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Macarons&Mozart

California Gardening: What's up?

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Most of the tomatoes are potted: 4 early girl, 1 mr stripey, 2 kinds of cherry tomatoes (sungold and ?), one yellow med sized, 2 beefsteak.

Seeds I've got in soil : one brown version, currant tomatoes from Santee by way of Bakersfield. Fingers crossed for germination (the first set didnt).

One germinated giant pumpkin - more seeds starting.

Sunflowers - round II

Corn - any day now I'll know if it germinates.

Yard-long beans - trying round II again.

The dill came back up by itself. What a nice treat!

Sage is looking good, and some is flowering. Very pretty.

Cilantro came up over the weekend.

A year's worth of kitchen scraps, dumped into a pile, lightly covered with dirt and left for a year - just looks like dirt now. I hope the plants can tell the difference.

The lemongrass is going gangbusters. Gotta do something with some of it soon. My cubie mate and I were talking about ginger lemongrass icecream.

I wonder if one can espalier a Meyer or Eureka lemontree?

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I just think lettuce is a one shot deal- one head and you are done so I kind of doubt it will give you continued lettuce. However-!- if it works I am all there. Please keep us posted.

When I grow lettuce, I never harvest the entire head, but go out and clip the leaves I want for the salad. It continues to grow more leaves and becomes "the gift that keeps on giving!" So if the head you bought survives the transplant, you may be able to cut off the outer leaves as you need to use them. Butterleaf is usually not a tightly packed head. What an interesting experiment.

pedie~

this is exactly what I was thinking ! I could make those two heads of lettuce last a long time.

Now for the bad news. :sad: My little guy in the ground didn't do so well. (He got pretty limp.) We have had a couple cold nights and I don't think his roots were ready so..............

I pulled him out of the ground and he is back in water, and growing roots like crazy !! :shock: So, I'll give it a little longer, until he has roots that might work, and try it again. In the meantime, they are very tasty. :wink:

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We live in the foothills and had a couple of late frosts. It froze the mulberry trees, figs, walnuts, and grapes and they're all still looking pretty sickly.

We planted this week in the newly fenced garden area; Early Girl tomatoes, cucumbers, Japanese eggplant, cantaloupe, and bell peppers.

Last year the deer got everything we planted, hence the new fence. All in raised beds. We will have another bed by the weekend for green beans, etc.

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I just think lettuce is a one shot deal- one head and you are done so I kind of doubt it will give you continued lettuce. However-!- if it works I am all there. Please keep us posted.

When I grow lettuce, I never harvest the entire head, but go out and clip the leaves I want for the salad. It continues to grow more leaves and becomes "the gift that keeps on giving!" So if the head you bought survives the transplant, you may be able to cut off the outer leaves as you need to use them. Butterleaf is usually not a tightly packed head. What an interesting experiment.

pedie~

this is exactly what I was thinking ! I could make those two heads of lettuce last a long time.

Now for the bad news. :sad: My little guy in the ground didn't do so well. (He got pretty limp.) We have had a couple cold nights and I don't think his roots were ready so..............

I pulled him out of the ground and he is back in water, and growing roots like crazy !! :shock: So, I'll give it a little longer, until he has roots that might work, and try it again. In the meantime, they are very tasty. :wink:

Update:

Both have been in the ground for a week and ahappy happy happy....poor little things just needed some roots that worked !

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pedie~

this is exactly what I was thinking ! I could make those two heads of lettuce last a long time.

Update:

Both have been in the ground for a week and ahappy happy happy....poor little things just needed some roots that worked !

Good for you! You can't know unless you try.

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Today was a busy day in the garden...weeds! I have six tomato plants that all have green tomatoes. But I am most excited about the seeds I have been able to germinate...this is a first for me.

I have six fava bean plants that started from the bean...now they all have flowers and three of them are forming bean pods. I also started some vining peas that supposedly came from Thomas Jefferson's Monticello garden. That's my story and I am sticking to it.

I have six little San Marzano tomato plants from seeds from Italy. I transplanted my Japanese cucumber plants yesterday.

BTW...if anyone is looking for lovely trellises for vegetables that vine...I found two for only $10 each at Tuesday Morning's. They are beautiful and look lovely in the garden.

