I just had to have a blackberry…

Well I’d been putting it off and off and off and I can’t put it off anymore.

It’s time to tie up the blackberry.

The comfrey has served its purpose of being sort of a green compost so I pulled it and laid it down after some weeding, and pulling the brambles up.

The comfrey might regrow- it’s pretty much a weed.

Quite a lot of the vines had reached into the ground and started to root.

It’s really good I took care of this now and not a month from now!

As you can see it’s a bit of a mess all over.

Had to pull up these top roots as well. I just snipped off the root ball and tied it to the fence.

The result wasn’t that bad. I don’t really have a proper trellis, I’m just tying it to the fence like a yokel.

But at least it’s off the ground and properly weeded.

And I have plenty of space below the top vine to keep things going.

But man I have to ask myself- is all this worth it?

Pie is always worth it.

At long last, a home for the scallions

 I’ve had some scallions in 6-packs for a while now. I was going to replace the ones in the terra-cotta but then those got scale and I was busy.

As you can see they’ve been a little neglected.

But now I have a fancy new long and low talavera pot.

So I filled it with the good dirt and…

Shit some of the starts have scale too.

Luckily not all of them.

As for what I’ll replace them with, I’ve always wanted to try these.

But also some of the original.

Let’s hope they’ll sprout in the cold- but onions almost never disappoint.

And there’s room for all of them!

Minus the ones I had to compost because of the scale.

I really have to conquer this ant issue…

Mystery brassica

Well sometimes things get mixed up. A six pack of veggies can get misplaced by a customer who decides they want something else- and wind or misadventure can misplace a tag.

Then you end up with something like this.

It’s… a brassica!

Probably Brassica oleracea judging by the shape of it.

But it’s a little strange…

Purple stems and green leaves…

The stems don’t seem to be swollen so probably not a kohlrabi…

Could be a collard or a kale?

Growth comes from the inside… but that’s common for almost all brassicas.

Brussels? Cauliflower? Broccoli? A straight up cabbage?

Well. I suppose I’ll just have to grow it and find out!

The leaves aren’t too damaged from the ubiquitous cabbage moth- I did give it a spray down with B.t. regardless.

Anyways…

🎶mystery plant, it’s a mystery plant🎶

🎶gonna put it in the ground and see what comes up🎶

Of course the space requirements of a Brussels versus a cabbage are very different so…

Stay tuned.

A joke goes horribly horribly wrong. Or horribly horribly right?

So dad really really loves the garden. After all, he and mom started it before I was born, and both of my parents are really glad I’ve picked it up again, now that they can’t do the sort of intensive labor that a vegetable garden needs.

Mom still helps out, G-d bless her, watering during heat waves when I’m at work for instance, checking on tender seedlings, and quite a few times I’ve come down to a very clean work table and a weeded garden just because she was bored and wanted to help me out. Mom’s the best.

Dad on the other hand is not as steady on his feet as he used to be, and after a few falls in the back, (he was ok- but it could have been much worse) dad doesn’t garden anymore. Trust me though- he wants to. I’ve definitely put in plants for him, he does get out and look around from time to time (with care) and he loves the blog so he can keep up- (Hi dad!) but he’s permanently off watering and weeding. (Which he probably doesn’t mind!) It’s my greatest joy to bring up produce for him, he’s a huge fan of the alpine strawberries and Bok Choy.

Now sometimes, since he knows I’ll put in plants for him, he likes to yank my chain. I tend to take things very literally, so it sometimes takes me a while to get that he’s kidding me about the orange tree he wants me to plant or the rare tropical fruit.

(Though I’m still looking for a banana that will fruit in San Francisco- stay tuned.)

But! A few weeks ago he made a joke about how I should grow a redwood. After patiently explaining to him that we didn’t have the room, and that I grow edibles not trees- It finally dawned on me that he was joking and my parents and I had a good laugh at my complete lack of joke-sense.

And then in Sausalito on one of my days off I found this:

I’M GONNA DO IT DAD, WHO’S LAUGHING NOW!

(All of us, all of us are laughing now.)

The idea is, we don’t own this redwood, we are fostering it. I’m going to grow it in increasingly bigger pots, and see how big I can get it. When it’s just big enough that any more growth means we can’t get it through the garage to the outside, I’ll find a permanent home for it.

Maybe Muir Woods could use a new redwood?

That’s a future problem.

The current problem is- how do I do it?

So after some research and a poll of my coworkers I determined that redwoods like acidic soil. Good thing I have some azalea mix left in the soil shed!

