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It's raining again.

The irrigation system has been off for most of the last month, and watering has been done from harvested rainwater, or occasionally with the hose, if in a hurry.  Now that the harvested rainwater is almost completely depleted, this current rainw will hopefully replenish it to some extent.
Last weekend, we got 1/2" of rain.

I worked up and amended a long-disused garden area in the front yard, reshaping it so it is wider, and has clay soil berms to hold in the water.

Last Sunday, I seeded the following in that space:
-Capuciner Peas from saved seed (this is a shelling pea with purple flowers)
-Wando Peas, Ferry-Morse, packed for 2009, as well as some more recent Wando Pea seeds
-Super Snappy Pea, Burpee 2011
-Snowbird snow peas, Burpee 2011
-Early Frosty Pea, from new seeds
-Kohlrabi, Early White Vienna from new seeds

The compost pile under Dave's window is growing with volunteer brassicas, lettuce and Florence fennel, though some of it did get dug up by raccoons this week.


Today's transplants

Today I transplanted the following into the vegetable garden:
-Sun Gold Hybrid Cherry Tomato, seeded 7-17-14
-Momotaro Tomato, seeded 7-17-14
-Virginia Sweets Tomato, seeded 7-17-14
-Gregori's Altai Tomato, seeded 7-14-14
-A leek seedling that volunteered in a pot from which the seeded out of season Red Russian Kale never came up.  The kale had been seeded 6-15-14.  The leek seedling likely volunteered from some gone to seed leeks in the garden two feet away from the pot.
-Malabar Spinach aka Ceylon Spinach, Green Stem, ba sella alba, seeded 7-17-14, Kitazawa Seed Company, packed for 2014.  One recommended recipe is to braise them and top with sesame seed dressing.

This week's transplants

I transplanted the following seedlings in the vegetable garden this week:
-Black Enorma Hybrid Eggplant, seeded 7/18/14, Nichols Garden Nursery, seed packed for 2013
-Giant Purple Aswad Eggplant, seeded 7/18/14, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
-World Beater Ruby Giant Sweet Bell Pepper, seeded 7/18/14, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, 2012
-Sunshine Hybrid AAS Kabocha Squash, seeded 7/17/14, Nichols Garden Nursery, 2014
-Trombetta Squash, seeded 7/17/14, from saved seed
-Winter Squash, Japanese Pumpkin Kabocha Shishigatani, seeded 7/17/14, Kitazawa Seed Company, 2014
-Burgess Buttercup Squash, seeded 7/17/17, Ferry-Morse 2013
-Fall and Winter Squash Sweet Meat Oregon Homestead Organic, seeded 7/17/14, Nichols Garden Nursery, 2014. c. maxima.  Dry flesh, grows in cool weather.
-Bon Bon Hybrid Squash, seeded 7/17/14, Nichols Garden Nursery, 2014
-Lincoln Leeks, seeded 6/15/14, Nichols Garden Nursery, 2014
-Malali Watermelon, seeded 7/7/14 from saved seed
-Sikkim Cucumber, seeded 7/17/14, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, 2013

Today I also pulled up the stalks from the first planting of Stowell's Evergreen Sweet Corn, and am drying the stalks on the sidewalk for my neighbor to use as her Halloween decorations.

Rainwater harvesting

Somehow we received enough rain yesterday to fill a 44 gallon barrel from the downspout.

Today's harvests

Today we harvested our first two ears of Stowell's Evergreen Sweet Corn (seeded 4-16-14 and transplanted 5-24-14), Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, seeds packed for 2014.  This is an open pollinated heirloom tested to ensure it is GMO free.  This variety is superior to the open pollinated Sweet Country Gentleman similar open pollinated corn we had been growing for the two or three years previous.  Nearly all the kernels fertilized; we were very lucky, as it was a rather small block of corn, perhaps of about 20 or so plants. It grew just as tall as the Sweet Country Gentleman corn grown in the same or almost the same location and at about the same time last year.

Today I noticed that the first of the black cherry tomatoes are ripe.  Because the plant is somewhat shaded by the corn in the next garden bed back, later ripening fruit grown on the same plant as the foliage dies back is unlikely to get scalded by the sun, as is the usual case.