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Tomatoes fattening everywhere! Glee and joy :)

One corn stalk is flowering (its all of 18" high. So much for the Elephant's Eye!), and there are 6 or so more in the ground. Gonna have to figure out how to self pollinate the early bird.

The sunflower seeds germinate, grow a bit, then die. Its odd. The beans skipped the germination step.

The pumpkins need a new home this week. They are past due removal from their pots.

Some of the over-wintering peppers are flowering now. Its such fun wandering the garden each day, looking for whats new.

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we were late in planting, and have only put in two tomato plants: s.f. fog (never heard of it, thought would give it a try since we get alot of fog in our part of s.f.) and roma.

we also planted an anaheim and a bell pepper.

the dwarf meyer lemon is taking its time with about 10 lemons.

the plum tree that was already in our backyard when we moved in is full of green fruit- we did a major trim over the winter so the branches are drooping all over the place, some all the way to the ground.

an english thyme that survived a fall and winter in a bed full of weeds has recovered and is flowering. . .

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We were in Boston the last two weeks and I left my garden in the care of my neighbor. When I came home I was overwhelmed by the growth that occurred. We have the wonderful full sun in Southern California and the tomatoe plants were taking over the garden, laden with so many green tomatoes. Four were red for picking. I have one eggplant on the Japanese eggplant. Cucumbers are ready to be helped on to the trellis. I have about five fava bean plants and they were covered with black aphids. Fortunately, I also saw lady bugs, feasting on the aphids. But the plants are so infested that I don't know if the lady bugs can keep up with them. A quick call to Armstrong nursery and the suggestion to spray wash them with Lemon Joy soap and water...would knock off and kill the aphids but would not harm the lady bugs...so we will see if it works.

My fig tree has 2 figs on it. Hope I get them before the birds do.

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Anyone know where I can get french thyme in south/central OC? Everywhere I go is lemon thyme.

And a rosemary question. I can't seem to grow it. I grow it in plain socal desert dirt with the tiny bit of original soil that came with the plant. I grow it very close to lemon thyme which is growing abundantly. It's in the area of the garden which is water every day.

Should I plant rosemary in a dry/unwatered area? Is it the lack of actual soil? Is the thyme overcrowding it? what could be the problem?

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But the plants are so infested that I don't know if the lady bugs can keep up with them.  A quick call to Armstrong nursery and the suggestion to spray wash them with Lemon Joy soap and water...would knock off and kill the aphids but would not harm the lady bugs...so we will see if it works.

You may also be able to buy more ladybugs at your local nursery if you're so inclined. They sometimes sell containers of them. It's a great activity to do with kids or grandkids. Consult the directions that come with the containers but I believe you water your garden around sunset and then release the ladybugs onto your plants. Some will fly away but some will stay and hopefully take care of your aphid problem.

My mom's tomatoes in Santee have come to a standstill because of the San Diego marine layer ("June Gloom"). She's got green fruit but it's been that way for some time.

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This hot weather around Los Angeles is making me nuts! I let the cardoon go to flower because I love the extraterrestrial giant thistles and the bees are in nectar heaven, but the heat is seriously messing with even the zucchini. Everything else looks sad, or wants to bolt. I call my dad every day to check on his tomatoes since he is my tomato supplier. He brought me his first one last week- super meaty, deep red and wonderful flavor, however, the green ones look stunted and he was told the fruit won't set over 80-85 degrees (it is in the 90's).

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I think rosemary prefers to dry out a bit - its a mediterranean plant.

We just returned from 10 days of trusting the garden to the kid across the street. He did stellar work keeping up with the watering.

The first thing the munchkin ate on our return home was a fresh tomato picked in the morning. This morning, we were munching on Sungolds. The orange/gold colored tomatoes seem to be ripening faster. We also have two beefsteaks ready for dinner tonight, with one Early Girl. One Mr Stripey ripened, but then something weird happened to 2/3 of it, and its mummified.

Two days before we left, I put 3 giant pumpkin plants into the ground. Its easy to tell where I did a better job of digging and backfilling - that plant is 10x bigger than the other two, tho all were the same at planting.

The eggplant went into a larger pot and now has lovely deep purple flowers, and more of the corn is putting out tassels.

