Sunday, August 21, 2011

Weekly Farm Update! 8/21/11

I am very glad that the weekend is finally here and I can share a few photos from the "farm".

The tomatoes are still the dominant veggies producing fairly well in the garden. The season is slowly winding down but is still warm enough for these beauties to put out. Harvesting has been scaled back a bit but it continues nonetheless.

Last week, I talked about moving a raised bed from behind the garage to the main garden and I may move the second one. There are a couple of plants back there that are still producing but will be moved for the new season. I want to clean up and have it ready for the fall season this year but I now I am running a bit late on that.

There are needed upgrades for the farm and I am slowly trying to get through them. The drip/irrigation system will, hopefully, be done tomorrow. The main line was put in a few weeks ago but has not been finished. I need to attach the sprayers and attachments to it.

The left half of the garden will soon have more raised beds. The cats are getting to be to much of a hassle and raised beds will be useful, as long as certain things are added to the beds. I'm planning on using pvc pipes to a  make mini hoop-house for each bed. I'm not sure what to use as the covering and I am open to any ideas. So, please make suggestions.

Of course, more plant support is necessary. The tomato plants this year have gotten fairly large and they had to be trimmed back quite a bit. The large pvc trellis has been great for the yellow pear tomatoes and it seems to be holding up fine.

Here is a shot of the area behind the garage with the lonely raised bed. I will save it from its despair and move it over soon. The area with the chicken wire being held by  bricks is where the other bed was moved from and it may be planted with something.

The plants that are still back here are setting fruit but not as much as its counterparts that get full sun, but they do ok. You can see the drip system tube going through here but I'm not sure if the bed back here really needs it. The soil stays fairly moist and not much watering is needed anyway.




The newly relocated bed had some strawberry plants put into it but will be filled in shortly. I have a larger container with more strawberries that will probably be put in here. I put these in by themselves to see how they did and they seem to be doing fine. I didn't want to run the risk of losing all of them at once. 



The last photo for this week is of my wife's Nagami kumquat tree. This is a dwarf version and has been doing well in a container. This one requires a lot of water as the sun can dry out container plants much easier. I will be attaching the drip system to water this too.

That is it for this week and I will be back with more updates soon. There is not that much going on in the garden right now. I hope to be doing a separate post on putting in the needed upgrades and a few other things.



Until next time!

Luis

You can find the rest of the photos for this week's update HERE!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Weekly Farm Update: 8/15/11

I am now figuring out that Monday night updates may be the better option. We have been so busy, on the weekends, that there is only enough time to take some photos and edit them but not much more. We'll see how I do as time goes on but it is time for some photos and a treat at the end!

Our first shot this week is a plant near the garden that has gorgeous orange blooms. I'm not sure what it is called but I know it has "lion" in the name somewhere. I trim it down every year and it keeps coming  back.




The pepper plants in this bed are not looking so hot but they don't appear to be dying, at least too badly. I also tossed in some beet seeds and some of those have already sprouted. I also had an onion growing in a cup and it seems to have taken root and it is larger everyday. 

The pin-wheel helps hold the chicken wire in place and adds a little color to an otherwise, dull bed. 


The beds look pretty much the same but continue to put out peppers and tomatoes. The end of the season is not too far away and I'm already planning the needed upgrades. Another large bed is planned where the small brick beds sit. The brick beds seem to be doing fine, but I just want something a little more stable and unified.

I've already added another 3x3 bed into the main garden and there was no actual building necessary!


I was checking on the beds, that are behind the garage, and dug around a little to see if any other seedlings were popping up. I dug in a corner of the bed and realized that it was pretty much soaked all the way through and fairly cold. As it turns out, the sun doesn't really get enough back there for anything to really grow, except for radishes. 

I grabbed the shovel and mixed the soil to air it out. Of course, this was done only after all the radishes had been pulled. I then filled up a trash can with about half of the soil and moved it over to the new area for this bed, which is on the end of the garden nearest to the patio.

Next came the chore of moving the wooden bed itself but that just lifted straight up with no issues. The new area was leveled and cleaned up. The recycle bin was the next thing dragged over and all the cardboard and newspaper went down first. The bed was set on top and was filled with a new bag of garden soil, grass clippings/compost and the wet soil from the trash can. A little mixing followed and a roll of yard guard was placed on top to keep the cats out. 

The photo shows the bed in the original space it was placed but all that is left is just soil with a large pice of chicken wire that is held down with bricks. I don't want the cats getting into that either. I'm not sure what I will do with the area but I may toss in some flower seeds. The other bed in the photo is still there but that too may be moved into the main part of the garden. I wanted to keep open area in the garden for direct in ground planting but it is a pain to keep messing with chicken wire. I already have some ideas as to how to keep it  cat free.

