Monday, February 21, 2011

[SEEDS] of change

Every year my veggie garden is populated through two different avenues: seeds purchased via the interwebs and seedlings purchased from one of the local collegiate horticulture programs.  The seedlings are purchased from either Cal State Fullerton’s or Fullerton College’s Tomato Sale in March.  Last year was my first year going to Fullerton College’s Tomato Sale because one of the ladies my wife works with is a volunteer with them.  The sale is the first Friday through Sunday in March.  Last year we got there within 5 minutes of the opening and the place was jammed with old ladies and their wagons.  I found these folks are friendly enough so long as you don’t represent competition which would prevent them from loading up on every Early Girl seedling in the place.  So, the sale is this coming weekend!  I’ll post about later though… but, on to my seeds.


So my seeds came in the mail!!!  I ordered from Seed Savers Exchange this year.  I found out about them last summer, so it was a little too late to order anything.  They specialize in heirloom veggies, which I really like to focus on in MY garden; veggies with a history.  So this year’s line up is as follows:

Dragon Carrots (purple carrots)

Russian Pickling Cucumbers (I make a mean half sour pickle)

Golden Midget Watermelons

Stowell’s Evergreen Corn

Joe’s Long Cayenne Peppers (for drying, use in the pickles and salsa/hot sauce)

Last weekend I planted the rest of the Scarlet Nantes Carrot seed I had from last year and some random cilantro seed in the beds where I plan to grow the cayenne peppers.  I plan to plant the purple carrots as companion plants in with the tomatoes once they are in.  I hear carrots love tomatoes

Had a lot of rain a few days ago so the garden is still a bit to wet to mess with plus its been getting really cold out at night, nowhere near a frost but still cold, so I think I’ll wait to get seeds in the ground for about 2 weeks.  Especially, since we’re supposed to get MORE rain this coming weekend.  Maybe the moisture will keep the wagon/old lady population down…

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


On Saturday I spent the afternoon moving the compost pile to the side of the house and then spreading out the compost that was ready into a few of the beds and in the open area at the top of the garden, which will become this summer’s corn and melon playground.

I also took a look at my winter veggies to see what they were up to.  All winter long I have watched my lettuce just slowly kinda hang out in the front of the garden.  It survived the 10 inches (!) of rain we got just before Christmas and the 80 degree temps and Santa Ana winds of January and its time came to be harvested.  I planted ‘oak leaf’ lettuce in the fall last year and picked about half of it on Saturday.

110_4947 You can see why its called oak leaf lettuce.  My hands are a smidge ‘pruny’ as a result of the washing of all the lettuce I picked.  Apparently, I can’t remember to take pictures of things until after it is nearly too late.  Well anyway, it all got washed, trimmed and packed up in some Tupperware Rubbermaid re-sealable plastic containers.image

Tonight, we made a DELICIOUS salad with said greens.  Chopped up some apple slices, toasted pecans and goat cheese with some raspberry walnut vinaigrette.  Scrumdiddlyumptious…

We probably have enough for 3-4 more salads and 2-3 salads-worth still out in the garden.  It puts things in perspective to wait 4-5 months for 6-7 salads.  But food is supposed to be slow, right?  We’re just spoiled by the grocery store.  But that’s probably something for another blog post.

110_4989 110_4992

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Few Photos. . .

I took a few photos the other day in the garden in case I wanted to use them in a blog post.  As of yet I don’t think I have anything specific to write about them so I am just going to post them for no other reason than I have them.

110_4787This is my broccoli, which has been slow to get going (much like myself many days this winter) but it is going now nonetheless (also much like myself).  Last year was my first year growing broccoli.  It is a large BIG plant that has a lot of growing to do before you get any actual broccoli to eat.  I have four plants going right now over the winter so we shall see how it goes.

note my arch-nemesis in the background >=(

My wife’s co-worker gave me FIVE Texas SuperSweet Onion sets.  She actually gave them to my wife who gave them to me simply saying, “Polly, gave us some onions.”  So having very little experience grown onions from sets, I just thought they were spring onions or something like green onions and ALMOST sliced them up for dinner!  Luckily, I was told they were for planting, so… I did!  I have tried to grow onions in the past with little to no luck, so we shall we what we shall see with these bad boys.  If they take, I will be pretty excited!

The other day I blogged about how I cut down a juniper tree in my frontyard that blocked my sun.  So, I saved a slice of wood so I could count the rings (nerdy? perhaps) and do some detective work and see when this tree was planted.  I knew my house was built in 1965 so I counted up the rings and lo and behold there were 45 rings.  So my guess was the tree was put in by the original owner within the first 1-2 years (figuring they planted a sapling which was around a year old).  Thus ends my venture into the realms of dendochronology.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Puente Chips

Well, I’ve been spending some time getting my garden soil ready for planting soon.  Every garden has its fair share of rocks and roots and sand and clay, but my garden soil has some fairly interesting and significant rocks that forgot about until I was turning the soil over last week.  You see by day I am a geologist so these kind of things fascinate me!  I figured I’d take a moment to explain…since it is garden-related.


These are the rocks I’m talking about.  They are 1”-2” long pieces of white siltstone.  These rocks originally were part of a large formation of siltstone rock found in the Puente Hills to the north of me.  The formation is called (duh!) the Puente Formation and is about 5-12 million years old.  These fragments of white siltstone first show up in a younger deposit called the La Habra Formation (which is about 1 million to 400,000 years old.  The reason these siltstone chips, called “Puente Chips” because they come from the Puente Formation, are important is because they are the signal of when the Puente Hills started getting pushed up.  As the Puente sediments were pushed up above ground, the white siltstone beds were exposed to weathering and the rock fragments washed down the river that was depositing the other sediments of the La Habra Formation during the Pleistocene.  So by dating the layers where these “Puente Chips” first show up, we can better pinpoint when the Puente Hills started to uplift (which is currently estimated at 1 million to 700,000 years ago).  This is important for understanding the history and activity of many earthquake faults in Southern California and other things only geologists really care about. ;-)
Brea geol map-1
The “Puente Chips” in my garden are actually chips that weathered out of the La Habra Formation (making it the second time these fragments have made a journey from their original home, which is why they are a bit more rounded on the corners and fall apart a lot easier.
So that is the story of the 5 million year old rocks in my garden.