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Marinated Tomato Salad...must try!

Tomato Update: You may have noticed in my garden pictures that there is a renegade tomato plant in the northwest corner of our plot. It actually belongs to the neighboring plot, but since those delicious cherry tomatoes are on my side, then I'm going to eat them. I found the best recipe ever from ThePioneerWoman (with a few changes)... 2 c. organic cherry tomatoes (halved or quartered) 4 green onions 1/4 c. olive oil 4 T. balsamic vinegar 12 fresh basil leaves (chiffonade) Ha

Holy Frijoles

What is there to know about beans as a beginning gardener? First off you should know that beans fall into two large groupings: bush beans or pole beans. I was unaware of this fact...I'm a jump in and dig kinda gal...and just assumed that all beans crawl up trellises. So I follow the directions on the packet and soak my beans overnight, plant my beans, tend to them lovingly and overall get a great crop of beans that never rose above 2' from the ground...trellises unused. Undau

Rainbows & Unicorns

Rainbow Swiss Chard will have you seeing unicorns! It is the most luscious, delicious green I have ever eaten. I would not steer you wrong here. Do you lean towards the more cheffy side of cooking when you are in your own kitchen preparing meals for family, friends or yourself? Rainbow Swiss Chard will make you look like a chef rockstar! It can be a most welcomed culinary substitute for celery and spinach in your kitchen arsenal. It grows easily in a patio pot or backyard

Radiant Radishes

UPDATE: We have radishes! It is day 36 and this is the first radish that is ready. All the others that I planted in the first round are still quite a bit smaller. I will leave them in the soil for another week or two due to the cold, rainy weather conditions because there is still a lot of rain in our 7-day forecast and they are in need of a bit of sunny weather to grow to their potential. As for Round 2, you can see in the above picture that I left the remaining seeds in a n

Magical Fairy Pumpkins

Do you love those amazingly whimsical fairy pumpkins that come out in the Fall as much as I do? I adore them. They have that Cinderella-esk look that spirits your mind off to dreams of what could be, and they make lovely holiday decorations as well. Their matte dusty coloring lends itself very well with today's upscale neutral interior decorator's palette...looking so faaanncy! "Fairytale pumpkins...are a French winter heirloom variety and are members of the Cucurbitaceae fam

Melon Massacre

Actually I mean squash...my spaghetti squash that is! The weather has been so warm and the squash, melons and cucumbers have been taking advantage of all the sunshine. We've been getting several 8-10" zucchini squash from our two plants and had 5-7 spaghetti squash growing and thriving. That is, they were thriving until the neighborhood rabbit came to visit and ate each and every one! Next year, we will need to put rabbit-proof cages around each squash when they are still sm

Spittlebugs...what?!?

Oh no, my rosemary has become infested! While I find it unsettling that my garden resident is under attack, I am happy to find out that it is more of a nuisance than a fatal condition. Additionally, it is not my poor rosemary alone...in fact, all the rosemary in the HB Community Garden has fallen victim as noted by the obvious foam that heavily speckles all the shrubs. "There are around 23,000 species of spittlebugs (Family: Cercopidae), yet few are the gardeners that have ev

Tomato therapy

Gardening: Cheaper than therapy...And you get tomatoes! Lots and lots of tomatoes! There are so many things you can make with tomatoes. A single tomato plant graces the gardener with a lot of fruit. We only have 6 plants and we easily harvest 4-5 lbs twice a week. We pickled, roasted, stewed, sauteed with pasta, tossed with salads, sliced on sandwiches, gave to neighbors and co-workers...you get the jist. Here are 3 recipes that I feel are outstanding and I want to share them

Teenie Tiny Brussel Sprouts

The super cool thing about gardening is that nothing REALLY is a mistake...it's an EXPERIMENT! My brussel sprouts ended up being kinda small. I attribute that to planting them too late in the season and planting them where they were lacking the sunshine that they required early on, and possibly not fertilizing the soil enough. Once I realized that the brussels were starting to decline...thus at their peak...even though they were still a bit tiny (not the 1" diameter sprouts t

