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Archive for June, 2009

my patio farm overview

I’m going to run through this Mapleton-Bklyn style, which is to say, quickly, cleanly and without too much gratuitous editorializing.

Indeterminate tomatoes in the earthbox: Doing great. No ripe fruit yet, but lots of flowers and small green tomatoes.

Zucchini in the earthbox: Bigger than ever. Here’s a closer up pic, and this is AFTER I trimmed off a bunch of leaves for the second time last night.

zucchini growing in earthbox

Old, slightly neurotic Deborah might be a little concerned about all that whitish stuff on the leaves. But new Deborah who has no time to be neurotic says, “As long as there are zucchinis growing, who cares?”

That’s a Japanese eggplant to the right of the zucchini. It’s made a few flowers, but nothing eggplant-ish yet. I don’t blame the plant though, I blame that damn zucchini! (Next year two zucchini in one earthbox, they can duke it out among themselves).

Determinate tomatoes: Doing OK,but I’m not seeing a lot of fruit. Here’s a pic:

determinate tomatoes in earthbox

Potted herbs: Thriving.

herbs in big pots

That’s a blueberry bush in the half whiskey barrell. I’m not sold on this blueberry situation. Maybe they do better on the east coast? I’m giving this one another year because my friends had a blueberry bush that didn’t fruit for them the first season, but fruited like crazy the second season. We’ll see. But if it doesn’t give me lots of fruit next summer it’s out on its blueberry butt!

Radishes and carrots: Doing great! In the picture below you can see the radishes are really growing. I pulled one radish out of the ground because I was curious if it was already making little radishes. The answer is: not as far as I can see. It just looks like any other new plant root to my untrained eye. I stuck it right back in the ground and it doesn’t seem to have minded the disturbance. In the picture below you can see teeny little seedlings starting to pop up. I believe those are the carrots. Welcome friends!

radishes and carrots in wood planter box

And finally, this is off topic a bit, but I went to the coolest nursery for work this week. It’s called Rainforest Flora, it’s in Torrance, and it is the biggest grower of Tillandsia (air plants) in the country. If you live in SoCal it is definitely worth a fieldtrip. Although beware. I dropped $70 in about 15 minutes flat; $35 on an amazing staghorn fern, and the other $30 on these two guys in the photo below (the other $5 was tax).

new indoor plants

The plant on the right is kind of super ’70s, right? I’m into it!

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radish seeds sprouting

On Saturday morning I planted some radish and carrot seeds. I took this picture four days later.

CAN YOU EVEN BELIEVE YOUR EYES???

I read (in my bible) that radishes can go from seed to vegetable in three weeks. That seemed absurd, but it doesn’t anymore!

I recommend that all new gardeners plant radishes. I’m not sure I even like radishes. But this rapid sprouting is so gratifying!

Also, I recommend that Southern California gardeners subscribe to Dirt du Jour (Kristen, I’m talking to you!). It’s a Daily Candy rip off for the gardening minded. You can read my LA Times blog post about it, or check out the site for yourself here.

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Here in Los Angeles June is often not a nice month. It suddenly gets cool and cloudy. It feels like the bad parts of an east coast April. Un-fun.

june gloom

So maybe it is the weather, or maybe it is walking by a neighbor’s house and seeing 10 tree-like tomato plants growing in actual dirt in actual sun and feeling consumed with jealousy, but whatever it is, this patio farmer is starting to feel a little gloomy herself .  I’m growing all this edible stuff, but can I really EAT from My Patio Farm besides the occasional one ripe blueberry, or two ripe tomatoes? I grew all that lettuce and in the end it was enough for exactly two salads. 

It is so exciting to watch everything grow, but more like a science experiment than a culinary adventure.  And I really love culinary adventures! Oh well, I suppose there is only so much one can do with such limited space. At least we don’t buy many herbs anymore.

On a less gloomy note: here is a picture of Jonah enjoying his new kitchen.

Jonah and his new old kitchen.

He enjoyed it just enough for me to get some carrot and radish seeds planted. The radishes should be cool: they are inside out radishes–white on the outside, red on the inside. It’s my first seed experience. Wish me luck! 

 Radish and carrot seeds planted.

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