Monday, August 29, 2011

Pruning Happy

I recently borrowed a couple of pruning books from the library to give me more of an idea on how to prune my plants, especially the bay laurel tree I've had for a couple years now. So I read up on it the night before and the first I did when I got up was head to my back patio with my pruning shears in hand and started cutting. I think I might have gone pruning happy! Before I knew it, the tree looked like a storm passed and all left were a few twigs and some leaves. Ooops! I'm sure it'll be fine. The book mentions that the only way to learn is to just do it and cut! I can't wait until more leaves start developing. Well, at least I have tons of dried bay leaves for cooking. Happy Pruning!

Any pruning advice or anecdotes you can give on pruning for the faint at heart?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Air Plant

Air Plant hanging off the side of a pot.

My auntie Vicky gave me some of her Air Plants. Actually, I asked if I could have some. She told me to get as much as I wanted because they grow so fast. She had a whole gazebo covered in it before she threw most of it out. 

This plant is so interesting! I originally wanted it to just have to soften up some of my pots and to just have to add to flower arrangements in the future. Now I'm thinking I can use it to line my wire basket instead of moss and fill it in with compost. That will be shown in another post just as soon as I get more air plants. They seem to be growing pretty good....and fast, so it shouldn't be too long. I put mine out in the sun and it pretty much burnt. So, all it needs is water and a shady place.

What kind of interesting or unusual plants do you have?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

More Green Onions

Instead of using the whole green onion that you bought from the store, cut about an inch or so above the roots and just stick them in water. Soon, you will notice more roots forming after a few days. You can transplant this to your garden and voila, you will have more green onions that will grow that are 'cut and come again'. I can usually get about 2-3 time more green onions this way. It's such a fun and easy way to get more out of what you paid for.

What other plants do you think you can do like this?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Somethings going on with my herbs....and it's not good

My herb pot that has thyme, oregano, parsley and garlic chives were doing really well until I noticed that the leaves were getting spots on them. So, the first think I did was chop off all the discolored leave knowing that the herbs will easily grow back. It seemed to work for a bit, but now that the herbs are getting fuller, the spots came back. I'm suspecting it's a type of plant disease. yuck! I'm going to try again and hack the herbs down, fertilize with more of worm compost and cross my fingers.

Any suggestions on how to alleviate this problem?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Worm bin update

The picture here is another level on the worm condo that I started. I really should have taken a picture of the first level that I initially set up the bin. I've been using the worm castings from that bin to supplement all my plants. This picture is somewhere in the middle of being finished, maybe another month then it will be good to start using as fertilizer. The seeds that I placed in the worm condo sprouted! I didn't mean to sprout them. I just added it to the bin to get eaten by the worms. I was so surprised to see that they were growing. Well, then again the whole thing is a bin full of worm casting (fertilizer) and worms. I found some other seeds that have sprouted in there. Having seen how effective the worm casting is on seeds, I've been adding a little scoop of it to the seeds that I've been starting. I've noticed a difference that they have been sprouting up earlier than usual.

I finally put the worm bin outside. Originally it was under a table in the kitchen, but  the plastic resevoir holding the tea cracked a little, so now it's permanently home outside. I hope the worms can stand the heat and our so-called winters here in SoCal. If you notice, it's a little wet underneath the front leg of the condo. I eventually put an old pie pan there to catch the worm tea and usually dump the tea in my watering can and add extra water, and feed my plants that way.

Where do you store your worm bin?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Creamy Avocado Dressing/Dip

I recently came across a recipe from from, to spice up my salad dressing. I made some major alteration as I was missing some of the ingredients, but it turned out really good. Say good-bye to boring salad dressings. This is really good as a dip too! Tastes very similar to cilantro hummus.

Serves: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: none


2 garlic cloves, minced 
1 persian cucumber 
1 avocado, peeled and pitted 
1 cup cilantro 
green onions 
Fresh juice of 1 lime 
2 tablespoons olive oil 
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
1 teaspoon sea salt

1 Puree everything in a blender or preferably in a food processor.

2 Add 1/4 cup water at a time to your desired consistency.

Leave it thick by not adding the water and use it as a dip for your veggies.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Selecting Fruit Trees for Southern California

My cousin has given me permission to help her with getting her garden started. So, I've been doing some research on the type of fruit trees to get for our area. Having several fruit trees in your property is a great start for your garden! You plant them once and enjoy the bounty for many years to come.

  1. Decide what type of fruits you like. You wouldn't want to grow anything you won't eat. It's a waste of time and energy. So, she's decided that she wanted a nectarine, cherry, lemon, and a lime tree.
  2.  See what varieties grow best for your area. In this case, in Southern California. I've decided to go with Snow Queen Nectarine, Minnie Royal Cherry & Royal Lee Cherry (you need the two different varieties to pollenate each other), Meyer Lemon, and Bear Seedless Lime.
  3. Find the nurseries around your area or online stores that carry those varieties. I've found a few places that offer the fruit trees that I'm looking for around our area. Here's a list that can get you started.
  • Four Winds Growers - Enjoy perusing their site of over 60 varieties of fine Citrus trees, including a selection of rare and unusual Citrus that may not yet be available in retail nurseries.
  • Bay Laurel Nursery - Browse through the hundreds of varieties of high quality fruit trees, shrubs and vines we sell online.
  • Tropical Fruit Trees - Located in Nornthern San Diego County in Vista, California, you can find tons of subtropical and tropical fruits trees.
  • Dave Wilson Nursery - One of the largest growers of deciduous fruit, nut and shade trees in California. Their growing grounds are located east of Modesto in the Sierra Nevada foothills, near the town of Hickman.

