Thursday, March 17, 2011

Garden time!

OK... time for a planting & photo update around the ol' urban homestead.

First of all, SNOW!!! We live in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, so snow is not a regular occurrance around these parts. I think we had a little hail a couple of years ago. But this year, a freak storm brought us snow. Or rather something sorta like snow. It was chunkier than snow, but softer than hail; technically, I guess it was something called graupel. But I'm going to call it snow! Here's snow in our herb garden... again, probably not astonishing to most people, but around here, it was BIG news.

In other news, today I went ahead and started planting for summer. First up, beans. We had limited success with dried beans last year, but mostly because the Little One turned off the water to the bed, and I didn't notice it until the plants were yellowing. And of course, it was when they were mid flowering, so it limited our yield quite a bit. We still had enough for a pot of baked beans, but I'm hoping for more this year. I also started beet seeds around the edge of the beans, and then started a couple Japanese vegetables (shiso and shishito peppers) in pots. I've been making a lot of bentos for lunch lately, so I wanted to add some of my favorite Japanese flavors to our garden.

Not planted, but still to come: tomatoes, eggplant and more peppers. Last year was a disaster for tomatoes. One of them had an undiagnosed virus, failed to grow beyond a seedling and infected 2 of the 3 other plants. So we ended up with one brandywine plant that produced two, count 'em TWO humongous tomatoes. They were super tasty and astonishing in size... but not very useful from the standpoint of getting food on the table every night. Eggplants have been our big winners for a few years running now. I plant a chinese variety called ping tung long and they put out and put out and put out. I'm talking 15-30 eggplant per plant stretched from July through until October. I buy them as small plants with no argument over the price because the yields make them worth every cent. Especially when compared to supermarket prices.

Being as we live in California though... I'm not just thinking about summer planting, we have veggies in the ground right now. Mainly kale, turnips & beets. I harvested a HUGE pile of turnip greens when it snowed because the tops were getting damaged by the ice. But now, they've fully bounced back, as you can see in the second picture, and I've got another pile of greens to cook up AND I have to figure out what I want to do with the roots. Hmmm... I haven't really cooked turnips much before... maybe pickled or roasted?

And then there's the beets... mmmm... I love beets! I'm so excited for them to start getting big enough to nom on.

I'll leave you with some instructions on raking from the Little One. Yes, his arms are covered with temp tattoos... don't judge, it's my low clutter solution for potty prizes.


  1. Loved the video!!! I just started some eggplant and tomatillos in a seed starter. Going to wait after this weekend's rain and it warms up again to plant my tomatoes. I have soooo many beet and onion sprouts coming up right now! And spinach and arugula! I'm so excited about my new garden! And peppers, I need to do peppers!

    I really want to dry beans this year. I haven't started any yet, I have a feeling it's going to get cold at least one more time before I should start them. But once the cold comes and goes I'll get beans in the ground. How did you dry yours? Did you let them dry on the plant or you end up pulled up the plants and hanging them upside down? This is all new to me!

  2. I let them dry on the plants, in part because we didn't have a great place to hang them. And then we got a second (much smaller) harvest out of them! That's what I'm probably going to try for again.

    If you want bean seeds, let me know. The ones I have were packed for 2009, and while I expect they'll be viable this year, I'm not so sure about 2012. This year I'm going to start seed saving.

  3. I'd love bean seeds!! Guess that means we'll have to definitely get together. I have zero recollection of when we were supposed to do that. I sure hope it wasn't supposed to be, now that I think about it. Next week will be better anyhow. The bean caught the cold we had last week.

  4. Oh god girl... I'm SOOOOOOO freaking busy. If y'all can make it to D's birthday, I could get them to you then... otherwise, I may just pop them in the mail to you. Price of a stamp is probably cheaper than gas.

  5. When's his birthday? I know we talked about it the other day...I think...the mail would work, too. Honestly I didn't even think about that! Duh.