Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I was browsing garden websites this morning and discovered it's tomato time in Southern California!! As I clicked around from site to site I learned our last frost was 2/11 which means we can put our tomatoes in the ground! So if your favorite spring / summer harvest is the tomato I'll share with you the best guide I've found for all things tomato. My favorite starting place for garden questions is Margaret Roach's website Away to Garden. She used to be a big cheese at Martha Stewart's OmniMedia and the website has that same practical, handy-dandy, friendly sensibility. In the meantime, I'm going to get some tomato plants in the ground ASAP!

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Big Bust of Fall 2009

Just because we haven't posted doesn't mean we haven't been gardening.

The Fall 2009 garden was a bit of a bust. The area that produced such a prolific spring / summer garden last year seems to completely suck as a home for a fall /winter garden. As you can see in the photo nothing really took off. It all kind of got halfway there. The seeds for the beets & turnips were sooooo slow to sprout. The first batch of beets - planted in the middle of September - are just showing their shoulders. We'll probably pull on in the next few days to see if it's ready. Our broccoli plants have like one bite of broccoli on each stalk. The cauliflower is a decent size but has no flowers. And the brussell sprouts never matured. Our greens - Red Romaine, French Market Mix, Spinach, Iceberg Lettuce -- never thrived. And the mix of seeds I planted to replenish the greens just never sprouted. Seeds for salad greens are supposed to be like weeds. Supposedly, you toss them in the garden, give them a light dusting of dirt and they take care of the rest. Not so for us. Apparently, we have LOTS to learn about lettuces & greens. Perhaps the first lesson is that we should have used the sunny spot in the front of the house that we cleared & prepped.

The one bright spot was our arugula, which we grew from a small plant in a container. It thrived. We've been eating off of that like crazy.

Oh, those plastic Crystal Geyser bottles are not an odd choice for a garden decoration. They're homemade cloches. We read about them in the handy-dandy "You Grow Girl" gardening book we were given for Christmas. We put them over our struggling spinach plants and it actually helped. The bottles create a mini-greenhouse for your plant. Just be sure to remove the bottle cap otherwise you'll suffocate your plant.