Welcome to my Sustainable Urban Garden

My garden is a work in progress, always growing and changing within itself.

My gardens include many herbal beds, raised vegetable beds, raised "citrus heights" citrus tree bed, berry beds, fruit trees, grape arbor, rose beds and many perennial flower beds with annuals too. My greenhouse is still in the transformation stage,
as well as some planting areas.
Enjoy your journey through my gardens, I do!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Too much rain, what is mother nature doing?

I was off to a good start on Thursday. I planted seeds of Gypsophia ( babies breath), Sweet Allysum, Godetia, Carnation, Scabiosa columbaria, Nemesia and Heather ( saved from my neighbor Kim ). I even planted some viola's in bloom under my apricot tree which is a shady garden area. There are heuchera, astilbe, Athyrium niponicum Pictum ( Japanese Painted ferns); ghost painted ferns, fibrous begonia, bleeding hearts, aquilegia, azalea, hydrangea and helleborus, yesterday today and tomorrow plants, white ginger and forget-me- not in this bed along with some ground cover. I am not sure if my lacecap hydrangea is coming back. I just planted it last year and I haven't seen evidence of it yet this year. Of course there was more weeding of oxalis and cleavers. The sticky cleavers is going nuts in all my garden beds this year. It must be because I "let it be" last year and just harvested some to make an herbal tincture.

Then Friday after errands, I only was able to plant seeds of Celosia and red poppies before the rain started. The skies opened in the evening and dumped so much water that my veggie garden brick walkways were flooded. ( again -this has happened a couple times this winter )

The same weather for today. RAIN! In the afternoon the rain quit. Yea! The greenhouse did heat up to 90 degrees when the sun came out off and on, so I opened the door for a couple hours to bring the temperature down.

My little starters of tomatoes, peppers and eggplant ( they are still on the heating pad in the herb room ) are getting so big that I spent time in the greenhouse today setting up 4" pots to transplant them into. This way, when the greenhouse cools down at night there will be enough soil around the little roots as not to cool down much. They all like to be in soil 55 degrees and above, which is why they haven't been moved before now. So, I am looking forward to a dry day tomorrow so that I may make a significant difference in the garden. Thank you for dry days, mother nature!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Spring equinox

Spring happened on a very rainy day. It had rained all night and day and in the afternoon we had a hail storm too. This was not the first day of spring that I had envisioned in my mind's eye.

Looking at my seed project, I see that my calendulas have sprouted, as well as the Starflower Everlastings - and the Starflowers are supposed to take 10 days to germinate, but these must be super seeds because they did it in 5-6 days!

In the greenhouse I now have planted seeds for Self-Heal (Prunella vulgaris), Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora), Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca), Sweet Marjoram (Origanum majorana), Russian Statice and Phlox.

My neighbor Cindy added to the greenhouse with many many pots of sweet peas and over half of them have sprouted already. Today, another neighbor Kim shared some of her seeds ( mostly ornamental annuals and perennials ) that she has saved and bought this year. I shall be planting many more 6 packs. The lettuce ( 4 Seasons ) is ready to plant out so I need to start working on a couple veggie beds soon. I have Walking Stick Collards in the greens bed, so need to give them some serious care. I have some copper pipes to use in that bed and will have to set up slug cups with beer because there could be a few of those slimy creatures.

The birds were making a racket today with all of their songs. It was wonderful to be in the middle of their concert. A hummingbird was around the Pineapple sage all day too - I think it was a Rufus, as it was such brilliant green.

Tomorrow is supposed to be nice, so other than doing errands, I hope to get many more seeds into pots!!! So, Spring is here!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Changes are Happening!

Well, we had a fairly nice day yesterday. It was warm enough in the sun to work in the yard for awhile. I had other chores in the morning but the afternoon was spent with the flowers. There are so many things to do. Minor pruning and oxalis to pull. I was able to get a real start on it in the front yard, soon the back yard. The greenhouse is filling up with pots of seeds! This picture shows how I use the jugs of water to give some heat to the greenhouse on cold days and nights especially. They are sitting on the upper shelf. This photo was taken on 3-4-06. There are also many perennials that will be planted out when it gets nice and some annuals. Not many seedlings going at this point. Also, you can see the table I have, which used to be my darkroom table with drain holes and all. It works out really well.

Here is a picture taken
yesterday of the Four
Seasons lettuce which
is really getting bigger.
To the right is the
America Spinach. It looks good enough to eat right now.

