30 March 2010

garden update: late March progress

Spring is officially here in the vegetable garden. We've had a good stint of alternating rain and sunny warmth, so with this great weather and some sprinkling of fish emulsion, it's been baby veg heaven out there. This being our maiden voyage into gardening at this new house, I'm happy to report that our site is very warm (for SF) and not very windy so far. Looks promising for my cherry tomatoes this Summer... but I'm getting ahead of myself.

As for the Spring veggies, most everything is popping up like crazy... peas are reaching and grabbing, climbing higher and higher. The favas are super eager, growing an unbelievable amount each day (Seriously, what's not to like about growing fava beans? They're ultra vigorous, I love eating them and their roots feed the soil. Win win win). Spinach, carrots, leeks, chard, kale, beets, garlic, shallots and many others are happily chugging along. I was a little tardy with thinning, so there's a little wonky legginess going in the chard patch. But I think they'll make it to my sautée pan OK. 

Speaking of tardy, the Mexican Sour Gherkins FINALLY emerged from the soil. (Maybe they heard my fingers tapping on the edge of the raised bed?) Someday soon, they'll probably steal the show: they're a vining plant that looks like a micro-watermelon but tastes like cucumber.

And speaking of cucumber, I recently planted some rare-ish herb seeds, including Blue Borage (fuzzy foliage and tiny blue flowers that taste like cucumber), nigella sativa (sometimes called Black Cumin, the seeds can be harvested and used in baking), plus two types of bee balm. I'm all about tempting Mr and Ms Bee to the garden.

Most recently, Toby completed the beautiful redwood slatted benches for the bluestone paver patio. I love them and can't wait to add a table, umbrella and tasty grilled dinner. 

vegetable garden, late March
Late March in the veg patch. I recently moved some container roses up here, as they're about to start flowering. I think flowering non-edibles are fabulous in an edible garden -- why not?

'Winsor' Favas & 'Sea of Red' Lettuce
'Windsor' Favas and 'Sea of Red' Lettuce

'Sea of Red' Lettuce
Stained-glass effect: 'Sea of Red' Lettuce

Mexican Sour Gherkin seedling
Mexican Sour Gherkin seedling. Come on, little buddy.

Pretty, pretty beets
Beautiful red beets

'Windsor' Favas
Fabulous favas

'Laxton's Progress' peas
'Laxton's Progress' Peas. I just love the tendrils of all climbers, but especially peas. So graceful. They do, however, bring out the micro-manager in me: I crouch down in the garden and attempt to "help" them find a good support to grab onto. Silly.

'Ashmead's Kernel' apple
OK, this is one of the most exciting parts of the garden. I've planted 3 baby, heirloom apple trees, two of which ('Gravenstein' and 'Ashmead's Kernel') will be trained against the grid support, as espaliers. The third apple ('Hauer Pippin') is planted out in the open ground.

Pretty new benches!
The new benches! Beautiful redwood slats. Now I just need to finish planting between the pavers, huh. I'm using edibles here too: intensely aromatic Corsican Mint, super micro Elfin Thyme, and some variegated creeping Oregano. (Though I really don't think we're be garnishing dessert with this mint.)

Radish mini-harvest
...and what it's really about: the harvest. A couple of the radishes I planted beneath the peas. These were chopped up, quick pickled and made a tasty taco garnish.

More late-March photos here.


  1. Wow... looks fabulous, girl. And, Toby, what a stud!

  2. I'm so jealous. I've been thinking of getting someone over to look at my back area (yard would be a stretch). It gets strange light as the seasons change and every tomato plant I've attempted has had a ton of fruit, but none of it has ripened. I'm in San Diego and I don't think it gets hot enough.

  3. LoA, gosh I DREAM of San Diego sun (I'm from La Mesa originally)... SF's unpredictable and foggy summers are such a challenge, which is why I stick to tiny cherry tomatoes (they need less time to ripen). At my last house, I opted to grow them in black containers, so I could move them around to chase the sun. Perhaps this would work for you?

  4. Your garden is lovely! We built new beds this Feb. and I'm so excited for what's to come. I'm praying all the wind we've been having isn't destroying everything. At least the citrus haven't flowered yet! Nothing makes me sadder than watching those lovely blossoms float away.

  5. Your kitchen garden looks amazing!!!! I'm embarrassed by the state of ours at the moment but things are looking up as of this weekend. As I've learned many many years in a row, the secret is to keep up with it... not to let it get engulfed by weeds.


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