Hubbard squash got huge!
Hubbard squash got huge!
The fall raspberries are fruiting! I took out many of the branches, because I had a lot of fruit rot in the last years as the berries stayed too moist after rain. So no big quantities, but the fruit is big and beautiful!
Quick makeshift compost.
First harvest from the balcony
I was too late when cutting the grass for mulching. Seeds were viable already and took over everything. Also right after planting the onions, there have been some weeks of drought which did not help.
The Sweet Lorane Fava beans in the front yard are flowering now.
Multiplier onions are a win! Bought these after learning about them from SkillCult. Did not disappoint. Started from sets 2 months ago. Harvested sustainably for gronions as they grew, and each single set tripled or quadrupled.
Anyone else growing multipliers / potato onions?
Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius) from some birdseed I tossed out to grow “green mulch”. Some sort of gopher has eaten almost all of them, but this muscular and multi-crowned beastie has been left alone, so far…
Mullien (Verbascum Thapsus) growing in a planter, flowering. It’s starting to grow some side shoots with more flowers. This in in Park Merced out by the Pacific ocean, cold and foggy. (Seed from J. L. Hudson, from 2021)
Harvested garlic! About a week before garlic harvest, planted another round of multiplier onions in between so by the time garlic was harvested, the onions were ready to take over.
just wanna see the day difference
created bird_sanctuary plant list
started bird_sanctuary plan
Ground cherries — both volunteers from last year’s leftovers — and some seeds planted around my new persimmon trees are sprouting this week. Some with 4-5 leaves. They needed warmer soil and rain. None of my inside starts worked well enough to plant. Direct sowing next year.
In addition, squash that were direct sown are already larger than transplants that had a 3 week head start.
Cucumbers and melons that were direct seeded are coming up with the heat and rain, but we will see if they overtake the stunted transplants. Next year I should direct sow with little plastic domes to heat the soil.
Strawberry spinach is one or the most interesting and fun surprises we’re growing. It’s a perennial, has edible leaves (taste just like spinach) and edible fruity flower bud things… The “strawberries” even have a slight sweetness to them. Started last spring from seed, planted out last summer and it grew quite a lot. This spring it was the first of the greens to pop, and has been delivering for 2 months already. Will be eating the fruits in salad for the rest of the summer. Hopefully it comes back! Will save some seed just in case.
Herb garden taking off after some solid rain this past week. Mostly volunteers and returning perennials. There were a few things here when we lived in, but I expanded the garden to consume all the single plantings and filled every in between. The goal is to have this garden as low maintenance as possible.
Persimmon buds are finally breaking! My patience was wearing thin, but these bad boys are going to leaf out after all!
In order to cover the soil and support these trees, I planted a number of seeds; green beans, dill, snapdragons, squash, mustard, and ground cherry. May the most vigorous win, and the rest feed the soil!
Will likely underplant with something more permanent in the future.
Nursery is coming along this year. 6 mystery stone fruits, started indoor — 2 in the ground. First 5 of many more walnuts — both black and English. Decorative willow stakes taking off after winter kill.
Bonus potato pot and lemongrass.
Hubbard Squash transplanted. A bit late since the plants lost already a bit color but hope it will be ok. No rain here though. Let’s hope they can manage a week without.
Chocolate trees, I’m not so much growing them as slowly killing them, but they’re still alive and I have high hopes.
On the left is an Inga feuillei (Ice Cream Bean). It’s very happy, growing lots of little shoots and a few big ones. I bet it would make adventitious roots, eh? Quick and easy propagation if so…
I enclosed a metal shelving unit with greenhouse plastic, put a heater on the bottom with fish tank full of water and a towel hanging down into it to make a simple swamp cooler to modulate the heater and increase the humidity. It worked really well until the towel dissolved!
Finally getting started this year, very late. Bought 2x Jasmine and 2x pink chrysanthemums at the market yesterday. Already have 1x bay, 1x rosemary, 1x mint to add to the raised bed. Helping hands arrive tomorrow. :-)
Thistle and rocks. This kind of land would discourage some people, but I see resource: plenty of rocks and rich loam. Lots of green biomass to compost. I love it.
A couple of the Sebrights explore their environment.
Have you ever seen such a kale? It’s a kale/collard cross that has been grown in San Francisco for several generations (of kale, not humans.) The seeds for this tree were originally given to me by one Kevin Bayuk, currently of LIFT Economy (https://www.lifteconomy.com/) who called them “perennial brassica crosses” and they live up to the name. This tree was planted about two-and-a-half years ago. There are some others around the corner but they have a bushy habit. This one is clearly expressing some Walking Stick kale genes or something, eh?
