Spring gardening

This year I did not buy any new seeds, I have a healthy stock of seeds from previous years.  I didn’t see it as a wise move to waste what I already had.  So with the weather starting to warm up, it’s time to get the garden back into working order.  I have plenty of the stuff that we eat the most, so that is what I will be planting heavy this year.

I have two tomato plants that are actually volunteers from my mother’s house.  I am not sure what variety they will be, we shall see.  Personally I think it is part of the fun.  I have the two tomatoes on the northern most side of the raised beds, as they will end up becoming quite the sun shade for anything behind them.

Next to the tomatoes I planted a two dozen green beans.  Half are from seed I saved from last years plants, half is fresh seed from the package.  I am thinking about adding another two dozen or so plants in about 3 or 4 weeks, to try to stagger the harvest and extend the time with fresh beans.  last year I had planted some “Italian Rose” beans, not sure if I will add them this year or not.  This is a shucked bean and would be for long term storage… or at least for seed stock.

The stump of broccoli is still there… working on it’s second summer now.  I let it grow and cut it back… I repeat this whenever it starts to get out of control.  So far it has worked out pretty well.  The only downside to broccoli in Southern California, is that it bolts really quickly with the warmth.  Getting any decent sized heads is near impossible.

The lettuces mixes are at peak performance.  I have several varieties.  Oak leaf, black seeded Susan (I think), arugula, baby spinach, two or three types of red leafed lettuce, and a couple others too.  The cilantro is now starting to bolt.  All of which had been from seed from last years crop.  The arugula was the surprise winner with my sweetie.  I had thought it would be a little to strong a flavor, but was very wrong.  She absolutely loves it in our salads.

The carrots are starting to come up.  Red cored Chantilly, purple dragon, and a basic long variety, can’t remember the name off the top of my head.  The beets are coming along well.  There had been a random sowing of beet seeds under the cilantro.  While the cilantro had been doing it’s thing, the beets were bidding there time.  Hanging out in all of the moisture that the cilantro would catch and hold onto from the morning dew.

This past weekend, I added two… well four… new members to the family.  Two hop varieties.  Since I started brewing beer this past year, I thought it would be fun and a money savings to start growing some of my own hops.  The two varieties I purchased were Centennial and Northern Brewer.  Two of each, I have read that they like to have similar near them to help stimulate the flower cone formation.  And also, if something happens to one of them,  I have a back up.  I hope the “compost” I planted them in isn’t too… un-composted.  I think the package that states “garden soil” should probably be soil… and not partially composted wood chunks.  But I did do something with the hops that I have not really done in all my years of gardening, I used fertilizer.  Yes, it is organic, but I have really focused on trying to get the composter with the correct mix, to give the right nutrients.

I have this gut feeling that this year is going to be extremely productive.  Let’s hope my gut is right!