    Lemon Tree in a pot at a restaurant! Beautiful!!

    Apple Tree

What fruit trees are you growing in your garden? If you have a picture that would be even more wonderful!

    Saturday, July 9, 2011

    Seed Saving

    I had the best squash in my opinion the other day with my food. It's called Kambocha Squash. I've decided to save some of the seeds and attempt to grow it.

    Does anyone want to swap some seeds? (open pollinated or heirloom varieties please)
    I'm drying the seeds off on top of some old newspaper.

    Thursday, July 7, 2011

    First bean harvest

    My first bean harvest of 2011. Not too bad for the first year at an apartment. I may have picked them too soon. Harvesting is the funest part of gardening. I got harvest happy. Although, I do like my green beans and other greens on the younger, more tender side.

    I wanted to weigh them but I keep forgetting to buy a food scale. Know of any good ones?

    Wednesday, July 6, 2011

    Pretty Butterfly

    Look what I found fluttering around my beans yesterday, but a lonely butterfly, or is it a pretty moth?! I don't like moths much after finding a bunch of holes in my sweaters, but if this was a moth...there were no moths harmed in the photography of this insect.

    Tuesday, July 5, 2011

    Beans beans they're good for your heart

    The green beans are starting to get bigger and should be ready to pick in a few days. They look so cool. I think I could have planted them earlier for a longer harvesting period.

    You can see the twine and wire I had prepared for the beans. I planted them in the wrong the center of the patch of dirt in my patio. What was I thinking?! I thought these were going to be pole beans, but they are the bush type beans. I was real lucky this time.

    New Addition to the Garden

    I couldn't help but buy this Improved Meyer Lemon tree from Home Depot when I stopped by. It only cost about $12. It still looks like it's still in it's first or second year, although it's already flowering. It's our second citrus plant other than our Bear Lime tree.

    Dwarf Bear Lime Tree

    Monday, July 4, 2011

    Starting more seeds

    I started some seeds a few weeks ago and decided to start some more. I seem to be having trouble starting the Chile de Arbol pepper and Cayenne Pepper so I started more of those.

    I made my seedling starting pots from recycled newspaper, toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls, and plastic from a container that I was going to throw away. Also, the tray the seedlings are on are from plastic from Trader Joes that held strawberries and cucumbers. All recycled and free!

    I have tomatillos, peter pan squash, 2 varieties of onions, chile de arbol pepper, 2 varieties of cucumbers and some spinach (which i think is way too late in the season to start). Next time I'll start the spinach way before the spring here in the warm SoCal weather.

    Here are the cucumbers and peter pan squash that I've transplanted. I think it was a bit too soon to transplant them, but they seem to be doing fine.

    Sorting through the seeds

    I've been meaning to organize my seeds.  I've usually kept them in their original packaging just folding over the tops and placed in bag full of more of these packages. So, I've taken all the seeds in my bin and decided to organize them.


    I really love having a diverse garden. Not only have a variety of plants in the gardens helps keep the balance of the ecosystem, but it looks great too!

    I got this plant for my birthday too, very similar to a coleus. I keep it at the front porch with our christmas tree.

    A summer flower. Not sure what it is.

    A beautiful nusturtium flower. This is an edible flower. It has a peppery taste to it.

    I used this flower for a ground cover for the patch of dirt in my patio.

    I heart lady bugs too!

    I saw so many lady bugs in the garden today! I swear when I was taking the pictures they were getting camera shy.

    Lady bugs are great insects to have in the garden. They love to eat aphids. Aphids are insects that will eat your plants. So having lady bugs will ensure the aphid populations don't get out of control.

    Here is one the Bay Laurel tree.

    Another lady on my green beans.

    Also hanging out at the lime tree.

    And chilling on the plumeria tree.

    Sunday, July 3, 2011


    This tiny little pot comes with quite a few herbs. I have from the top, going clockwise, parsley, oregano, thyme, sage, and then oregano again. 




    Bay Laurel tree

    I've had this for a couple years now. The Bay Laurel is a slow grower, so it can stay in this pot for a while longer. The leaves are great for making soups and stocks!

    Vermicopost Bin

    I got worms! Score!! Thanks to Alica and Ramon for getting me started on my worm venture...or vermicomposting.

    I've decided to start vermicomposting because I wanted to have and maintain an organic garden in my small apartment patio....I'm guesstimating 90 sq/ft. I figure with our limited space in the patio, I wanted to use as much space to actually garden, and conventional composting would take up too much space. So, vermicoposting fit my situation perfectly.

     This is my vermicomposting bin my husband bought me. It cost about $75 with everything including shipping. Really pricey, but hey, it was a birthday present! Is it me or is it weird to be excited to get worms and a worm bin for your birthday?

    The worms will be living it up in this "worm condo".

    Here are the new tenants of the bin. This was about 200 worms. I got 1000 more a couple weeks later.

    After a few days of checking the bin. I've noticed the roof of the bin is getting really moist. Also, a few of the worms looks like their trying to escape. I just place them back into the bin. Within a few months I will have organic fertilizer for my garden plants. I'll update periodically.

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