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Macarons&Mozart

California Gardening: What's up?

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Ahh, the garden is one of my favorite spots during the summer time! We live in Southern California (Near LA), so we have nice summers, and mild winters.

Vegetables

~Tomatoes: 12 plants in all- 5 Celebrity (standard red), 4 Mr. Stripey (huge yellow/orange bi-colored fruit, 1 Evergreen (green even when ripe), 1 Black Krim (purplish, almost black), 1 San Marzano Roma, 2 tomatillos (ok, not really a tomato, but close enough :raz: ) The celebs are already ripening. Delicious! We planted them in 2 stages, so that we can have an extended harvest from July to September

~Peppers: 12 red bell, 6 yellow bells, 6 Anaheims, 12 Korean chiles, 2 Jalapeno

~Eggplant (Asian variety)

~Cucumbers- long and stubby

~Squash- a fairly new variety called "Papaya Pear" (yellow)

~Green Onions

A few other things that are too small to eat

Fruit

~White peaches- we just finished harvesting them, i wish I had more!

~Plums- Japanese kind (Catalina and Santa Rosa)

~Pluots/Plumcots/Apriums- weird hybrid fruits that are crosses between plums and apricots. 3-in-1 grafted tree

~Meyer lemons

~Strawberries- regular ones, and the tiny French fraises de bois

~Raspberries- red, black, yellow

~Blueberries

~Feijoas (aka pineapple guavas)

~Starfruit

~Passionfruit (regular, yellow, giant [fruits are the size of a small football!!])

~Grapes- green globe, thompson seedless, muscadine (not ripe yet)

Herbs- basil, dill, thyme, oregano, chives, chervil, parsely, cilantro

Mmmm, summer certainly is wonderful, but I do like the fall apples...the winter root veggies...or the cherimoyas!!

Luckily, my golden retriever doesnt get into the garden like he used to when he was a puppy...

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I have fruit envy! We have no fruit trees yet, although it's my dream to plant a semi-circle of dwarf fruit around the house someday . . .

Has anyone else gotten a late start this spring? We usually get around 24" of rain in an entire year, and so far we've gotten over 40" ! I gave up on my usual 1/2 acre patch this year--vineyard work was delayed and I missed the window between too wet and too hot--so I only have the garden beds near the house to tend this year.

Bush beans, greens, eight different kinds of peppers, several types of tomatos, tomatillos, yellow straight and crookneck squash, cucumbers, baby pumpkins, gourds, several types of sunflowers, herbs, tons of arugula (we love arugula), basil, bok choy (volunteers from last year), and the omnipresent nasturtiums.

Friends in southern California are already harvesting their tomatos and making sauce. My tomatos are just now filling out!


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Mary Baker

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You know we are generally spoiled with the ability to grow a lot of things by just dropping them in the ground. Most of my tomato plants are volunteers from my first crop 5 years ago. They just keep coming up. No fertilizer no bug spray - except for THIS YEAR!!!!! Everything is so screwed up with our loney weather. The only thing that is going great guns are the herbs. Basel, bumper crop this year. Everything else is way behind.

Even the farmers markets up here don't have the greatest garden tomatoes. Although the fava beans have been excellent!

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My mom's tomatoes are coming in full force. Her yellow cherry tomato plant has fruit that is just now turning.

She planted an heirloom this year (she's not sure of the name...my brother gave it to her) and she says the tomatoes on it are the largest she's grown in years. She called them "monsters" since they're so big. The plant is heavy with fruit but they haven't turned yet.

She has one tomato plant that's about done and will plant another soon so she will have tomatoes clear through October provided the weather stays nice.

My brother's chile pepper plants (he planted about 8 varieties this year) are putting out a lot of pods. His squash and Japanese egg plant are producing quite a bit, too.

As for flowers, he also planted tuberose :wub: (they have a great fragrance) and they're coming along like gangbusters.


 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Summer is over. :sad: Tomatoes are still going strong, and the yellow pear tomatoes I planted around the compost bin are very happy. Due to our late, wet spring I didn't plant as large a garden as I would have liked, so instead of summer bedding flowers in the half barrels in front of the winery, I planted leftover garden seeds. Now I have a nice autumnal look in the half barrels, with tomatoes, tomatillos, squash and gourds, baby corn, nasturtium, marigolds, celosia, and few stray petunias all "squashed" together and spilling over the barrels.

Kids particularly like the baby pumpkins and Baby Boo (miniature white) punkins.

gallery_17061_225_38531.jpg

Pumpkins and sunflowers are maturing earlier than usual here. What's up with that?


