Browse Category: Vegetable

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 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

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

Black Prince Tomato Harvest

The heirloom Black Prince tomato is ready for harvest. Let’s see what it looks like inside!

Heirloom Black Prince indeterminate tomatoes grown from seed. Grown in Zone 1 (Permaculture) so as to allow them to vine ripen with lesser chance of rats and birds chewing on them.

Pest management is a hands-on and observation approach. The tomato plant naturally grows a dense cover for itself. Many tomato growers prune their plants as a result. Even with pruning, there is still enough foliage to go around for pests like tomato horn worms and katydid. These pests have been spotted and have not been removed. When they become a problem, they will be removed and turned into fish food.
This observe and interact approach requires less labor and external outputs (like needing pesticides). Forgoing the use of pesticides frees the budget up. Further, it does not attack the beneficial insects. Insects like spiders find the plant home and their hunting ground.

Beans, beans, beans

3 cups of homegrown black beansOne of my favorite bean to eat and cook with is the black bean. I prefer it in burritos, in restaurant style nachos, and in lotus soup. In addition to adding texture to food, black beans are good for you and your liver. In the garden, they are one of the easiest plants to grow. Continue Reading

Fall 2015

For this gardener, fall is a somber of time year. The season signals the end of the growing year. There are less flowers blooming and less fruits and vegetables to pick. Things appear to slow down a bit in the gardens. On the contrary, fall can be full of hustle and bustle. Fall is the season when bulbs are planted. It is also a great time to “spring clean.”

IMG_1210_r The Front Garden is a bit grown in and is in need of some landscaping.

Continue Reading

February 25th, 2015 roundup

February is coming to a close but not without a few surprises to be found and a conclusion to be had.

Persian Buttercup (Ranunculus)
Persian Buttercup (Ranunculus)

Last year was the first time that ranunculus was planted. When it died off, the tuber was saved but not properly stored. Mold got to them and whether they’ll grow was up in the air. A fresh stock of ranunculus was purchased and planted as an insurance policy. The growth of the ranunculus from the new stock pretty much indicates that last year’s molded stock will not grow again.

Amaryllis (Hippeastrum)
Amaryllis (Hippeastrum)

I pass by this amaryllis at least several times a day and did not noticed that it was sending up a flower bud. What is exciting is that this is its first flower bud. In 2012, I purchased an amaryllis bulb and grew it for the first time. When the flower died, I left the plant along believing that the flower would reappear the next year. Instead of a flower, side shoots shot up. It was then that I figured out that in order for the bulb to flower again that it was necessary to cut back all of the foliage. Otherwise, it will form bulbils. With four bulbils of various sizes, I planted them and three years later, the largest of the bulbils is ready to flower. Exciting!

Amaryllis (Hippeastrum)
Amaryllis (Hippeastrum)

Here is momma amaryllis in the terracotta pot and her offspring. One of the offspring only has one leaf blade and has a ways to go before it will flower. Offspring #4 not pictured.

Florence fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
Florence fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

Last year, fennel was planted for the first time. It was a surprise to discover how big the plant gets. Fennel also seeds profusely. This is one of the few fennel that seeded itself.

California Poppy(Eschscholzia californica) flower bud.
California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica) flower bud.
Clivia(Clivia miniata)
Clivia (Clivia miniata)

February 19th, 2015: seed starting

Seed starting 02/19/2015
Seed starting 02/19/2015

The weather has warmed up for a couple of weeks now. Night temperatures have not fallen below 60 degrees. Now there is finally time to start more seeds. While it does not look time consuming, it was a bit of a surprise that this took a over an hour to do. One of the tasks was mixing up the 50/50 soil mixture of clay and peat moss. Then filling up the containers. Continue Reading

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