The Mammoth Dwarf sunflowers are VERY dwarf - I see flower buds on 6" high stems.

There are several more 6" pots of tomatoes ready to go into bigger pots or the ground (they were planted from 2" pots right before vacation).

All the herbs flowered. The baby lettuces never got bigger than a child's fingernail, then died. We'll try again.

Summah is heah!

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i've now got a few pounds of plums from the tree out back (and looking for a jam recipe while i'm at it). the tomatoes have a few buds on it, and the peppers are moving a bit slower. i expect the "warm" weather here in s.f. over the next few days will help ripen more plums and push along the peppers.

and check with some local nursery's, i know here in s.f. sloat sells ladybugs (and mantises for that matter). . .

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Here in NE LA, east of the river, the cherry tomatoes are sweet as candy, the first spaghetti squash just about big enough to cook, the Japanese cucumbers keep growing into spirals and the sparse green beans are a big disappointment. Somehow the passion fruit I planted from seeds from a friend's house secretly flowered up a tree while I wasn't looking, and now the little tree is garlanded all 'round with little orange holiday decorations filled with tasty pulp.

A local blogger did a photographic survey on the front yard gardens in my neighborhood, that turned into a debate about class, race and media attention. You might find it interesting:

http://laeastside.com/2008/07/eatable-patches-of-dirt/


Edited by kimcooper (log)

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Are there any other California tomato growers out there who have encountered tough skins on their tomatoes this season?

This summer both the yellow tomato plant and the red tomato plant in my mom's garden have borne fruit with tough skins.

I've Googled this issue and it seems to be attributed to either the type of tomato plant (some hybrids are bred to have tougher skins so they can survive shipping better) or to hotter-than-normal weather. Up until now, I didn't think it's really been that hot in her area what with the San Diego "May Gray/June Gloom". And I don't think it's the case that she got a tough-skinned hydrid since I think she got the plants from her local Lowe's/Home Depot and they're not really known for selling hybrids.

Anyone else have tough-skinned home-grown tomatoes this season?

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I am happy with the garden.

Sungolds are getting eaten before breakfast. Munchkin picks em for lunch but they dont make it back into the house. :)

Early Girl didnt beat the others this year - we've a golden one same size, similar taste. It was first to ripe.

Funniest was a couple of dried up currant tomatoes I planted. I tore 2 of the 3 apart and spread the seeds. No germination. Munchkin dropped the third one, and I never found it. Found it this weekend, 3 weeks later. Its the base of a huge clump of alfalfa sprout sized tomato seedlings. :biggrin: I separated them and replanted, hoping they get bigger. There are about 40 of them! Anyone want one of the plants if they make it? I'll be ready to share at the 2" pot stage - hoping that will be in 2 weeks.

BigBeef is being delicious. More 'tomatoey' than Early Girl and nearly as sweet. We've been pigging out on BT sandwiches.

The black variety germinated but all the seedlings withered away.

Corn! I see ears of corn! & buds on the sunflowers.

And flowers on the pumpkins!

Technically, pumpkins are squash. Has anyone cooked pumpkin blossoms? Any good?

No basil at all. Odd. No carrots. Gonna have to try again on both, and its really quite late for that. And try some more corn.

Toliver, have her water them more. Last year, I found that it helped the skin texture if I watered the heck out of the plant in the am before picking in the afternoon. Probably stretched it. Tho thick skin peels off easier, so that's an option.

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....Funniest was a couple of dried up currant tomatoes I planted. I tore 2 of the 3 apart and spread the seeds. No germination. Munchkin dropped the third one, and I never found it.  Found it this weekend, 3 weeks later. Its the base of a huge clump of alfalfa sprout sized tomato seedlings.  :biggrin:  I separated them and replanted, hoping they get bigger. There are about 40 of them! Anyone want one of the plants if they make it? I'll be ready to share at the 2" pot stage - hoping that will be in 2 weeks....

How about that?! An accidental bounty. :laugh: I'm happy they're finally producing. As for the seedlings, if they make it, do you know of any other households with munchkins that you can share them with? Kids love 'em. Too bad school's not in...they'd make a good class project.

....Toliver, have her water them more. Last year, I found that it helped the skin texture if I watered the heck out of the plant in the am before picking in the afternoon. Probably stretched it. Tho thick skin peels off easier, so that's an option.