I’m pretty sure Park Merced will come in and remove all of this once we leave. The landscapers themselves are cool, but mgmt wants the place to look like LEGO land. It’s a race against time for those seed pods to ripen before they tree gets the ax.
Anyway, life goes on. I’ve given away seeds from previous generations and there are lots of little plants here and there. If you look closely at the lower left corner you can just see the edges of the leaves of another one, it has purple stems! Same seeds.
A lot of other stuff going on in this photo. From left to right on the ground there is a bunch of safflower that are just there from bird seed I tossed out. Ground cover and mulch, yeah? They are doing really well.
(The little bush with the red leaves is Park Merced’s, I don’t know what it is but it’s tough.)
Then there are a few Sweet Lorane fava beans, fourth generation here. They have adapted well. Bugs eat the leaves but they don’t care, they just outgrow all damage.
Then there’s that tree (the tree-tree not the kale-tree), you can see it has been maintained with great expertise, by a doctor. Dr. Seuss.
At the base of the tree we have a wild pile of all kinds of things, a few I planted but mostly wild stuff I collected from nearby.
You can see the fuzzy tufted heads of the bunny tail grass (Lagurus ovatus), that’s the second year it’s grown from that spot. Perennial, eh? The little purple flowers are (I’m pretty sure) Little-Robin (Geranium purpureum). You can see another brassica cross in there, as well as some random wild plants with oval leaves. There’s a carrot in there bolting, I think it’s Pusa Asita (“Tropical Black”) but we’ll see. Same thing as the kale: race against time to ripen the seeds before the landscapers make it “nice” again.
Last but not least, there’s a nice big dandelion, because I like dandelions.
On the right there’s a Monkey Grass (Liriope) I found in the dumpster. It would be happier if I buried it deeper but at least it’s not in the dumpster.
The strawberries on the ground are beach strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis) from around Lake Merced. They send runners out aggressively and make a thick ground cover. They flower but rarely make berries. If the landscapers don’t remove it completely it will eventually cover the whole area.
Whew! So that’s what’s happening in that picture. This is about half of all the space I have (had) at our old place, and technically I wasn’t supposed to use it at all. I’ve been pent up people, is what I’m saying.
That bit of grass in the back against the wall: panic veldtgrass (Ehrharta erecta). “Native to Southern Africa and Yemen” it’s a beast here. It continuously goes to seed, the seeds are tiny and numerous, it spreads also by runners, etc. I thought it was indestructible until I saw what chickens do to it. I’ll post a picture later of a plant that grew on our concrete stair case! It started with a bit of schmutz and just didn’t die and now it’s the size of a basketball. It’s literally growing on concrete.
There’s a lot going on in this photo, let’s break it down. This is the temporary brooder set up in a corner of my room (all cleared out because I’m packing up to go to Green Hills.) You can see it’s divided into two sections. The smaller section on the lower left with the little hillock in it is for the Golden Sebrights, and the larger pen is for the Azure Eggers (you can just see a couple of them over the edge of the plastic tarp.)
In the lower left corner of the image there are three Sebrights napping on the edge of the cardboard box! They like it. I don’t understand how it works, I know there is some special roosting ability in chicken legs, but it’s impressive. I couldn’t nap sitting on a fence.
I put several different roosts along the edge of the brooder: a paper towel tube cut and rolled a little tighter/smaller than normal with a paper towel around it to offer traction; a length of stick; and a wooden paint stirrer (never used on paint, I mixed soil with it.) Still, they like just the edge of cardboard.
In the back in the corner is the box that the eggers sleep in at night, and on the right you can see the prototype of my simple computer system that I’m building. I have since had to cover that up, the eggers started jumping up there. It’s incredible how fast chickens grow. Each day they seem to “level up” and are ready for new things. I can’t wait to get them up to the land and let them run around (inside their respective runs, of course.)
That reminds me, having the two flocks next to each other like this should hopefully let them get used to each other as kids, and curtail inter-flock aggression when they grow up. The Sebrights are about twice as old as the eggers now, but they’re bantam so the eggers are already a little larger, and much heavier. The Sebrights mostly ignore the eggers, who, frankly, are obnoxiously frightened of me and them and everything that isn’t clearly food. Once in awhile one of the eggers will jump up onto the roost and then look around nervously at the Sebrights, who look back like, “Uh-huh, now what?”
A local hatchery had these Golden Sebright chicks coming up for sale. I looked them up and they were so beautiful, so I ordered them w/o really doing much research. It turns out that they have a really interesting history, but they are not a great bird from the point-of-view of farm production. They’re basically a show bird. Too late now, I already love them.
Here they are as lil chicks, and then again at about three weeks. That was a couple of days ago. (I just now realized how to get images from my phone to my computer! So much for being a hotshot computer nerd, eh?)
