Friday, July 4, 2014

The North American Monsoon Cometh!





The North American Monsoon, tropical moisture from the Gulf of California, reached the San Gabriel Mountains and Valley today. While it does not bring rain except in scattered localized mountain thundershowers, it raises the humidity considerably and the garden requires much less water. Good for the plants and good for the gardener.



Thursday, July 3, 2014

Potted Experiments


Clay soil and summer are very trying on the plants and on the gardener.  I am trying different methods to grow pretty and tasty vegetables.





Win a few ......... there are five Nu-Mex 6-4 chile plants in this 24" x 9" x 9" box. Nu-Mex are familiarly know as Hatch and are used as frying peppers. I eat them for breakfast with eggs and corn tortillas. Beautiful and prolific, I love them.
Hatch chiles are a broad marketing term for several varieties of New Mexico chiles, including Big Jim, Barker, and R-Naky. They have a similar meaty flesh and mild-medium heat. Located right in the middle of the Rio Grande agricultural territory, Hatch, New Mexico, declared itself to be the Chile Capital of the World. "Hatch chilies" refer to the five or six main cultivated varieties of New Mexico chiles. The most common is the NuMex 6-4 Heritage. It comes from a long line developed by New Mexico State University. Others are Barker, Big Jim, and R-Naky. They have similar growth and flavor profiles. New Mexican chiles have a short growing period. They're planted in April and harvested in August and September. Distributors sometimes use the "Hatch" name, but do not actually grow and process their chile in the Hatch Valley. In an effort to protect Hatch growers and other New Mexican growers, a law passed in New Mexico in 2012 makes it illegal for chile to be labeled as "New Mexican" if it was not grown in New Mexico.  -- multiple Internet sources




Lose a few ... I love green beans, too. This is an example of potting soil failure. The buckets were originally filled to the top, but the soil soon compacted and didn't drain well becoming a solid chunk in the middle. Poor plantlies. I feel sorry for them each time I pass by.

Description/Taste


Hatch chiles are a broad marketing term for several varieties of New Mexico chiles, including Big Jim, Barker, and R-Naky. They have a similar meaty flesh and mild-medium heat.

Applications


Use in Chile Con Queso, Chiles Rellenos, and Chile Verde. Roast them for use in salads, soups, stews, dips, and sandwiches. Infuse in chocolate.

Geography/History


Located right in the middle of the Rio Grande agricultural territory, Hatch, New Mexico, declared itself to be the Chile Capital of the World. "Hatch chilies" refer to the five or six main cultivated varieties of New Mexico chiles. The most common is the NuMex 6-4 Heritge. It comes from a long line developed by New Mexico State University. Others are Barker, Big Jim, and R-Naky. They have similar growth and flavor profiles. New Mexican chiles have a short growing period. They're planted in April and harvested in August and September. - See more at: http://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Hatch_Chile_Peppers_99.php#sthash.OJ1cKePB.dpuf

Description/Taste


Hatch chiles are a broad marketing term for several varieties of New Mexico chiles, including Big Jim, Barker, and R-Naky. They have a similar meaty flesh and mild-medium heat.

Applications


Use in Chile Con Queso, Chiles Rellenos, and Chile Verde. Roast them for use in salads, soups, stews, dips, and sandwiches. Infuse in chocolate.

Geography/History


Located right in the middle of the Rio Grande agricultural territory, Hatch, New Mexico, declared itself to be the Chile Capital of the World. "Hatch chilies" refer to the five or six main cultivated varieties of New Mexico chiles. The most common is the NuMex 6-4 Heritge. It comes from a long line developed by New Mexico State University. Others are Barker, Big Jim, and R-Naky. They have similar growth and flavor profiles. New Mexican chiles have a short growing period. They're planted in April and harvested in August and September. - See more at: http://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Hatch_Chile_Peppers_99.php#sthash.OJ1cKePB.dpufLose a few .... I love green beans, too, but what happened here?  After quite a bit of reading I've traced it to the potting soil I used. The container was originally filled to the top, but it compacted and didn't drain well. Poor plantlies. I feel sorry for them everytime I look at them.





Another example of potting soil failure: same seeds, same planting time,  those in the ground are blooming while those in the black plastic pot are dwarfed. Those in the ground are wilted because it's afternoon and the temp is 108 F. They will recover quickly at sundown.





I planted just the bag without the pot yesterday. Slashed three long lines on one side, flipped it over. This is for drainage and soil contact. Clay is a very nutritious soil if kept moist which it does under the plastic. Cut a rectangle on the topside and planted more peppers and something new: pineapple tomatillo. So two experiments in one, a new method and a new plant. Seed catalog blurb for pineapple tomatillo:
Perfect flavor paired with a delightful texture! Small, round tomato-like fruits ripen from green to yellow with a pleasant texture and an explosive, juicy pineapple flavor. Tomatillo Pineapple is excellent for fresh salads, salsas, desserts, jams, canning and more.






