Artichoke
Asparagus
Basil
Beans
Beets
Carrots
Cauliflower
Chard
Cucumber
Fig
Garlic
Kale
Leeks
Lemon
Lettuce
Melon
Peas
Peppers
Plum
Pomegranate
Potato
Radishes
Tomatoes
Tomatillo
Notes


Artichoke

2010 - 2-3 seedlings planted in the big box, late March...I don't think they made it.

Asparagus

Would like to plant this someday perhaps. It takes 3 years to harvest, but then keeps cropping up. www.asparagusgardener.com.

Basil

2010 - Bought a basil plant from Trader Joe's last week of March. Left it outside to "harden" hope it survives! Bought a purple basil seedling at Tomatomania in mid April. Planted more purple basil seeds, plus lemon basil, in with the banana peppers in the new tri-level planter, May 3. Hopefully, by planting them outside from the start, the seedlings will be stronger than last year's that I tried in the window. June 3, it's been unseasonably cold, no sprouts in the tri-level planter!

2009 - Mixed Seeds from Library Volunteer lunch, sown in last week of April. Basil and Dill are great, can’t recognize the rest yet. Harvested a cup of basil in mid June to make a nice batch of pesto. July 2: Read that the basil wants 4 inches of separation. Sowing the seeds in combination led to about a dozen baby basils growing in one square foot, mixed in with dill and other herbs. I took them out (away from the green caterpillar that was munching on each leaf) and planted one with each Pepper plant, having that they like each other…and planted the rest in the tin box containers with 5 beet seedlings. Now they have 3-4 inches of separation, and hopefully enough depth. July 9: something new is attacking three of the basil in the box containers! No caterpillar in sight this time. The basil and beets in the boxes on the stairs are probably overcrowded with basil, about 9 plants in each box! Try 3 basil only in each next time!

Bathroom Window 4 types sprouted from seed, Cinnamon, Lemon, Lime, and Purple. Seedlings are an inch high 6/18/09. July 2: “potted up” sprouts to deeper container. Nervous about root damage… Black tray is too small I think, for bathroom window efforts…only 2-3 inches of dirt, roots were surprisingly long and difficult to transplant. July 13: They’re tall and spindly, but didn’t die from the transfer. The lone purple one is much smaller than the others. Oct. nothing from the bathroom is very strong. These basils were all weak and spindly compared to store-bought seedlings. I don't think the bathroom gets strong enough light.

Beans

2010 - 3 Scarlet Runner Bean seeds planted in the back of the half white barrel that has the white zucchini seedling in the front. Ace Hardware potting soil plus compost. June 3, 2 sprouted, but the leaves are being attacked mightily by snails.

2009 - Seeds planted in shallow parking lot bed, June 15, 3 each of three kind, in alphabetical order, Brittle Wax, Roma and Tenderpick. 6/25: Roma is winning the race, two vigorous leaves on each plant. The others are just barely above ground. Oct- No Beans, plants died. Even the scarlet runner bean in a container in the top deck struggled with no sign of beans, but I planted 3 per smallish pot. Debbie says scarlet runner beans don’t like heat, she’s never had luck with them. She likes pole beans, “Kentucky Blue”, to be planted in June, maybe in warm May weather. Beans Planted more in small containers in seed trays, 2 of 4 varieties, adding Kentucky Wonder, and Roma 6/18/09. July 9: “potted up” today, lots of root activity. Oct: no beans made it. Bean, Scarlet Runner Planted 3 seeds in white pot. 6/25 July 9: all came up, with two sets of leaves already. July 13: looks really happy…but three in one smallish pot??? Hmmmm… Oct: plant really struggling, no beans.

Beets

2010 - Planted beets at Mernie's Nov. 17. Mid March, the greens look good, but they're still smaller than golf balls. Harvested one good beet in April, Mernie's enjoyed a few as well.

2009 - Planted from seed June 15 approx, soaked seeds overnight. July 2: thinned seedlings, transplanted the crowded ones to the boxes on the stairs, they’re about three inches tall, and spindly, so I buried them a bit deeper. Hopefully they like basil, they’re surrounded by them! Oct: we pulled the biggest one in Sept and it was TINY! So we steamed the leaves.

Carrots

2010 - Planted more in the top deep container, but only two sprouts so far...

