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, January 24, 2009

It's January and new life is growing

It has been a week and a half since the I took the pictures for my last blog entry and take a look at the gorgeous growth taking place in my little greenhouse. These pictures were taken tonight with the grow lights going.

This first picture is an overview of my little seed starting area in the greenhouse. You can see the light timer on the right and the heat mat sensor on the right of that. They are essential for making this system work.

The clay pot on the left and the blue pot behind are tomato starts. In this photo it is hard to see that the tomatoes are pretty happy campers. They are not on the heat pad but are sitting right next to it. Just the proximity of the heat pad and the overhead fluorescent lights must be giving them what they need. In this picture below it is easy to see the flowers developing on the tomatoes.

I have already planted out one six-pack of lettuce in the garden. I will plant out the six-plant of spinach and another six-pack of lettuce, some parsley and leeks later this next week.

A week ago I took this picture of the peas. They were planted about two weeks before this picture was taken. They look very good and were not bothered by our several freezing nights.

All in all, it is a joy to start your own seed and watch the little plants fight for the light and thrive. Soon, we will be enjoying these vegetables as we get to eat them. I don't know which part of this process is more fun.

There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling. ~ Mirabel Osler

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

More catching up in the garden . . .

This is a picture of the little starts that just have been transplanted. They are not quite standing on their own strength yet. A few of the transplants from earlier in the week are in the back and they are feeling their strength.

There are two varieties of lettuce planted here. There is Batavia Laura lettuce, a rare hardy annual with wavy sweet green leaves. Also, there is Four Seasons lettuce, an incredible tasting red butterhead heirloom that the French introduced before 1885. There is spinach in one of the six-packs in the back on the right. The variety planted is called America spinach. It is a hardy annual introduced in 1952 that is slow-bolting, heat resistant, grows in spring and fall and overwinters with heavy mulch. The parsley is Italian Flat Leafed.

This is one of the lettuce starts that I planted out in a 4x4 raised bed about two weeks ago. Can you tell which variety it is? I have a lot of new babies coming on, so I may have to dedicate a second bed to lettuce.

Now we just need to get our winter rainfall so we don't have terrible drought conditions this summer. Also, I don't want to be hand watering in the middle of winter.

Harvesting should start in two weeks. Since we eat salads many nights a week, it is wonderful to have fresh, healthy, organic lettuce on hand, as well as other greens. It is everyone's right to have fresh and nutritious food to eat. Yet, for many, it is not readily available unless they grow it, shop at organic food stores or farmers markets, or join a CSA and get a box of fresh food weekly. The most economical choice it to grow it yourself and it is also the most rewarding.

"The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself." ~Henry Miller

Monday, January 12, 2009

Catching-up in the garden . . .

I know it has been a very long time since I have even visited my blog. It is time to catch-up. I had a very terrible summer garden year. My neighbor had two chemical companies spraying for weeks and even on very windy days. Many plants developed flowers, but did not fruit.

So, this fall I started a late garden. I have perennial swiss chard going on its fourth year. And then there is the onion bed, some new starts some older. In Nov. I started lettuce, leeks, spinach, swiss chard, and parsley in the greenhouse. The swiss chard did not make it but that is okay as I have two large plants in the garden.

I ended up getting a heat pad timer which has made the new seed propagation successful. I have transplanted the new little lettuce starts into 8 deep six-packs. The lettuce is Four Seasons, an heirloom red butterhead and Batavia Laura, a rare hardy annual-crisphead. They both do well in my garden.

I have planted one six-pack of spinach. I planted one six-pack of Italian flat leaf parsley and the rest are in a 4 in. pot. Tomorrow I will take pictures. It warms my heart to see the little guys doing so well!

I have two tomato plants (small, about a foot tall) going in the greenhouse too. I moved in one of my summer tomatoes that didn't start producing until Oct. in hopes of keeping it going. The problem is that it went through a night or two of freeze before I got Stephen to move the huge heavy pot into the greenhouse and the leaves went limp - it is not going to make it. Too bad as it is an organic grown early girl. The two little plants are from Cindy, my neighbor and I have no idea what they are. They are just an experiment! I have never tried growing tomatoes in the winter.

Oh, I forgot to say that I planted a row of peas in the garden and the little guys look really good. They are not phased by the freezing temps that we have gotten several nights. If planted in the right place they can grow for at least 10 months a year in my garden.

I will continue tomorrow and add photos!

“The past is our definition. We may strive, with good reason, to escape it, or to escape what is bad in it, but we will escape it only by adding something better to it.” ~ Wendell Berry