Zucchinitastic

Did you know that today, Wednesday, August 8th is National Zucchini Day?!? Yup, it is :) The Old Farmer's Almanac says to "pick squash young, about three to five days after flowering when they are 3-4 inches long, for tender sweet fruits. Bigger ones are best shredded and used for baked goods." (https://www.almanac.com/blog/gardening-blog/zucchini-fertility-spawns-annual-holiday) I think this one is ready for picking. You can see the flower (positioned by my index finger) has

Peck of pickled peppers

Wondering what to do with all your peppers? Me too. No, I didn't actually harvest a peck of peppers, Peck is a unit of capacity. In the United States the peck is used only for dry measure and is equal to 8 dry quarts. In Great Britain the peck may be used for either liquid or dry measure and is equal to 8 imperial quarts, or one-fourth imperial bushel (www.britannica.com/science/peck). but our pepper plants are yielding 5-8 peppers a week, which doesn't sound like a lot until

Organic slug control

Let me just say that I am NOT a huge fan of slugs...they gross me out. Intellectually, I can grasp that they play their vital role in the ecosystem as a food source for birds/mammals/insects, and for decomposition of vegetable matter; however, I really don't like when I reach down into my cabbage patch and get slimed...blech! I am lucky to report that it has not been a huge issue in our garden, and because of that, I rarely think about them when I do reach my bare hands into

Brussels Emerge

Our brussel sprouts are growing so well! When I planted the seedlings they looked pitiful and I thought I'd lose 1 or 2, but all 6 plants have survived and are thriving :) The brussels are the bottom tier plants; I planted them with the mammoth sunflower seeds. Apparently, "growing brussels sprouts requires cool weather. The ideal climate is the 'fog belt' of the Pacific northwest, but they will grow in just about any part of the country. A slow-growing, long-bearing crop, Br

San Marzano Shout-Out

I want to give a very heart-felt shout out to Monica. Mike's friend at work, Monica, goes to the Fullerton College Horticulture Department's Tomato Sale every year. This year she brought back 2 gorgeous San Marzano tomato plants for our garden. I love the plants, but most of all I appreciate her thinking of us and our garden. Her San Marzanos have been planted in a place of honor. We expect some amazing meals to come out of these tomatoes. San Marzanos are a prized Roma typ

Wascally Wabbit

Apparently, there was a break in at our HBCG plot while we were out of town at our National Convention in Layton, Utah. Peter's cousin, Popeye Cottontail broke in and ate my spinach! No, I did not catch him in the act LOL... I wish! (image taken from retrieverman.net) But let's be honest, if I had caught him in the act of eating my spinach, I would have let him continue and just made a photo-op out of it :) But look at my poor spinach plants...all four squares of spinach loo

Rockstars at the Garden

This week's rockstars are the Early Red Acre Cabbages and Mammoth Sunflowers. The cabbage greens have taken over their box, though we can't see their heads yet. We harvested a few broccoli crowns and learned that when you see yellow flowers starting to form, to cut the floret off quick because it will make the texture mealy. However, the broccoli we ate from our garden was the best broccoli on the planet! There are still florets on the stalks that look promising and should tu

I'm a veggie mama!

I am so proud...my seeds are sprouting. #beans #organicgardens #communitygardens #veggievirgins #beginninggardeners #seedlings

Let's Plant

What a day! We finally got veggies in the ground...whoop. In the interest of small, fast successes, we laid in a trellis grid and planted our first box with organic seedlings. Since it is the end of December, we really couldn't start with seed right off, so we planted our box with vegetable seedlings and pollinator attractors. YouTube has been spectacular in our quest to learn gardening techniques. We found a great video on how to lay a trellis grid for square foot gardening

Beginning Gardeners begin

We spent a fantastic 3 hours in the garden on Saturday:) First things first, we decided to go with Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew (www.squarefootgardening.com). It looks way do-able and we can create it in phases so that we can be successful pretty quickly without having everything planned out from the get go. This may work for you as well if you have a small space or are already container gardening as it is very similar. So we assembled our first 4'x4' box and wh

Garden Experiment-Zone 10b

Welcome to my Beginning Gardener Experiment. I am calling this an experiment because I have never ever had an organic garden or ever had a blog. Full disclosure: I did have a wheel barrel garden a few years back. I believe that there are others of you out there that want and need plant therapy in your life, but not sure where to start. Maybe you don't have space? time? know how? Let's do this together! I live in an apartment in Southern California, upstairs that is, and have