Browse Author: BrianT

HARVESTING: Ox Heart Carrots

June 10, 2018. More often than not, I grow for the fun of seeing plants like these ‘Ox Heart’ carrots. The larger carrots weigh around 20 ounces (a little over a pound.) Carrots make good edible landscaping plants. Especially when the goal is seed saving. They can grown as ornamentals and in the process frees gardening space for other crops. Carrots are also fun to harvest and I got to share the fun with our oldest. Large harvest like these are rare for us these days as we have turned our focus onto very small and super fresh harvests. These ‘ox heart’ carrots were pulled to grow something else. We will be sharing this abundance with our rabbit, tortoises, and ducks (from carrot top to carrot bottom. The actual carrot itself will be given as treats.)

This carrot is one of the easiest carrots to grow– easy in terms of getting a straight and filled out looking carrot. As imagined, the flavor becomes more mild as they get bigger. This flavor profile makes them ideal for stewing and dishes that incorporate a lot of seasoning. While probably not a great one for the kitchen, they are excellent in permaculture soil breaking applications. ‘Ox heart’ carrots may be grown in compacted soil as a way to naturally loosen soil.

Special acknowledgement to Owen for his fine camera work in one of the scenes.

Zone 10b / San Gabriel Valley / Los Angeles / Southern California / USA

Music: Dan Lebowitz, “Parkside.”
E’s Jammy Jams, “Shine on Harvest Moon”

2018 Tomato Growing: Ep5 ‘Suncherry Extra Sweet’ 2nd Tasting + Update

After the last episode, more tomato samples were had from the plant in the greenhouse. The sweetness level did not change much. It is worth noting that allowing the tomato more time to ripen did increase the sweetness a bit.

In this episode, we sample from a different plant grown in a different part of the yard; in soil that is more established. The tomato test was allow to vine ripen.
Like the first plant, the tomatoes from this plant missed the expectation for the level of sweetness. Additionally, the peel is tough.

Seed packet description: Suncherry Extra Sweet is a leading variety in Japan. Colorful and sweet, these bite-sized, deep red cherry tomatoes can be harvested over a long growing season with steady fruit set. They resist cracking and are particularly disease resistant to fusarium wilt race 1 and TMV. The fruits are very sweet with a 9-10 brix degree in sugar content.

Additional remarks: in the video, I said that 36 cents per seed is expensive. I mean that in relative terms. Additionally, these being hybrid means that the seeds from these tomatoes may not grow into plants that produce the same fruit characteristics. This means that unlike heirloom varieties that allow us to seed save, hybrid seeds will have to purchased every time we run out.

Zone 10b / San Gabriel Valley / Los Angeles / Southern California / USA

2018 June 05 — Garden Update

Many of these plants were started much earlier in the year (early February) than last. The early starts is an ongoing trial to see how soon we can start our plants outside here in the Los Angeles area.

Crazy About Citrus | Ep02 Results of Citrus Grafting Attempt

Crazy About Citrus” is a series chronicling our connection with citrus.

In this episode:
The reveal on how we did on our first grafting attempt.

As an avid citrus collector, we will reach a point where it is necessary to attempt to acquire the skill of grafting plants. The reason for this is that more varieties of citrus exists in bud wood form than can be purchased as trees. In order to add rare citrus varieties to our collection we must now try our hand at grafting. On March 7th, we recieved bud wood from the Citrus Clonal Protection Program. Because of the Huanglongbing disease that is terminal to citrus trees, it is necessary to acquire bud wood from certified sources as a measure to contain the spread of the disease.

The bud wood received are:
‘California Rojo’ navel orange
‘Boukhobza’ blood orange
‘Melogold’ grapefruit

From the nursery we purchased two grafted citrus trees to use as root stock. On the ‘Cara Cara’ navel orange tree, we Tbud grafted the “California Rojo’ onto the root stock. On the ‘Eureka Lemon’ tree, we cleft grafted the ‘Boukhobza’ onto the Eureka scion. A back up Tbud graft was placed on the root stock. With success of the cleft graft, the Tbud back up is no longer neccessary. The Tbud graft of the ‘Melogold’ grapefruit on the last tree was not successful.

Special thanks and acknowledgement to Dan Wiley and the fruitmentor YouTube channel for his work and sharing of information used to graft our trees.

