Sunday, February 27, 2011

Gear Up for Gardening 2011

   Perfect for Spring Gardening!

Composter: What's Decomposing?

Last week's efforts were spent weeding and cleaning up organic debris which had lodged itself under plants and in corner during the winter months.  Into the composter it went.  The composter is almost to the top.  As spring is nearly here, I will empty the composted material from the bottom and let this new material continue to decompose.

Friday, February 25, 2011

California Home Gardener Tries a Drawf Lemon Tree

Evidence of fruit drop


New lemon blossoms

Green Lemon against Stormy February Sky
One of the perks of living in an area such as Florida or Southern California is the ability to grow your own citrus.  With this in mind, I decided to add a citrus plant to the family garden.  I couldn't resist when I saw the small lemons already on the plant.  I decided to grow my lemon in a container and hooked it up to the irrigation system with a drip supply line and a soaker line circling the root ball.

Soaker Hose will provide irrigation to the lemon plant
February is a good time to apply the first of three seasonal fertilizing.  I choose an organic fertilizer recommended by the nursery.  If you are going to grow your own citrus, it's worth the effort to go organic.

Stormy Weather In SoCal!

Big weather is expected for his weekend.  Predictions of snow in San Francisco!  Yikes.  We just have dark clouds rolling through, at the present time.

Update:  Saturday, February 26 2 a.m--rain.  So far the good kind.  Steady but light.

Cleaning House--On My Blog

I decided to spend a few minutes today deleting any old posts which I never published. When I came to this post, I could not remember where I had taken this photo, but it is such a lovely border, I decided to post it to my blog anyway.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Peek-a-Boo Nastrutium

On a sunny day last week, I found a group of nasturtiums which had taken residence on a gravel plot of ground along the sidewalk.  I loved the mounding effect they had.  But the blossoms seemed to be playing a game with me. They peeked out from behind the round leaves of this plant, suggesting something worth seeing was hiding behind the green lushness.  Indeed it was.  Under the top layer of leaves, the blossoms bloomed with brio.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Broccoli and Cauliflower Update

We've had lovely rains and sunny days which has encouraged everything in the garden to wake up.  The broccoli plants are still small, but a small flower head has appeared.  I will be interested to see if this plant will thrive and produce a large central flower head.

The cauliflower plant is also small but the flower head has appeared.  Only time will tell the what type of harvest these plants will produce. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Strawberry Season in California

Subtle:  As the strawberry matures, the blush of red deepens.

Strawberry season has started in California.  Oh, are they delicious.  I purchased some yesterday at the store and enjoyed them as an evening snack.

My own little strawberry patch is hard at work creating strawberries.  You can see hints of red starting to appear at the top of the berry of the second photo.  This currently is my only berry.  And luckily, no critters have discovered it yet!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Monster Tomato and Pepper Sale at The Fullerton Arboretum

The Fullerton Arboretum is hosting a tomato and pepper plant sale in March.  The event is open to the general public on March 18, 19 & 20 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.

The event's web site has plant lists (250 tomatoes and 100 varieties of hot and sweet peppers) which is an interesting list of tomato plants by color/size/seasonality/description/determinate/container.  The peppers are listed by name/heat/description.

Fullerton Arboretum is located at 1900 Associated Road, Fullerton, CA 92831.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Colossal Conversation Hearts for Valentine's Day

Laguna Nursery on Pacific Coast Highway has quite a dramatic display for Valentine's Day.  Mega-sized conversation hearts.  All motorists driving the PCH have been enjoying this loving display for the past few weeks. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Beet--What Happened to the Red?

I had a successful planting of beets in the fall.  So successful, I decided to try to get another planting in.  So my beets have been in the ground, diligently growing. 

This morning I deemed the largest one ready for roasting.  Plucked from the ground, I broke off the leaves and heavy roots in the garden and popped them into the composter.  Into the house to remover the residual roots and leaves, wash off any remaining dirt, drizzle with olive oil, wrap in foil and into the oven at 400 degrees for a roasting.  (The skin is removed easily after roasting.) 
Imagine my surprise when my sharp knife cut through the flesh and revealed not a dark red beet, but a white beet with red markings.  It reminded me of a posting on Sunset magazine's blog about radishes with inconsistent coloring.

No one at Sunset had an answer.  Here are the variables which I can think of which might have caused this problem. 
  1. Too cold
  2. Too hot
  3. Too rainy
I'm choosing too cold.  Some gardeners in zones which allow plants to live through the winter might be aware of cat-faced tomatoes.  I think just as a tomato which sets and grows in too cold of temperatures distorts, the beet does a similar distortion by not having consistent coloring. 

Any thoughts?
Follow up photo of beet after roasting. I am inclined to believe I have a different variety than the seed description.

Monday, February 07, 2011

South Coast Plaza's 22nd Annual Southern California Spring Garden Show

Marking my Calendar for the Spring Garden Show.  