Perfect flavor paired with a delightful texture!

Small, round tomato-like fruits ripen from green to yellow with a pleasant texture and an explosive, juicy pineapple flavor. Tomatillo Pineapple is excellent for fresh salads, salsas, desserts, jams, canning and more. - See more at: http://www.gurneys.com/product/tomatillo_pineapple/new#sthash.Q4XrDxev.dpuf

Monday, June 23, 2014

When It's Too Hot to Garden

In summer, sometimes it gets too warm, too unpleasant, to be outside gardening after 9 or 10 in the morning. Here are some books to enjoy inside or on shady porch in the coolth.

This one I bought immediately after reading Rock Roses's How The Manor House at Upton Grey Made Me Think Differently About My Garden.


 Gertrude Jekyll's Lost Garden by Rosamund Wallinger 

If you are discouraged about what's happening in your garden, this is the book to read. It's amazing how much she had to overcome and how much work she put in to it. What energy! What optimism! How beautiful the results. Each time I read an entry in this book,  I'm itching to get out in the garden again to renew, to redo, to respect ....

It is a very easy book to read with lots of lovely pictures ... before and after ones, best time of year ones. It's written in a diary style, so you can pick up and read anywhere anytime. You can pick the same day or a certain type of location like the Wild Garden.




Just Vegetating: A Memoir by Joy Larkcom

The next book is a collection of articles and expanded introductions to them by Joy Larkcom who has contributed so much to our knowledge of how to grow vegetables in the home garden: intercropping,  cut-and-come-again and patch, rather than row, gardening. I only had one of her books and was unaware of all of her writings in UK publications. The parts of this book I like best are the descriptions of her adventures to find new vegetables and learn new ways to use them on the European continent and in the Far East.




Portraits of Himalayan Flowers by Toshio Yoshida

This last book is for dreamers and those who love exotic plants. I like to read books about cold places when it's hot outside. I can almost transport myself there. This one is all pictures of flowering plants with high mountain backgrounds and brief, but informative and well written, captions. Just turning the pages makes my mouth water. Such gorgeous, unknown-to-me flowers. Drool.


All the books mentioned here were purchased used from Amazon.


What gardening books are you reading this summer?


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Welcoming Summer with Roses and Rosettes




First day of summer in the early morning mist





  My 'Sweetheart', the forever-in-bloom Cecile Brunner rose





 The fabulous, fragrant 'Tamora' on the third round of bloom this season





The very tall 'Taboo', an almost black rose, at least in bud, hiding in the Euphorbia cotinifolia






 Aeonium 'Kiwi' rosettes like flowers







Echeveria flower-like rosettes





 

 More succulent "flowers"






 Kalanchoe beharensis (Velvet elephant ear) has great texture



The birds know summer has come and it's tme to start pecking on the fruit. Sigh.



Sunday, June 15, 2014

Bloom Day, June 2014


The time of flowering is past in my climate-appropriate, mediterranean-style garden in an interior valley in southern California. Only the small stuff remains and one big surprise. The garden will be become dormant in the rainless months of July, August and September, and not be irrigated except for the summer vegetables in containers until the fall rains begin in October.





The last of the large flowers is this one gorgeous dahlia ...




Lycianthes rantonnetii, blue potato bush. Are you in the mood for indigo?





I like the way Dittany-of-Crete, Origanum dictamnus, hangs over the rockwall. Wikipedia says it symbolizes love and is thought to be an aphrodisiac, only the most ardent young lovers scrambled on mountainsides and the deep gorges of Crete gathering bunches of the pink blooms to present as love tokens.




 A maroon pelargonium grown for the ever-present, beautiful gray foliage, blooms now, later than most of its kind.


A pink dwarf butterfly bush ... It seems that the breeze always picks up just when I want to photograph small flowers so I picked them and laid them on the ground for clarity. Small flowers are so difficult to focus? Why?



Leadwort, Ceratostigma plumbaginoides, is a great favorite of mine. This very dependable plant has grown in this spot for over forty years. It gets no water and has seasons; the leaves turn a beautiful red in the fall and remain on the wiry stems until cut back in late winter.



 The big surprise is this flower on the variegated ginger. I have only seen it bloom once before.




Glossy abelia. Blue skies, nothing but blue skies from now on ...


May Dreams Gardens asks: What's blooming in your garden? We'd love to see your June blooms.