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Mary Baker

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We've enjoyed some bountiful gifts this past week. Thank you to Ted and Nancy Commerdinger for the incredible tomato sauces and five-pepper sauce! The basket below was delivered by Kate Dubost from her garden. The basket weighed 35 pounds! I did some consulting work for Dubost Family Winery and instead of a fee, I will be treated to garden produce, their ranch olive oil (very floral), and some cuts of spring lamb. Dan groused about my taking on extra projects, but he was first to dig into the basket.

gallery_17061_738_496413.jpg


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Mary Baker

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What a truly glorious basket of produce. Are those nasturstiums I see tucked in the center?


Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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Yes, which I thought was a nice touch! The French Colombard grapes were sweet and incredibly fragrant . . . floral and orange rind aromas. Tons of tomatoes, peppers, squash, a bundle of herbs, and rainbow chard. I got a basket last week, too. :smile:


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Mary Baker

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On Saturday I was rushing home from errands, and as I came around a corner on Vineyard Drive about 500 yds. south of home, I saw Mollie and just had to stop.

gallery_17061_738_2987.jpg

Mollie, age seven, was wearing her hat, apron and sunglasses. When I came around the corner, a breeze blew her sign backwards and she was struggling valiantly to righten her hat, sunglasses and sign all at the same time. I had to turn around and come back, but it was certainly worth it. Her bright yellow cart was well stocked with two varieties, "big tomatoes," and "cherry tomatoes," for $2.25 per pound or basket. Her dad had put blue price stickers on the scale to help her figure out prices.

gallery_17061_738_14876.jpg


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Mary Baker

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All the dried beans are harvested and ready for the winter. Summer squash is slowing down but we're still getting a zucchini or pattypan every now and then. The winter squash are almost ready to bring in - a couple of pumpkins need a little more time in the sun, as do about half of the butternut squash. Peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, and basil are still going strong. Most of the winter garden is planted: the chard, carrots, turnips, beets, spinach, lettuce, artichokes, peas, cabbage, bok choy, brussel sprouts, garlic, onions, broccoli, romanesco, and cauliflower are all in the ground. We still need to plant potatoes, shallots, fava beans, and a bit more garlic.

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Time to bump this back up for us California folks.

My mom is prepping her planter pots for tomatoes. It's still a little too cool at night to plant but it'll happen soon enough.


 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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I'm building my annual gardening slowly, slowly...

Major gopher/groundsquirrel population is pushing my garden into pots. :hmmm:

One new tomato planted last week (Early Girl), one yellow grape tomato that over-wintered (we had a scary warm dry winter). One more variety, TBD, to go.

Am prepping soil/pots to plant basil seeds and sweet pepper seeds this weekend.

Am looking for cilantro seeds.

Hope to harvest the rosemary flowers and use the recipe I got off one thread or another.

Have plans for nasturtium flowers on the salad this week (thats how dry it was... the nasturtiums didnt flower til the rain started in March).


"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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It's been so wet for the past couple weeks, I haven't been to the community garden much.

Plans:

Yellow pear tomato and some other short season tomato, Thai Basil, Cilantro, Chervil (I really like Chervil!).

In the Ground:

Persian Star Hardneck Garlic, Nintoku Giant Broad Beans, Walking Onions, Chard.

Casualties:

Killed my marjoram bush by pruning it back too hard in the fall. Probably replace it with something I use more frequently. Was too wet for the totem pole cactus and it rotted.


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I have a guava tree in a pot that needs a better home, ditto a passion fruit vine (here's hoping its purple fruit, not yellow). If we can defeat the iceplant, we have a spot picked out for the passion fruit vine. The guava tho remains in limbo. Does it have invasive root habits? (note to self, must google...)

The apple and plum trees are in flower. The peach tree has already set fruit. I hope all the recent rain doesnt hurt it.

Does anyone know or have an opinion on which squash produces the best tasting blossoms? Im inclined to plant one vine, just for the flowers. Should it be zucchini, crookneck, or other?

I am SO blonde this morning.

Editted to add:

I'm thinking of planting scarlet runner beans too. I probably wont get to it, but it would be fun to have.


Edited by Kouign Aman (log)

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Toliver,

what kinds of tomatoes does your mom like to grow?

I ended up with a 'red beefsteak' as the third plant, at the Mr's request.


"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Toliver,

what kinds of tomatoes does your mom like to grow?

I ended up with a 'red beefsteak' as the third plant, at the Mr's request.

Her favorites the last few years have been either the generic Cherry Tomatoes or the small Yellow Pears. She eats them like candy.

She used to plant in the ground behind her home but they never did very well since it was the north side and didn't get much sun until the height of summer and even then that didn't last long enough. So now she plants in pots that she can move to track with the sun. The tomatoes have been doing great in the pots.

My brother preps her pot soil every year and will give her interesting new varieties to try. Last year he gave her an heirloom (he didn't tell her the name) that grew tomatoes as ugly as sin but tasted heavenly. They were as large as beefsteaks and were quite meaty. I'm not sure if she will get the same from him this year.

