This Weekends Gardening

Started Saturday waking up early to get to a 9am Vallejo Garden Club meeting. It was a nice meeting with a guest speaker who showed some mosaics and other home and garden stuff made with Mexican tiles. I showed my Lithops to the club as my show and tell. Surprisingly, a bunch of members didn’t know much about them.

After the meeting, I headed over to Mid City Nursery to see if they had any Dinosaur Kale starts. I ended up buying:
– Dinosaur Kale
– Red Russian Kale
– French Sorrel
– Astro Arugula
– Mottistone Lettuce
– Oregon Sugar Pod Peas
– Green Leaf Swiss Chard
– Spanish Rojo Garlic

Mid City Nursery Purchases

Before going to the Vallejo Piecemakers open sew, I went to Hancock Fabrics to look for dark grey fabrics. I was planning to sew about 25 more blocks to add to my TIVX quilt, but I only had enough time to cut the fabrics and mark where to cut and sew the blocks. I’ll sew them later when I have time.

Once I got home, I was able to do a little bit of gardening. I checked all the Brassicas and picked of White Cabbage caterpillars and eggs. There wasn’t much caterpillars since I picked them off last week, but there were a lot of eggs. I gotta stay diligent about removing those.

I pulled up some old Swiss Chard, Bush Beans and Carrots plants in 10 gallon pots that were dying off. I replaced them with a pot of Astro Arugula and a pot of Mottistone Lettuce.

I then went around the front garden and pulled up all the Crab Grass that I can. There was a lot!… But it slowly getting under control.

Another Quick Late Night Planting

I seem to be on a Salad Greens planting kick and I really want to get some Mizuna, so after work I stopped by Orchard Supply Hardware to see if they had any. They didn’t, but I found a jumbo six-pack of Salad Greens that contained Leaf Lettuce, Arugula and Radicchio. After dinner and washing the dishes, I planted it right away into a large Daiso pot, that I generally use for Salad Greens.

Another quick late night planting. I'm on a salad greens kick and stopped by Orchard Supply Hardware after work to see if they had any Mizuna for sale. They didn't have any, but I got a jumbo six-pack of these salad greens which includes Lettuce, Arugula

I also bought a seed packet of Renee’s Garden Mild Mustard Mix, which at least contains Mizuna seeds, along with other Mustards.

Also, we had a bit of rain… well, not hard rain, but a strong sprinkle or drizzle. I’m not sure it’s enough to penetrate inches into the dry soil, but it’ll increase some moisture.

Late Night Salad Planting

Today’s harvest was a variety of Lettuce and Parsley for a Lettuce/Parsley Salad.

Today's harvest: Various Lettuce and Parsley for a Lettuce/Parsley Salad.

This inspired me to sow various Salad Greens seeds that I want to use up since they are old or getting old (and I can’t just throw them away).

I planted:
– Mustard ‘Crimson Red’ (2012)
– Celtuce (2013)
– Garland Chrysanthemum ‘Maiko’ (?)
– Lettuce ‘Grand Rapids’ (2010)
– Lettuce ‘Simpson Elite’ (2006)
– Lettuce ‘Marvel of Four Season’ (2010)
– Lettuce ‘Mighty Red Oak’ (2006)
– Lettuce ‘Romaine Paris Island Cos’ (2004)
– Corn Salad ‘Bistro’ (2007)

Salad Green seeds planted.

I really not counting on a lot to germinate, but if I get a few plants out of these, that’ll be good.

Sunday Gardening

It was very overcast today and cooler, such a big different than the close to 100°F temperatures we have been having the past 3-4 days.

I started working in the garden late and started by digging up the Purple Potatoes that really didn’t grow much. I only harvested a few small tubers, but found the biggest spider that I have ever seen in our garden.

This has to be the largest Spider I've ever found in our garden. Anyone know what kind it is?

I then potted up some of the starts from the cell-based that I just purchased, since I won’t be planting them out in the garden soon. That way they get a head start on growing. These included:
– Collards (leftover from an earlier planting)
– Flowering Cabbage ‘Red’
– Onions ‘Walla Walla Sweet’

I also removed the dying Zinnias from the front garden.

I planted more Salad Green pots including:
– Lettuce ‘Buttercrunch’
– Lettuce ‘Locco Rosso’

I also potted some succulent cuttings that were rooting:
– Kalanchoe hildebrandtii (3 rooting leaves)
– Aeonium ‘Cubic Frost’

Garden Transformation

This morning, I woke up early (for a Saturday). I was looking forward to going to the nursery to see if they had any Cabbage and Lettuce plants.

I first went to Walmart and checked the garden center and found a couple of succulents that I liked. One was a Rock Purslane (Calandrinia spectabilis) that I’ve been looking for for a while now. Who knew that out of all places, Walmart would have it. The second was Pachysedum ‘Ganzhou’ which had a cool color. I’ve been checked the vegetable section and found a 9-pack of Bonnie’s Best Cabbage and Buttercrunch Lettuce.

My name is Joel... and I'm a plant addict.

