Thursday, December 13, 2012

Now, For That Backyard Business

After establishing the summer front yard garden we decided to put a little creative energy into the backyard. Our little garden buddy, Deesel, passed away in July and I gotta say it was the saddest summer ever. However, the designated "dog area" became the new landscape canvas for my green thumb. Out of gratitude for all the joy he brought to our family over the past ten years I decide to transform "his space" into a living space for all to enjoy in the present.
That being said, we named it "The Backyard Bistro". On a very modest budget, my challenge was to design an open-air modular space with mostly container plants under three huge pine trees from neighbor's yard.
With Jake's incredibly handy, no, magical skills and a few helpful friends (Devin, Chris, Jason and Neil) we were able to move earth, remove privot, build vegetable and ornamentals bed along fence, install outdoor "room", with sails, carpet, lighting and fountain.
I am so inspired that I decided this is the process I have chosen to unleash my creative energy. Now I am an official believer in horticultural therapy: The process of connecting plants and people...building gratitude one seed at a time.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Watermelon Harvest!

It was such a pleasant surprise to walk out this morning and discover a few hidden mini melons! The last of the summer harvest has come.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Monday, August 27, 2012

Late August Harvest

So there were a few casualties during mid-summer: the wyatt pumpkin (upper left corner), lemon cucumbers (center in pail) and strawberries (not pictured because they were consumed right off the plants). I say they are casualties because the root systems failed due to operator error :-/. One was uprooted accidentally and the other wasn't transplanted from pot to ground in time. Lessons learned- mark plants AND include dates they went into the ground!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

August Color Rush

Beneficial flowers abound! Dahlias in full bloom. Ambrosia cantaloupe is growing. Loads of tomatoes, peppers, mini pumpkins, baby romaine, carrots, cucumbers, strawberries, mammoth sunflowers and fresh herbs cover the garden space.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Mid-June Activity

Taking a visual walk around the front garden. Notice how everything is growing in! Straw was the last addition to the berries and tomatoes.

Next- the backyard!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Suddenly A Top Priority

Moving the mulch became a project that moved to the top of our "To Do List" this morning. Ian was my only assistant but we made it work. A few bell pepper and chile pepper plants had to be relocated due to the shade cast by the nearby mammoth sunflower plants.
The borders are almost complete! After one more installation of bottles and mulch then we will move to the backyard.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Free Mulch Delivered Today

Not only mulch, but a lot of it!!! Pine. It was so fragrant and still very moist. A HUGE "Thank You" to Tree's By Austin for their donation to our neighborhood project. They will be around Palo Alto on Embarcadero this week. They are happy to deliver to your location if you ask! Thanks Again Earnie & Ruby

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Edamame Beans Begin

About 50 Be Sweet 2001 beans were planted about 14 days ago. A new crop for us. We will see how they turn out. Loren loooves them right out of the pods.

Support Poles -Going In!

The bean/melon patch has grown in enough to require some support. Sugar snap peas are being harvested already!

As you can see from the south end of the garden (near neighbor's green car) and moving north (coming towards our driveway) there are two teepees and one grid structure. In theory, the pea/bean vines will come out in time for the melons to reuse the support.
There is still a lot of soil showing and mulch is needed to fill in the walking paths.
Oh yeah - weeding, weeding and more weeding! Come stop by!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day Wish Come True

I just wanted to make some progress this weekend. So Jake took us to a garden store to pick out a few final plants. The kids all got to choose something to contribute (that is another post all together).

To be in the so rewarding! Jake revived the strawberry survivors by weeding and building them up in mounds. During that process we discovered three healthy volunteer tomato plants hiding in the front strawberry section. They were moved to the back yard where Lance decided to begin his first photo-journal session of his own garden. Hilariously creative I might add.

What was installed today?
The last of the bottles for borders. Until more donations come in, that is.

Various 4" potted herbs
(parsley, thyme, chives, savory, sorrel, chamomile)
Fennel and chive seed
4 cantaloupe plants
2 watermelon plants
2 green pepper plants

Here is the technique for installing bottles. Materials required: bottle, mini sledge and a chunk of wood to keep the glass from shattering.

The cilantro and parsley have filled in at the base of the sunflowers.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

First Section of Berry Border---Finished!

Aaahhh! At last there is a completed section of our front yard garden!!! The berrries. Today, one blueberry bush was installed at the end of the strawberry row! We also received enough bottles to close in the border around the berries from the bushing dahlias and volunteer sunflowers.

Since the strawberries have established themselves and are beginning to fruit, we tossed in a few dozen shiny glass rocks as deterrents to the many animals that flock to this area. The hope is they peck/nibble and find them inedible before the actual fruits can be harvested. We will see how that goes.

In the meantime, keeping little curious hands from plucking them may be the bigger challenge set before me;)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Preschool Garden Addition

Well-- according to our preschooler, dental flossers grow better when planted next to golden rocks.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Bottle Border Installation Begins

So the lovely community of Palo Alto has begun contributing empty wine and Pellegrino bottles for our cause. I am estimating we need about 300 for the front yard. Today I installed about 75.

What plants went in today?
Albion, Chandler & Sequoia Strawberries
Lombardo Peppers
Galinas Cherry Tomato
Volunteer Mammoth Sunflowers

The pea, jalepeno and tomato seedlings are poised and ready to go in tomorrow. Pumpkin seeds will also be planted in mounds.

Friday, April 13, 2012

First Fruits

The green grapes began to bud! Purple and black are still settling into their new space. Volunteer sunflowers are also sprouting. Yay! Only half of the raspberry canes took root.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Garden Tips by Month

Here we are in March!!

I have my seedlings under an awning in the backyard, however, the peppers are not getting warm enough. Humph!

Monday, March 12, 2012

New Garden Plan for Spring 2012

Soooo, while we were away our garden caught on fire! Strawberries and lavender plants are gone. I will leave berry roots in the ground to see if they recover. I transplanted the lavender root balls into the backyard. We will see if they make it.

Back to square one with no mulch for paths. Crab grass grows with a vengance so I am not going to fight against it. Instead I decided we can define borders -with wine bottles!! So the collection has begun. I estimate we need about 300 to get started. I do believe we will get some great donations from our community!! Photos to follow after the first installation.

It is expected to rain all week so I will be catching up on this book for inspiration! Happy Gardening and Dig Deep:)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Seeds are starting to sprout

Two kinds of tomatoes, sugar snap peas and jalepenos. Let's see how many make it with all the wildlife around here!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

recent installation of canes and vines and fear of frost through March 15th

I am excited about recently planting my raspberry canes and grape vines in our backyard last week! However, this recent weather has me a bit concerned about frost. If you wonder as well, here is a tip from the UCCE Santa Clara County Master Gardener Program:

Well-watered plants are a good defense against frost
It almost sounds counter-intuitive, but plants that have moist soil are more prepared for extreme temperatures. Soil that is damp can hold more heat than soil that is dry, and dry soil is likely the case with the lower-than-average rain this season. Here's an article from Cornell Cooperative Extenstion (PDF) that explains the science behind the theory. "In a study performed years ago, the air temperature above a wet soil was 5 degrees F higher than that above a dry soil and the difference was maintained until 6 a.m. the next morning. Thus, plants should be well watered the evening before a frost."

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Checking out the fruit garden

Deesel decided he wanted in on the action in the back yard! Blueberries, raspberries and grape vines. Raspberry canes went against the fence. The grapevines (red, green and purple) are in the front.