Monday, October 31, 2011

Farm Update: 10/31/11

We've had more than a few blooms from the flowers out front and this is another beauty. There are more out there and more are on the way. We didn't know what kind of flowers they were when we moved in, 2 years ago today, but have loved every bloom since.

There hasn't been a huge amount of change from last week but there are a few new pieces in the garden.

Let's get started...



This is the first row cover/ cat shield that I came up with and it seems to be doing the trick pretty well. If you have been reading my recent blog posts, this is the same structure that had the blue cover on it. The blue cover was actually a plastic table cloth that I found in the garage but it just wasn't working for me. The Southern California weather is great for gardening and the need for row covers is not always as great as it is in other parts of the country. Anyways, the pepper plants were basically being steamed inside of this thing and not doing much good. I know it is hard to tell but it has been covered with bird netting and it seems to be doing the trick. I decided to do it this way because it helps shield from critters leaving a nice present and doesn't cook the plants. When it does get cold, I can just put a blanket over it at night or some other covering.

These 2 large tomato plants dominate this side of the garden. but we can see the small raised beds along the wall and a few other plants. There is a 2x2 brick bed, from this angle, next to the tomatoes, with a cover made from pvc and chicken wire. This small bed/area is currently empty and may stay that way for a while. The large tomato plants shade out this area and not much sun gets through.

The other tomato plants in this shot are the main producers for now. They are still pumping out some delicious tomatoes. I don't know how much longer they will hold out but I am in no hurry to pull them.

The small beds are showing life and we may have some harvesting soon.

The larger plants in this bed are the radishes. I can't remember the variety but I do remember it is only 29 days for these radishes. I know they aren't getting all of the sun they should be and they may take a little longer but that is fine with me.

There are quite a few other things that are also coming up in these two beds. We have carrots, lettuce, and possibly beets already showing signs of life. The other thing coming up are tomato seedlings, but I don't remember planting tomatoes in these beds. I did mix in some compost and that could be the source of the seeds.

Here is the same overview shot you see in every update. As you can see, there has not been much of a change. Peppers and tomatoes keep producing. The biggest changes have occurred in the last two beds on the right. The once covered up with the yard guard, now has the pvc cover that is shown on the last one and I have built another cover for that last bed. The cover was moved over because the yard guard wasn't allowing the cucumber plant to grow. I gives the plants more breathing room. I am excited that the strawberries seem to take up more space in the last bed. I have picked a few strawberries and they are little delicious snacks.

The last shot for this update is one of the lonely raised bed behind the garage. It was mostly cleared out and left like this for a while. I left all the cages and bamboo in it in order to keep the cats out but I spent some time today cleaning it out totally and started over. The bed has been replanted with a large portion of the seeds I harvested from the marigolds. I also tossed in some sunflower and wildflower seeds. I don't know how it will go, but we'll just have to wait and see. Once the planting/seeding was done, this was covered up with the yard guard.

Well, we have come to the end of this update. Stay tuned for the next one.

Luis

Find the rest of the photos for this update HERE!

Planned Garden Upgrades

The garden this year has been productive but it still needs a little work. I am trying to put a list together of all the upgrades I think/believe I need. I know there are people out there that may have had similar ideas and I would love some feedback.

Upgrades needed/working on:

1. Finish building covers for raised beds and in-ground garden area.

2. Possibly more raised beds.

3. Cleaning up small area along wall and possibly put in small raised beds.

4. Find items for trellis building.

5. Suggestions??

I may end up adding or removing items from this list.

Luis

Monday, October 24, 2011

Farm Update: 10/23/11

As you can see, the tomatoes are still hanging on. This is one of the handful of tomato plants that are still producing. These specific tomatoes will be cooked and eaten tonight. Many tomatoes have been already eaten/given away but we have no issues with more fruit.



All but one plant, in the back bed, was pulled except for one. I originally filled this bed with only compost and it has been broken down over the season. The soil looks great and will be amended with more compost. I was thinking of moving this bed out to the main part of the garden but there isn't enough room. Some tomato plants would need to be taken out.

I am not sure what I can grow back here but I may just toss in some flower seeds and see what happens. The tomato plants back here didn't produce as much as hoped but I can always try different things.


 I am happy to report that the small beds, along the wall, have started showing signs of life. There are many seedlings that have come up but I am expecting many more. These beds include some greens and root veggies. These are the beds that my dad help built and he's excited to see what comes out of it. I promised him I would share.



There are many kumquats on the tree and they will all be enjoyed. I haven't gone through and counted the young fruits but let's just say that we will have more than enough,. Of course, my wife is ecstatic about it and can't wait. When we bought the tree, it had tons of fruit on it but have only been able to eat 1 kumquat. I moved the tree into a very large container, put it in the shade, and started watering it more often. It's funny how much difference a little attention makes.

