Flowers Galore

Beauty has woken from it’s slumber and the flowers around the backyard are bountiful.

Golden nasturtiums.  They're edible and are beautiful as a garnish on salads.

Golden nasturtiums. They’re edible and are beautiful as a garnish on salads.

Royal Lee Cherry in full bloom.

Royal Lee Cherry blooming away.

Today I tried my hand at being a pinch hitter pollenator.  While there are some bees around the garden, I hadn’t seen much activity on this cherry tree.  Being that this one cross pollenates with Minnie Royal, and that one bloomed later with only 4 blooms so far, I decided to increase my odds of ending up with a real, live cherry in May.  I took the smallest paintbrush I could find and gently brushed the pollen from the flowers of one tree and brushed what I collected onto the stigma (the longest part of the center of the flower) of the other tree, and vice a versa.

Here's what I believe to be the beginnings of a grape cluster!

Here’s what I believe to be the beginnings of a grape cluster!

Lettuce going to seed, yet also very floral-like.

Lettuce going to seed, yet also very floral-like.


Virtual Garden Tour

A Cherokee Purple Heirloom Tomato that is really taking off. Growing tomatoes from seed this year has been so rewarding and definitely worth it.

Sequoia strawberry is also stretching it's legs. That little white berry is my first ever home-grown strawberry!

Many heirloom tomato seedlings having graduated up to the next level and are now continuing their growth in larger recycled pots that I saved from some nursery purchases. These are destined to be Mother's Day gifts! They really start maturing just at the right time. 🙂

A rainbow cherry tomato. Remember that cherry tomato seed packet that I found with 5 different colored tomatoes all in one packet? Well this is one of those. It'll be exciting to see what color this one will be! White, red, orange, yellow or green. Cool!

Last year I tried seed saving for the first time and I guess I did something right because this seedling is from a seed I saved from my pole green beans! The longer you collect seed from any given plant season after season, the more acclimated the seeds/plants become to your particular conditions and the better it does.

There were about 6 shoots coming from this green seedless Thompson grapevine. I read that you should chose the two thickest, healthiest shoots and cut off the rest. The idea is that you train up one main shoot the first year grown from bare-root and the second is a backup just in case something happens to the first. Ever since I cut off the other shoots, the growth has greatly increased. The main shoot will then create it’s own shoots next year and those will be trained horizontally. By that time this baby will be out of it’s huge pot and in the ground.  I found a few helpful videos on youtube.

A future peach. I’ve seen a significant lack of bees this year and I wondered how many of the flowers would get pollinated to go on to form a peach.  A veggie garden blog that I follow (and would highly recommend) called My Tiny Plot in Bath, England recently made this post about how she hand pollinated her peach. It seems that somehow there are plenty of peaches for harvest this summer on my tree, perhaps around 50 for this one 5 year old tree.

The Diana fig seems happy. Just wish it would grow more! It's 3 years.

Can't wait! Figs are a unique favorite of mine and can be made into some elegant dishes.

A few of the Silkies poking around the new bed. The grass was dewy that morning, which slicks back the feathers around their faces and actually allows me to see their eyes! A rare treat!

A volunteer nasturtium cascading down the blueberry pot.

Here's what the Double Delight nectarine has been up to.

.....And the Burgundy plum.

Over the winter I took out some sad shrubs from this planter leading to my doorway and created a grouping of three brick colored pots which also match the front door. There’s a palm also in this planted and it’s roots have made planting almost anything in the ground here impossible.  I’ve planted some succulents around the pots, so hopefully they will manage.  In the  2 larger pots are tomatoes and the smallest some All Season Butterhead lettuce.

How could I overlook this beauty on my photo extravaganza?

California poppy I seeded last year.

I hope you all have enjoyed the tour.  I’ll be here all week.  Feel free to tip your waitress.

Potato Futures

Always thinking about ways to improve and diversify my garden, I read about a southern CA gardener who uses fabric grow pots in her driveway to grow potatoes.  Never having heard of these types of pots, I did a bit of research.  It seems that these are the ideal pots to grow potatoes in because they allow the roots and soil to breathe.  They are also extremely light weight and inexpensive!  Here’s the company’s website I purchased mine from.  My local nursery said they they get in seed potatoes in January, so I should be ready to go!  You have to grow certified seed potatoes from a nursery because the store bought ones have been sprayed with growth retardant (sounds really healthy).  I nabbed up two 30 gallon grow pots to allow for plenty of potatoes, each pot for a different variety.

Today as I was out and about in the garden, I took a few photos of some recent happenings.

My potted blueberry bush is setting all kinds of flowers. I love how petite and pretty they are.

When I moved into our home there were nasturtiums all over. Good thing I happen to like them! I've continued to spread their seeds each year. They are starting to sprout up with the fall rains. They look gorgeous on salad and cakes.

One of my four Stupice heirloom tomatoes. So many fruit to look forward to!

Sugar snap seedling.

Man does broccoli take it's time! I'm finally being rewarded with the signs of upcoming florets.

These carrots are survivors! I'm so glad I gave these little guys a chance to rebound from their duel with the mice. Now that the mice are gone (for the meantime), they have all kinds of new leaves, which I'm hoping will still provide beautiful carrots, albeit a little later than expected.

The beets are growing and keep calling my name. Patience, I tell myself!

The wall 'o peas. I need to think of a better way to support these sugar snaps. I just can't bring myself to spend money on a bean support system, so hopefully I can employ my husband to help me be creative.

Stupice and cherry tomatoes.

More harvest!