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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

Sugar snaps make me hap-pea

Did you ever want to know the answer to this question? "What's the difference between Snow Peas, Garden Peas and Snap Peas?" Well I found this information tremendously helpful myself, so I'm sharing it here with you from The Produce Moms website. Snow Peas, also known as Chinese pea pods, share common characteristics with Garden Peas and Snap Peas. However, there are differences between the three peas... Snow Peas Mild flavor Small peas Flat pods Entire pod can be consumed

Alfalfa Sprouts

It is definitely a transition time between summer and fall/winter plantings right now. Gardens, at least my garden, is in desperate need of soil replenishment. We will take the next 4-6 weeks to put some worm castings, manure and compost in the soil and let it marinate a bit before we start planting our fall crops. We will also try to reconfigure the beds a wee little bit based off of what has worked and what did not work for us this past year. We found that square foot garde

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

Everything's better in purple

Oh, glorious purple! The cabbages are now ready to be harvested and eaten. I found a couple of cabbage recipes that we tried and that you must try as well if you are cabbage lovers. The first one is a vegetable stir fry which we substituted our red acre cabbage for the green cabbage that it called for and you can see the amazing color that it gave the dish. The second recipe is a lot like a slaw. It is crispy, crunchy and tangily-sweet...so good. Vegetable Pancit Stir Fry 8 o

Spectacular Sunflowers

"Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow. It's what sunflowers do." -Helen Keller It is amazing what happens to the garden when you are gone for a couple of weeks. We came back to a sunflower jungle. Thanks to our HBCG neighbor, who kept our garden watered...thank you Leslie! Some of the mammoth sunflowers are over 6' tall and a bunch of blooms were out. The shorty sunflowers are on the verge. The stalks are full of buds just waiting for the perfect momen

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

Salad for days

Our lettuces are giving us big returns, so much so that I decided to get a bit creative with our salad last night since we are eating them everyday. I found the best recipe from Budgetbytes that I tweaked a bit AND it was so good I had to share it with you... https://www.budgetbytes.com/2017/02/roasted-cauliflower-salad-lemon-tahini-dressing/ This salad is a combination of warm and cool veggies, a little spicy heat from the chickpeas and a refreshing tangy-ness from the dress

Garden Update

Before thinning After thinning Yay! Our very own greens... Two months in and our Huntington Beach community garden plot is growing well! Lot's of things are happening; however, most (but not all) of it is underground...lol...but we are seeing satisfying progress :) Lettuce is busting out of their squares, so we chatted up the gardener to the north of us to find out when we should/could eat this gorgeous lettuce and she said she's been harvesting for a couple of weeks now. The

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