2009 - Purple Dragon Carrots, seeds in 6/20 No sign of these, now covered by the melon vine? Upper Bed: Purple Dragon Heart Carrots Planted by seed Late March / early April, started thinning baby carrots June 16, very exciting! One was half an inch in diameter, the other only about a quarter inch, both about 6 inches long, deep maroon skin, sweet orange inside. Some Mache mixed in the bed in May, but I don’t see any yet. June 30, harvested a nice little carrot for a salad. Center is yellow. July 13: harvested a couple more by now. I like this crop. Oct: Some carrots have “exploded” underground. Past their prime, but still taste fine. Carnival Mix Carrots, seeds in 6/20 Oct: haven’t found any of this batch. Planted purple carrots at Mernie’s Nov. 17, she is going to try the toilet paper method -None came up!

Cauliflower

2010 - Feb 14 in smallish ivory pot, then moved to larger container, around a central Kale. April 3, Cauliflower seedlings surviving, Kale thriving. June 3, transplanted into their own containers, about half a dozen leaves each. November - they never amounted to much, nothing edible looking.

Swiss Chard

2010 - April 3 - Chard is growing, but not big enough to harvest yet. Transplanted the colorful ones to the front bench area where it's deep. (Now where do the carrots go?) Also transplanted a few from Mernie's garden where they're huge, but not as sweet anymore. May - Chard is all doing pretty well. June 3, Chard is fine, harvestable. The one I transplanted from Mernie's is acting different from the others, growing a huge stalk and going to seed. November - now that Victoria is living in the city again, we don't eat the Swiss chard enough.

2009 - Planted from Emmy’s seed in mid October in a patch in the center of the carrot bed, and in blue pot where herb mix used to be. Nov. 17: baby chards have mostly been eaten by snails, so I planted some more, in smaller containers.

Cucumber

2010 - Got some seedlings from Mernie, will transplant early April. May 3...three seedlings are still in a small rectangular container...Mid May: transplanted to the front of the white half barrels. November - nothing came of these!

2009 - Planted from seeds, in numerous small containers, need to replant at some point, maybe in box? Also two in seed tray, all planted on 6/18. Getting them confused with the honeydew, the seedlings look the same so far. July 9: “potted up” today, lots of root activity. Oct: one cuke harvested, vine not doing great in box…but even smaller in the pots on the deck. Debbie planted her cucumbers in June, and got a bunch.

Fig

2010 - Leaves came back, and by April 3 leaves are full and bright green again and two baby figs seem to be doing well. May 3 - volunteer tomatoes are going nuts all around the base of the tree...should I pull them?? June 3, Tree not doing well, not enough watering. the volunteer tomato was delicious and ridiculously early, we ate it in late May! November - all leaves gone, baby figs seem pretty sad.

2009 - Tree Bought from Home Depot this spring…two figs didn’t make the trip home. Planted Mache around the base in May. July 13: only two mache have sprouted, and it’s hard to add more dirt to the fig since the mache are so dang tiny. The fig leaves have yellow blotchies…will start feeding it bokashi… Oct: some leaves turning brown, need to transplant? Placed in larger white barrel with dirt and compost, leaves are looking healthier. All leaves dropped...

Garlic

2010 - planted Feb 13, with green tips already coming out of the cloves. 1 inch below surface, 7 in one pot, 3 in another, in front of V’s studio. Late summer, harvested a garlic!

Kale

2010 - I can't remember when I planted them, but April 3, they're getting nice and big. Nice taste, and pretty purple stems. November - again, without Victoria, we don't bother with the kale enough.

Leeks

2010 - planted in with the peas, Feb 14. May 3 - none have come up that I've recognized...I may have pulled them? Update - we've only harvested a few leeks over time...they seem like they take forever and it's hard to figure out when to pull them out.

2009 - Leeks Planted about a week ago, (today is 6/18/09) they’re in between the mache in the fruit trees. I think I put one in the middle of each pepper, but put a lot more dirt on today, so probably buried the seeds too far. July 2: put basil in the middle of each pepper, didn’t see any leek sprouts. There might be some sprouting around the fruit/ pink lemon trees, but I’m not sure. Oct: two small leeks in the pink lemon tree, one larger one in the apple tree.

Lemon

2010 - Transplanted Lemon tree into Barrel in March. trimming it last winter seemed to help, reduced the fruit and the remaining fruit are stronger. still no fruit on Pink Lemon, but lots of new growth.

2009 - Lots of flowers, replanted Pink Lemon in huge water barrel so maybe it will fruit this year? Meyer seems to be doing better after straightening it, but just now getting over lots of little yellow aborted fruits. Oct: still small fruit.

Lettuce

2010 - planted Feb 14 in stairs box (right). Combo of lettuce, raddichio, corn mache, etc. Bok Choy on either side of oregano, in other (left) stairs box, on Feb 14. May 3 - Heirloom lettuce and spinach are doing well, and I moved them down to the street level to make room, I hope they continue to do okay. Have not seen any signs of the raddichio or the mache, and the Bok Choy went to flower early, and the sproutlings have ceased growing, it seems. June 3, It's very hot for the lettuce, but I'm harvesting the limp leaves anyway.

