Friday, March 31, 2017

March in the Edible Garden

It's easy to take more photos of my flower gardens than my vegetable garden. Especially now when everything is small and just beginning for this season. I was pleased with the harvests with the fall garden and while some of those plants are still producing (garlic, cilantro, tomato, carrot, green onion, basil), I tore out a few crops when the weather warmed up (Celery, turned out tough and small) (Snap peas and lettuces, kale, spinach, eggplant) to make room for Armenian cucumber starts from my friend Shirlee and pear tomato starts from my friend James and yellow bell pepper and patio tomato plants from A&P nursery. 

Volunteer Tomato plant from Fall 2016

Armenian Cucumber starts I will try to train up a trellis

Yellow Bell Pepper

Patio Tomato

Cantaloupe Melon from seeds planted 2/8/17, very slow to grow

3 Strawberry plants from May 2016 starts
 I also purchased a few more trellises (raw metal ones in the lumber area of Home Depot, not sure what type of construction work they are actually intended for). In February, I planted luffa squash seeds after soaking them for 24 hours, but they never sprouted. I may try again. I also planted green bean (pole) seeds last week and they sprouted quickly but my tortoises got into them and ate them down to the ground. I am fixing that problem with an additional garden bed by the wall with the trellis.
We have harvested many tiny strawberries and enjoyed the deep flavor compared to store bought strawberries. I moved them back to a place in my yard where they receive afternoon shade since the weather has been hot lately. 

Strongest Papaya Tree

I still have my two Papaya trees growing near my garden. One had it's trunk broken (probably one of my children), but I braced it up with a bamboo stick and it is still alive. I water them infrequently and deeply. It will be exciting to watch them grow taller and determine their genders.

Just Can't Quit this Gardening Thing - Spring Flowers

Nasturtium 3/13/17
I realized today how much I I have invested in my garden and yard when I was organizing all the plant containers from the nurseries I have purchased plants at in the past year. I have quite a stash of containers, I should start up my own nursery someday. 

My yard is beautiful this time of year with so many colors of blooms and a lot of spring growth. I am so excited that my citrus tree has finally began to grow with the addition of hundreds of beautiful bright green leaves. We only had one orange blossom on the entire tree though, so we will see if we have one single orange on it this winter. I sprayed the tree for thrips (I used Fertilome Triple Action Plus) one early morning to hopefully help the new foliage to stay beautiful and not have cosmetic damage show up in fall.

Chaste and Chitalpa Trees have their new Spring leaves. I was so excited to see them sprouting out beginning of March.
Chaste Tree 3/9/17

Chaste Tree 3/9/17
I love the showy flowers on nasturtium. My kids love to nibble on the leaves while they play outdoors. I was so excited to have a return my investment by harvesting many seeds from the plants. It was interesting to see how the seeds form after the flowers are spent. I left them on the plant until the seeds easily pulled off (on average 3 seeds per flower). Then I left them to dry. I look forward to planting them next fall. 


Nasturtium Seeds attached after flower is spent.

Nasturtium seeds drying
My tortoise food garden has changed a lot in the past several weeks. The dandelions I had planted grew huge but then became really sticky and tough. The tortoises ate all the leaves they could and I was surprised that no new leaves were growing in. I tore those out along with the beautiful flowered arugula. A lantana bush grew volunteer in that area and since that is not tortoise food, I tried transplanting it to my flower bed and we will see how it handles the rough transplant. 
After removing those plants, I added more petunia and geranium plants, which the tortoises seem to enjoy. I also planted more dandelion seeds I collected from a nearby park. Then I planted 2 more hibiscus plants and moved my other one to a more sunny location to see if it will thrive there. The tortoises enjoy hibiscus leaves and flowers.
The ruellia in the tortoise garden is filling in as well. I see the tortoises eating the lower leaves occasionally.

Arugula Flowers continuously attracting bees (bougainvillea in background)

Volunteer Lantana before transplant

Some beautiful flowers around my backyard this past month include:
White Cloud Allysum
Blue wildflower


Poppy prior to bloom

Mexican/Evergreen Bird of Paradise
Spanish Lavender planted in a large pot in full sun Mar 2017

 Our weather has been warm (80's-90's F), with a few cooler days here and there, like today was cool and gusty winds (high of 67 F). My wildflower garden is beautiful and I am content with the flowers that grew although I planted so many more seeds than what popped up. The poppies are stunning along with a blue wildflower and a yellow puff-ball type and my favorites in that portion of the garden, the morning glory (white flowers) and myoporum (tiny white flowers).

Poppies moments before opening

Morning Glory 3.28.17

Myoporum 3.28.17
My yard is getting more and more beautiful and I love gardening and watching it all change, grow and bloom from season to season.