Saturday, July 21, 2012

Bounty of Seeds!

Last weekend was my birthday and my lovely wife surprised me by taking me up to Northern California. We love the Redwoods and have been dying to go back. We had my birthday dinner at the Samoa Cookhouse right outside of Eureka, CA. The best dinner birthday dinner ever and the split pea soup is phenomenal there.

On the drive up, I realized that we would be going near Petaluma, CA. Home of American Graffiti fame but also home to the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company! We were both excited for completely different reasons. The store is closed on Saturdays and we told ourselves that we would have to make a pit stop on the way back, on Sunday. We needed to be back in Oakland, to catch the flight home, in the very early afternoon. We left our hotel in Arcata, CA around 6am or so.

When we got to Petaluma, I took off for the store and she walked around town. I spent over an hour in the store, alone. I put some seeds back but still managed to end up with a $60 tab.

I am now going to share with you what those $60 amounted to:

Tomatoes:
Old Yellow Candy Stripe
Plum Lemon
Purple Russian
Tomatillo: Purple Coban
Topaz or Huan U
Violet Jasper
Chocolate Purple

Eggplants:
Red China
Round Mauve
Thai Yellow Egg

Peppers:

Chocolate Habanero
Patio Red Marconi
Red Mini Bell


Beans:
Bush: Royalty Purple Pod
Fava: Extra Precoce A Grano Violetto
Kabouli Black Garbanzo


Brassicas:
Kale: Dwarf Siberian
Lettuce: Mignotte Bronze

Other:
Swiss Chard: Rainbow or Five Color Silverbeet
Beet: Early Wonder
Carrot: Shin Koroda 5"
Cucumber: Lemon

That's what $60 in seeds look like and I plan on trying to grow them all at some point or another. I will try to save as many seeds as possible. I don't know what I would do with all of them but we'll see. I won't have to worry about it for a while since most of these are for Spring 2013.

Until next time,

Luis

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Farm Update!

I was walking around the garden yesterday and was inspired to pull out the camera. I wanted to show off how well everything is doing in the garden.

The first shot  shows about 10 tomatoes on this one section. There are other blossoms on the plant above this area but no actual tomatoes.

Of course, I don't know what variety this is yet but should know shortly. They actually look like they will ripen yellow which means they are Jubilees. The wife and I split a ripe one of these today and they are very tasty. The texture of this variety feels like I am eating peach. The flesh just feels that way and it is a mild flavor.

The first tomato variety that I ever tried to grow was Green Zebra. I was taking a biology class as part of the coursework. I don't remember what the reason for it was but it piqued my interest in gardening.  Of course, I ended up killing that tomato plant and didn't get any fruit from it but I wanted to grow that variety ever since and I can now say that I have.

I bought this plant as a seedling at a local plant sale and it has just taken off. The fruit is simply gorgeous and we ate the first one last week but it is just a bit too tart / sour for me but the wife loves it that way. This plant is producing well and I will try and save some seeds to add to my collection.

After killing the first tomato plant ever and moving into the new home, I decided to really try and grow something. One of the plants in that first garden was squash, Spaghetti Squash to be exact. I had no idea what I was doing and just threw some seeds in the ground. Two seeds sprouted and grew long vines. I ended up with 3-4 squash that first time around.

I saved some seeds from those first squash and planted them this year. It is going extremely well. The trellis is 3 feet wide by 6 feet tall and has 4-5 squash already. I have already harvested a squash that is just over 6 lbs and there is one in this photo that seems to be bigger than that already.

The wife and I go out for sushi sometimes and we love the Edamame that is brought out that the beginning of the meal. While shopping for the Blue Jade Corn seeds at Seed Savers, I found some soy beans that can be eaten as Edamame. This variety is Envy and I and ready to start picking these shortly. This variety only grows to about 2 feet tall and as you can see, is a very good producer. I haven't picked any because the beans don't look to be too big. I will probably just pick a couple to try out. I planted many of these in various areas in the garden. I included it in the beans I planted in what used to be the corn bed. I will be posting as to what I find out.

I know this has been a tomato have post but I am very happy with the results of the heirloom varieties and have been enjoying these delicious fruits for about a week or two.

Overall, I must say that I am very pleased with this year's garden and hope to keep improving, All of the produce from the garden is being eaten. Two people can only eat so much, so it will be shared with family and friends.

That's it for now and I will be back soon with more updates!

Luis

 P.S.: There are more garden photos in the Flickr Set for this update HERE!


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Farm Update!

I'm back with another update! There has been many things going on in life and in the garden.

Here is the newest garden decoration that is just hanging out. It looks right at home.



This is the first ripe tomato of the year and there are many more to come. Of course, I don't know what variety this is. I just know it will be tasty. There are many large heirloom tomatoes all around but the heat has not really kicked in to ripen them. This one was just clipped today and will ripen a little bit more in the kitchen.



When making your own compost and if everything is not fully broken down, you may end up with some volunteer plants. I do not know exactly that plant this is but it is obviously a gourd of sorts. There is only one way to find out. I have only seen one bloom on it and it was a male bloom, I need both at the same time to make some magic.