Let’s see, I got these Macadamia tetraphylla nuts from J.L. Hudson back in May 2021 and planted them in some air-prune mesh bags. Here they are, two years on, having put up with being essentially houseplants. Too dark and too dry and probably too cold. But they’re tough. Now they’re all packed up and ready to go.
I thought I killed that one tree but it has sprouted a new crown of leaves. Whew!
Planted 244 onions yesterday and today.
From left to right:
4x20 Red Baron, mulched with chipped juniper, grass clippings
4x16 Stuttgarter Riesen, grass clippings
4x20 Sturon, Wood chips from different old stuff, grass clippings
Did not water when planted, instead hoping for rain
Planting potatoes 2023
Haskaps looking good
5x Comfrey Bocking 14 planted.
Planted out melons and cucumbers. Melons: Blacktail watermelon, Minnesota midget, emerald gem, charentais, edisto 47, golden honeydew, noir des carmes.
Cucumbers: Marketmore 76, Bushy, Spacemaster, Blanc de Holland.
The goal for this year is to mass plant the melons into one bed, and hope for crosses (all but the blacktail are cucumis melo) to replant next year.
Cucumbers, not as set on crosses, but the blanc de holland was vigorous and productive last year, whereas the others were slow and many weren’t even fully pollinated. Hoping to save seeds for some improvements.
Spring in the yarden Trees and shrubs are budding! Looks like we will see flowers from the haskaps and leaves from the hazels very soon. Also, the Turkish hazelnut and hickory seedlings survived!
Still growing. There are a few clear winners here. 5 still looking healthy, 2 are more vigorous.
Looks like most of these guys are gonna make it. You can see one that didn’t (left) but there are 10 in good shape with 3+ leaves. Will probably top up the soil a bit in the cells and get a bottom watering tray going.
Cold stratification success! I cracked a couple dozen plum pits and pulled out the seeds last fall, put them in a bread bag w/ moist potting soil, and left them in the cold room all winter. Just went to inspect the stash & noticed the bright white radicles! It’s planting time!
Got a dozen plum seeds planted. There were a few nectarine and peach seeds in there too, but I think only one or two germinated. Time will tell. Mixed a bucket of soil (sandy dirt, some mostly-composted yard waste, last year’s failed potted plant soil & some well aged urine.
Planted into deep nursery trays.
I opted to upgrade my tree trays w/ these deeper ones I got used from a local nursery. They’re maybe 6” deep & have a large hole in the bottom for air pruning the roots. Plums! Hopefully only one of a half dozen tree species I’ll grow this year.
This year I plant in containers and not in the garden since all beds were horrible fails.
6 containers on the balcony: 36 cloves
1 container on the terrace: 16 cloves (mulched with straw and pruned raspberries)
The result. I saved the largest 5 tubers from the top 3 varieties
Harvested and preppared tomatillo salsa using a bunch of ingredientes from the garden:
Had to buy onions, cilantro, lime juice, and vinegar.
A peck* of pickled peppers…
*not actually a peck, 3.5 liters
Harvested lots of peppers.
Harvested the last 3 varieties from the 5 initial ones.
This is 185 days after planting.
Laura: 680g (red ones)
Russet Burbank: 897g
Harvested and roasted for green tomatillo salsa.
Harvested the Adretta and Blue Congo varieties since they were completely dead after summer and did not survive the drought. The other three are growing back after the heat and I let them in until they die.
Adretta harvest: 463g
Blue Congo harvest: 120g
Most of the tubers are too tiny to peal or eat.
167 days after planting.
None of the seeds germinated, they were also old.
Maximilian sunflower short before bloom
Processing Dino kale seeds, let them dry on a table for a few weeks. It’s from plants from 2021. Reach out if you want some! Will put in the marketplace soon
Not all, but many seeds have germinated.
Raised bed garden updates. There will be a harvest! So far from 6 cucumber plants we’ve been harvesting 1-2 cucumbers per day over the past 2 weeks with more coming so long as blight doesn’t hit! Tomatoes and ground cherries have another few weeks and beans are pumping. Squash has another month at least, with at least (I hope) one squash on each plant.
Borage and calendula support showed up around the cherry guild. Borage working well as a trap crop. Aphids seem to have moved from the cherry to the borage!
Everything is growing well! Looking forward to identifying the cucumbers to see which are the most prolific. Really hoping some of the white cucumbers show up.
Melons are slow to start, but I’ve been feeding them quite a bit. Rotting grass clippings, and fermented plant juice made from dandelion leaves.