You can also see the photo of the little starts of the Lettuce Leaf basil and the cute little purple starts of the Red Ruben basil, German chamomile, cilantro and Little Geman romaine lettuce taken yesterday also.
You can see the roundish leaves of the lettuce leaf basil where I spilled the seed into the German Chamomile 6 pack. That will be a challenge to separate when the time comes. Soon, I will have to start clearing the veggie garden beds. They have spent the winter with the remains of last years veggies putting nutrients back into the soil. I was so glad that I had been doing that all along when I learned about not being a neat freak and pulling out everything but leaving the beds and not taking away the plant material so it can decompose. My beds have old plants, leaves and some mulch, and some minor weeds. The pepper bed got lots of mulch because it is near the shredder. Here are two pictures taken yesterday of the inside of the greenhouse now that it is full of pots of seeds. I have some wire racks that I want to clean up and see if I can line the sides of the greenhouse with them for more space. It is filling up very fast, but then again, I will be planting outside soon !!! yea!!! I am ready to spend all my days in nature!!!

I took pictures of my peppers, tomatoes and eggplant that are under lights in the herb room. I need to upload them to my computer and I will post them next time. I need to get out of this freezing house and into the warmth of the garden and sunshine.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Little seedlings and cold weather

Well, I wanted to put my tomatoes, peppers and eggplant seedlings into the greenhouse. No way ! Rainy and windy all day! The greenhouse was the warmest place around, except in my seed starting area under fluorescent lights and on a heating pad, all in my herb room.

I did take a risk. I put out 1/2 flat of new seedlings - some with just the first two leaves- into the greenhouse this morning and they are staying there until planted. They include the Little Gem romaine lettuce, basil (Lettuce Leaf and Red Ruben), cilantro and German chamomile. I left the 6 pack of parsley out there too. I hope they can handle the changes from lower 40's to the 80's in temperature daily. We still need to install windows that open with the temperature regulated mechanical lever in the greenhouse. Thank goodness for the temperature sensor that I read inside the house for monitoring the greenhouse. I would be crazy at this point without it.

My tulips, that I planted in pots, are opening their precious flower heads! I have forgotten what they are going to look like, but it seems a delicate white with some pink. I was hoping that they would wait for two weeks until we have our local garden tour. I don't really have a lot blooming right now!

This is definitely a transition time of the year in my garden. The English Daisies that neighbor David gave to me last summer have finally decided they want to stay. They look really healthy, blooms and all, and are showing signs of wanting to spread. The idea is to have them spread through the whole lawn area, which eventually won't need to be mowed at all.

Tomorrow it is not supposed to rain, but wouldn't you guess it - I am working and not at home. So, I guess there is always another day. The work will still be there waiting for me. ;-)

Quote for the day:
A flower cannot blossom without sunshine
Nor a garden without love
- unknown

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Cold Days of March

I cannot believe how cold it is and it is March! This is my first year doing this, but I have started my own seedlings of Four Seasons lettuce, America spinach, Italian parsley and Rossa di Milano onions which are now developing in the greenhouse. In the house, I have starts of German Chamomile, Lettuce Leaf basil, cilantro, Giant Musselburg leeks, Cal Wonder Bell Sweet Peppers, Anaheim chile peppers, Jalapeno chile peppers, Ancho chile peppers, Black Beauty eggplant, and Japanese Pickling eggplant. I have seedlings going of Slow Bolt cilantro, Red Rubin basil, Little Gem romaine lettuce, Amish Paste tomatoes, Cuore di Bue and Pruden's Purple tomatoes. I also have planted Stupice, Arkansas Traveler, and Principe Borghese heirloom tomato seeds. The Cuore di Bue tomato seeds are from my dear friend Julia in England. They are supposed to be wonderful for cooking and canning! I am excited to try them. The Principe Borghese tomatoes are great for drying. They say you can just cut off a branch and hang it somewhere to dry. I love sundried tomatoes, they make sauces so rich and flavorful.

I have also planted sweet peas, after soaking them in a jar of warm water for more than 24 hours on the seedling heating pad.

I am attaching a photo of my first two six packs of little seeds that I grew. They are lettuce ( Four Seasons ) on the left and spinach (America ) on the right. They are really filling out now since this picture was taken. They are now living in the greenhouse full time. Since this very small start I now have several individual 4" pots, many 6 packs and three 72 cell flats of seedlings. They are sooooo cute when they pop out of the soilless seed mix.

I splurged today and bought a deep purple Wall flower - Erysimum. I have just the place to plant it - in my front yard bed by the stone retaining wall, where I had 4 o'clocks growing last year.

Well, the rain has started again. We have reached our limit for the year, I have heard. And it sure seems like it.

I came across this quote today and it seems a nice way to end for today.

But, we should first learn the winds and the nature of the sky,

the customary cultivation and the ways of place,

what each region bears and rejects.

Here corn shoots up, and there grapes do.

Elsewhere young trees grow strong and the wild grasses.

-Virgil, The Georgics, Book I, 29 B.C.