She has an automatic watering system (one of those timed leaker-hoses) so I'll have to talk to my brother to adjust the duration to be a little longer. Hopefully, that will do the trick.

Last Christmas, I bought every one in the family one of those vegetable peelers (recommended by America's Test Kitchen) that can peel soft fruits. Guess I was psychic since it's being used on her tomatoes now. :cool:

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Sodding ground squirrels have eaten most of the tomatoes since early July. :cry: (Boy, those early ones were soooo good!)

We've taken to picking them 3 days before they're properly ripe, and finishing them in the window. Otherwise, the little *&^s get them overnight.

Looks like we have a couple more months of fruit ahead of us.

Lots of lovely japanese eggplants, and no idea what to do with them. The groundsquirrels dont touch them! :laugh:

Two "giant" pumpkins coming along. The "Dwarf Mammoth" sunflowers topped out at 6" tall, with 3" diameter flowers. Yes, that's the "inch" sign. :laugh: We'll try a different variety and different location next year.

We didnt pick the corn soon enough, so it was fun, but not delicious. Next year!

The quince set lots of fruit. The ants set lots of scale insects. Gonna have to fight back with a soapy cloth. I hate wiping those things off but it seems to be the only way.

The baby bay tree is not getting any bigger, but nor is it dying apparently.

Its getting toward fall, and time to plant 'cool season' stuff in a month or so. How do folks manage to plant, so close to all the holidays!

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Strange winter.

So warm, the tomatoes are confused

gallery_42210_4922_94914.jpg. This one has been trying to ripen for nearly two months.

What is this fruit?

gallery_42210_4922_253557.jpg

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Strange winter.

So warm, the tomatoes are confused

gallery_42210_4922_94914.jpg. This one has been trying to ripen for nearly two months.

What is this fruit?

gallery_42210_4922_253557.jpg

I know what you mean about the confusion. When I visited my mom in Santee for the Christmas holiday she had a plate full of tomatoes she'd discovered on some plants she hadn't pulled yet. By the time the week was up, they had all turned fully ripe. I'll post a pic if I can remember to download them. My mom had been complaining that it just didn't feel like Christmas because the weather had stayed warm for so long.

Tomatoes at Christmas time? What is the world coming to? :wacko:

And my guess for the confused fruit is limes not knowing which way to turn. :laugh:

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This recent warm weather is making it difficult to plan. My perpetual Swiss Chard and cardoon got attacked by small pernicious bugs that the migratory birds are eating but they still look rusty. I am planning to go out in a few minutes and dig everything up, turn the soil and plant something like Indian mustard greens to give the soil a break and some enrichment. In desperation after the rains before the recent heat I was harvesting all the dandelion greens sprouting up that I knew were pesticide free and enjoying them.

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gallery_9387_874_10197.jpg

A plateful of Christmas tomatoes and there are more on the vines. It turned out that the two tomatoes pictured in the back were of the yellow/gold variety. And they're all resting on a salad plate so they're not that large. :smile:

I had to leave before they ripened completely. I asked my mom how they ended up tasting. She said they were like a winter rose...they were good, but missing that special something when compared to their summer counterparts.

edited for clarification


Edited by Toliver (log)

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This is the first year that I have tried a winter garden. Live in Playa del Rey, CA, three blocks from the coast. While it isn't as much fun as a summer garden, I have been harvesting cauliflower, broccoli, chard, tuscan and russian kale and spinach. I have also put in some edible landscaping in the front of our house and have many different lettuces growing in there amid the flowering bushes and herbs.

gallery_43474_3246_75790.jpg

gallery_43474_3246_239315.jpg

gallery_43474_3246_289544.jpg

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This is the first year that I have tried a winter garden.  Live in Playa del Rey, CA, three blocks from the coast.  While it isn't as much fun as a summer garden, I have been harvesting cauliflower, broccoli, chard, tuscan and russian kale and spinach.  I have also put in some edible landscaping in the front of our house and have many different lettuces growing in there amid the flowering bushes and herbs.

That is a beautiful cauliflower. Do you use bug killers? I am in the same zone and as close to the coast as you but I always get pests in my winter cabbage family plants like cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli. I prefer an organic remedy but have not had much success.

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