The show includes Speaker Series Seminars on irises, xeriscaping, roses, california natives; garden landscapes designed by leading landscape architects and designers; children's garden projects, crafts, and exotic animal shows; over 75 specialty garden vendors offering exotic plants, unique garden accessories, and more.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Garden Soup-er Bowl Delight

Here's a quick and easy soup which can use up some of the veggies we California gardeners have growing in the garden (onion/sugar snap peas/ spinach/tomato puree--frozen from summer) (or others can find at their produce market).

Soup-er Bowl Soup Recipe
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup minced yellow onion
1/4 cup minced celery
1 clove minced garlic (more to taste)
2 cans Swanson Vegetable Broth (beef broth if preferred)
28 ounce diced no-salt added tomatoes (canned/fresh/frozen)
1/2 cup carrots
1/2 cup sugar snap peas diced into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried basil (or 1 1/2 teaspoon fresh approximately)
1/4 teaspoon thyme (or 3/4 teaspoon fresh approximately)
1 cup fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup small shell pasta
1/4 cup barley (select barley which cooks in 10 minutes)
15 ounce canned red kidney beans
Salt to taste when ready to serve

Heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large pot.
Saute onion, celery, garlic in the oil for five minutes until onion begin to turn translucent.
Add broth to the pot, plus tomatoes, carrot, peas and spices.
Bring soup to a boil, the reduce heat.  Simmer about 20 minutes
Add spinach, pasta, and barley.  Cook around 12-15 minutes checking pasta/barley is soft but firm.
Add kidney beans; heat through.

If desired, top with shavings from Parmigiano-Reggiano

Super Sow Sunday on February 6

Find out more about Super Sow Sunday--those who "toil in the soil" can connect via twitter with others.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Pumpkin Walnut Cherry Bread with Streusel Topping Recipe

Here is the recipe to go with my posting from yesterday.

Pumpkin Walnut Cherry Bread

2 slightly beaten eggs
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup pumpkin puree (from garden pumpkin) or solid pack canned pumpkin
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped dried cherries
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
Combine first six ingredients; mix well.  Combine flour, spices, baking soda, salt in a large bowl.  Add pumpkin mixture.  Stir until dry ingredients are moistened.  Stir in cranberries and walnuts.  Spoon into two greated and floured 8 x 3 3/4 x 2 1/2-inch aluminum pans.  Sprinkle the top with pumpkin seeds and streusel topping.  Bake in 350 degree oven 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Yield: 2 loaves

Streusel Topping:
Combine 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon in small bowl.  Cut in 1 tablespoon butter or margarine until mixture is crumbly.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Pumpkin Bread--Reverse Engineered

Today was baking day for the roasted pumpkin puree I made yesterday.  It was an easy process of roasting for about 60 minutes/cut in half/cut side down.  After scooping out the hot pumpkin, I used cheese cloth to remove the excess liquid from the puree.  I let it sit overnight in the refrigerator.  This morning, I baked the pumpkin into bread.  It is wonderful.
Delicious Pumpkin Walnut Cherry Bread with Pumpkin Seed Streusel Topping
Roasted Pumpkin Puree

Pumpkin Headed to the Oven to Roast/Puree/Bake into Quick Bread

Volunteer from the Composter

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Longer Days...Can Spring Be Far Behind?

"The shortest day has passed, and whatever nastiness of weather we may look forward to in January and February, at least we notice that the days are getting longer.  Minute by minute they lengthen out.  It takes some weeks before we become aware of the change.  It is imperceptible even as the growth of a child, as you watch it day by day, until the moment comes when with a start of delighted surprise we realize that we can stay out of doors in a
twilight lasting for another quarter of a precious hour."     Vita Sackville-West
   Vita Sackville-West who helped create the wonderful English garden at Sissinghurst is correct.  Just this week, I noticed the outside lights I have on a timer are turning on before it is completely dark.  I'll make an adjustment to the timer and smile at the prospect of spring.                                                                                                                                                 

Groundhog's Day

Groundhog's Day is here at last.
It's come to say that winter's passed.
And spring is on the way.
Oh, it's Groundhog's Day today.
Oh No!  In Southern California, the sun shines and therefore our marmot friend, the groundhog, sees his shadow.  Six more weeks of winter?  We'll tough it out.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

May Dreams Gardens: My Hoe Collection

May Dreams Gardens has a great photo journal of the hard working hoe.

May Dreams Gardens: My Hoe Collection: "The Entire Hoe Collection! American Standard - An Old Standby Pointed American Hoe – Red, White and Blue Plow Hoe, From Poland The Winged..."

Valentine's Day Gift Ideas for the Gardener You Love

Valentine's Day Gift Ideas for the Gardener
Red Watering Can
This can is so expressive in bright red.  I love that it includes a rose (attachment attached to spout) to allow for gentle watering!

These red Wellington boots are perfect for wet days in the garden.


Renee's Gardens is featuring a Valentine's Day Special on Seeds of Love: has a wonderful selection of seeds with very romantic names like Queen of Hearts and Falling in Love. Renee's Gardens seeds are always top quality and the seed packet has lots of info

Garden Charms
James Avery carries a wonderful line of gold and silver charms.  Here are some which have a garden reference and would be great on a necklace or bracelet:


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