Ah, but redwoods also need superior drainage- so it’s also a good thing I have a lot of perlite left from potting the chayote.

The soil was mixed in one of my left-over gallon pots. Then I extracted the redwood plug from the weird plastic cylinder and cardboard surround. A mix of sure start in the hole and I potted it up!

Of course what redwood would be complete without shredded redwood mulch! Now, before you think that’s a tad cannibalistic, shredded redwood (gorilla hair) is usually taken from the outside of living redwood trees, and not from dead ones. So if you think about it, a naturally growing redwood seedling on the coast would be sprouting in soil covered in the fallen outer bark of its parents, so this is probably ideal.

I watered it well with a shot of tappin roots for extra oomph and now I’m just going to see what happens.

It’s weird that the best case scenario of this folly is a forest ranger taking my redwood away after 5 years to go live in a park, but I’m committed to this, and so is dad.

Dad and I should also be committed.

But I’ve known that for a while.

Be nice to your Bush Beans and they will reward you.

Or you know- be terribly neglectful and then reward them after the fact in the hope that you can scam more beans from them.

Mr French bush bean here got a little tempest tossed by the Santa Ana winds last week. But he’s producing a ton of little beans and I can respect that.

I tossed some compost into his pot to try and prolong the season, and I harvested what I could.

Dang! It’s two plants in a pot that barely got over a foot in height! That’s a respectable amount of beans! I think after my years of struggling and enjoying pole beans I might be a bush bean convert. Now to see if I can get more beans into November.

You know, for science!

And for my tummy.

A new green enters the story. Spoiler alert! It’s a Brassica.

Cupid’s arrow struck me with a deep abiding love of brassicas a long time ago, and my affection has never dimmed.

From my childhood obsession with broccoli to my modern love of komatsuna, both oleracea and rapa are the loves of my life.

Which is why when a seldom eaten but much loved member of the species Brassica rapa enters my local garden center- I go wild.

This lovely specimen came in on a Sunday. She was sultry and lush and by the way she walked into the store I knew she’d be trouble.

This- is Koji. Also known as Tatsoi also known as Yukina savoy. She’s a woman of many aliases.

It’s basically a sort of Brassica you harvest as spinach or Swiss chard. Tasty and easy. 

She is trouble though- those lovely crinkled leaves can hide bugs if you’re not careful. I anticipate many inspections of her undercarriage unless I want those grey cabbage aphids.

Annoyingly when I took this beauty on the bus home I lost her nametag, so I have no close up on the tag like I like to give you. Dames like her always like to be anonymous.

Doesn’t matter- I know how to treat a brassica right.

Those six pretty little plants are right at home in the front part of my new bed, and I’ll stop the hard-boiled detective cliches now.

I’m actually pretty excited about this one, as I’ve eaten it sporadically but never grown it.

Ah Brassica rapa- you never disappoint.

Yerba Buena is dead, long live Yerba Buena

Well the one two punch of a heat wave and 95 mile per hour wind gusts finally did in my Yerba Buena.

The terra-cotta most certainly did not help. Terra-cotta is a great pot material with one major downside/upside- it looses water to evaporation as the clay is porous. In a lot of cases this is great as it helps avoid overwatering. In the case of a mint it’s less great, and in the case of this mint with 95 mile per hour Santa Ana winds sapping the moisture from an already sun baked pot…

I think even if I doubled the water I was giving the thing it still would have bit it.

Luckily in San Francisco our namesake herb is not hard to come by.

But I’ll not make the terra-cotta mistake twice!

This lovely little glazed ceramic pot has a detached saucer to help keep the moisture in without contributing to root rot. Drainage is key!

I was using it for a houseplant which was a huge mistake- long story- so after fixing that mistake I now have a pot for my Yerba Buena.

Yerba Buena is a funny mint- it likes the shade rather then the full sun like most mints, but it’s surprisingly hardy like almost all mints and mint relatives.

Case in point.

This scraggly but healthy fellow is my other Yerba Buena- which I planted in front of some tomatoes and sunflowers, now dead in situ as I figure out what I’m going to do with the darn bed.

It is in almost full sun, and has been barely getting any water as I sometimes forget the bed full of dead sunflowers actually has one living occupant.

And yet it’s so vigorous despite all that it’s climbing to the back in search of new territory.

I’ll have to be careful when I pull the tomatoes and sunflowers. This brave little plant deserves praise for taking the worst this terrible gardener can throw at it.

And my new Mister Buena is settling into his new home.

Of course now I have to put up another white fly trap… as the winds knocked the one I had on off the pole.

Just another day gardening in San Francisco!