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Archive for the ‘Leafy Greens’ Category

The Cattails - Summer 2011


The fact that it’s already August blows me away. Now the countdown to the new semester begins. Time to get some school clothes lined up and things squared away that I will not want to deal with once classes start on the 23rd. Mostly, I just need to get everything in my universe simplified and organized so I have a smoother time of it all the way round.

Borage blossoms - Summer 2011

One of the more frivolous things I’m squaring away is my category section. Recently, I realized I have 96 categories. What the hell?! This is what happens when you’re in a hurry all the time and not thinking things through. What a jumbled and confusing mess my little blog is. So, some of the categories will be deleted or consolidated to make future entries and reference more expedient. I’d like to start putting more of the actual science I’m learning on here, so I might need the room for newer categories. This will give me an opportunity to glance back over all my entries to see what I’ve done because every time I post lately I get a sense that I’ve already said that exact thing or posted that exact photo…it’s disconcerting to say the least.

Bee with Evening Primose


There are also a lot of posts without categories or tags and I will be fixing those as well so I can look up information when I need it. The thing about this blog for me is that by the time I get to the posting part, I’ve already spent a bunch of time with the actual plant, doing my research, and playing with the photos – I have little time or energy left for the actual writing, categorizing, tagging, etc. and that will only get worse when school starts and I have more urgent priorities. So, I’m trying to consolidate the process…for example: my iPhone can double as the camera, the iPod, and also my research books on those days when I’m pressed for time. Now, I can even post on WordPress from an app on my phone (once I figure out how to do it) so I’m hoping all this modern technology is going to make my life easier. We’ll see.

The mesmerizing center of a Hollyhock bloom - Summer 2011


The classes coming up for me should be fun…I’m taking another Botany class and this one should have a lot more science than the last one. There is also a lab that goes with it so I can wait to see what that’s all about. The other class is Chemistry and also has a lab. I’m on the waiting list for that one so I don’t want to get too excited just yet. That’s all I handle this semester without taxing myself and my business. So, I’ve got to really enjoy the next 3 weeks of freedom as much as I can while working really hard to get everything caught up and finished so I can start the new semester with a clear head and an empty ‘in’ box. I can totally do that.

a tiny Arugula flower - Summer 2011

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Scabiosa columbaria 6-5-10


Tom and I just got back from a weekend in Newport Beach. We went up for business and stayed for pleasure. What a wonderful couple of days it was too. All worries were left behind and we did our favorite things together…romantic walks, romantic lunches, romantic dinners….well you know. When I got back I spent two hours catching up with watering. Everything needed it and by the time I do the orchids and house plants and everything outside, I’m pooped. Tonight I’ll water the grass and be done with water till Tuesday. It’s hard for me to keep on the schedule that the “City of San Diego” wants me to keep with watering. But I do my best.

Anise - Pimpinella anisum


It was strange to come home after only a couple days gone and find the garden the same but very very different. All the plants are still there but the tomatoes went berserk and suddenly need help getting back up in their cages. The grapes have burst forth once again and my previous efforts to vine them up seem to have been futile.

Grapes June 2010


The potatoes are as tall as I am and I haven’t built the dirt up around them yet, I’m missing some tomato cages, the leeks need more soil…As I went around the yard, almost every plant told me it needed some attention and Cicero (my beta fish) needs a good bath since it’s the New Moon and there’s a fungus growing on his Greek temple columns. The list is growing faster than I can think the thought.

Baby Apples June 5 2010


I’ve been focusing on business lately but now my garden needs some love!

Squash Blossoms 2010


But none of it matters today! Sundays and New Moons don’t always fall together, but today they did and I’m taking advantage. No more lists or chores until tomorrow morning. For now, I’m off to watch “dude tv” with my husband and son and this evening I’m watching the first episode of the new season of True Blood: the only TV show I really really like any more and the one thing I’m doing tonight no matter what! I’ve been waiting forever for it to come back and I’m not missing a moment of it!

Swiss Chard, Hollyhocks, Nasturtiums, Tomatoes, Feverfew


So right at this moment, I’m about as happy as one can get. The birds are chirping, the sun is shining at last, I just spent a romantic weekend away with my man, the flowers are blooming and my garden looks better than ever, there are sparkly bubbles in my favorite Champagne flute, True Blood is on tonight, I’m feeling good and I’m in a good mood, the Moon is New…none of this is going to last, so I’m off to wallow in it. Happy Sunday everyone!

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Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant~Robert Louis Stevenson

My almanac said these last few days were the days to plant leafy vegetables. Since I’m starting from seeds to save money this year, I thought following the almanac would not only be fun, it would provide a workable rhythm to keep me organized.

