and did most of my planting then.  So I guess this is the earliest I’ve had my garden pretty much planted out.

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earth day 2015

we have some cloudy cooler days predicted for the end of this week, so a perfect time to get some stuff in the ground and acclimatized

IMG_0588 (1067x799)This is a HUGE 100 gallon grow bag. right now, have just put in 3 orange pepper seedlings and 2 yellow plum tomato seedlings.  Still room for a few more peppers, but will have to buy those.  Later there will be a shade cloth over this bed.

IMG_0589 (960x1280)bush squash and eggplant seedlings.  Think the sudden onset of heat was too much and a lot of the seedlings didn’t do as well as I’d expect.  These squash seedlings were turning yellow and starting to flower. they were far from pot bound, and had been getting the right care.  you can barely see the eggplant, and will replace them with store bought. This is a south facing bed and I’m covering them at night with a hooped plastic row cover. hanging from the back fence is the material that I use as a shade cloth over this bed through the summer.

IMG_0590 (960x1280)yesterday got this rickety cheap arbor for the kiwi to climb on, and this morning got the kiwi into the ground.

IMG_0591 (1280x960)on the right is my 4’x4’x18” container that I’ve been using for a few years and right now has the bush beans and shallots going.  The cover came with the container, but this is the first year I’ve used it.  To the left is another of those 100 gallon grow bags and have just planted 7 Striped Roma tomato seedlings.  The striped roma is an heirloom that I purchased several years ago and saved seeds.  It is an indeterminate, so will flower and produce fruit through the season and get tall and leggy. The fruit is meaty and can get pretty big.  This is the first time I’ve tried tomatoes in this eastern growing area. I don’t use shade cloths over here because they are shaded from the late afternoon sun when everything else is getting beaten.

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right now, we are having a little bit of cool, after lots and lots of above average temps.  Most of these are from the container garden area on the east side of the property.  This area gets good morning and early afternoon sun, then there is shading from the west side to protect them during the intense late afternoon sun.

IMG_0584 (1068x799)This is a 4×4’ x  18” container.  planted bush beans on the near side a few weeks ago, and some shallots on the other.

IMG_0586 (800x1067)The green beans are being kept covered to protect them from the chilly nights.  I’ve got shallots doing very well in another garden, having been planted in the fall.  I was in the supermarket the other day and saw a box of shallot bulbs “for spring planting” and decided why not give them a try

IMG_0585 (1280x960)from another point of view, starting at the far left with a blueberry in a container, then a nectarine tree in the ground, two more blueberries, a barely visible kiwi vine waiting to be planted, and closest on the right the rhubarb

IMG_0587 (1068x799)This is a incredibly fast tomato plant growing in a container that held a “patio” tomato I’d bought last year and had tried to winter over in the greenhouse.  I don’t think this is from seeds, think this is just regeneration of the plant.  A month ago there was just a couple of inches of plant showing, and now this.  So maybe I will get early tomatoes after all!

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3 weeks later


garlicNoticed I’d last posted a pic of the garlic bed on March 14th, and what a difference a few weeks, some warmth, and some water make!  The shallots were looking good then (farthest from the camera), now looking great.  The elephant garlic was just barely showing (closest to the camera).

Put in some marigolds today, and scattered some wildflower seeds; drought tolerant and beneficial insects mixes.  and a few sunflowers went into the ground too.  Oh yeah, found some morning glories starting to self seed, dug them up to move them to another part of the yard where they can self seed all they want and grow like crazy.

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April Fool

Well, I hope not!   The weather has been record breaking warm for this time of year and even the mesquite has given in and said no more hard freezes.  So today planted bush beans, the earliest by far I’ve ever gotten seeds into the ground!  June, not April is the usual planting date . .although maybe last year got some in the ground in mid May. Anyway, beans in the ground and under hoops just in case.  I’m itching to plant the pole beans but will wait a little longer just in case – and also because we’re going to be working in that area this weekend, putting in the other water tank and may have to move that planter (it is 4’across and 9” deep!).

Also planted more shallots.  Due to our heat, onions get really HOT, even shallots do, although they start out milder, so their hot, is usual onion bite!  I’ve been working up shallots from a couple of bulbs I bought in the health food store a few years ago.  This spring saw a box of shallot sets in the supermarket for spring planting and said why not.  Two had already gone moldy, but that left about 8 for planting, so we’ll see how they do over the summer, rather than a fall planting for spring harvest.

Marigolds going into the ground today.  Also some sunflower seeds too.  This year I’ve vowed to succession plant the sunflowers to keep them going through the summer.  They keep the birds off the tomatoes.

Usually, I plant around dark of moon, but today seemed right for this work, and instinct rules (trust the gut)

Oh yeah, the blueberry bushes are slowly transforming from flowers to berries.  Not much, but they came in root bound in small containers so had started to flower already.  This is going to be so much fun!

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