Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pretty good start for Chard

Who knows what Chard is? Well, I'll tell you then. It's a leafy plant in the lettuce family. It is more closely related to beets though. It is simply a bunch of leaves growing from a base of roots. Then you hack them off and eat them when they are about as big as the picture on the right.
They go great chopped up in a salad, or if you want you can stir fry it with bacon! yummy!
 Now dumb Me I did not get a close up of what chard looks like before you cut it. Only the single leaf up above. But each individual stem you see there was a full fledged chard leaf.
This is another view of what it looks like when you harvest it. The nice thing about chard is that you can cut it back and within about 1 week it will be ready to harvest again. The first harvest takes about 3 weeks to get going, but once it has a root system in place it just goes like mad!

 The harvest from this was a 18 Gallon Garbage bag full.  When I picked it up I would say it weighed roughly 15 pounds? Now that is a bunch of chard. The daft part of this was that I only took about 60% of what was growing. The other half will need to be picked soon. Then soon after that the stuff I trimmed back will need more trimming!
 A whole bag of that stuff... no idea what to do with it all... any suggestions?

To end on an even happier note, I found a volunteer Tomato plant. It is a cherry tomato and it is growing in one of the cracks in the cement. HAHA, crazy little buggers. It is not too big yet, but It's getting there!

Here is a point of reference for you folk out there, KunKun . oh, and if you look just below the tomato plant and to the left of my doggy is a snail. gross. LOL.

OK! thanks all for the reads! come back soon and I wont let you down!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

My Grandfathers Garden Progress

For all you crazy folk out there who have been following along, this is my grandfathers garden. It has progressed from a few tiny plants into a very nice little place for lady bugs to rest.

 For those of you who have seen previous pictures of my pooch, KunKun, this will give you some perspective as to how big things actually are. This is my doggy showing off the tomatoes. There are four tomatoes, all a different variety, and all growing in 8FT tall cages.
Next in line is the Crookneck Squash plant. It is directly behind KunKun.
 . This is what the Crookneck squash looks like. It's still very small, and as the plant is suffering from White Powdery Mildew I don't think we will have much in the way of a harvest with them. Just gotta treat for it, and hope for the best. Although it does have a few squash already, so who knows!
Next in line for being shown off is my Green Bean plant. It is growing up the cage and I hope it will soon cover the entire thing!

Also in this picture you can see at KunKuns feet some Leafy Lettuce like plants called RED CHARD. Its great in a salad or stir fried with bacon. yummy!
Then directly above and behind KunKuns head is my Blueberry Bushes!

 Here you see my Grandfathers two varieties of blueberries. You need two of them because they typically do not self pollinate and require the cross breeding to form fruits and speaking of fruits...
The Blueberry bushes have already started to produce a tasty, if small, harvest! So happy. I already tried one and it was yummy!
OK! thanks everybody for reading! Next time I will go into more detail on a specific plant... probably the crawling green bean or the blue berries. Some come back soon! 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Because I dont have DIRT, or least much dirt.

At my house I'm stuck with about 3X5 Square feet of dirt to work with, but worst of all its not all in one place... Thank goodness for EarthBoxes. That is how I'm growing me a SINGLE tomato bush . oh well. Least I have something. But with the limited space I have to work with I decided to move my plants outside my patio. There is a nice big space of Dirt where a couple of trees used to be. But they were old and removed by the home owners  association.

So, I took over the space with some plants of my own. Really... I do not know the name of the HUGE plant in that is taking up most of the space , but it is very aromatic and looks pretty. It is also getting pretty close to flowering. That should be a nice sight!

 Oh, and that is my dog KunKun. You can see that the whole space I have to work with is kinda big... but the dirt itself is terrible, and needs to be amended. This winter I will cut back that big green varigaited bush thing, and add some soil nutrients.

As I get closer to the plants themself You can see what I'm gradually getting closer to. I must admit though, most of these plants were put here by my mother, so I really do not know the names of them.
 But as we get closer to KunKun you can now see a little better the dessert plants to the right.
Then as we get even closer and a little to the right of the patch of dirt you can see the main feature of this here fancy post. That small green bush thing just to the right of KunKun.