Music: ALBIS, “New Land”
Quincas Moreira, “Firefly”

Zone 10b / San Gabriel Valley / Los Angeles / Southern California / USA

2018 Tomato Growing: Ep4 ‘Suncherry Extra Sweet’ Tasting

First ripe tomato of the year! ‘Suncherry Extra Sweet’ (hybrid) tomato. The seeds were sowed on the 1st of February. In the greenhouse, the plant is allowed to grow multi-stem.

While the sweetness of the tomato falls short of expectations, there is hope that the upcoming crop will be much sweeter. Perhaps more heat is needed to sweeten the fruit. Maybe when May Gray eventually ends and things heat up will we get to taste a truly sweet tomato.

Additional notes: I believe the large presence of aphids on the tomato plants is due to the early start. Greens growing early in the year tend to have more aphids on them. It so happens that this is the period in the year when their natural predators like ladybugs are still dormant. As temperatures warms up, more and more the predators will arrive to feast on the aphids.

Speaking of aphids, the tomato plant growing in the greenhouse has been sheltered from aphids that blow in with the wind.

Thanks, to my brother and his family, for the t-shirt. I was hoping to be able to join them on their trip but was not able to.

Zone 10b / San Gabriel Valley / Los Angeles / Southern California / USA

Botanical Report: Growing K’uyu Chuspi Corn (in Southern California)

This video is a botanical report on growing K’uyu Chuspi corn in the Los Angeles area of California. The information presented is meant to be academic in nature. Please the enjoy this report.

If you like to skip ahead to the most interesting part, start at 7:54.
The synopsis of this report is:
K’uyu Chuspi is an ancient corn variety grown in Peru. Its natural climate is in the cooler regions of the Peruvian highlands. Because it is also a rare variety, there is not much information on its growth habit when grown outside its natural environment.

Using the mild winter climate of the San Gabriel Valley (Southern California) as a surrogate for the cool climate of the Peruvian highlands, the corn was sowed on the first day of Fall 2017 (September 22nd).

From 15 seeds grew 11 plants. Of the 11 plants, 4 overcame an unexpected October heatwave. Of the 4 plants, one good sized ear of corn was harvested. With this harvest, we have more seeds to grow with.

Zone 10b / San Gabriel Valley / Los Angeles / Southern California / USA

2018 April 24 — Garden Update

It is starting to warm up here in the Los Angeles area. The gardening space is filling in with more green.

For folks interested in this high-intensity growing and what is in the soil: in each planter, there is 1 cubic feet of chicken manure. In hindsight, we probably could have started with just 1/2. There is also rabbit manure.

Zone 10b / San Gabriel Valley / Los Angeles / Southern California / USA

Music: The 126ers, “Spring Wind”

2018 Tomato Growing: Ep2 A Little Tomato Drama

Video production is another hobby in the many list of hobbies that I wanted to get into. This is meant to be a fun video documenting the real life challenges that many gardeners experience.

On the last gardening outing, one tomato plant in particular looked a little thirsty. It was very strange as it should not be. A closer inspection revealed a desiccated trunk. Worst of all, it was the tomato that I had looked forward to the most– the Weissbehaarte heirloom sweet tomato. Luckily there is a back up plant. It was only a matter of digging it out of the ground and moving it. The back up plant was only transplanted a couple of days ago; leaving little concern that its roots would be disturbed.

As far as to what caused the original plant to be damage is anyone’s guess. I could not put my finger between: pill bugs gnawing the trunk, a furry animal or cat trampling the plant, the strong winds from a couple of days ago, or one of the kids accidentally knocking into it.

Zone 10b / San Gabriel Valley / Los Angeles / Southern California / USA

Music:
Doug Maxwell, “It Happens”
Quincas Moreira, “Bongo Madness”
Rondo Brothers, “Bravado”

2018 Tomato Growing: Ep1 Kick Off Episode

A video series for tomato fans. Follow along our year of tomato growing for 2018.

In this episode: An overview of the growing year. This is the year we finally satisfy our sweet cherry tomato curiosity by growing three varieties, Suncherry Extra Sweet (h), Sun Gold (h), & Weissbehaarte.

Additional new varieties: Black Vernissage, Golden Jubilee, Copia, Druzba, Kelloggs Breakfast, Principe Borghese, (semi-new) San Marzano.

Repeat varieties: Roma, Cherokee Purple, and Green Zebra

Music: Dan Lebowitz, “Lazy Afternoon Sun”

Zone 10b / San Gabriel Valley / Los Angeles / Southern California / USA