Monday, September 16, 2013

Goji Berry

In November last year we purchased a couple pots of Goji berry Lycium Barbarum plants. Due to problems with the irrigation system and our work and travel schedule, we left them in pots.

The plants gave us teaser quantities of Goji berries while they were in the pots as seen the pictures above. Finally, we got around to transplanting the Goji Berry plants into the ground about a month ago.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Frasier's life in the country....

We have been bringing Frasier with us to Temecula of late. My city dog has been getting use to the wide open space of the countryside with its strange sounds, sights and smells. His first night he heard what we were told the next morning by our neighbors were sound of the chickens squawking, rattled by Coyote making away with two chickens from the coop. We kept Frasier in our walled courtyard garden so he was safe but no doubt scared by all the strange sounds.

As you can see his tail is down... wide open space is not what a city dog is used to. After awhile he did settle down once he saw us out gardening like we do at our "city" home.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Critters a nibbling

It looks like I have not seen the end of the Tomato Horn Caterpillar this season. Many tomato plants were displaying stalks stripped off leaves and browning leaves. The number and size of tomatoes have decline as the ravaged tomato plants battle the stress. I try to remove as many caterpillars I can but they are so well camouflage that invariably miss many caterpillar.

I saw these grenade shaped dropping on the eggplant leaves and knew that a caterpillar was involved. I just did not expect that it would be the same type of caterpillar. It was devastating to discover that the Tomato Horn Caterpillar was feasting not just on the tomato plants but also on my eggplant.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Lost clip found - baby ladybug

While cleaning up the files on my computer this weekend, I stumbled upon a video clip I took of a baby ladybug emerging from the chrysalis cocoon. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Walla Walla Onions - a Giant Harvest

August 31, 2013

I have been growing shallots since I was a little girl. I remember begging my grandmother for little shallots for planting. I just love watching the shallot multiply. What was one would become four or six. While at Armstrong Nursery a couple of months ago, I saw a pack of what I would describe as extremely fine scallions or green onions, almost grasslike. The little black onion seed was still seen at the base of shoots. This is my first experience growing onions, Walla Walla sweet onions to be exact. It has been an equally satisfying experience. What the Walla Walla onion lack in multiplication in quantity it was more than impressive it multiplied in size!.
The onion bed with onions of various sizes, ready for harvesting.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Poolside Edibles

August 18,2013

The area around our lap pool is landscaped with pebbles. It keeps the weeds down and conserve water. Also, it's low profile does not take away from the gorgeous of the vineyards and mountains which the backdrop to our pool.

We have been toying with ideas of various low plantings but it has been difficult finding edible plants. Finally, I had decided that I would try planting melons and squashes. The plants could spread out over the pebble, be in full sun it needed and the fruits will stay dry on the pebbles. Before I left on vacation I planted a melon and a zucchini plant.
 A 6 inch pot of melon. I move aside the layers of pebbles. Cut an X on the weed block layer below and dig a hole to plant the melon plant.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Mighty Cucurbitis - cucumber and squash

August 7, 2013

Although I have ranted and raved about my Fava beans and my self-seeded tomato patch, I am equally enamored with the cucurbits I planted. I had planted three types of cucumbers, a couple type of squashes and melon. Some I started from seeds and others I purchased as little plants. The problem is while I had initially labeled them using a black Sharpie, the marking had faded. I decided to plant them and wait for the fruits to determine what they are.