2009 - Cicoria Seeds in 6/14, just starting to sprout 6/18/09 (?), in the shallow clear plastic tray, in about 2-3 inches of dirt. July 2: put outside for a bit in the shade at 12:30pm, trying to start the “hardening off” phase. They’re about 3 inches but really spindly and leaning over toward the sun, they look really weak, not vigorous. July 13: Ate the little buggers, about 10 small leaves. Raddichio Seeds in 6/14, in shallow clear plastic tray, not sprouted yet. July 2: only 1 tiny sprout up so far. Lettuce Seeds in June 14 in 4-5 inches of dirt, deep spinach plastic container, with seeds from 1995, not sprouted on June 19. July 2: no sprouts under soil, seeds probably too old, put the basil seedlings on top. Debbie planted hers early in the spring (March, perhaps, she’s not totally sure), but put fabric tents over them. She also did spinach this way and had good luck with both. Mache Seeds in June 14 in small oval ceramic container with flower pattern, not sprouted yet on June 19. 6/20 seeds sprouted! July 2: Put outside for a while to “harden off”, in the shade, 12:30pm. Only 1-2 inches, tiny. July 13: still not much growth. Scott and Fred painted the extra bathroom shelves yesterday, they’re not installed yet, but we can tell the light is way better on the left side, getting afternoon light.

Melons

2010 - Transplanting all the sprouts from the compost over to the white half barrels. April 3, they're healthy young plants. May 3, planted Thai Serpent Melon seeds. I can't remember where... In a container up top, I think. November - NO MELONS!

2009 - 3 seeds planted to far right, June 15. Seeds are from organic honeydew from Farm Fresh to You. July 2: they’ve been up now for a week or so, two leaves each. Oct: About 12 melons hiding in vigorous leaves! Nov 7, 8 harvested two big melons, yummy but not quite ripe yet. One of the three “aborted” tiny melons in the box was amazing, fully ripe with a very thin skin. Honeydew Melon Planted from seeds from Farm Fresh to You melon, in numerous small containers, need to replant at some point, maybe in box? Also one in seed tray, all planted on or around 6/18 (seeds in parking lot were in a few days ago). 6/20 Honeydew Seeds in worm bin keep sprouting! I’ve pulled out about 10 of them and put them in the honeydew pot… maybe I should’ve kept them in the worm bin a little longer since they seem so happy there! One even had a 3-inch stem and a first set of leaves, which were yellowish since there’s no light in there. July 9: “potted up” today, lots of root activity. Two planted in the big box, far to the car lot-side, with just potting soil, not as much compost mixed in. Oct: a few melons, not as much as the vine in the parking lot.

Peas

2011 - The peas I planted in September 2010 from the old seed packs only made 2 plants, maybe because they were too old or maybe not enough water since we were out of town a few times...anyway, I was really bummed, but I persisted and planted another batch from new pea seeds in early November. Today, Thanksgiving, November 25th, I found a bunch of new pea babies!

2010 - Planted in November 09 and Feb 10, pods are stringy whether you eat them early or late, but if you let the peas grow nice and fat, they're so sweet. Some plants are vigorous, some are weak and decimated by snails. I planted Sugar, Green Arrow, and Laxton's Progress, but I planted so many seeds and then transplanted them all over the place, it's confusing to say which varieties are doing the best. May 3, I harvested a ton of peas off the best plant by the stairs...it seemed to hang on thru Open Studios and then get dry all of a sudden, maybe since that weekend was so warm. June 3, STILL harvesting peas here and there!

2009 - Lower Bed, in Parking Lot: Edible Sugar Peas Started with seeds in late March early April 09, after returning from Florida where I saw on TV that Michelle Obama was doing a garden at the White House. Planted seedlings in bed, about 5 inches tall, half died. Peas are starting now, mid-June, today is June 18 and we’ve eaten 3 so far. A week or so later, we harvested 10 peas for dinner, and munched a few more. Bed is probably not deep enough for vigorous plants, it’s only about 6-8 inches deep. And it’s been hot lately, I read the hot weather stops them. Need to try again in fall in deeper soil. July 12: harvested the last 10 or so peas. Golden Gate recommends planting in early November and again in February, but Debbie Danucci says that when she plants in August, she has the highest yield, enough to last all winter. February seems late to her, because of the May heat waves. She also has good luck with old seeds, so don’t worry about using seeds up. Nov 1, planted peas on deck and by stairs. About a week later, planted them in the big box. Nov 17 still planting peas willy nilly where I can find space. Planted some on Nov 15 at Mernies. Feb 1 – First flowers on short pea plants, about 1 foot long. Snails are decimating the leaves left and right. Need to put copper around them asap!