We harvested several spears of asparagus today and ate them raw.  It has a stronger taste at this time of year but still tastes good.
I transplanted the following into the garden this morning:
-Lincoln Leeks, seeded 6-14-14, Nichols Garden Nursery, packed for 2014.  I transplanted these in the back garden bed outside the guest room window, and in the next bed further out.
-Giant Purple Aswad Eggplant, seeded 6-15-14, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, packed for 2013.  I transplanted these in the back garden bed outside the guest room window.
-Genovese Basil, seeded 6-15-14, Seeds of Change, packed for 2013.  I transplanted one of these in the back garden bed outside the guest room, and one in the sunken bed between the garage and shed.  The soil in that part of the side bed, due to a layer of pine needles, has the tilth of fine vermicompost.  I transplanted it right next to the Genovese Basil plant that is thriving after surviving last winter in that location, so hopefully one or both will survive the coming winter.
-Black Enorma Hybrid Eggplant, seeded 6-15-14, Nichols Garden Nursery, seeds packed for 2013.  I transplanted these in the new front garden bed, among the bean plants.
-World Beater Ruby Giant Sweet Bell Pepper, seeded 6-15-14, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, seeds packed for 2012.  I transplanted these in the new front garden bed, among the bean plants.

I sprayed all transplanted eggplant and bell pepper seedlings with my mixture of lemon dish soap, onion and garlic in hopes that they won't be eaten up.  We discovered snails to be the muncher of a few of the bean seedlings in the new front garden bed.  We discovered last night that snails didn't join the beer party we set out for them, but they were out on the plants so we plucked and smashed.  The slugs and sowbugs did join last night's beer party in the back yard, so I moved the front yard beer plate to the newly transplanted back garden area today, and hopefully a beer party rather than a plant munching party will be had there tonight.
Since most of my squash plants have died off from powdery mildew in the dry weather or from some other cause, I just seeded more summer and winter squash.  Since the foliage on the most heavily producing tomato plants is drying up from the bottom up due to early blight and my failure to fertilize at fruit set, I also started more seeds of tomatoes of varieties that just may last through the winter.  I seeded a few other things as well.

Here's what I seeded in pots today:
-Shiso  (perilla fruitescens) Green and Red, Botanical Interests, packed for 2015
-Fenugreek, Pinetree Garden Seeds, packed for 2007
-Malabar Spinach (Ceylon Spinach, tsuru murasaki, green stem), Kitazawa Seed Company, packed for 2014.  I failed to scarify the seed first with sandpaper which is suggested for this type of plant to speed germination.
-Sikkim Cucumber, cucumis sativus, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, packed for 2013.  The site description and reviewers describe them as reaching several pounds in size, with sweet inner flesh of a rusty red color, but bitter when unripe.  Now that I have a plan for growing these without having the plants get eaten up, I'll have a chance to try these and enjoy them.  They seem more like a melon in some sense (especially with the webbed markings on ripe fruits), so it is probably best to wait until summer to grow them anyway, though I'd have preferred to have started the seeds in June.
-Sunshine Hybrid Kabocha Type Fall/Winter Squash (a 2004 All American Selection winner)
-Sweet Meat Oregon Homestead Organic Fall/Winter Squash, Nichols Garden Nursery, packed for 2014.  It apparently has very dry flesh, fruits weigh 12-24 lbs and can be stored 6 months or more, and will grow in cool wet weather (which means it may continue producing through the winter here).
-Shishigatani Japanese Pumpkin Kabocha Winter Squash, Kitazawa Seed Company, packed for 2014.  The skin is ribbed and warted when ripe which is a bit of a challenge for food preparation, but they are gourd shaped, meaning the top several inches of fruit will be thick meaty flesh without seeds.  Apparently it is one of the traditional vegetables of the Kyoto region, and is used in shojin ryori, a type of vegetarian cooking prepared by Buddhist priests.  I think I'll cook it according to the Simple Pumpkin recipe on this page.
-Bon Bon Hybrid Squash, Nichols Garden Nursery, packed for 2014.  It is a 2005 AAS award winner, and matures early, making it a good choice for planting so late.
-Burgess Buttercup Squash, Ferry-Morse Seeds packed for 2013.  I love Buttercup squash but seldom have much luck with it, likely because I tend to plant it in the drier areas of the garden.  Let's see if I can plant it closer to the house in a more regularly watered area and see how it does.  If I recall, buttercup squash has a more tender skin than the other winter squash I grow, and so will need to be eaten within a short storage window.
-Golden Hubbard Squash, Ferry-Morse Seeds, packed for 2013
-Tahitian Squash, the last seed given to me by a friend from her 2004 planting.  I may have my own saved seed from later plantings of Tahitian Squash lying about somewhere.  The great thing about Tahitian Squash is that when you cut off a hunk of it, the flesh seeps a thick sap that seals off the rest of the fruit and helps preserve it until you can eat the rest of the giant fruit.
-Sunny Delight Scallop Hybrid Squash, Nichols Garden Nursery, packed for 2010
-Bennings Green Tint Squash, Pinetree Garden Seeds, packed for 2014
-Momotaro Tomato (hybrid), Kitazawa Seed Col, packed for 2014.  There were not many seeds in this package, and I wasted most of them trying to plant too early in the season.
-Virginia Sweets (golden yellow beefsteak tomatoes with a ruby red blush), Tomato Growers Supply Company
-Gregori's Altai (a Siberian variety of pink-red beefsteak tomato), Tomato Growers Supply Company
-Russian Rose (a pink, mid-season tomato), Tomato Growers Supply Company
-Brandywine Red (Landis Valley Strain), Tomato Growers Supply Company
-Sun Gold Hybrid cherry tomato, Tomato Growers Supply Company