Just before I left for vacation, the weather had really heated up and the cucumber vines went wild! They were crawling over other plants and smothering them. I tied up the vines of one plant that was particularly vigorous to lattice sheets I propped up between the planter boxes and the wall,hoping to direct the vines to the lattice. Naturally, I was very excited to come back to see how the cucumbers were doing and what type of cucumbers each of the vines were!
The vines of the cucumber that was tied to the lattice had spilled over the sides and other planter beds. Both cucumber plants was being attacked by aphids but the more vigorous vine had fared better. The other plant had many dried leaves and yellow leaves.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A delightful welcome home

August 7, 2013

I anxiously slide open the door to the garden....It had been over three weeks since I was last in my Temecula garden. Before I left for vacation, I discovered the dreaded Tomato Horn Caterpillar on my tomato plants. All through the vacation, I wondered if I had actually got rid of the pest I found; images of total annihilation of my tomato patch and neighboring plants often came to mind. I looked out straight ahead to the pool, took a deep breath before turning my head to the left to look at my planters. A big smile quickly lit up my face!! The tomatoes were thriving with glorious fruits. 
The tomato plants had grown a lot while I was away. They were well branched and heavy with fruits and in need to tying and stalking. 

 The Green Zebra are almost ready to be picked.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Fear of Tomato Hornworm Caterpillar

Even as I look with happiness and satisfaction upon my self- seeded tomato patch, I knew not all was well in Tomato Land.... I have been seeing the Fava beans leaves being stripped off their stalks. Tried as I may to convince myself that it was the grasshoper and snail I see in the planter bed, I knew in the deepest reaches of my heart.... it had to be the Tomato hornworm caterpillar. I did not see any until my last day at the garden before my vacation trip. I did not look very hard because 1. I was in denial 2. I figured if it was a problem, I would see the caterpillars all over....

Let's just enjoys picture of my tomato plants first....

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Fava- Ready to Harvest

May and June at Vino Way....

With dear son graduated from high school and summer break almost at hand, we are spending a day or two a week in Temecula setting up the garden. Not yet spending nights but just coming up during the day to work on the garden and then heading back to San Diego to sleep. 

It is a learning experience gardening in a different gardening zone. Temecula is HOT! One cannot work for long in garden. Energy wanes as I get overheated and dehydrated. I reckon my sleeping pattern will have to change once I move to Temecula as I will have to wake up early to garden before the heat is in full swing.

The biggest difference is how fast plants grow here in Temecula. Once we get a few hot days in a row going, plants grow exponentially! By the time I come back the next weekend both weeds and produce are ready for attention
Planter beds filled with flush foliage from the combination of Fava beans, tomatoes, broccoli raab and cilantro.
Cilantro plants going into full bloom attracting bees and other insects that help pollinate the other plants.

Fava Beans

April at Vino way.....

A smile is upon my face as I sit down to write this post. Family and friends alike have commented the dearth of new posts on any of my blogs. Whatever have I been up to, they ask? Life! My family and friends, while it provides the fodder for the blogs also deprived me of time to garden, to create and to blog. Least you think my life has all been drugery, be assured there have been very momentous events. My not so little boy graduated high school and is heading out to college!!

This past weekend I had the pleasure of enjoying the fruits of a self- seeding garden. I had planted some Fava beans. Even as the Fava beans sprouted and begin to take off, tomato plants self seeded from last year plant's began to emerge. I am not sure that variety of tomatoes they are, but they are a welcome addition to the garden!
Fava beans all in rows... Drip irrigation in use.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Ugly Larva flies away a Lady!

Baby Ladybugs crawling around in the container

Since I was not going to be in Temecula again until this weekend, I took my container of Ladybug pupas down to San Diego with me. Yesterday, April 4, 2013 - I looked into the container housing the Ladybug larvae and noticed that there were a number of baby Ladybugs crawling around!! I panicked as did not check on them yesterday. The poor babies must be so hungry.  I hoped that they had only recently metamorphosed into baby Ladybugs and were still full from consuming their pupa casing. I noticed a number of them were crawling on the underside of the lid. Six Ladybugs were crawling around happily so I reckon I got to them in time. It has been about 1 week since I collected the pupas for observation, so it is about right. They were not freshly" emerge" as they already look like adult Ladybugs. Newly emerged Ladybugs are more pinkish in color.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

What a friend looks like....