I used old six-packs I saved from nursery plants – I keep and reuse them, if I don’t return them to the nursery. What got planted yesterday; Swiss Chard, Broccoli Raab, Catnip (just for Miss Peanut):

2-16-10


and today:
Parris Island Romaine Lettuce
Spinach
Endive
Italian Basil
Sweet Basil
Mesclun
Arugula

I picked and ate a bunch of Swiss Chard.

Rainbow Chard


It was tasty, but next time I’ll cook it longer and use more garlic.

Bright Lights


There are a lot of reasons why growing Swiss Chard is great. It requires little maintenance, seem pretty pest and disease resistant, and you can keep cutting leaves off the same plant and it will make more. I usually take from the outside in, but you can also chop them straight across. Just leave a couple inches growth and they’ll rebound. Use it like spinach, just cut off the ribs and cook it a bit longer.

Over the weekend, we used a store-bought head of iceberg lettuce in a salad. As I was washing it, I was appalled at the anemic color of it and Tom said it was the most tasteless lettuce he’d ever eaten: it had no soul. It was so sad, I didn’t even want to sully my compost pile with it. Tom said “I am not eating this” and I agreed. We had already made that agreement with store-bought tomatoes and apples. Determination to grow more of my own vegetables has set in more firmly. No more soulless lettuce. Sheesh! Tonight, I scoured the property and we had a baby lettuce salad with olive oil and lemon juice, and used a bunch of fresh herbs. I was really glad I had tossed a bunch of old lettuce seed down the side of the driveway earlier this winter, or we wouldn’t have had anything.

Also arriving just in time for inspiration was my son’s old chest of drawers. It’s pretty shot and I’ll use the removed drawers and the shell for raised beds. First, I need to figure out when painting that and my wine boxes with linseed oil is the one thing I want to do more than anything else. Well, don’t hold your breath!

I see a planter, don't you?

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Of scenes of nature, fields and mountains;
Of skies, so beauteous after a storm—and at night the moon so unearthly bright,
Shining sweetly, shining down, where we dig the trenches and gather the heaps,
I dream, I dream, I dream.

from In Midnight Sleep – Walt Whitman

Sundays are my favorite day to garden. Lately, I haven’t been able to do much, what with being out of town and it raining so much, and another storm coming on Tuesday. Today was a sunny day and I ventured out to assess the storm damage and see what dirt I could manage to get under my fingernails.

The entire lawn is a swamp with water standing in puddles thanks to our California clay deep down keeping the rain from soaking in any further. The rain bucket (huge trash can) was entirely full and I managed to fill up two more buckets after emptying out all the vessels that were sprinkled around the yard. Next year, or when the budget allows, I’d like to have the whole rain chain/barrel set up…but it’s expensive, and for now I’m making due using the passion fruit vine as a rain chain.
a bucket, dear Liza, of rain
After I got my rainwater situation under control, I dumped the unused dirt out of the wine boxes I used last season for pumpkins. They need a good drying out and then I’ll oil them well with linseed oil and use them again this spring. When the boxes are finally unusable I take the ends off and nail them to the outside of the potting shed. I love wine boxes and can’t have enough of them scattered around being used for one thing or another…mostly books and plants.

Also needing attention was a sorely neglected Malabar Chestnut that I had set outside and forgotten. By the time I got back out there most of it was dead and the dirt had washed out of the pot. Poor Baby!

half dead 'money tree' or Malabar Chestnut
She got a good trimming off of the dead stuff, which left only one small stem with roots

After a gentle re-potting, she sits quietly in the infirmary window.

The broom corn has completely taken over the pot that held the juncus effusus spiralis which I bought on one of the many nursery visits with my friend Andrea, a fellow green thumb. It reminded me of my own hair…anyways, it needed help immediately

broom corn mess


I took the entire clump out of the pot and cut the grass away and divided the juncus into smaller pieces. This is a great way to propagate perennials. I use an old bread knife if I just cannot divide things with my hands or pull them apart with a garden fork. It seems aggressive but most plants will bounce back with a little love.

juncus effusus 'Spiralis'


Now, where there was one, I have five – fabulous!


Other exciting news from the garden today:
The first jasmine bloom of the season – right outside my bedroom window 🙂
jasmine
The rosemary is blooming – one of my favorite shades of lavender:

rosemary blossoms


The swiss chard seems to be thriving in the stormy weather:

swiss chard


The lemons are squeaky clean. I never pass by my lemon tree without singing the Peter, Paul and Mary song…lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet…

There wasn’t much in the way of storm damage, only a flooded potting shed, soggy broom, and a few decorations blown off the fence. Even the hail didn’t do a lot of damage. Color me thankful and impatient to plant in the soil while it’s still wet.

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