I then drove to Mid City Nursery to see what they had. I ended up with a few plants including:
– Onions ‘Walla Walla Sweet’
– Cilantro ‘Slo Bolt’
– Flowering Cabbage ‘Red’
– Shasta Daisy ‘Goldfinch’

The owner came up to me and ask if I needed any help. So I asked him why my Kumquat plant has dying branches. He asked if I had it in the ground or in a pot I replied in a pot and he said maybe its not getting enough water. So I’m hoping that his explanation was correct and that my Kumquat doesn’t have a disease.

When I got home, I decided to pull out the Zucchini plants because they were not doing well and it didn’t look like they would produce any more fruits. In its place, I planted Portuguese Kale. I also pulled what pot of Swiss Chard that were also not doing well. I added new compost and planted 6 Buttercrunch Lettuce plants.

I also pulled all my Tomatoes in the Self Watering Rain Gutter Grow System #2.

I think the Tomatoes are done for the year... so I'll be pulling them out and planting Cabbage in its place. The green in the photo is Parsley which are starting to bolt.

I planted the new Cabbage into each pot.

I'm going try to grow Cabbage this year. Wish me luck because I have never had good luck with Cabbage.

In the Square Foot Garden, I planted 2 squares of the Walla Walla Sweet Onions.

Growing Citrus with Less Water Talk

I attended a talk hosted by Annie’s Annuals about growing Citrus trees with less water. The speaker talked about a lot of topics related to Citrus. He mentioned that California has historically been a dry area and the recent years (I can’t remember how much exactly, maybe hundreds) has been wetter than normal, which we have been getting used to. So now with the drought in California, it’s pretty much just getting back to normal. He showed some drip systems and highly suggested using mulch. Mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch! He also uses straw like I do, so I felt like I’m doing it right. He also mentioned that Citrus grow very well in containers and suggested using Coir Mulch as 1/3 or the soil you use. This will really help retain water.

I attended a very informative 'Growing Citrus with Less Water' talk at Annie's Annuals &  Perennials... then went plant shopping!!!

After the talk, I went around the nursery and went plant shopping. I got a couple of plants.

My new plants from Annie's Annuals & Perennials. (top to bottom, left to right) Kale 'Richmond' Pride' (Purple Tree Collard), Sunburst Aeonium, Dandelion 'Red Rib', Red Russian Kale, Blue Vein Sweet Pea, Oscularia caulescens, Cat's Tail Aloe and Goji Berr

The good thing is that I didn’t have to spend any cash, because I was about to use a gift certificate that they gave me when they used one of my photos.

Lacto-Fermented Green Beans

About a week ago, my Aunts and Uncle gave us a bunch of homegrown Green Beans that they just harvested. Since only two of us in our household can eat beans, I wondered if I can pickle some. I haven’t seen Lacto-Fermented Beans sold in any store, so I didn’t know if Beans made good Pickles. This is how I made it…

My Aunts and Uncle grew these Green Beans and gave us some... so I gave them some Kimchikraut.

I washed the Green Beans and cut the top tips off. I blanched them in boiling water for only 2 minutes, then immediately drained the hot water and placed the Beans in a cold water bath to stop the cooking process.

While the beans cooled off, I made a brine by dissolving 2 tablespoons Sea Salt into 1 quart Water (bottled or filtered)… and set this aside.

To the bottom of a quart mason jar, I added the following:
– 1 or 2 Bay Leaves (or you can use a Grape leaf) These help keep the pickled vegetable stay crisp.
– 1/2 teaspoon Peppercorns
– 1/8 teaspoon Caraway
– 1/8 teaspoon Fennel Seeds
– 3 cloves of Garlic cut into halves

You can use whatever herbs and spices you like. Dill would be perfect, but we didn’t have any (my Dill plants are still small). Chili Flakes, Mustard Seeds and Coriander would be good too.

I stuffed as many Green Beans that will fit into the jar and then a few more. You want them crammed in the jar so they don’t float up once the brine is poured in.

I have glass weights (Crock Rocks) made specially for pickling that goes over the vegetable to keep them submerged in the brine. If you don’t have these, you can use a shot glass, or a small 4oz canning jar, or a cabbage leaf… anything to keep the vegetable submerged in the brine.

Pour in the brine until it’s about an inch from the top of the jar. I then sealed the quart mason jar with a pickling lid (Kraut Kaps) and set it aside to ferment at room temperature for 5 to 10 days.

Making lacto-fermented Green Beans and Lunar White Carrots.

After about 8 days, I tried the Lacto-Fermented Green Beans and they were perfect… and sooooo good!

These Lacto-Fermented Green Beans

Store the Pickles in the refrigerator.

Mail Order Eggplants + 5 Gallon Self Watering Buckets

I wasn’t going to grow Eggplants this year, because I don’t grow them well… but I heard of some varieties that will grow in containers. I don’t see these locally, so I mail ordered three Mix and Match Eggplants from Burpee.

Three Eggplants from Burpee

They arrived yesterday and when I opened the package, the tags from two of the Eggplants were dislodged including some of the soil. Now I’m not sure which of the two varieties is ‘Shooting Star’ and ‘Rosa Blanca’. The Eggplant ‘Fairy Tale Hybrid’ was intact.

Which is Which?

I went ahead and built three 5 gallon self watering buckets and planted one Eggplant in each.

Eggplants in 5 Gallon SW Buckets

I will place them in our front yard which gets full sun. I hope they do well.