This plant has been mistaken for other things. I first thought this was broccoli but "heads" never started forming. I was going through seed packets to decide what to plant in my mom's garden and came across a siberian kale packet and it looked like a match but not quite. I then remembered that I had an excel worksheet that I had thrown together. The final verdict came in and we are enjoying some collards.


The last shot for this update is of my "spacemaster cukes" and there are many blooms on it but no cukes yet. I've got other plants that will, hopefully, be putting out more than we can eat. I'd like to see trellis full and heavy with fruit.

I will try and post soon with any new developments.


Until next time!

Luis

P.S: The photos for this update can be found here!

Monday, May 7, 2012

May Garden Update

I'm back with another post to show off what I have growing in the garden. I'm trying a few new things this year. The first major thing is the 3x3 bed full of corn. I found this little furry spider on the corn but was not able to ID it. I know the photo is not that great but it is the best one I got since this is a fast little creature. I checked my newest insect book to no avail. If anybody else out there knows what it is, please help me out.

I am happy with the way the garden is going this year and figured that I should finally share it in a post.


Before we get to the new photos of the garden, here is a great way to start seeds. This is a half gallon milk carton that was cut open and drainage holes were added. I learned how to do this at a class I took over at the Natural History Museum. There was a great series of gardening classes with a Master Gardener.

The bottom three are Nasturtiums, the middle row are radishes and the top to are bush beans. I don't plan on leaving them in here. I will be leaving the radishes in there til they are done but I will try to transplant the bush beans.

I will be making more of these "seed trays". We buy our milk at Costco and one package has 3 cartons and they will all be used. I have many flower seed packets and they will be placed around the garden to attract the beneficial insects.

 Here are 3 of the 5 lettuce plants for this year. I may plant some more between the some large plants to have them shaded. These have all been trimmed down but not entirely pulled. The weather will be warming up and the lettuce may bolt. I know I'm not the only one that goes through this every year.



As amazing as those lettuce look, this is the onion bed. This is a mixture of white, yellow and red onions and are some of the best onions that I have ever tasted. There are way too many for us to eat and some have been given away to anybody that will take them.

I also had some carrots, radishes and beets growing in this same bed but those are all gone. The bush beans and cucumbers have also sprouted and will be making their way up the trellis.


I've expanded the garden to the long bed along the wall here. These are 3 pepper plants that were put in. The posts were hammered into the ground about a foot and it sticks out just around 3 feet. I have loosely attached it to the posts and will keep tying it up.

Well, this is it for now but there are a few more photos for you. I have too many pictures to put into a single blog post.




I will try to be back soon!

Luis

The Flickr set for this update can be found HERE!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Farm Update!

Hello out there! I am back with a post with photos! My first photo is of one of the many corn seedlings that have sprouted! I read about Blue Jade Corn in my Sunset Magazine issue from a few months ago. I went online and ordered from Seed Savers. I ordered a few other things as well but this was the main reason for the order. The corn is only supposed to be 3 feet tall with 3-6 ears per plant. I don't know how well it will turn out, but we'll see.

Of course, seeds have been started indoors and are slowly being acclimated to the outdoors. I have moved out many of the seedlings in the actual tray and have transplanted them into yogurt cups. I have started more seeds in the spaces that were opened up. There is no sense in leaving the area empty. Besides, I feel like I am running behind this year already.

I've dedicated a full 3x3 bed for the blue jade corn but also have started more seeds in trays in case not all of the seeds in the bed germinate correctly.



I sowed some root veggies in the Fall and they are doing fantastic. The photo shows some beets with gorgeous tops. I'm not sure if the tops are edible but they look amazing. This bed also has newly planted onion bulbs. Red, white and sweet onions take up most of the bed and those have started to show signs of life. There is also a small batch of carrots that were planted with the beets and these are looking look too.


We've also got fava beans growing in the garden this season and I have no idea what to expect. The seeds for these came from the seed packets that my mother in law gave me. We don't know what we are going to do with all of these beans but I'm sure they will not go to waste.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


The last photo shows my brand new babies from the nursery. I have a dedicated bed for strawberries but it is only about half full. I will be adding these seedlings once they grow up. I know that once I get them into the ground, they will take off and I can't wait.

This is it for now and I hope to update more often.

Luis

This week's photos can be found here.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Farm Update!

Hello out there,

I'm back with another post without photos but I am hoping to have them for the next update. I have been working hard on the farm. I've added more beds but at half the height of the original ones and attached bird netting to keep the cats out. I could use chicken wire but it is more expensive to replace every year.

Seeds were started last week and almost all of them have sprouted. Most of the seeds I started indoors were the ones that my mother in law brought over that had been packed for 2009. I started them last Monday and most had sprouted within 3 days. I don't know how they had been stored before but they seem to be doing great.

While out searching for more bamboo poles, I found large bags of onion bulbs, and more seeds. I ended up buying a bag of red onions, sweet onions and I believe white onions. Seed packets included bright lights swiss chard, brussel sprouts, and a few others.

Not much else to talk about for this update. I hope to have pictures for the next update.


Luis