A Makeover for Blaise

Today, during class, I decided to give Blaise the scarecrow a makeover. S/he was looking pretty drab (see previous posts), and was missing a head, so I took one of the large mystery fruits from our citrus tree and sharpied on a face! Isn’t s/he stunning??

a new day, a new face

Blaise adds a touch of whimsy to our garden, and is now standing at the front entrance, ready to greet all new visitors with a smile!

'Blaise'

 

Today we worked on our compost. We added water and stirred (aerated) it, making sure it was the right consistency. I identified a banana tree next to the compost and am intrigued to watch for its progress.

 

compost bin and banana tree

 

I also brought over two potatoes from home, which I hadn’t used quickly enough! They started to sprout ‘eyes’, so I googled how to plant potatoes. According to a website, you simply cut them into chunks (making sure that each segment has at least one eye, or sprout) let those segments dry out, forming a callous over the skin to prevent rotting, and then plant them 6 in. deep in soil. I think they need one more day to properly dry out, so they are sitting on one of the work stations. Later this week they will be ready to plant!

 

It would be great to learn about other ways we can use kitchen scraps to grow our garden.

 

potatoes

 

The garden needs a new soil test kit! We need to test out soil pH levels to determine if we need to add any substances for our blueberry bushes. Blueberries like a very alkaline environment (5.0-6.0 pH) in order to thrive. Unfortunately, the kit I found in the shed was old and missing parts.

 

old soil test kit

 

The limes are doing well, continuing to flower and produce more fruit!

limes

 

 

James had planted some watermelon seeds, which have sprouted! I am very excited to plant them and have watermelon in a few months! These Dixie Queen Watermelon will need a lot of room to grow, however, so we must plant wisely and anticipate their growth.

 

watermelon


Monday Garden Update

Today, Monday January 28, I stopped in the garden to check up on the plants, see the new raised beds (they look awesome, good job to the builders!), and water then plants.

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Lettuces on a ladder

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Lone tomato plant

Watering — All of the beds and many of the potted plants on the edges of the garden were already damp and well-watered by the time I arrived at about 2:30 this afternoon. However, I did notice that some plants were getting ignored: the lone tomato plant in the corner , the lettuces/cabbages in pots on the ladder , and some other herbs/leafy veggie plants on the northern part of the garden. When watering, we’ll have to make sure to check all around the garden and not skip over any hidden plants.

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Pea Seedlings

Seedlings — In one of the planters, rows of bok choy, radishes, and buckwheat were sprouting up nicely.

In the seedling containers, there was something sprouting that looked like a garbanzo bean. Update: During class on Tuesday, I asked James what was sprouting, and he said it was sugar peas.

Harvesting — Anne McKnight said we should be getting ready to harvest some lettuce soon, but I let it be for now so the harvest might be more substantial in the next few days. Per Anne’s instructions for harvesting lettuce: “Start from the outside. Grab the bottom of the leaf down near where it enters the ground, maybe an inch away from the soil. Hold it tight (thumb and forefingers?) with one hand. With the other hand, grab just above that and snap. the spine will just snap, and you will have the big leafy part in your non-holding hand. Move your picking from outer to inner leaves.”

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Blueberries are coming!

The blueberry bushes are also starting to look really good! We should look out for these to start giving off lots of fruit. I used to have a blueberry bush at home, and once they start producing ripe berries, the harvest is plentiful and frequent. There is a blueberry bush in the back, sort of hidden, so we should perhaps move it to a more accessible location once the fruit starts coming.

I also notices some lettuce that was nearly busting out of its pot, so I moved it to the planter with the lone cabbage. It looks like it’s doing really well, and should be harvested in the next few days, I think.

I did not happen to notice any quinoa sprouting, but we should continue to check on that situation.

I found a green pomelo on the ground. Unfortunately, it looked much too green to be eaten. I was about to toss it in the compost bin, but after doing some research, I found that pomelos can be stored and ripened for up to 3 months. We should keep on eye on the pomelo and see if it can be salvaged! A ripe pomelo should be light green to pale yellow.


Cold snap hits growers hard in SoCal

Source: LA Times

Source: LA Times

According to the LA Times,the record cold temperatures we have been having are taking their toll on fruit crops in the area, where the temperature has dipped to as low as 25 degrees.

The cold snap has been a particular concern for citrus farmers across the state, who have been up all night since Thursday. There are $1 billion in oranges, lemons, tangerines and grapefruit still on trees in California, the nation’s largest producer of fresh citrus.