Garden Update – April 6, 2015

Spring has sprung here in Los Angeles (let’s be honest, it’s been “spring” since mid-February), and that means it’s time to stick stuff in dirt! It’s been years, literally, since I last gave an update on my little patio garden, but I assure you it’s still going strong. I’ve got some holdouts from years past, like my two dwarf pomegranates…

…a Fresno chili…

…a scraggly bell pepper that seems to be perpetually hanging by a thread, and Son of Legz.

Sadly, we lost Legz Sr. a year and a half or so ago, but to my delight, the following spring a little seedling poked its leafy head above the soil. One of Legz’s pear tomatoes must have fallen without my noticing it, and a seed had taken root! Legz Jr. did beautifully last year, and I expect nothing less this time around. In spite of a good pruning, he’s a big boy, already towering over me at more than six feet! I might have to top him to keep him under control!

A lovely mint plant is one of this season’s new additions.

Also new are the arugula…,

…cilantro (planted at the base of one of the pomegranates)…,

…and these beefsteak tomatoes, all of which were, remarkably, grown from seed!

Tomato seedlings surrounding an olla

If I seem extra excited, it’s because I’ve had very spotty luck with seeds in the past. It seems like they rarely want to take, and when they do, the poor little seedlings never manage to hang on until adulthood.

One thing I know that I’ve been doing wrong in the past is that I wasn’t thinning the shoots enough. I just hated the idea of planting something, feeding it, watering it, singing to it (okay, maybe not), and then killing it before it has a chance to reach its full potential. The plain truth, though, is that it must be done if *any* of the shoots are to reach their full potential. So I’ve been doing better, even if I have to steel myself and apologize to every seedling I am forced to pull. They haven’t gone to waste, though. When the arugula were just sprouts, I would eat any that I pulled. Then, when they were bigger, I transplanted a bunch of them to another pot so they’d all have more space. Soon I will be thinning the pots further and using them as baby greens in my salads. As for the beefsteaks pictured above, I have transplanted three of the heartier shoots, one to another pot on my patio, and two to my community garden plot. Fingers crossed they will all do spectacularly and I will be swimming in tomatoes before the season is out.

Speaking of the community garden plot, I haven’t really ever written much about it, I know. Allow me to introduce you!

Readers, this is my plot. Plot, my readers.

A couple of years ago I had been on the waiting list to get a plot at the nearest garden for quite some time when a darling friend of mine, Val, asked if I’d like to join her in tending her own plot there. I jumped at the chance, of course, and have been happily gardening ever since. Just a week or so ago we planted some fresh, springly things there, as well. In addition to my two transplanted beefsteaks, we put in a few other tomato varieties, including this Early Girl.

We planted both Anaheim and jalapeño peppers, a zucchini (just one this year; I made Val promise!), eggplant, pole beans, tomatillos, and kale.

We have some holdovers from previous seasons and years. That massive patch of green in the main photo above is our strawberry section with some onions planted among the berries to keep varmints away. We also have blackberries and raspberries, a massive sage bush…,

…and this lovely sugar snap pea bush that miraculously sprang up from seed I’d planted and given up on months ago.

That’s all I’ve got for now, but I look forward to keeping you guys much more up to date on my garden goings on this year, in addition to bringing you more kitchen adventures!

Happy eating!


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