Peppers

2010 - Can't find my Carnival Mix seeds, so planted Banana Peppers in the tri-level planter, May 3. June 3, unseasonably cool, no sprouts yet! November update - no peppers ever came up!

2009 - Carnival Mix Started seeds outside in late March/early April, transplanted them in late May, I think. Gave one to Carla. July 2: Read that peppers and basil grow well together, placed one baby basil in with each pepper seedling. Oct: harvesting orange bell peppers! First one harvested Oct 12, last one harvested Oct 28. Plants were small since they were in small containers, only 1-2 peppers per plant. I think I had about 5 plants…

Plum

2010 - gave away the Apple Tree to Daniel and transplanted the Plum tree into the big box in March, where it flowered like crazy and did well in general. I think there are baby plums on it. June 3, tree not doing well, trees in containers don't seem to work for me.

2009 - (and Apple Tree) Lots of leaves this year, nothing else. Black aphids on one, but when I went back to spray off the aphids I couldn’t find them. Weird. Oct -09: A few flowers, but leaves turning brown. Oct. 28: Plum tree has one tiny fruit.

Pink Pomegranate

2010 - May 3, baby pomegranates on the tree. June 3, I read that pomegranates will survive in containers...we'll see! November - pomegranates didn't make it, and all leaves are off.

2009 - Tree Planted first few days of November, purchased at Farmer’s Market for $25. Mache Planted around base of fruit trees, in bathroom and in carrot bed. They seem to get overwhelmed by the hose water outside, so we’ll see how they do inside. (none ever really made it)

Potato

2009 - One grew eyes in the paper bag from Farm Fresh to You, so on 6/18/09 I cut it into two pieces and put them in dirt. Will transplant at some point… July 2: leaves are up and looking good. Plant more! Oct. Potato tower not looking all that great. Some plants are okay, some sprout and die. Tower produced one small and one tiny potato, less than what I put in!

Radishes

2010 - April, Letting the radishes go to seed. Spindly flowers on tall stems. Learned that the skin is the most sour part, if you peel them the centers are much sweeter. Planted more in fall.

2009 - Watermelon Radishes planted from seed in early April. Two entire mid-sized containers for 5 radishes! Almost pulled them too early, but Thalo saved them. Now, June 18, I can see radishes sticking up from the ground… Late June: Made pesto with half radish greens and half carrot tops. July 11, Tone and I harvested a big one and he sliced it thin and sandwiched it with herbed nut cheese, sprinkled chopped basil, olive oil and chopped walnuts on top. Delicious and gorgeous. One radish made 5 raw-violies for each of us! Oct: Don’t plant too many at once, they get old and the taste changes a bit. Planted a new batch, just 4. They sprouted almost immediately!

Squash

We've had one decent squash so far, some Lebanese white variety. Lots of babies that go rotten on the vine, after making a nice squash blossom! There is one more squash in the garden now, late November 2010.

Tomatoes

2010 - Mid March, transplanted 4 tomato seedlings from Whole Foods, two Cherokee Purples and two Japanese Blacks. This is early, so we'll see how they do. These varietals are supposedly good for early starts...? Mid April, bought 14 exotic varietals at Tomato Mania up in Sonoma at Cornerstone Gardens. Wonderful event. Most of them got decent sized containers, but some are small and I need to pot them up at some point I think. Got most of the tomatoes in 5 gallon containers in May, and wove ribbon through them to act as cages. My neighbors ate tomatoes all summer long while I was in Florida, and we're still harvesting one or two in late November!! The best one was a yellow one the size of an egg, and the color of a dark healthy yellow yolk. The "wild" volunteer tomatoes from seeds in the compost actually do quite well also, so don't pull them out when they spring up!

2009 - Bought 3 plants from Midcity Nursery April 1, Early Girl, Big Beef, Ace, planted immediately. Now, June 18, some are larger than a ping pong ball, all are green. 6/20 One branch bent today, added more stakes!! July 2: First Early Girl is almost ready! July 9: ate the first Early Girl with Scott and William! It was sweet, but thick skinned, which William says is usually the case with container tomatoes. July 13: all three are reddening a few each couple of days. Molly’s are more productive than mine, but that’s okay, I have plenty. Nov 9: still have green tomatoes! They split as they ripen now. Nov 17, pulled up the Ace, it has no more tomatoes on it.