The last photo for this week, shows a poblano pepper plant. This is one of 3 pepper plants under the stand-alone row cover frame. The peppers aren't really large but they do the trick.

This brings me to my next garden project.. I am looking to build pvc frames with some bird netting. This will hopefully keep the cats out and allow the plants to get bigger. I can always put blankets or anything else on top if the weather gets a bit cold.

This is it for this update and the corresponding photo set can be found HERE!

Luis

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Farm Update: 10/16/11

We start this update with a shot of the small harvest from this weekend. The eggplants were a very nice surprise that were found hiding on the plant. There are many more fruits on the plant and we hope to enjoy as many of them as possible. This year has been a little low on the eggplant, especially after last year's bounty.

The tomatoes supply for this year is slowly winding down but there is a steady supply of them still. The pepper plants are still producing as well and still look good.

Here are the main beds of the garden and they are still kicking for the season. The bottom right plant is the massive eggplant I was just talking about. Also in this shot, pepper and tomato plants.

The bed with the yard guard over it has cucumbers, bush beans, and few root veggies. The seedlings seem to be growing fine with the warm weather. I just hope it will continue for a while and helps get the plants get to a decent size. I don't know how much it will produce, or if it does, but there is only one way to find out.

The whole garden is show here and everything is seen. We'll start on the right with the blue, stand-alone, row cover. This one is built with pvc, a few fittings, plastic tablecloth and some duct tape. It is a stand-alone unit that will be properly installed at some point.

More tomato plants and pepper plants around it. Like you just read, the beds are still kicking. The last bed on the right is my strawberry bed and it has started to look good. There are plans to have structures put into the beds that will be used to keep the cats out.

The last shot for this week is the tomato plant in the bbq structure. I have grown potatoes in this "planter" and had some success but this tomato plant is doing much better. Large fruits have come from this plant and it continues to produce. When I transplanted this plant into it, I sure didn't expect the amazing results.

I will be back soon with another update and will be posting more photos.


The photos for this update can be found HERE!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Farm Update 10/04/11

I am back this week with more photos and news from the "farm". Two new small beds were built an added to the growing number of beds. There are sprouting seeds already and more are on their way. 

As you can see, I have cat-proofed the beds by covering them and added bricks to help hold it all down. I am  using an accordion like fence and 6 of the metal squares that came from a tomato cage I took apart. I bought pvc to assemble row covers for all the beds but haven't gotten there yet and this is a great solution for now. 

These beds are 1.5 foot x 3 feet and sit along a shared wall. The other side of the wall is the neighbor's drive-way. The construction for these is the same as the larger beds but just smaller. I filled these with grass clippings from the compost bin and some store bought garden soil. The actual soil is only a few inches deep. I mixed everything and then just planted. I must say that without help from dad, these may not have been finished in the speedy time that it was. So, thank you dad!

Cucumber seeds were also sowed and they have already sprouted. Also in the same bed, bush beans have sprouted. I know it is really late in the season but the weather here doesn't cool down for a while. I have only taken out the tomatoes from the one bed and a 2 pepper plants. The plants weren't doing well and needed to go.

The recently planted varieties have a maturation date of less than 60 days and may give us some much needed cukes. We ate 3 or 4 this year but want more. I think we are mater'd out. 




As you can clearly see, the growing has definitely not stopped this year yet. The bed on the left has one plant that really stands out. This is a yellow pear tomato plant and this one plant has been producing at a steady rate. This bed also houses a bell pepper and a banana pepper plant. This has been the only banana pepper plant all season and we can't keep up with it! We've given away peppers like crazy from not only this plant but all of the green bell plants as well.  I may not plant so many bell peppers this Spring. Yes, I am already thinking of next Spring.


This is a shot of the tomato plants that are left of the season, and these  5-6 plants are keeping us stocked. I gave some tomatoes to my mother in law and a friend last night. We are free of tomatoes for now, although I'm pretty sure that there are some in the fridge. As you can see, there are more tomatoes on the plants and I  just harvested a handful of them. 



We have been blessed with very large amounts of fresh organic produce from a 100 square foot garden, and the season is not really done yet! I plan on getting more intense for next Spring and do more successive planting. I am also adding more beds to the garden and "finishing" up the landscaping. I don't think I will ever be "done" with the garden but better organization is always a plus. I am also looking for more places to put a few small beds around the yard. I am also planning on expanding my berry library. I've already got strawberries but plan on adding blueberries for sure. 

The last photo of this week shows one of the many seeds that have sprouted in the small beds. Of course, I will now include the new beds in the updates and will be sharing the joy with my dad. He was happy to know the progress that has already occurred in only a week.

Until next time!

Luis

This week's photos can be found HERE!