Thanks to everyone who made it out to the garden yesterday. We took some big steps this week and tackled some long overdue chores including trimming the pomelo and lemon trees. We also planted some more winter crops, checked up on our seedlings, and covered some other general garden upkeep.
Tree Trimming: This past week Steven and I partook in E3’s Garden Mentorship Program. We went to Olympic High School and helped out at the school garden alongside Debbie Harding, a master gardener with a boatload of useful and relevant gardening info for LA gardeners. One of the things she pointed out to us was the school’s infected lime tree, which she explained was suffering from scale, a small bump-like looking insect that covers tree stems, and leaf miner, which plants these beautiful almost iridescent paths of eggs on leaves. She explained the best method for dealing with these diseases is to cut off and throw away all infected portions, but if you have the patience you could individually squish the scale bugs; she said the leaf miner could be ignored if it’s not too widespread, trim if it is. We explained the pomelo tree and she suggested trimming it back.
Pomelo: With Debbie’s suggestions in mind and the frustration we’ve accumulated over the Pomelo’s lack of palatable fruit and teetering mess of thorny branches, we trimmed the tree way back. The tree has been suffering from ants, aphids, fungus, scale, and leaf miner for a long time and we wanted to grant it mercy and trim back the infected portions. We soon realized none of the leaves were completely free of disease and so we did away with them all and cut back all but the core trunk. The tree’s now in the same shape as was the apricot tree when we first got it, and we’re hoping it’ll take the same course and we’ll have some nice, new, fresh regrowth come spring!
Lemon: We also did some trimming on the lemon tree. A few of the tree’s stems nearest the fence were completely dead, we suspect scale, and so we clipped them off.
Note: All dead and infected tree trimmings were disposed of in the dumpsters behind the bungalow, NOT the compost. Debbie explained that most diseases can live through the average compost bin, only exceptionally hot composts can terminate them.
Bed Updates: We saw some great growth this week in nearly all of the planted beds, hopefully some will be ready to harvest soon (I’m talking to you kale). Others were given a bit of r&r and still others are empty. We felt the soil in all the empty beds and it was great and moist just below the surface, perfect for planting.
Bed 1: This bed looks rather sparse but don’t be fooled! The onions and rainbow swiss chard we planted there have all sprouted and are doing well. You can see the color variation between the chard sprouts; the onions have got a little less action going for them, they’ll take considerably longer to mature than the chard. We think for the future we’ll reserve the beds for onion bulbs, and bypass the seedling stage because of how long they may take. The tarps we used on the bed seemed to have worked just fine, we left them on for a week and the plants are doing alright. No definitive conclusion on how helpful they were. Also, for future reference, we’re thinking of planting seeds more densely. We planted four distinct rows with the seeds about four inches apart, if we want dense harvests we’ll have to crowd them more closely. It all really depends on at what point we want to harvest them, get them when their young or let them mature fully?
Bed 2: Empty
Bed 3: This bed is at the same stage as Bed 1. The cabbage planted at the center is doing a tad better then the white and yellow onions on either side, but they’ve all sprouted. Again, we’re thinking of seeding more densely in the future.
Bed 3A: The nasturtiums planted two weeks ago are doing great! They’re pretty well developed, hopefully we’ll have some flowers soon.
Bed 4: Seed Sowing Yesterday we planted Bed 4 with peas and radishes. Facing the numbered side of the bed, with your back to the picnic table, there is a length wise row of Dwarf Gray Sugar Peas on the left, a row of Cherry Belle Radishes in the center, and another row of Cherry Belle on the right. We placed the seeds on the soil and topped them with a half inch of Dig compost. One of Debbie’s tips was to soak pea seeds in water for up to four days before planting, she says they grow miraculously after that, but we were in a bit of a hurry and figured the peas have done fine before so we put them straight into the ground. Hopefully we’ll try the pea experiment another time!
Bed 5: The kale we planted last week has done beautifully! The eastern half of the bed, where we used Dig compost, has done significantly better than the western half (where we employed Wynbrandt compost). We wanted to see if ours could stand up to the master’s and it did! However ours was fresh from the bin whereas the Wynbrandt compost has been sitting in a plastic bag for six months, just something to keep in mind. We sprinkled the kale seeds in real dense and so we’ve got a thick carpet of sprouts. We’re letting them grow through this week and depending on how much more progress they show, we might harvest them either next week or the one after that.
Beds 6-11: Empty
Bed 12: The lettuce planted four weeks ago is still doing fine, the growth is a bit sporadic they’re everywhere in the bed. We’ll have to agree on a pint when to harvest them. We still haven’t seen any progress from the Sweet Mace Herb planted two weeks ago. We covered the seeds with tarp, have yet to know if it was beneficial or harmful. We’ll wait another week and check up on them.
Bed 13: We harvested a bit of rosemary and sage from the herb bed yesterday and did some general cleaning up. The leaf litter was cleared and Dig compost and mulch was added to the base of the remaining herbs.
We harvested carrots from the second easternmost wine barrel. They were scrumptious! They did grow really strangely though, so maybe the soil was a bit too dense?
We also plucked the Habanero peppers growing in a loose pot. They had some great color but were a bit overripe and so we tossed them into the compost. We did however save their seeds in a makeshift paper envelope now in the seed binder. We think we’ll put them in more direct sunlight in the future, because peppers like the heat.
The spigot was giving us a lot of trouble today, it would’t turn off once it got going. We don’t know if it was because of all the mud/leaf litter clogged in it or if the handle is too loose. We’d love to get our very own and maybe have the front desk keep it so others don’t wear it down. We’ll have to check with Sunset Rec people to get that figured out.
SOOF Funding has come through and we now have $184.01 to spend for administrative purposes.
Next Week: A few things came up today that we didn’t have time to cover including the following.
Note: Next week is also the E3 social, so we’re expecting a bit of a crowd.