Have you guessed yet what plant I'm talking about? well, if you did not then I'll tell you. Its the Bush Bean plant. In the last pic it is between the planter and the dessert plant. I'll have to post another picture when the sun is not in my eyes. But thats it folks! My bush bean plant! with some luck it will grow to be a wonderful big Bean plant and produce a nice little bounty of Green Beans for me! Oh, and as parting words, if you look closly at the last picture at the dirt you can see TINY green sprouts, those are the second Platoon of sunflower seeds I planted. Next post will probably focus on them.

KK! thanks all, tune in next time for more pictures of Kun Kun!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Progress In my sisters Garden

Hey All! My sisters garden is doing pretty good. So far we are having about a 78% success rate. I will highlight a few of the things that are of interest today.

Above you can see the cantaloupe . It is still small, but growing everyday. I do believe I saw a bud on it a while ago, but I picked it off to force the plant to focus on getting bigger before it starts fruiting. As with most plants, once it starts to fruit all other aspects of growth will take second place with the growth of the fruit taking most of the nutrients. As wtih all the other plants in my sisters garden they have been active long enough that I need to apply the second application of fertilizer.
As it grows the weather is getting warmer, which is a great plus for this type of plant. They love the heat, as long as they have enough water.

 Next in line Is my Basil. When I planted it in my sisters garden it had lived inside her house for a good few weeks, and had been a steady supply of basil leaves. yummy! But as with most plants that are treated as a baby and allowed to be in a very steady climate (inside her house) then moved outside and planted without warning, it has died back quite a bit from the shock. I even used a transplant fluid on it to lessen the shock. That is probably the only saving grace it has received.

In the background you can see the watermelon doing poorly as well. But

 The only tomato plant that is doing well is the Early Girl.
This saddens me, I am not really sure why only 1 of the 4 plants are doing well. It might be due to the weather, it might also be that the soil is too clay-ey . Once this growing season is over I need to put a WHOLE BUNCH of top soil into that garden. I think it's lacking in nutrients.

The Fruit of my harvest! a single tomato! I'm sure I have more , but they are too small to find. I'll go back soon and take another look!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Navel Orange Tree update!

Here is my orange tree again! I got this little fellow last year about this time. So I have had this fancy little tree for just about a year now, and I have documented most of the things that have gone wrong with it. It has had a lack of iron/zinc resulting in yellowing leaves, and then the support bamboo pole snaped so it had to support itself. Well now we have another probem! I found HOLES in a few of the leaves! What a terrible sight!
As you can see it looks like something chewed its way through this leaf.
Really this is not that bad. The leaf itself will survive and the tree as a whole will not suffer.

I put the better picture up on top, these are kinda fuzzy and focusing on the pot below. But you can still get different angles, which are nice.

My guess as to what made these holes is that it's one of a few different insects. My first guess is a Carpenter Bee. These guys are great, and do not harm your plants very much. Actually they do more good then bad because they pollinate even during light rain. My second guess is a bird, for it's nest or something, then the third is a caterpillar, but because I did not see any such thing on my tree I think I'm safe... for now!

The thing that makes me most happy is that I might actually get a couple pieces of fruit off this fancy little tree this year! Above right picture is three of about 15 oranges that seem as though they may develop into full on oranges!

The pictures above you can see the leaves are almost fully recovered from that little bout with the coffee I applied. and the leaves are mostly only yellow towards the tips of the tree. It's still in recovery, but well on its way to becoming full on healthy! Next week I will add some Fruit Tree Fertilizer.

Thanks for reading everybody! Come back next time to see how my fancy orange tree is doing!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My SunFlowers DIED!

Do you guy recall I was growing sunflowers in an egg carton? Well, things were going great! they were getting nice and big, almost all of them sprouted. I had about a 95% success rate on the seed germination. That is great! usually the most you can hope for is like 90% possibly 85% . Just because they are not all live seeds, or they were grown wrong. But I got a really high % rate of growth.

But then I decided to go on vacation, and I completely forgot about them. Recently it has rained here in North California, rain is not strange , it's the time of year. Just last week we got a good couple days of rain, and I did not have to water anything. So that got my mind off my sunflowers. Thus I went on vacation with out even thinking about them. I come back and they look terrible...