The last photo for this week is one that shows off on of the many Poblano peppers for this season. These won't be clipped until they are large enough to be able to make stuffed peppers. I'm not sure if these will be any good but I will post the recipe if it does come to fruition. 





For the first time ever, I am including a video in a post. This was shot with my new Canon T2i camera and I know it is fairly crude but I will hopefully get better at it. Don't freak out if you don't hear me speaking because I didn't say anything at all. This is a virtual walk-through of the current state of the garden. I hope you like it and will offer constructive criticism. 


This is it for this week's update! You can find this week's update in photos HERE!

Until next time!

Luis

Monday, August 8, 2011

Weekly Farm Update: 8/7/11

Welcome back to another week of updates. Yesterday we put down the main line for the drip / irrigation system for the plants in the yard.. My mother in law was kind enough to pay for a $40 kit that has pretty much all we need. The kit comes with 200 ft of tubing and it was wrapped all the way around the perimeter of the yard and then some. We will be putting in all the sprays and attachments to it. A timer will be set and manual watering will be minimal, at least that is the hope. Of course, I will be sharing all of that here.

As you can see, the strawberries are thriving in the pot and have sent out shoots looking for more room. I just need to find the room for it but I am thinking of adding another 3x3 to the main area of the garden. There is room on the end of the garden, near the patio. The drip system goes right over that area anyways, so nothing will really need to be moved.

The other biggest thing coming out of the garden this year, other than tomatoes, is peppers. Like I've said before, I promised my wife Banana Peppers last year but that didn't happen. I guess the plants know that and they are producing like crazy. Wait, I should say plant, we've only got 1 plant and we don't know what to do with all of them. They have been eaten fresh and cooked into different dishes but there are so many of them. I know we can probably pickle or can them but I am not ready to try my hand at that yet.




The raised beds are doing well and bursting with tomatoes and peppers. The yellow pear tomatoes are growing up the new trellis and it seems to be working fine. It is definitely much easier to harvest and allows for better air circulation.

Peppers, tomatoes and a few eggplants have come out of these three beds but they are not done producing yet. I did some light harvesting today but more needs to be down tomorrow. I'm not sure where we will find the room in the refrigerator but they will soon find homes.

The weather here has been funky here and the plants don't know what to do. They look like they've had enough and begin to wilt. A few days later, there is new growth and all of sudden, it is completely lush. There is so much green that it does not look like the same plant.

This has happened with this tomato plant and it has many small green fruits on it. I love Southern California for the longer seasons, but it is strange sometimes.





The last photo for this week is of a "mutant" yellow pear tomato. I looks like 3 tomatoes that decided to join hands to form a larger tomato. There have been many of these and they are eaten up just like the "normal" ones.

Til next week!

Luis

P.S:  This week's photos are HERE!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Weekly Farm Update! 8/2/11

I know I'm running late this week but there is a great reason for it. The weekend was spend in Yosemite and at the state fair. The snow was plentiful this year in the mountains which made for amazing waterfalls. I haven't had a chance to edit those yet but it should be up this week on my photography blog. (Link now added in sidebar)

Last week I mentioned some construction in the garden and here is a shot of it.  PVC pipes and nylon netting were used to build a large trellis structure for the raised beds. Large for me is 6 feet tall by 9 feet wide. Each "square" is 3x5 feet and the extra foot was turned into feet.

I'm not sure how much weight it will hold but we shall see. For now, I have woven some of the yellow pear tomato plants and it seems to be holding up. I am planning to growing different things on it and will be sharing results here.

This is the bed in the back and the radishes are getting bigger everyday. The wife has already enjoyed the first radish and loved it. She did say that it was a little spicy and it emitted a strong scent. I'm not a fan of radishes but she loves them and that is all that matters.

This bed has more than just radishes and seedlings are slowly coming up. I'm not positive as to why this is happening, but it may just be the sun exposure. I know it does get sun but it may not be enough. Radishes are a cooler season crop and are fairly easy to grow. We'll see what happens.

This photo is to show off some lovely yellow pear tomatoes but also showing off the new trellis.  Like I said before, I don't know how this new trellis will hold up.

The tomatoes this season have been plentiful and I hope to keep it this way for a little longer. I will see about planting the fall garden but I may cheat a little by running over to the nursery for some seedlings.

I am keeping it short this week but will, hopefully, be doing some work / chores in the garden and may have a larger update for next time.

Luis

This week's photos can be found HERE!