The ONE tomato seed that germinated was this, the trusty Stupice (pronounced Stu-peach-ka) tomato. Most of my seeds have entered their 3rd year in my kitchen cabinet and so I can conveniently blame their age for lack of successful seed sprouting this spring, having nothing to do with my 30 hour work week which I’ve never had since beginning my edible quest some 4 years ago. And it’s no big deal that this tomato plant is about a month behind the tomato curve because Stupice is one tomato that is a lover of the fall, a welcomer of the sudden cool days that can sneak up in early autumn when we’re still passing them off as summer. In 2012 I was still harvesting these medium sized red Czechoslovakian heirlooms in January. Yes, that’s right.
Category Archives: beans
Sunday Family Dinner Harvest
On the menu tonight is a summery salade nicoise for some family coming over for dinner. Growing up my grandmother loved making this salad in the summer. She always added capers to the typical ingredients of green beans, boiled potatoes and eggs, tuna, tomatoes olives and artichoke hearts. Tonight I’ll also be adding basil and a side of grilled peaches with a honey butter glaze.
New Orchard Addition
I like to think of my small collection of fruit trees as my “mini orchard”. I bought a struggling peach tree for dirt cheap (pun intended) from where I work. It had been in a pot for a few years and needed to get in the ground and stretch it’s legs. She is an Eva’s Pride, which harvests a full month before my Red Baron peach. AND it requires even less chilling hours…only 100-200, great for areas like mine in coastal southern CA.
Our First Beans
What a dreamy space to escape to in one’s own backyard. In January my husband started the lone-man job of creating this garden retreat for our family. For many years he has talked about the possibility of how much more space we could have in our backyard if we excavated portions of our huge slope. A few years back we planted CA natives on the 3,000 square foot expanse and became quite comfortable in our goat-y abilities.
Here is the progress 3 months into the project (first blogged about here) with the efforts of primarily one person (and the occasional little helper).
Next the structure will be built! Well, after the pavers go in and the footing for the outdoor fireplace…
When Spring comes, she doesn’t mess around!
The following is an interesting comparison:
About a month ago I bought a few nematode resistant tomato starts at my local big box store (these are harder to find at real nurseries. Weird, I know). I bought them at the same size and planted them out on the same day. The first photo is Park’s Whopper and the second is Celebrity.
Quite a bit different, right? Park’s Whopper has BARELY grown, while Celebrity has taken off like a weed. The overall health, color, size and vigor of Celebrity surpasses Park’s Whopper by a long shot. The difference? Celebrity is in a grow pot.
Now, I know all the nay sayers will think, “The ground soil is not as good as the potting soil in the grow pot.” And while that may be true, my ground soil is nothing to scoff at. I have amended it for over 2 years with homemade and store-bought composts. I believe that it is the grow pot’s excellent drainage, extra-heated soil from the black fabric, and air-pruned roots that make the difference…all things that ground soils could never truly duplicate. The proof is in the pudding!
Green Bean Seedlings
This year I’m growing three types of green beans: Alabama #1, Blue Marbut and Rattlesnake. I love that green beans germinate at close to 100%. The ease and speed with which these guys get going really is impressive. They don’t like to be soggy, but don’t let them dry out or they’ll droop. I caught a snail munching on them the other evening, so now they live on top of the patio table until they go in the ground, some in a few days, the rest in a week or so. Once in the ground, I’ll protect them from rodents with clear plastic beverage containers that have had their tops and bottoms cut off.
Is It Spring Yet?
I’m so excited for Spring, I’m posting a day early because I just couldn’t wait. Who’s to say that it doesn’t already feel like Spring, what with the warmer weather and blooming trees and flowers around Southern CA. My garden is ready, too!
What better first photo than a Rattlesnake Pole Bean seedling? Due to my root-knot nematode situation, I’ve decided to stop fighting (it’s been almost a year) and go with the flow. Many, many tomatoes have been developed to be root knot nematode resistant (the ‘N’ in VFN on seed packets and seedling tags), but not so many of the other veggies. Almost none, in fact. I found one pole bean from Hawaii, but of course it’s scarce and can’t be shipped to the mainland. Thus, I decided to go with the advice of seasoned edible gardeners. Within gardening discussions, I found talk of some pole beans that are not resistant varieties, but more so varieties that TOLERATE the nematodes and can still thrive. Rattlesnake, Alabama #1 and Blue Marbut are all such pole beans. Rattlesnake is fairly common and I was able to find the other two both through Sand Hill Preservation.
Welcome, Spring! You are my favorite season…
I’m getting over my nematode crisis and I have to say that not everything in the garden is going poorly. I had myself quite the harvest a few days ago, mainly thanks to my primary edible bed, which is separate from the root knot nematode quarantine. In this case, two separate beds really pays off. Plus, one receives more shade in the cooler months than the other, which makes it ideal for lettuces, beets etc., while the other receives full sun veggies year-round.
I started off the spring with tomatoes in this raised bed, but realized when they began to struggle that it wasn’t quite deep enough for them. So, I cut my losses and re-seeded it with summer scallop squash, basil, lettuce, golden beets and broccoli.
So there you have it. These photos capture the reason why I will continue to fight the good fight against garden foes in the name of beautiful summer harvests, simple bean flowers, and the promise of fresh, homegrown food. Not all is lost in my little edible back yard. 🙂