Monday, August 1, 2011

JULY 2011 - HARVEST TALLY and gardening mistakes to avoid in Southern California

Waiting for the tomatoes to ripen
This marks the fifths months of our homesteadying adventure! And yes, I have made lots and lots of mistakes, and hopefully can avoid them for next year.

Here are some of the silly mistakes I made and what I have learnt:
  • Cutting zucchini stems while pruning them - now bacteria can get into the plant. I save it by putting bandaids over.
  • Staking tomatoes too late, causing the fruit to sit on the ground (not good!)
  • Planting zucchini and tomatoes too early in a soil that wasn't warm enough (blossom end rot)
  • Planting a number of zucchini, cukes and squash in each other neighborhood, causing cross-pollination, making the seeds unusable for next year
  • Planting corn too close, stunting its growth
  • Not separating seedlings, stunting their growth
  • Too much water usage
  • Planting cabbages in each others neighborhood, creating an aphid block-party (luckily it attracted these tiny wasps who will take care of this problem)
  • Buying ladybugs to eat the aphids - Now this really is a big problem: When you buy ladybugs, someone has collected them in the wild and when you release them, they will try flying back home. While attempting this, they will die. Also, when you release them, they rarely stay to eat anything. DON'T DO THAT. It's simply not worth it for you and it puts another species in danger. Instead just wait for the native ladybugs in your hood to show up and do the job. Trust me, if you leave the aphids alone, they show up!
  • And last but not least: Allowing the free range birds to forage EVERYWHERE with the result that many tomatoes have been picked in. Not we are fencing in a portion of the backyard to keep our feather-heads out.
  • Planted the cabbages according to the European growing season, which is too hot for them. In Southern California, we need to plant them in fall.
July 2011 Harvest Tally:
1/2 lbs of strawberries (bit by bit or I should say berry by berry from plant to mouth they went - this variety is just too good)
2 lbs of Arugula
1 lbs of salads
64 lbs of zucchinis - everyone got to benefit for this abundance
6 lbs of savoy cabbage
3 lbs of cucumbers
4 lbs basil for pesto
20 lbs of lavender flowers, which I am in the process of turning into essential oils, soaps and sachets.
1/2 lbs of white peaches
1/2 lbs peppermint

41 Duck eggs


  • Planting beds for Blueberries (done)
  • Planting beds for tomatoe seedlings (Black Krim - half of which the wild bunnies ate... argh!)
  • Tear out lawn in front (bit by bit it goes)
  • Move perennial flowers (rose, lavender)
  • Start a kombucha culture (in the making)
  • Start a yoghurt culture 
  • Plant tea plant, hibiscus and jasmin for making tea (planted jasmin and hibiscus; waiting for the tea plants)
  • Planting the pumpkin patch for our pumpkin (again, most got eaten by the bunnies)

"Nature never says one thing and wisdom another." Decimus Junius Juvenalis

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