Late January Garden Update and Planning

Happy (Late) New Year!

Due to lack of posts it looks like we haven’t done anything these past few months. Quite the contrary.

A story about the growing medium:

We have been hand mixing, one wheel barrel full at a time, a mixture of coco, vermiculite and bark. Around early December we opted to get a bulk order of half topsoil, half compost. Started using it the day we got it (MISTAKE!).  Apparently you want fresh, steaming compost to rest for at least a week before using it. This mixture should not be used as a seed starting mix. The previous mix could be used from beds to pots to seed starting. All mediums are not the same! The new mix is a pain in pots… it is very heavy. The point of this is to say if you are happy with a mix, why change it?

So what did we do with all the new soil? We carted the soil-less  mix from the two greenhouse beds to the new soil pile. Everything was mixed together with a hoe. The resulting mixture is acceptable for now.

Now, to prove that we haven’t been caved in by the cold and the dark, it’s harvest recap time:

Jan4Harvest Jan8Harvest
Jan 4                                                             Jan 8
The Dill and Cilantro were both victims of a Gopher Attack!

Jan13Harvest
Jan 13
That’s it! It’s cold and windy, we are taking everything down and starting over! We pulled all Tomatoes, Purple Basil, Chocolate Peppers (technically Green Peppers at this point), Sage and of course Green Onion galore. Since most of the Toms were green, we had patience for some to ripen indoors on the counter next to an apple, some of the larger ones were made into Fried Green Tomatoes – my first ever, yummy!

On to some Garden Recap.

The Tomatoes got too cold:

Jan8Toms Jan13SummerToms
Jan 8                                         Jan 13
Another problem was the dangling vines as they banged against the wooden supports.

Jan8WinterToms Jan13WinterToms
Jan 8                                               Jan 13
These would have survived if we had put something over them. Would have been real easy too. There is a wooden support frame on the bed, in fact.

The Greenhouse fared okay, but still some frost damage occurred:

Jan8GHLeft Jan13GHLeft
Jan 8                                       Jan 13
These Toms fared better than the outside Tomatoes, but they were definitely damaged. TLC will bring them back!

Jan8GHRight Jan13GHRight
Jan 8                                              Jan 13
The Basil by the doorway (which is broken, so it is always open– great for airflow) froze to death terribly. Good thing we had made our Holiday Pesto with it already and were waiting for it to regenerate. Too bad it succumbed to the frost, no more fresh basil till the new seedlings sprout up! To tide us over we have pesto sans cheese frozen in cubes and whole basil leaves dried.

The Salad Pot Garden is doing well, this is the perfect time of year for tender greens here in Southern California! (65-70F daytime weather this week!)

Jan8OutsidePots

With such beautiful weather, it is time to finalize the plan for the spring and summer garden, to increase the size of our growing space and redesign to maximize efficiency. Time to experiment with new mixes for the beds and pots to come this year!

CatGrass
These babies have been inside their whole life and are getting used to the idea of the outside world. The cat-grass makes good lure for the guard cat, keeps him on task. This year is going to be a great one. Stay tuned!

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