Follow our adventures in organic gardening.

GARDEN PHOTODUMP

Here are some recent photos on my phone from our around garden


WHAT WE HAVE BLOOMING ON

We are proud to say that our insectary is doing quite well and we are starting to see many of the flowers showing off some beautiful blooms.

What is an insectary? It is a area you can allocate in your garden to plant flowers and other crops that will attract beneficial insects to your garden. By attracting these beneficial insects to your garden you are essentially creating a safer and more natural alternative to pesticides.

We wanted to share a few images of the blossoms throughout our garden starting form the insectary, to the grandfather plants that were here when we moved in . As well as some blooms on the crops we planted. Coming up next we will show you what we have growing on in our garden.

 


OUR SEEDS HAVE ARRIVED

Over the weekend we received the seeds we ordered from rareseeds.com. We are excited to share what we have in store for our garden and how much sprouting we will have to do at the same time.

Considering that we have almost filled up our terraced walls with plants we are going to save the majority of these seeds for the next growing season but the radish seeds are going to be spread right away, as these tend to sprout fairly quickly.

 

What we ordered:

Dragon’s Egg Cucumber

Uzbekski Cucumber

West India Burr Gherkin Cucumber

Thai Bottle Gourds

Serpente Di Sicilia Gourds

White Hailstone Radish

Chinese Red Meat Radish

Japanese Minowase Daikon Radish

Rouge D’Alger Cardoon

Vietnamese Coriander

Salsify Mammoth Sandwich Island

Chuffa Root

Orchard Red Assorted Greens

and we earned a free gift of Parisienne Carrots

 

 

TOP 5 INSECTS AND HOW TO CONTROL THEM

One of the most difficult aspects of organic gardening is to know how to control insects from devouring your garden and not using any chemicals to rid yourself of this pesky creatures. This year our garden was slammed with a major slug attack and we cured that by putting out dishes of beer for them to drown in. I know it is horrible to kill insects but at least these guys were going down drunk, right!?

The latest battle we are facing is the cabbage loopers who are devouring all the new growth on our freshly planted crops. What are cabbage loopers you ask? These are the inchworm-like larvae of a innocuous moth which can grow up to 2 inches long. They have five pairs of abdominal prolegs, used for movement and feeding.  They are light green to dark brown with dark and light-colored stripes down the body. They love to feed on kale, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, collards, but feed on leaves of a wide variety of plants, including beets, carnation, cotton, lettuce, nasturtium, parsley, peas, potato, soybeans, spinach, and tomato. We have  yet to find an organic way to rid ourselves of these guys. That might change after seeing this email come through today from Farmer D on the top 5 insects and how to control them.

Farmer D Organics is an environmentally friendly, socially responsible business that creates farms and products for the earth and its people. Their Philosophy is to go beyond organic to bring balance and healing to agriculture from large farms to backyard gardens. By applying biodynamic principles to agriculture and urban gardens, Farmer D Organics strives to empower people to grow healthy foods and sustainable communities.

For more information on how to control the top 5 insects that might invest your vegetable garden, read the Farmer D article here. I hope this may be as helpful to you as it is for us and our garden.

 

 

 

WHAT TO PLANT NOW

Lat night my husband tells me about an email he received from Mother Earth News  and to my surprise I had never heard about this website or their publication, so I was intrigued as to what it was all about.

After checking out the website, I came to learn that it is loaded with helpful tips from organic gardening to do-it-yourself projects and even recipes for cooking your home grown veggies and fruits. One of the neatest resources I am currently fascinated by is their What to Plant Now regional planting guide. This guide really makes it very easy to know what to plant in your area during different times of the year.

Although we can pretty much grow year round in Southern California it is still important to know what to plant when. Otherwise you will end up wasting lots of time, energy and land space growing vegetables that might not grow well during a particular time in the season.

