Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Purple Border

Purple Aeonium

This lovely border was near an office complex in Irvine, California. The combination of purples/spiky/soft plants make a nice presentation.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Roasting Autumn Squash and Vegetables: Easy and Delicious

Sweet Potato

Butternut Squash: remove seeds then cut into pieces

Oven Roasting Make Vegetable Preparation Easy and Delicious

Roasted Harvest Vegetables

1 pound carrot, peeled
1 large sweet potato peeled
1 small butternut squash peeled and seeded
1 1/2 T olive oil
1 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Maple Syrup to drizzle over sweet potatoes

Oven 425 degrees.

Cut the carrots, sweet potato, and butternut squash in 1- to 1-1/2 inch cubes.
Place all the cut vegetables in a single layer on sheet pans. Drizzle them with olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Bake for 25 minutes or until the vegetables are tender, turning with metal spatula
Season to taste. Drizzle sweet potatoes with maple syrup, if desired.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


This scarecrow has a funny photo face.

Something about scarecrows remind me of autumn.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Walls of Succulents

If you have been following garden trends in the glossy garden periodicals, you will have noticed over the past few years a growing trend of the vertical garden.  We have Patrick Blanc, the creator of the vertical garden, to thank.  These gardens of green which defy the conventional horizontal garden, can be found both indoors and out.  They seem to be a natural for urban environments as the wall adds soothing and appealing green to the concrete jungle as well as providing a cooling cover for buildings baking in the sun. 

A few years ago, articles on architects including these walls in their buildings started to appear.  Now you can find these walls appearing on everyday buildings.  The boutique and event venue, The Humble Abode on Avenida del Mar in San Clemente, has a wonderful vertical garden at their entrance.  

The wall is usually built out from the integral wall of the building with wood or metal frames covered with chicken wire and some sort of growing medium.  An article in the New York Times describes how Flora Grubb, a California landscape designer, used epiphytic air plants (tillandsias), which do not need a growing medium, clipped onto metal rods.

Garden Find: Worm Castings from Rubi's Reds

Farmers Market in San Clemente on Sunday was a garden find for me.  As I walked down Avenida Del Mar selecting organic apples for homemade apple sauce and plums, I saw a stand with bags stacked and filled with something brown and earthy.  As I got closer, I discovered the brown, earthy matter was worm castings!

As the owner of a horse stable in Menifee, California, Ruby makes magic by combining the byproduct of horses (manure) with a lot of red wigglers (worms).   This "green" solution results in worm castings.  Worm castings are like gold in the garden.  They are both a soil conditioner and a source of valuable nutrients.

Ruby can be found under the clock tower on Sundays at San Clemente's Farmers Market from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Avenida Del Mar.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Herbs: Oregano and Parsley

Fresh herbs from the garden are a bonus to the home gardener.  As a California gardener, most herbs can be grown fresh year round.  After a shaky start, both the parsley and oregano have taken hold in the garden.  The next round of tomatoes I prepare for freezing will include these fresh herbs.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Garden Gadget of the Week: Hose Storage

I have three hose bib locations around my house where I like to keep garden hoses for hand-watering. One of these locations is a patio area which is outside a bedroom door. I have been looking for a hose storage solution which is aesthetic and functional. While shopping at my local hardware shop I found the Suncast All-weather Wicker Hose Pot.

I had looked at a few ceramic and metal hose pots. I did not like the fact that there were only three small drainage holes at the bottom in these types of pots. This wicker basket is virtually open at the bottom allowing any water which enters the basket immediate drainage. I could also imagine the ceramic pots becoming chipped or cracked. The location of this pot is under an overhang so it won't be exposed to sun and rain directly.

* 80' of 5/8" hose capacity
* Comes fully assembled
* Stylish wicker design enhances any patio
* Weather resistant - no maintenance

The hose feeds through a large hole at the bottom of the pot to reach the hose bib. After use, I circle the hose around the inside of the pot. It really doesn't take much longer than storage containers with a winding mechanism.

Now I just need to dress up my hose in some "Hose Clothes" from Dirt Couture to finish the look!

Friday, November 05, 2010

A Whorl of Lettuce Leaves

My lettuce continues to grow.  I've planted several varieties.  This particular lettuce is not appealing to the bunnies, apparently, because it grows without protection and has not been nibbled to the roots.

Because of the unusual heat, several of my early plantings of lettuce have bolted.  I picked up a six-pack at Plant Depot earlier this week.  With the extremely high temps, I decided to hide it in the shade and plant once daily temps become more reasonable.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Beets--Harvest and Roast

One of the great perks of the home garden is the harvest and cook advantage.  While gardening around noon on Wednesday, I saw several of my beets were large enough to harvest.  I plucked them from the ground, tore off the leaves and tossed into the composter*.  Next I washed them at the kitchen sink, cut off the roots, and placed on a piece of aluminum foil.  Drizzle with a little olive oil and into the toaster oven for 25 -30 minutes until they were tender when pierced with a fork.   Notice I didn't peel the beet.  The peeling is done post-roast.  With paper towel in hand, a slight rub and the skin falls into the paper towel.  Slice, salt, pepper...Lunch!

*someday I will try cooking the leaves.

Peas Please

Cool season plants are managing in this very odd year of weather.  Summer came and went under a sky of marine layers which did not dissipate until noon and returned by spring.  Now, we are experiencing 90+ degree days in November. 

I planted several sugar snap pea plants over six weeks ago and now I am enjoying the harvest of their produce.  This planting is small so the peas usually become snack food as I garden. 

I planted a larger group of peas several weeks later and they are growing into strong tall flowers yet.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Scientists and Soldiers Solve a Bee Mystery

Honeybee article from NYT

The Mystery Volunteer

The squash seed which volunteered in my garden has been very busy growing green leaves, runners and huge yellow blossoms.  While gardening yesterday, I noticed that one of the flowers was pollinated and something is growing.  Do you recognize it yet?  It is still early.  The possibilities include acorn squash, cantaloupe, pumpkin.  We'll see....

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Protecting Lettuce from a HOT Day

Earlier I placed my lettuces under this hanging plant basket to protect them from hungry bunnies.  Today we have an unusually hot November day.  I placed the lid of my composter on top of the basket to provide my newly planted lettuces a little shade.


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