Tomatillo

2010 - Plan on planting heirloom PURPLE Tomatillos, got seeds from the cool old store in Petaluma... will definitely (somehow) give each one it's own container. May 3, planted 2 seeds together in one container, if more than one comes up, I suppose I'll have to transplant...November - The purple tomatillos are not purple. They're green like the others. They make a decent looking plant, but I'm about over the tomatillo concept.

2009 - Tomatillos Bought plants from Midcity Nursery, accidentally planted 3 in one container and 2 in another, plants are the same size as the tomatoes (which are each in their own container) but ALWAYS thirsty, they need their own containers! Lots of flowers still, June 18, about 3 ping pong ball sized lanterns so far. July 13: This poor plant really has a tough time keeping wet enough, I think. I had to cut off a very loaded branch because it bent. Oct: Although the main problem was planting 3 per pot, we probably won’t bother with these again.

NOTES

Mulch: Coffee Grounds – I use coffee grounds (always less than 1 inch deep) in my potted plants. We are big coffee drinkers here so we always have plenty of grounds. This might be a good option if you are in an urban area and getting bales of hay isn’t a convenient option. Coffee grounds as a mulch is a fair insulator and good at weed control, and it looks nice too. Plus as Daphne mentioned yesterday in the comments, coffee grounds make for excellent slug and snail control.

Succession Planting: Where to put the next round of Carrots? Bec will be giving us a cherry tomato plant, so maybe the universe will give us a planter big enough to put carrots around the cherry tomato, not sure if I want to overload the existing tomato containers… After reading Carrots Love Tomatoes, the past two growing seasons we’ve been experimenting with companions planting. We already have our carrots planted with our tomatoes and now we are trying beans and cucumbers together. Beans, as with most legumes (like our winter fava cover crop), draw up nitrogen from down deep in the soil, brings it up and fixes it as little white nitrogen nodules to their roots. You don’t have to fertilize beans, in fact they really don’t like being fertilized, because they can do it themselves. Cucumbers on the other hand are heavy feeders and like a lot of fertilization. But we’ve read if you plant them along with plenty of beans, the beans fertilize the cucumbers without you having to do a thing. We like that ‘not having to do a thing’ part, a lot! And so far, its worked. We have both more beans and cucumbers than we can eat and both plants look happy and healthy. The only issue we’ve found with planting these two together is that cucumbers like a little more water and beans like a little less water. We’ve done our best to accommodate both by focusing our water on the cucumbers and it seems to be working. If you haven’t read Carrots Love Tomatoes you should give it a try. It has really helped us.

Bugs, Birds and Butterflies June 19: Saw a huge yellow and black striped butterfly enjoying the garden today, especially the dill! Not sure what he was doing there, there were no flowers on the dill, maybe just resting. July 2: a green catapillar was wreaking havoc on my basil, planted in with the dill! I transplanted them and left the catapillar to eat the dill and other herb. There are yellow aphids on the oleander that I hope don’t transfer anywhere… I’ve seen a lady bug or two, and of course we have humming birds, but they didn’t discover the new feeder and it leaked all over the carrots. A couple of bees this year. We have lots of Cal poppy volunteers, but no other flowers to speak of, since we pulled all the vines earlier this year with Trina’s help. We saved a passion flower root ball which is doing well, one flower at a time in a container. There are some jasmine plants down below that grew back and I haven’t ripped them out yet (transplant?) and I have to be ever vigilant with the morning glory and passion flower roots which we’ll probably never be free of in the lower or upper beds.

Composting Worm Bin received as birthday present from Courtney, Joel and Trina this May. Started with $20 red wrigglers from the bait shop, in 10 containers. They’ve eaten the few veggies mixed into the coconut coir, and are venturing into the kitchen compost one level up. I’ve mixed some Bokashi into the compost here and there. I’ve had white mold, black mold, ants, flies, maggots, and trays of poop that the worms couldn’t get to in time, which I dumped into the big planter and mixed with the dry dirt there. Today, 6/18/09, Carol and I chatted about lots of raised beds out front, I told her that filling them with dirt would be cost prohibitive. But they order half a truck load of good dirt for $100 each year. I’ve put about that much into dirt so far this year…not sure if I have a half a truck load though! I read this morning that kiddie pools make fast easy containers… July 2: I’ve been moistening the compost more and the ants seem to be less and the worms seem to be more vigorous. Also added dirt and paper to mellow out the compost heat. Oct: basically, add the same volume of dry dirt to the fresh food scraps, mix it in. check water levels after heavy rains, keep worms from drowning in bottom level.