Knight Gardens, West Coast Edition

Del Mar summer rental – raised beds came pre-planted with chard and beets

Lots of beets!
And even more parsley!

I didn’t realize how very much I have missed having a garden. In Tucson it’s a constant struggle to keep a garden going and the growing season is so short that I decided to forgo all but native plants there.

I harvested some of the parsley and the beets and chard, making room for lettuce, onions and herbs. Updates will follow as the seeds germinate. Meanwhile, I want to plant flowers!

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Squash time!


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What happens if you leave your garden for a week in June

Oh, dear. The broccoli went to seed,  the lettuce bolted and the weeds were prolific.  It took another week (and a bit) to get it back under control again.

The snow peas  have been delicious this year. I’ve eaten many of them right in the garden and on the way into the house.  They are flavorful and fresh, almost irresistible.

While we have been trying to get the cool weather crops and the weeds out, the tomatoes and squash have been coming along nicely.  Both are flowering and the squash have tiny fruits now.  In this heat, it won’t take long for them to mature.

We stopped at our favorite local farm, Pete’s produce for some veggies to grill for dinner last week and we picked up these beauties. I especially love the purple peppers. They taste like green peppers but they are just gorgeous. We grilled one and saved one to admire for another day before using it on an hors d’oeurves tray.

Next post will have photos of our own veggies!


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Swiss Chard with pine nuts and currants tonight!

Just harvested!

Everything happened all at once!  The chard took off,  the lettuces and arugula are practically jumping into the salad bowl, chives are blooming, tarragon, which is a tender perennial,  actually came back since we had such a mild winter,  and the snow peas are ready to eat. They are sooooo fresh and crunchy; to me they taste green and sunny and bright.  Plenty to share – come on over!

During the Memorial day weekend, we had some friends over for a barbecue. The younger foodies,  Hannah and her brother Christoph,  asked if we possibly had any lettuce to go with their burgers.  “Sure,” I said, “run out to the garden and pick some!”  What fun to watch them race off and return with fresh lettuce and  snow peas to accompany their feast.

And on the decorative front, the roses and peonies are blooming – Hoooray!  Last weekend Dave pruned spirea and bayberries, while I gave our Japanese Maple a makeover.  It was looking more like “Cousin It”  than a tree! It’s a busy time in the garden – and so rewarding  in every way.

Japanese Maple after haircut

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Snow peas soon!

They’re climbing, they’re  blooming!  And the lettuce, spinach and broccoli are zooming along too.

The torrential rains earlier in the week gave everything a boost –  especially the weeds.  Yesterday, we weeded, weeded, and weeded. Then we rewarded ourselves with a  delicious salad of mixed greens from our raised bed: butter lettuce, romaine (Paris Island Cos), Arugula, and spinach. They we got back to the fun stuff.

Dave planted all  the pepper plants that I had started from seed:   Southwest chile, Wonder Bell and one I spotted in the catalog and couldn’t resist trying: Yum Yum Gold. I’m still amazed that the tiny seeds turned into these tiny plants and that they will actually bear fruit in a couple of months.

Over in the asparagus bed, yesterday I planted two varieties of winter squash in the back of the bed; Butternut and Acorn.   That bed isn’t fenced, but the winter squash seems to be less tempting to the critters than other crops. Keeping my fingers crossed.  I was delighted to read on the seed package said that it’s good to put some flowers like cosmos near squash to attract pollinators.  Amazingly, I had been doing  just that for the last few years!  They usually self sow but I popped in a few plants to keep the squash company while we wait for the volunteers to appear. . Another layer of newspapers and mulch and we’re ready to grow. I love the look of the chive flowers too, especially with the asparagus.

I also planted a few pinwheels as you can see – they keep the birds away and they’re FUN!

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Fresh greens for dinner!

The gardens are really underway now!  I harvested lettuce, arugula and baby chard from the raised bed for our salad last night.  The Paris Island Cos is a delicious variety that I tried for the first time this year and I planted it as a “cut and come again” crop to eat as baby greens.  We’ve had a very dry spring but thanks to Dave’s hard work last fall, we had 10 big bags of shredded leaves to use as mulch around the plants.  It’s fabulous mulch (and from an extremely local source). I put down  thin layers of newspaper or chemex coffee filters and cover them  with the shredded leaves. The mulch really helps control the weeds, and over the summer, the leaves break down and become more compost for the garden. Today we are expecting the first rain we’ve had in 2 weeks so I weeded, thinned out the snow peas, broccoli and spinach, then added more mulch between the plants to fend off the weeds that will surely appear as soon as it starts raining.

The snow peas are really climbing now. I made a string trellis and as they climb that, I’ll add a layer above this one for support as they get bigger.   I’m really looking forward to the first crunchy bite.

Today these are just  a couple of mounds of dirt, but in July, these will be prolific squash plants and Dave will be grilling squash and peppers for dinners. It really is miraculous isn’t it?

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