The eggplant, bell pepper and Genovese basil seedlings that I started in pots in the side yard on 6-15-14 are now getting to the point where they need to be potted up, so I'm off to wash some slightly larger pots to pot them up into.
-Giant Purple Aswad Eggplant, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, packed for 2013
-Black Enorma Hybrid Eggplant, Nichols Garden Nursery, packed for 2013
-World Beater Ruby Giant Sweet Bell Pepper, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, packed for 2012

I transplanted the new Awapuhi Ginger in the shaded bed under the guest room window.  I transplanted my two exisiting ginger plants into the next bed over (nearer Dave's office) and the next bed out from the house, both in shady, well watered locations.  I wanted to make sure I left plenty of room for the plants to expand and send out new shoots.

The Fortex Pole Beans and Armenian Cucumbers transplanted into the slightly shaded new bed in the front yard on 7-5-14 are growing well, with dark green leaves and no evidence of being munched on, though one or two bean plants are doing poorly.  I've been using the Fortex Pole Beans in the side yard along with fresh Genovese Basil leaves in my homemade cucumber/avocado/tamago (egg) red rice and black rice sushi.  I even added ripe red bell pepper to some of the rolls when I ran out of egg and didn't have any Fortex Pole Beans at a harvestable size.  It worked.

Malali watermelon, wasabi and ginger

Last Friday, July 11, I transplanted the following into the garden in the far part of the garden bed underneath the back windows:
-Stowell's Evergreen Sweet Corn, seeded 6-15-14, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, packed for 2014.  This is an heirloom variety confirmed to be GMO free.  I'm hoping it will be sweeter and more tender than Sweet Country Gentleman, the heirloom variety I grew for the last two or so years.
-Wax Gourd Winter Melon, Oblong, seeded 6-15-14, Kitazawa Seed Company, packed for 2014.  I planted a large quantity of winter melon seedlings, and so far they are not getting eaten by slugs (it helps that we've had pie plates out with beer in for the slugs to drown in).  I'll likely have a large enough crop of winter melon to share with the Clairemont Produce Cooperative at one of our monthly exchanges a few months down the road.
-Bitter Gourd Hybrid Mara, seeded 6-15-14, Kitazawa Seed Company, packed for 2014.  I transplanted two of these and still have a third in the pot.  The leaves are getting munched somewhat, but nearly a week later the plants are still standing so I have hope.

