Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Go 'Cuse

It was Nate's 30th birthday on Sunday. We were thinking about going camping for his birthday, but as it always seems to, his birthday fell right in the middle of the NCAA tournament. Nate's beloved Syracuse was playing in it's 2nd round game on Saturday, so going out of town, especially somewhere away from tv, was out of the question. Instead we had a few people over to eat corned beef, drink home brew and watch the Sunday games. Luckily Nate was in a pretty good mood since the Orange won on Saturday.

I made this Otto the Orange banner, which turned out pretty cute, out of felt.

And I came up with a good way to temporarily label growlers with the type of beer they contain. I might need to buy myself a laminator so the tags will stand up a little better to sitting in a cooler.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Signs of Spring

Southern California is one of those places where sometimes it is hard to see the changes in the seasons. I was in Hawaii all last week for work (a place even harder to see any difference between the seasons) and when I got back and surveyed the garden it seemed like a whole lot had changed all of a sudden.

My largest artichoke plant, that I have had at least since last May and has never produced an artichoke, finally has a little one starting to develop.

I bought 10 UC-157 asparagus crowns online back in January from Seeds of Change. This variety is supposed to do better in California than the Jersey Knight ones that require colder temperatures. I was a little worried that I had planted them wrong, but they are finally sprouting. I can't harvest any this year, but I can't wait for next year.

At some point in the fall I planted a bunch of sprouted potatoes in the back planter box just to avoid having to compost them. I kind of forgot about them, but all of a sudden I have about 6 little potato plants back there. We'll see if they produce potatoes and if I can manage to dig up the potatoes without disturbing all my other plantings back there.

The plum tree is starting to bloom.

I found rhubarb crowns at Lowes a couple weeks back. Supposedly rhubarb isn't supposed to do very well in Southern California because it doesn't get cold enough. Somehow the lack of cold is supposed to prevent the stems from turning red and green stems contain more oxalic acid which can be toxic in large quantities. The stems that have started to come up look pretty red to me though.

Last summer I bought two California poppy plants. They were so prolific and produced so many seeds that the entire back planter box is covered with them now. Some of our neighbors' poppies have already been blooming for the past month. Ours are just now starting to produce buds. In a couple of weeks it should be really orange back there.

The fava beans are just starting to produce fava beans of an eatable size. They are a lot of work to prepare, with the double shucking, but so tasty.

Finally, Nate built me this planter box and trellis in the side yard. Our neighbors side door and kitchen look strait into our guest bedroom and the trellis is placed so as to obscure the view somewhat. I planted two varieties of blackberry, Navaho and Arapaho, and two varieties of raspberries, Jewel and Brandywine.

Hopefully, eventually, they will grow up the trellis and block the view into the bedroom. And as a bonus produce lots of tasty berries.