Here is their list of top 10 crops to grow in the southwest during the month of July;

1. Potato
2. Garlic
3. Cherry tomato
4. Bulb onion
5. Slicing tomato
6. Carrot
7. Summer squash
8. Snow/snap pea
9. Paste tomato
10. Sweet pepper

For more options they provided another list of highly recommended crops;

Cabbage family:  Kalekohlrabi

Cucumber family:  Cucumberpumpkinwinter squash

Leafy greens:  Arugulachard, Chinese cabbage, machelettuce, pac choi, spinach

Legumes:  Dry soup beans, edamame, fava bean, snap beanssnow/snap and shell peas, Southern peas

Root crops:  Beetradishrutabagashallot, sunchoke, sweet potato

Tomato family:  Eggplantpeppers (all types), tomatillo

Miscellaneous: Bulb fennel, leekokrarhubarbscallions

To find out what to grow when in your area click here.

NEW SEEDS FOR PLANTING

After doing some research on non GMO seed suppliers earlier this week I came across this website  www.rareseeds.com, and a video from one of our favorite growers in California John Koehler.

Baker Creek carries one of the largest selections of seeds from the 19th century, including many Asian and European varieties. The company has become a tool to promote and preserve our agricultural and culinary heritage. Although they are located in Missouri we came to find out from watching the above mentioned video, that they do have a seed shop up in Petaluma, California. My husband proceeded to order about $35 worth of seeds last night , so it looks like we will have some sprouting to do once they arrive. I will have a post up with all the seeds we purchased once they arrive in the mail, to a gardener it’s like getting candy in the mail.

UPDATE ON GARDEN NUMBER ONE

Although we are slowly working on establishing a veggie garden in our own backyard, that does not mean we have entire abandoned our first one. We have quite a healthy number of crops growing and producing from this garden right now.

My husband harvested some tamatillos, zucchinis and a good bunch of yellow light bulb tomatoes that are oh so tasty. We also have a healthy grape vine, six artichoke plants , some cabbage, heirloom tomatoes , pole beans and cucumbers still growing.

Here are some shots form around our original garden, enjoy.

OVER THE WEEKEND

Since we spend the majority of our weekends gardening I will be sharing what we planted, harvested and changed in our veggie garden this past weekend.

Our goal at the moment is to plant as much as we can in our backyard garden. We have very compact clay like soil which is very difficult to dig and to plant in. The more we plant  in this soil the faster the roots will break up this compact hard soil, which means it will be much easier to dig and to plant in.

A lot has changed in our backyard since we moved in last year, we had Palm Tress to remove, an old terraced wall made out of rail road ties to remove and some old Eucalyptus tree branches to trim from a neighbors house behind ours.

Our garden currently with the new terraced walls, as well as what we planted and harvested over the weekend.

 

MALTHUS, A MEAL A DAY.

My husband and I have watched many videos about setting-up and running aquaponics systems and one day we would like to implement something with this growing technique in our own home. That is why I was so excited when i learned about the Malthus aquaponics system .

Malthus is an in-home aquaponics unit designed for the next generation kitchen or living room. It grows one meal a day: a portion of fish and a side salad.   Aquaponics farming is a technique that combines the cultivation of fish with the growing of vegetables. The fish provides rich fertilizer for the plants and in return, the plants clean the water from the tank. The fish and the plants co-exist in a symbiotic relationship.

Mathus was built thanks to the collaboration of Ola Nilsson and presented for the first time at the 10th edition of NESS – Nordic Environmental Social Sciences Conference – Stockholm 14th -16th June 2011 within the context of the exhibition “Power Landscapes” curated by Po Hangström.

For information about this project click here.

The Idea

In an effort to keep a diary of our experiences in gardening, my husband Robert and I have chosen to start this blog. We have been amateur organic vegetable gardeners for a little over three years now. We decided to start a garden when we were both living in apartments and our balconies started filling up with potted plants quite quickly, thus we needed to get more space to grow outside our balconies. My husbands grandparents were gracious enough to offer up a 4 ft by 6ft plot of land in their backyard to start our little veggie garden. We have both learned so much since that first trial run and this has translated into a garden in our own bakyard, now that we have one.

I will start by sharing a few photos of the beginnings of our first veggie garden and slowly work through to where we are now. I will also share some videos we watch on youtube quite frequently , that allow us to learn about new plants. As well as some new tips and tricks to growing better, faster and year round. We are blessed to be living in Southern California where we have plenty of sunshine all year round.