Garden Update - Week 10

This week, I want to share my garden with you! I planted it 10 weeks ago and it looks a lot different now than it did the first day I brought the baby seedlings home. I like to think that the garden has grown, passed through childhood, and is now in its sulky teenage phase. It doesn’t quite fit in its space, it’s growing kind of out of proportion, and it’s definitely a bit wild.

Each Saturday (except this past one--oops), I’ve diligently snapped photos of the plants so that I could share this record of growth. I only garden about 5-10 minutes a day, five days a week, but after 10 weeks, that adds up to significant time. And all that time has lead to plenty of thoughts and observations. But first, pictures!

Weeks 4, 5, & 6:

Weeks 7, 8, & 9:

Pretty cool, huh? These plants look completely different from when I brought them home. They used to look like this:

And now, two and half months of my garden musings:

Dear weather, what’s up?

It’s very much still spring here in Los Angeles and not summer, so I think some of the plants are not getting enough sunlight yet to really thrive and produce fruit. Usually, the weather is much hotter, but this has been a cool season so far. I count 9 green tomatoes hinting at what’s to come in the garden, but they don’t even have a blush of orange. How long do tomatoes take to mature?!

 

Goodbye peas.

I lost the peas. They were looking great…but then, around week 7…what happened?! They started withering. I tried more water, less water, more sun, less sun, but they are NOT looking salvageable. As a final effort, I trimmed the dead parts of the plants off to see if that would promote new growth. I took some gorgeous photos of the beautiful pea leaves (AKA pea tips) for my earlier gardening post and now I'm nostalgic for the days when the plant looked like that.

 

A new baby baby carrot.

I harvested the carrots! The label indicated maturity at 49 days, and they’re underground (duh), so not visible. I decided to pull them up one week later because even if they were misshapen or tiny, I didn’t want to wait. They were delicious!

 

Zucchinis and cucumbers, oh my.

Based on what I’m seeing now, it seems that the zucchini and cucumber plants might be the most productive. They’ve each produced something tasty already and they are still hard at work. I read that zucchini plants are especially productive in the late summer…we’ll see.

 

Advice for the future.

Dear future Jessica, when you start a garden next time, read the spacing instructions on the tags of the plants you buy. They’re not on there just for kicks! If you plant everything too close together again, you’ll end up re-potting the whole garden after a month. Again.

 

I've decided for the rest of the season to give myself a break from taking pictures each week. Don't worry though, I'll still snap photos of my harvest, so you can get an idea of what's ready to be eaten.

 

Did you plant a garden this spring? What lessons have you learned so far?

Spring Urban Vegetable Garden

Organic Peas growing in an urban garden

As part of my journey into the world of sustainable food, last winter, I grew a small vegetable garden. Remember my photos of kale, lettuce, and spinach (before the spinach was eaten by a mysterious garden gnome)? I really enjoyed the experience and I got comfortable with urban gardening.

I knew I’d start another round of seedlings this spring and so I waited and waited all through "winter." Then, one day, I turned around to find that our lime tree grew hundreds of new leaves, and I knew it was time! Two weeks ago, I hit up the local gardening store and had a great time picking out plants. WOW, there were more tomato varieties than I ever imagined!

I brought everything home and spent a day outside prepping pots and sowing seedlings. It was a gorgeous, hopeful site. Planting a new garden gives me an unparalleled feeling of massive potential.

This time around I decided to step it up (bigger is better, right?). I used every available pot we own and planted:

Preparing for a new vegetable garden
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Peas
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini
  • Parsley
  • Cilantro
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Onions

I predict 60% of the plants will make it to the food-harvesting stage. Some will get eaten by pests and some won’t be in their optimal growing conditions. But that’s okay, I’m still experimenting and I’m keeping my expectations low --- this is a pretty amateur project, after all.  

I’m interested this time around to determine if gardening like this is saving me any money. Based on what I can grow, will it come out to be less expensive than buying these items at the grocery store this summer? I saved my receipt from purchasing the plants, so TBD on that one.

A few observations:

  1. The roots of the beet plants were pink and purple -- awesome!
  2. I think I originally planted the pea plants too close together. Last weekend I re-potted some of them to spread them out.
  3. On the days that I’m home, I obsessively watch the sun move across the garden to determine which pots are getting too much sun and which aren’t getting enough. The benefit to planting in pots is that I can move them around as much as I want...which is frequently.

Here are the photos so far:

Day 1

Day 7

Day 14

Also, there really is something to the whole gardening-as-a-way-to-relax notion…I promise. Every time I go out there, I stop thinking about work, about errands, about wedding planning (!) and instead just focus on the plants. It's great.

 

Are you planting an urban garden this spring? What will you be growing? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy Holidays & Happy New Year!

Dear Readers,

Happy holidays! I hope you are having an excellent time with friends and family this week. May you enjoy a well-deserved break from the pressures of everyday life.

As I am on vacation (yay!) I will forgo writing this week. Instead, here are some candid pictures from my holiday meals and adventures this week.

What did you eat this year for the holidays? Let me know in the comments below!