Saturday, August 24, 2013

It's tomato time!

Here they are, heirloom tomatoes of the Marglobe variety, fresh from my garden.  My tomatoes grew small, measuring only 2" to 3" in diameter.  Aside from planting the seedling, purchased from the local nursery, and staking it early on, I did very little maintenance.  I was lucky in that there were no problems with hornworms or other kinds, and the plant has remained healthy and disease free.  From Wikipedia, I have copied the following information:

  • "The Marglobe tomato was developed in 1917 by Frederick J. Pritchard of the United States Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Experiment Station by crossing the Globe and Marvel tomatoes ("Marglobe" is a fusion of the two names). It was publicly released by the USDA in 1925, and was one of the first disease-resistant strains that also had a good resistance to Verticillium and Fusarium wilt.[1] The Marglobe tomato is the parent of many tomato varieties, such as Rutgers."

Monday, July 22, 2013

It's tomato time!

Better Bush tomatoes
Sun Sweet cherry tomatoes up front; plum tomatoes in the background
Mid-July and it's tomato time!  Tomatoes are ripening on the vine, and every day I pick a few.  This has been my most successful tomato growing season ever.  I attribute this partly to the varieties that I chose to grow this year and, more importantly, to the good growing conditions as a result of Ray's help in building raised beds and installing irrigation.  I have had zero success with zucchini and pumpkin and pulled the plants early due to mosaic virus and leaf miners that wouldn't quit.  Growing watermelons was another failure.  Homegrown watermelon, zucchini and pumpkins sound like such a fun project, but I doubt I'll be trying that again. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

"I'm just a lucky duck..."

Herb garden in the making...
This past weekend, Papa Paz worked in the hot summer heat, amending the poor soil on the hillside at Wienie Dog Hill, to prepare for fall planting and to help me realize my greatest dream: to create a heavenly herb garden.  It's not fall yet and probably a bit too warm to be planting; but, with careful tending and mindful watering, the plants should survive these hot Temecula summer days.  I have studied all the herb books in my library and have researched all kinds of herb varieties.  This a work in progress: planning, picking, and finally planting carefully selected herbs and flowers.  So far, I have put in one of each of the following: Barbeque Rosemary, Coronation Gold yarrow, French lavender, white sage, Echinacea (White Pow Wow), a miniature white rose bush, and a Lamb's Ear plant.  The soil is just perfect, thanks to Ray's good efforts, so now it remains for me to be patient and see how everything grows.  More likely than not, I'll be moving plants around like musical chairs until I find just the right balance.

Balsamic Marinated Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

Balsamic Marinated Tomato and Mozzarella Salad
One of the joys of having a kitchen garden is to take fruit, vegetables and herbs, fresh from the garden, and make something delicious to eat.  This summer, my Sun Sweet tomatoes have provided a bountiful harvest of sweet cherry tomatoes.  Yesterday I made this very delicious Balsamic Marinated Tomato and Mozzarella Salad to eat with dinner.  I used cherry tomatoes, basil and a clove of garlic, all grown in my garden.  Yummy delicious! 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Hot summer harvest...

Summer Harvest:  Jalapenos, Better Bush tomatoes, Sun Sweet cherry tomatoes
There are many gaps in my postings, from early spring where I left off, to now.  Here we are, already at mid-summer, in the midst of a hot and humid July.  The plants are not bothered by the humidity, and thrive with mindful watering and care; but for me, the humidity makes me wilt!  My zucchini (there was only one) succumbed early on to some kind of leaf virus, and I had to pull that one.  The Sugar Pie pumpkin plant (again, only one vine) didn't survive past its initial lush beginnings; my greatest disappointment.  I had also planted two Sugar Baby watermelon on the dirt hill and, so far, there is only one good-sized mini melon, almost ready to pick.  If I were to grow these again, I might put a protective covering over the vines to prevent leaf miner damage, and I would also enrich the soil with organic stuff.  But that's a handful of work for such hit and miss results, so I'll have give some thought to what goes into the garden next season.  All that aside, the jalapenos, and New Mexico peppers, as well as the tomatoes, are all thriving and giving fruit.  Besides jalapeno poppers, I'll have to think of what to do with so many jalapenos.  A girl can eat only so much salsa.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Seedlings and other things

Kale, sweet onions and garlic
At the end of April, here's a small peek of early spring at the Casita.  For the very first time, I planted veggie seeds for transplanting.  To my amazement and delight, they have sprouted and I now have healthy seedlings ready to go.  My selection include Tom Thumb peas, Sugar Daddy snap peas, a hybrid zucchini for small gardens, Micro Tom tomatoes (the world's smallest tomato plant?), bush cucumbers and Sugar Pie pumpkin seeds.  While we have a pretty big back yard, my actual planting area is limited; hence the micro-size selections.  The kale, green onions and sweet onions have flourished beyond my greatest expectations.  And the garlic is growing very well, too.  There's surely no greater pleasure that gathering one's own veggies from the kitchen garden.  Ray and I have enjoyed many green smoothies this season, using fresh-picked kale leaves.  Kale leaves, you may ask?  Mixed with bananas, pineapple and strawberry yogurt, the flavor is truly yummy.  As for roses, we've been in Temecula for nearly three years now and this year's been a bumper crop; healthy, fragrant and oh so sweet!  I've still much to do and, therefore, at this time of year, more likely than not, you'll find me in the garden.

Roses in full bloom, April 2013

Friday, January 25, 2013

 Kale (Winterbor variety) seedlings in the garden, next to green onions and garlic.  Temps continue to be cold, which is said to benefit kale, the colder the better to keep bitterness away.  What to do with kale?  I use mine to make Green Smoothies, a healthful drink made with yogurt, bananas, pineapple and kale (or spinach), all blended together; sweet and yummy, like a milkshake.  This is true!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Garlic 'n green onion

Garlic and green onions; planted late December 2012
Itching to get back to gardening despite that it's winter.   I visited the local nursery and had hoped to bring home a variety of herbs, but offerings are limited this time of year.  I was especially looking for parsley, cilantro, lemon thyme and sage.  Still, there were garlic and green onion seedlings available and so I picked up a couple of six paks.  I passed on lettuces and bak choi;  we're not big salad eaters and my picked lettuce gets wilty so quickly anyway.  I do enjoy growing green onions and have had good success with those.  Never have grown garlic before, but want to give it a go and see what happens.  As always, I bought a pak of Johnny Jump Ups, my favorite little flower, to set in among the herbs and such.
Wintertime at the Casita; on the lookout
January 2013; Happy New Year.  Frosty outside, but not frozen.  Little gnome friend, looking over the garden in the back.