To my delight, I discover a "settlement" of Ladybug larvaes on my Broccoli Raab plants that I was letting go to seed for next season's crop. Marvelling at how different they look from their parents, I wondered how many people actually know what a Ladybug larva looks like? How many have killed there wondrous larvaes thinking they were another garden pest? That's what lead to this post. Don't want senseless killing of a friend because of ignorance!!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

What an ugly mess

How much reality is too much reality.....I guess if I am to remain true to this blog being my virtual `diary' of my gardening adventure, the "whole" reality it is.

It pains and embarasses me to display photos of the ugly mess my garden is right now. Being a part time occupant of our Temecula property, a very very part time occupant has meant many a time our garden is an ugly mess as it is right now. The winter rain sprouted lush green weeds and grasses that have over taken the property. Right now the weeds are feeding the aphids and major weeding is needed. The grass seed plumes are almost pretty as they sway in the breeze. Except then I remember that it means a million new grass seedlings will sprout and the cycle will begin again......

Horrors! Is it a wheat field I have grown in my courtyard garden?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Winter surpise harvest

I am sorry if I have been a downer about winter's kiss on my Temecula garden. I made a day trip to my Temecula home today. Winter rains always brings an onslaught of weeds so I was not too surprised or upset. I did lose more of my succulent plants to frost- again, not upset as they extra plants that I was planting to test their suitability to Temecula climate.

It was raining so I was not able to garden. The garden looked lush, although mainly with weeds. BUT, not all were weeds, there were some tasty delights that flourish in the cold and rain. I did some harvesting when the rain stopped.

Chioggai Beets lush green tops covered half of this planter bed! NO, those greens on the ground are not beets but weeds. Lots and lots of healthy weeds which I have to remove as aphids are started to feast on them. Chioggai Beets are those beets which look like a bull-eye. It has light red skin and when cut reveal pink and white rings. Will post pictures of them when I harvest them.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Frozen Lemonade

Last year I had a bumper crop of Meyer Lemons and naturally I had great plans for them this year. Alas, it is not to be. Mother nature decided to show me who was the boss.....Cooler temperature prevailed during flower and fruit setting season. Less fruits set on the tree.....Then in late January, a number of severe frost days made me very sympathetic to the orange farmers. It is diffucult to relate how much a hot place like Temecula could also be so cold. High 90s to 110 F degree in the summer!! Right now it is the 80s in the daytime and 40s at night.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A difference a night makes....

I remember gardening in Malaysia and worrying about too much rain or dry spells affecting my plants. Then I moved to New York and was excited to experience gardening in four distinct season. I paid heed to changing weather and excited planted season appropriate vegetables and flowers. San this is a Gardeners Paradise. I am spoilt - I get to grow temperate and many of the tropical fruits, vegetable and flowers I grew up with. I seem to be able to 'stretch' the growing zones of plants, finding micro-climate within my garden to make it work. Sometimes, the tropical plants I grew did not take but I would try again and again. The strange thing that I notice is, while it is often difficult to establish a tropical plant in my San Diego Zone 8 climate, once it gets establish, it generally flourishes beautifully and often multiple either by being self sowing or sprouting baby plants. Cuttings also root easily.

Jack Frost nipping at my....Pandan

My hopes of growing my Pandan outside in my Temecula courtyard garden was dashed on Friday. The lower leaves of the pandan were limp showing signs of frost damaged. Thankfully the larger upper leaves were relatively unaffected. I peeled off the damaged leaves but ultimately decided to dig up the plant and pot it up and move it inside the house. Hopefully, it will recover.

It is a bit disappointing although not totally unexpected. An experiment that ended in an unwanted possible outcome. I am chalking it up as experiment#1. Earlier in the summer, I had separated an "anak" - a plantlet from the mother plant for this experiment. It settled in very well in the Temecula courtyard garden.

Pandan "anak" separate from mother plant ready for transplant to Temecula garden.