Monday, November 5, 2012

A Garden No Longer Grows in Los Angeles

As I had mentioned in my last post, big news are here. I am no longer living in Los Angeles. Ryan, She-ra and I picked up and moved to Astoria, Oregon. But not to worry, I will continue to garden. Check out my new blog, which will be not only about gardening but cooking and life in general here in beautiful Astoria.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


I know that in my last post I said I had a renewed interest in gardening and that I would devote more time to new posts. I can say that this blog will be undergoing some very changes in the coming few months. Please stay tuned I will hopefully be able to make an announcement on the changes very soon.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I'm Back !

It is hard to imagine that's it has been almost two years since i wrote my first blog entry. I have to admit, I am a bit embarrassed and slightly disappointed that for the better part of this past year I have all but neglected both my garden and this blog. Initially, this project grew out of a partial sense that I was lacking direction in my life and so I decided that if I could find a way to grow vegetables from seeds then certainly I could find a way back onto my life path. (Don't worry, my absence is not indicative of some massive derailment, in fact, it was quite the opposite.) At the start, I also had a goal in mind, I wanted to be a bit more self sufficient, and what better way to do that than to grow your own food. To be quite honest, I never expected this project to extend past a few months and after a while, this became more of a task than the fun and learning experience I intended it to be. With every failed plant I grew a little more discouraged at the prospects of growing any vegetables at all, let alone becoming anything near self sufficient. However, I continued to water my plants and every now and then I would toss a few more seeds in the dirt. Along the way I definitely had a few successes. In particular, my yellow banana pepper plant has produced a number of peppers that I've used in omelets and salads. I also have been quite successful with both basil and thyme plants and they have both provided me with a bounty of each. But it was not until a few weeks ago that I truly felt like I had a accomplished something with my garden.  This was when I walked outside to my patio and noticed that the flower box was a bit different. Small flowers were blooming! I couldn't believe how far I had come from this:

  I never thought flowers would actually grow and I don't know if it just became a habit, but for some reason I continued watering the flower box for nearly two years.  I'm glad I did because if there was ever an example of persistence paying off it is this. Needless to say, this has reinvigorated my interest in expanding my garden. But more importantly, my garden has served as a metaphor for some of the more difficult challenges in life. You've probably all heard it a million times that persistence and hard work pays off. But
how many of us truly practice this? When we embark on a
new project or goal most of us expect results and expect them fast. As I learned from this gardening experience, there is never a clear path and often times we don't get to where we want to go as quickly as we hope.  When i reached the 1 year anniversary of my gardening project, it did not look the way I had envisioned it and a part of me felt like saying the heck with it but instead of totally abandoning the project I dialed back the time I was spending on my garden.  Now that I've had some time away from what was a daily devotion, I feel a renewed interest in gardening. No, my garden still doesn't look the way I initially envisioned it, but that's not important. What's important is acknowledging that a garden, much like life itself, doesn't always go as planned. Sometimes we just need to step back for a bit, reassess a few things then jump right back in. With that said, here are some pictures of the current state of my garden. I hope to continue posting and writing on a more frequent basis!

 This picture was taken about three weeks ago. You can begin to see the buds where the flowers would soon be coming in.
This past weekend, this is what my flower box looked like.

 Here is another angle
Here is a closeup
This is the banana yellow pepper plant, which yes, I know that's a red pepper, but I'm still wondering how I managed that one. 

Finally, here is some Thyme, mixed in with the bougainvillea tree. 

Friday, July 15, 2011


I can't believe it's been one year since my first blog post. A lot has happened in that year but unfortunately none of it includes growing a bounty of vegetables in my garden. I've had moderate successes, but to to put it into perspective, had there been a man-made or natural disaster that disrupted our food supply and left me to grow my own food, well, I would have starved by now. The fact of the matter is that growing vegetables from seeds is a lot harder than I imagined. Even with all the claims of "Guaranteed to Grow!!" on the many different type of seeds I've tried over the past year I have yet to really grow much. But all that aside, I can consider my first year of gardening as truly trial by error period in which I've acquired the rudimentary gardening knowledge I hope will allow for a more successful second year in the dirt.

