Saturday, August 18, 2012

Vegetable Garden Progress

This is my own first vegetable garden. I had worked vegetable gardens for clients but that was about 10 years ago.
On March 26 I planted pumpkins, tomatoes, chives, basil, strawberries, artichokes, radishes, carrots, zucchini, cucumbers and baby bottle gourds.

5 pumpkins seeds sprouted and 3 pumpkins grew. It was fun watching them get bigger. But the foliage wilted EVERY day despite my watering every other day in my sandy soil. A couple weeks ago the foliage started to get crispy and die back leaving brown vines sprawling across our backyard. Our summer wasn't THAT bad until August arrived with it's oven like heat! Last weekend I noticed that 2 of the pumpkins were rotting! Ugh! :-(.

The 2 tomatoes have produced nicely but are looking crappy now. I left the radishes in too long. The cucumbers were tough. The zucchini stopped producing about a month ago. The chives are doing well. The carrots never sprouted. I was taught that one could grow them any time. But maybe they do better in cooler weather. Strawberries are spreading. I lost one of my 2 artichokes because I moved it remembering how huge they grow. The basil is still growing like crazy! The gourds are very happy and have about 10 gourds on them!

Last evening I ripped out the pumpkins and zucchini.

I'm not the best vegetable eater but I'm a huge salad lover! I'm really looking forward to planting cool weather veggies like spinach and many different varieties of lettuce and carrots. I know broccoli gets aphids and cabbage gets worms. Maybe I'll try snow peas.

I'm still learning and will adjust next year from my mistakes. How did your vegetable garden grow this summer?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Autumn Evidence!

I hate summer!  I hate working out in it and sweating in the heat.  Every year I look forward to Autumn, when the sweltering ends and I don't have to get up super AM early to go to work to beat the heat.  Today I SAW evidence that summer is near the end, Floss Silk or Chorisia trees are starting to bloom!  The first photo I took in Glendale, the others are lifted from the internet.  

 I will always call them Chorisia  (KOR-EE-SEE-a) but THEY(the botanists) recently changed the botanical name from Chorisia speciosa to Ceiba speciosa.  Whatever!   The tree's flowering signals the change from summer to autumn!   Chorisia are native to South America and grow very well here in SoCal.   Research says they'll grow to 80 feet but I have only seen them grow to about 50 feet here.   The large pink flowers can be between 4-6 inches in size.   

They have wicked thorns on their trunks to store water in dry times. And those trunks are green with abundant chlorophyl to be able to photosynthesize even when the tree is leafless.  That makes sense because I have often seen these trees confused.   They're supposed to lose all their leaves in winter, put them on in spring, and flower in autumn. But sometimes they'll be half in flower and half in leaf, or all flowers and no leaves or any other unusual combinations.  Older trees are often grayish.  

After flowering they produce a large avocado-ish looking seed pod.  Inside are seeds held together by kapok(white fluffy stuff).  Pillows once were stuffed with kapok here(they might still do so in South America).  Now mostly polyester fiberfill is used. The kapok helps the wind catch the seeds to blow them around, thereby spreading the tree to more locations.  

Enjoy the flowering of the Chorisia tree.  But don't slip on the flowers.  To me it is more than pretty because I know that summer is almost over! 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Greenhouse or Not?

This will hopefully be the only time I post about a weed. Remember my bottle border of 680 wine bottles? Well it seems that one bottle(I hope it's not a trend) wants to be a little greenhouse! See the weed growing up inside it? I think it's a spurge. Let's hope it cooks itself dead so I don't have to do border surgery to remove it!