Kousa dogwood is slow to grow, not sure what’s going on. Ground cherry doing well. Underplanted with some beans just for fun and they’re popping up nicely. Strawberry plant is massive, and pumping out a few strawberries per day.
Mulberry tree put on some solid growth earlier this summer. Squash are up and crawling. Echinacea didn’t make it, but I have new seedlings ready to go any day.
Ground cherries are growing! Slow start from seed, but once they hit their stride, they’re unstoppable! First fruits already visible, 4-5 flowers on each with new leaves and flowers appearing daily.
Picked about 4 cups of wild raspberries and turned into 4 250ml jars of jam.
Current state of the potato bed. Two varieties apparently don’t deal well with the dryness. I watered here and there but mostly let them be.
Pickled 1/2 of the scapes, made 12 500ml jars of pickles.
Harvest of many small bulbs. I consider this a fail and I’ll try to plant earlier next year. Maybe in October?
Harvested ~2 5gal buckets of scapes.
Planted out ground cherry starts today. Weather was overcast and calling for a slight rain. Watered in with bacterial water from my fermentation experiment.
The garlic scapes have arrived!
Build mini-hugelkultur rings to expand newly planted tree zones. Pulled grasses/weeds, laid down layer of sticks and twigs, 4-6” layer of grass clippings then topped with 4-6” of soil.
Planted a row of echinacea and a butternut squash in the mulberry ring.
Planted a row of chives around hazelnut.
Planted a few ground cherries around the kousa dogwood.
Planted a butternut squash alongside another hazelnut.
Transplanted out my tomatoes and cucumbers which I started earlier last month.
Planted several melons today. Direct sown into the new raised bed, and into some large pots.
Varieties were zombie cantaloupe, blacktail watermelon, golden midget watermelon
Beets didn’t seem to like the transplant. Leaves are growing, but not looking healthy.
Bok choy did very well, turkish rocket is growing slowly, and the kale is not looking very happy, but it’s growing.
Transplanted tomatoes and cucumbers into the new raised beds today!
Brassicas and greens have sprouted, but no sign of the borage or calendula yet.
For some reason the watermelon seeds didn’t germinate. There were a few cantaloupe starts that I planted into the herb garden.
The first morels found in the front yard were very black. Upon finding these near the wild apple trees on the deer trail I realized the black ones are just older. These ones are lighter coloured. They’ll make a great burger topping for tonight’s dinner.
Harvested 16 asparagus spears
Transplanted 2 “Perron Noir” blackberries into the perennial garden.
Spotted some morels in the front yard may 22
Current size of all 5 varieties
Harvested 16 spears
Harvested 18 spears of asparagus
The Norway spruce in the front yard is budding beautifully coloured new growth!
Harvested 15 spears of asparagus
Transplanted my two pawpaw plants out into the yard. They’re starting to look stressed in their pots (1.89 litre milk cartons) so I dug a couple deep holes in a shady spot under the hop hornbeam. Soil is sandy there so they should like it. The taproot was easily a few inches longer than the carton. Probably 12” long.
Sowed a mix of greens, brassicas and edible flowers into the middle of the new herb bed.
Sowed a selection of melons and squash into 5” pots. Left in DIY germination chamber.
Transplanted ~ 10 raspberry plants into the perennial garden.
Prepped new bed in perennial garden for raspberries.
Kale, bok choy, turkish rocket, chiogga beets were transplanted into herb garden. Covered nightly for a week until nights reached around 10°C.
Bok choy took off — would transplant earlier next year and cover overnight.
Rocket is slow, but still alive.
Beets are stunted, not doing much but still alive.
Kale is OK, but is being outgrown by direct-sown kale planted a week later.
Planted Lapin cherry tree and a double haskap — berry blue and aurora. Transplanted a few Canadian garlic (wild garlic) around the sweet cherry.
Made a pass with the Coleman hoe over the garlic bed.
Brought all the plants outside this morning. Tomatoes, peppers, kale, bok choy, Turkish rocket, chiogga beets, pink celery. Trees: Honey locust, turkish hazelnuts, pawpaws.
Planted two rows of small red and yellow potatoes. They were potatoes from Lufa farms that had sprouted in the cupboard. Planted about 6 of each.
Sow mix of saved seed: rainbow chard, brassica mix, kale, giant red mustard and borage. Sown in a corner of a newly made lasagna style garden bed; cardboard, leaf mould, light sprinkling of hardwood ash, compost.
Also sowed same mix in raspberry/garlic bed among the not-yet-growing raspberry canes.
Multi-sown beets are rolling along. Leggy though, as it’s not been warm enough to put outside in the sun. Hopeful we’ll get enough sun soon.
Planted a couple dozen asparagus seeds in a shallow tray.
Hatched 7 ducklings