A longer post filled with pictures and progress will soon follow....

Sunday, June 5, 2011

June 2011

As I approach the one year anniversary of my blog I am once again hopeful that my garden will actually produce something of value.

The yellow squash plants surprisingly started blooming just a week or two ago. I say surprising because the first time I grew them the plant was much larger, as can be seen here.

This time, the squash plants only grew to about 6 inches in height, which I believe is due to the much smaller container in which I planted them. Clearly I knew that the size of the container is important, however, I didn't realize it made this much of a difference. This is a good lesson to learn, and going forward I will be more mindful of the size and type of containers I use when planting my seeds.

Spinach, it seems, does better when grown in a smaller container. The first time i attempted to grow spinach I used too large a container and this was the result. Quite different this time around as you can see in the picture below.

I do have to mention that I planted the seeds much earlier in the year when the weather was still cool. Whereas, last year I planted the seeds in the middle of summer and we went through a few bouts of unusually warm weather and the combination contributed to the demise of my spinach. Same can be said about the flowers. The cooler temperatures have certainly helped my flower box and although I have yet to grow any actual flowers, I am optimistic that I am somewhat close to success.

The large thick seedlings are all part of the sweet william flower mix that I planted in the box, you can also see a few traces of the oregano but they don't seem to be doing quite as well. The tall thin seedling in the top left part of the flower box is mystery to me.

Could this be a powderpuff aster plant growing? If you look closely you can see the dozens of tiny yellow dots on the plant. Is this a sign of a plant about to flower? I certainly hope so but I will not get my hopes up too much as the plant also seems to be covered in what looks like powdery mildew. I have cut off the leaves with the white marks on them but each time it just seems to get worse. It has not affected the overall growth of the plant so I have decided to just let it be for now.

Finally, there is the yellow banana pepper plant. These seeds I planted well over 6 months ago and although they initially grew quite fast their maturity stalled and only in the last few weeks has it begun to pick up again.

After some heavy pruning a few weeks ago I started noticing a bit of a growth spurt and the plants became thicker and sturdier. I contemplated pulling out a few of the seedlings and re-potting them in individual containers but I do not want to disrupt the progress.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Arbor Day

Arbor Day was a few weeks ago (yes, I know this post is pretty late) and my work building decided to celebrate by giving out trees. That's right, trees. Or at least what will hopefully one day be full grown trees. I chose to take a maple tree and one of my coworkers gave me her honeysuckle tree. As you can see from the picture the trees merely look like a branch. The roots are covered in a gel to keep them moist until planted. There are also some very detailed instructions that came with the trees.

I thought I could plant the trees in front of my house, but as it turns out there was not much room, so I opted to buy a planter. I figure that if I actually manage to plant this correctly and the tree does indeed grow then I can find a roomier home at a later date. Plus, it's not like trees grow very fast so I figure I have some time before I have to worry about that.

And of course here is the obligatory shot with She-ra in it. I was afraid she was going to think the tree was a stick (which she loves to play with), but so far she has only sniffed it, instead of making it her new chew toy.

I ended up planting only the maple tree. The honeysuckle tree is sitting in a bucket of water where the roots are keeping moist. The instructions suggested this until the tree is planted, but to be perfectly honest I don't know that I will ever get to plant the tree. I think one will be enough of handful.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Salad (Grape Tomato) Recall

If you eat prepackaged salads make sure to check out the link below for all the latest information concerning the tomato recall issued this morning. It is believed that a variety of prepackaged salad mixes containing grape tomatoes may be tainted with salmonella. The salads in question come from Taylor Farms Pacific and are sold at a variety of supermarkets primarily in the West Coast and include Albertson's, Safeway, Sam's Club and Walmart.

***UPDATE 5/4/11****

For a complete list of the products affected by this recall make sure to visit the FDA's homepage listed HERE