Ever last one of my pretty pretty sprouts has shriveled up in the sun and died! A lack of water can do that you know?
 You can see that ALL my sprouts are dead because I did not water them, and that makes me sad.

Poor guys! Oh well I guess. It's a learning experience. I will try again, there is still time this year. I will just have to re plant and hope for the best. The good thing for my next batch of plants is that I wont have any more vacation time, so they will not be forgotten!

Alright Yeall! thanks for the reads as usual! and keep coming back for another update on my fancy garden!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Let's attract some bees!

The weather is pick up, and becoming more like it should be for this time of year, though it's still being kinda dumb. Not nearly as warm as it should be! Speaking of bees , with the stopping of the rain they will be coming out again to farm their nectar and to make honey, and that is why I am growing my sunflowers! Bees love sunflowers because they are HUGE!

Weather for Walnut Creek, CA

56°F | °C Wed Thu Fri Sat
Partly Cloudy Partly Cloudy Partly Cloudy Partly Cloudy
Current: Clear
Wind: S at 9 mph
Humidity: 79% 76°F | 53°F 78°F | 54°F 78°F | 53°F 76°F | 55°F

I love how google makes the weather thing so easy to just copy and paste! haha.  But as you can see it is getting warmer, and the nights are not getting as cold, which is great for the roots of my fancy plants!

Let's show you guys what I'm currently growing from seed. Most of what I plant and claim I grew I purchased from local nurseries and hardware stores. BUT these Sun Flowers are all mine from seed!

If you look closely you can see that they have almost DOUBLED in size compared to my last post. All that growth in only about 5 days no less. Sun flowers are cool, they grow really fast, and produce a fabulous display!
All these Sun Flowers have germinated and sprouted in about 1.5 weeks and they are already pretty dang big!

I now realize I never told you the types of sunflowers I planted. So I will tell you the ones you see in the pictures.
The left one with the seed still on its leaves is a Sun Spot which will get to be about 1-2 FT tall. The right is a Mammoth Greystripe and I expect it to get to 8-10 FT tall.

The plant in the Very far back that is kinda red around the edges is a Velvet Queen and I expect it to grow to be around the height of an aveage American man, 5'6-5'11

I will be taking these sprouts to their new homes pretty soon. They will soon out grow their little eggshell container that I used to start them in . Once planted I believe they will grow to their full potential and might even produce a crop of seeds to much on!

KK all, thx for the reads again! come back soon!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Blasted Weather STILL!

This is the weather I'm dealing with here. Live in Norther CA, and IT'S RAINING IN JUNE!
why is the darn weather being so bad! When I was a kid I would be getting out of school around this time and I could go swimming at the pool , or walk around in shorts... NOT AN UMBRELLA AND FREAKING PLASTIC PANTS!

Weather for Walnut Creek, CA

58°F | °C Sat Sun Mon Tue
Rain Shower Shower Partly Cloudy
Current: Shower
Wind: SE at 5 mph
Humidity: 95% 66°F | 52°F 71°F | 54°F 65°F | 50°F 71°F | 52°F

Because of the rain I have not had much of a chance to get out and tend to the garden. If nothing else I dont need to water it. Save a few pennies there I guess. However I did start some sun flowers from seed that I'll show you.
I started a few different kinds of sun flowers
You can see them poking their way out of the soil, and getting ready to get nice and big!

One of the more interesting of the sprouts was when it poked out of the soil with the seed still intact. Getting a little ahead of itself there. Silly thing!

As they grow I will document them, and update you on it. I plan on moving these guys to my sisters house and to my grand fathers house. Should Add a nice little bit of color to the garden, as well attract some bees!

OK! thx all for the reads! come back again soon!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

When it's broken...

You all remember my last post about the drip system right?
Well, it was not working! so, I'll show you what I did to fix it!

I changed the batteries! I'm o smart! haha. I think I was tricking myself into thinking that it had a generator built in, and it would run off the water passing through it, and charge the batteries at the same time. Guess I was wrong!
Oh well, Maybe I will invent that, then make Bunches of oats... er dollars...

Another sad note. One of the stepping stones already broke. When you go out to buy square shaped bricks, you think they will be cheap, like $.79 each... but NO!!! they were closer to 4$ each! such a rip off! but least it still works even when broken. I just can't move it.

KK! thx all for the reads!