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…

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.

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!

Finally putting in my latest brassica bed

Holy moly this one took longer then I expected. Or is it Holy moley? (No. It has nothing to do with moles. It’s a bowdlerized version of “Holy Moses” and is only used today by kids who don’t want their parents to know they know the word “shit” and Billy Batson.*)

Anyways- the old tomato and bean bed has been missing it’s beans for some time, and after one last harvest of tomatoes it was time to pull them too.

RIP tomatoes- RIP a whole heck of a lot of weeds.

But I had more then one bed to fill.

Ah my beautiful Choy bed. (and peas). I’ve got Choy to pull this week, Choy to pull in a few weeks- but what about Choy for after that?

Boom. The answer to most of life’s problems is more brassicas.

Anyways, with the tomatoes pulled it was time to amend the bed, which meant lots of loam builder and digging. The loam builder is frankly 50% chicken manure, so that alone will solve most of your soil depletion issues for at least a season.

It doesn’t look like much yet, but on the left we have some Georgia collards, in the middle we have some winterbor kale, and on the right we have a six pack of kohlrabi. And will you look at that- there’s some space in front!

Clearly the answer to that conundrum is more kohlrabi.

Well, I know what I’m picking up tomorrow!

*Google it. 

Quinalt strawberries are finally in their new home

Well between the wind and the heat this took longer to get to then I’d like, but at least I’ve finally done it.

I had a matching low bowl to the one I put the alpine strawberries in, so I cleared it of dead and dying succulents and set it into the vacant pot opposite it’s twin.

I will eventually have a proper place for these guys that isn’t just resting on top of a larger pot, but right now it’s what works.

There was one thriving succulent in the low bowl, so I saved it.

Aw he’s flowering! Sempervivums are great. Their name literally means lives forever and in my experience that is a very true observation.

The alpine strawberries are doing fantastic, regardless of the kooky weather, so I’m just following the exact procedure for the Quinalts.

Layer of the foxfarm, sprinkle of sure-start.

Layer of compost.

Layer of shredded redwood! All done.

I know I said stuff in the past like “strawberries are too much trouble” but I feel like strawberries are too much trouble if you’re trying to get enough for cakes and the like. I just want some berries to shove in my mouth. So if you’d like berries to shove in your mouth get the everbearing varieties, enrich the soil well, water well, and reap the yummy yummy rewards.

I… really need to update my garden map don’t I.

Next bed done, now with bonus celery!

Today was a real San Francisco special, which is to say in the morning was so windy I had to wear two sweaters but by 2pm it was nearly 75.

Yay October!

Stupid weather tricks aside, I had work to do.

That bed is kinda a mess even with all the beans pulled out, so it was time for the loam builder.

That stuff reeks! It’s like 50% chicken manure though which is what you need for a depleted bed.

I also mixed in a box of kelp meal.

Largely because it was time the celery went into the bed. They’ve been struggling in their pots and they need more space for their roots. Celery are heavier feeders then brassicas so I’m not taking any chances.

Then it was a matter of filling in my army of kohlrabi and some more bok choy.

This isn’y my usual type, this is win-win not joi choi, so we’ll see how it performs. I also have way too many for this one bed…

But I did have some room where I’ve been picking the Joi’s…

Eh it’ll do.

Still have some left, but as I pick the big ones I’ll have the room to plant these.

Anyways, after a good mulch the bed is complete.

The weather is set to be kinda wild again this week, with tomorrow nearly 80 but possibly rain in a week. So I’m trying to get as much in the ground as possible before it starts reliably pouring.

You’re always working against the clock gardening out here.