Saturday, June 8, 2013

What a difference a year makes!

I decided to start a blog about our garden, a journal to keep track of our progress, and keep me from keeping notes in three different notebooks, and my calendar (which doesn't have nearly the space I need anyway).  I love to take pictures of everything growing and changing, but there wasn't really any way to link all those notes, thoughts, and investigations together with my photos to get the whole picture. 
So here we are. 
I realize that I'm starting mid-stream here...  it's already June.  Fortunately for me, the growing season here in (lovely, wonderful, warm, non-humid, beautiful, fantastic, fun, perfect - pick the adjective you like best) Southern California is about nine months long.  Probably longer, actually, if I figure out how to put together a greenhouse before Thanksgiving.  It's on my to-do list.  It really is. 
We do have challenges here.  In the Summer, it's hot.  It's really hot.  H-O-T.  Not hot like Phoenix, or Palm Springs, but hot.  Last year, my little garden was unprepared for the onslaught of heat it received.  I learned all about sun damage, my bell peppers burned and then some of them rotted while they were trying to ripen.  Tomatoes cracked and burned.  This year, we're adjusting the plan to include some protection from the elements.  The other thing we have a lot of trouble with is pests.  Pests, pests, pets...  did I say pets?  Oh yes, I did.  We've already had a trampling incident.  Let's face it though:  When you have a 108 lb. dog, it's going to happen.  So we put a little fence up, and what did he do?  He got stuck inside the garden, trampled the peppers and cried like a baby because he couldn't figure out how to get out.  I only wish I had my camera that day. 
You can't really appreciate this year's garden, and how far it's come, until you see where we were this time LAST year.  I bring you: 
2012's garden
It's pretty sad in comparison.
(but like I said, we're keeping track, here)
This is how it started. 
"Oh look, I can grow little plants in little pots."

We had a little water feature surrounded by geraniums, and a 2'x8' kitchen garden that overgrew it's bounds and was like a freaking jungle by end of July.

<-------  That's the garden, snicker, snicker----

Last year we had 6 tomato plants, 4 pepper plants, a basil, an oregano, and a rosemary.  I grew all but one of the tomato plants from seed, and the other was given to me by my grandma.  She's a much better gardener than I am.  Sometime during the summer, my mom gave me 4 blackberry and 3 raspberry plants, but it was too late in the season for them, so I just did my best to keep them alive until this year. 

So that's where we came from last year.  This year is a bit of a different story.  I think we're going a little crazy this year, but crazy is good right?! 

This year, we have HIS pepper garden (which has endured a trampling), and MY everything else garden.  Here's a little peek into this year's garden. 

2013 garden

 We did the pepper garden first, April 9th.  We took a trip to our favorite nursery, Louie's Nursery in Riverside: We love it there.  It's super fun to walk around, take pictures, shop and browse.  That's where we ended up spending Mother's Day this year. 

Anyhooo...  We have several different peppers.  The goal was to end up with all HOT peppers, which we love to stuff and grill on our handy-dandy pepper rack, but being the novices that we are, we ended up with a variety, and not all of them are exactly what we wanted. 

Here's the count: 2 Fresno; 1 Anaheim, 1 Jalapeno, 2 Portugal, and 2 Marconi Giant (which aren't hot at all, but they are HUGE, so that's kind of fun)

The next thing we did is stake and string up those berry plants I mentioned earlier.  There's a tomato plant in the foreground, but just pretend you don't see that for now. 

Here's the berry count (at this point): 4 thornless blackberries and 3 raspberries (which have thorns enough to seriously maim you if you're not careful).

Next post, I'm going to play catch up...  a quick timeline from planting to now, so we can keep up from here on out. 

Thanks for visiting...  green thumb out.

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