The nice thing about San Diego weather is that if you stagger your plantings, you can have tomatoes clear through to October and sometimes to November.

Oh, and she has wild varmints to contend with who like to snack on her tomatoes. She lives next to a part of the Mission Trails Regional Park and has everything from rats and raccoons to deer and quail trying to nosh on her plants.


 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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It's been so wet for the past couple weeks, I haven't been to the community garden much.

Where do you garden? With my propensity to kill pretty much anything green, I promise to stay away, but I didn't know there were community gardens in San Francisco. That's so cool.

I have a giant rosemary bush in the backyard, but that grows on its own -- I can't take credit, because I think even I couldn't kill it.

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Where do you garden? With my propensity to kill pretty much anything green, I promise to stay away, but I didn't know there were community gardens in San Francisco. That's so cool.

I have a giant rosemary bush in the backyard, but that grows on its own -- I can't take credit, because I think even I couldn't kill it.

Hi Janet,

There are community gardens all over San Francisco. There are 5 or 6 in Bernal Heights alone. Not sure about Noe Valley; but, I'm pretty sure there are some in Glenn Park. I belong to the Ogden Terrace Garden, which is on Ogden Street, overlooking the Alemany Farmers' Market.

Herbs, Garlic, and Tomatoes have been my real successes so far.

Here are a couple links:

San Francisco Garden Resource Organization

SF Rec and Park Garden Website


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Does anyone know or have an opinion on which squash produces the best tasting blossoms? Im inclined to plant one vine, just for the flowers. Should it be zucchini, crookneck, or other?

I haven't thought about different blossom flavors, but I like to plant a selection of squash and pumpkin, because I like the larger blossoms for stuffing.

I failed to get my own tomato starts going in the greenhouse this year, so I'll be relying on tomato plants to get my garden started this year. Any recommendations for local tomato plants? Someone who will ship?


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Mary Baker

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Does anyone know or have an opinion on which squash produces the best tasting blossoms? Im inclined to plant one vine, just for the flowers. Should it be zucchini, crookneck, or other?

I haven't thought about different blossom flavors, but I like to plant a selection of squash and pumpkin, because I like the larger blossoms for stuffing.

I failed to get my own tomato starts going in the greenhouse this year, so I'll be relying on tomato plants to get my garden started this year. Any recommendations for local tomato plants? Someone who will ship?

Mary~

Is it too late to start seeds? I just drool when looking at all these heirloom varieties at Gary Ibsen's Tomatofest site

I'd share seeds with you if you want me to order some............ :rolleyes:

edited for clarification of intent!


Edited by dockhl (log)

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It's not too late. I just get impatient! I'm going to start some seeds as well. Let me know by PM or email when you are ready to swap seeds or starts. Sunshine, I want some sunshine, dangit! :raz:


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Mary Baker

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On another gardening thread, Jackal10 posted about some potatoes that are red all the way thru, and others that are blue. He gets them as plants from a vendor in the UK.

I'd love to plant some. I've got the purple ones in already (excellent boiled, sliced cold and topped with creme fraiche and caviar) (they also make lovely lavender mashed spuds).

Pumpkin for blossoms: thanks for the idea!

I've got two more pots ready for the next interesting tomato and other plant I find. We're going to a new-to-us nursery this weekend, with high hopes.


"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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On another gardening thread, Jackal10 posted about some potatoes that are red all the way thru, and others that are blue. He gets them as plants from a vendor in the UK.

I'd love to plant some. I've got the purple ones in already (excellent boiled, sliced cold and topped with creme fraiche and caviar) (they also make lovely lavender mashed spuds).

...

I'm sure you can google as well as I can; but, this company in Colorado offers a number of potato varieties including some with red (well pinkish) flesh. Check out 'Huckleberry' and 'All Red'.

Milk Ranch Potatoes

They are well rated by Garden Watchdog.

Seed Savers Exchange also has a number of heirloom potato varieties including red, blue, and purple.


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Bought another Early Girl and a Brandywine tomato plant today.Also another blue potato "All Blue" (the ones I already planted came from Trader Joe's - they grew like gangbusters last year but are moving slower this year). Also, I couldnt resist a tuberrose ?bulb?corm?.

These are destined to be planted tomorrow. These came from City Farmers Nursery, Home Ave at Euclid. Interesting place - this was my first but not last visit. The building adjoins Frank's Cafe, so we'll be back for lunch - acc the Mr, the menu looked good but we had no time today.

The basil seed is sprouting, but the cilantro isnt. Anyone know how long it usually takes cilantro to germinate? <google says 7-10 days> The seed brusselsprouts appear to be coming up too (or could be weeds. Those had some garden soil in the pot).

The garlic is going great guns. I hope it stopped long enough to put down some roots!


Edited by Kouign Aman (log)

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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