Today I filled a 7+ gallon pot with a bag of composted steer manure mixed with Miracle Grow Moisture Control Potting Mix, and transplanted the following:
- Malali Watermelon, seeded 7-7-14 from saved seed (4 seedlings)
- Malali Watermelon, seeded 6-15-14, Pinetree Garden Seeds, packed for 2012
I transplanted Malali Watermelon into the garden about the same time last year and we harvested sweet melons in November, so it shouldn't matter that I have transplanted them so late.  I didn't transplant last year's plant until July 28, so I'm still ahead of schedule. I'm hoping the plants will thrive in this large pot that holds water well and in which the roots can delve down 1 1/2 feet into rich compost.

Today I ordered Wasabi seeds.  According to the supplier, though the seeds have a 98% germination rate, summer and autumn planted seed doesn't germinate until February when seeded in Southern Oregon.  It likes to be planted 1/2" deep mulched in coir or peat (my potting soil contains both).  I wonder if the roots will get hot here where we have so few chill hours.  When I tried to grow horseradish here from a chunk from the grocery store it wasn't cold enough for the roots to get any heat (though since I planted directly in the garden, I may have mistaken some other invasive weed for horseradish).

Two days ago at Walter Anderson's Nursery in Point Loma, I purchased the following variety of ginger in a pot: Awapuhi Ginger, Zingiber zerumbet, originally supplied by Pearson's Gardens in Vista, California.  The label has the following description: Ornamental, culinary, tea, cosmetic, and medicinal herb.  Large, red flowers exude conditioning juice when ripe.  Tender Perennial.  Filtered Light Indoor/Outdoor 4'-6'.

I made pickled "ginger" from some young shoots of galanga root last weekend (I probably included too much of the hard inner part of the root instead of just the soft, pliable young outer shoot), and found it didn't have any bite to it, so I want to try growing more ginger to use for this purpose.  I already have a variety of ginger growing in the garden, though I do not believe it is the variety I purchased this week.  The ginger growing in the garden is down to just two root bound plants that don't particularly like the hot, sunny, windy location in which they are growing.  It's time to transplant them as well when I get around to it.  The Awapuhi Ginger I will transplant into a prepared part of a garden bed outside the guest room window, where it gets a great deal of shade.

The first of the tomatoes on what I believe to be the Kurihara tomato plant are ripe (I believe it's the plant I transplanted in that particular location at any rate).  Now it's time to try them and see if they are the version of the Kurihara tomato genetically engineered to contain miraculin derived from miracle berries, that substance that makes anything sour you consume taste sweet for a number of hours.

Within the last week or so, I harvested the two mature orange squash from the failing Sunshine Winter Squash vine (Nichols Garden Nursery, packed for 2014, originally seeded in pots on 4-6-14 and transplanted into the garden on 4-21-14, a cucurbita maxima hybrid).  Nichols describes the squash as having sweet, nutty, creamy and absolutely smooth flesh.  It's time to roast one and see.

It's now time to start more summer and winter squash seeds in pots, as virtually all of the squash seedlings I planted earlier in the season are now failing.

Watermelon seeded

Today I seeded the following in pots for later transplanting into the garden:
-Jubilee Watermelon, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, packed for 2013
-Malali Watermelon, from saved seed

I only grew one Malali Watermelon plant (plus a second one in a pot the flowered before expiring), so I'm not sure if the Malali Watermelon seeds mentioned above are fertile.  I'll soon find out.

Last year we harvested Malali Watermelons in November and December and they were sweet, so there is hope even though I am starting these somewhat late.

Last year I transplanted the Malali Watermelon seedling into the garden on July 28 after seeding it on July 9, so I suppose you could say I am two days early.  The Malali Watermelon is a variety that is bred to grow in Israel, which I believe like San Diego also has a Mediterranean-like climate.  Israel no doubt also has autumn desert winds, though they surely aren't called Santa Anas.  Perhaps they grow it on a similar time scale there.

There's no telling if the Jubilee Watermelon will do as well, though Anderson's Nursery in Point Loma does recommend planting watermelon through July.  I note with glee that the like the Malali, the Jubilee Watermelon has big tan seeds rather than little black seeds, so I have hope they will grow similarly.

Edit: Later in the day, I noticed an emerging Malali Watermelon seedling that I had seeded way back on June 15.  I plan to eventually transplant this one into a 7 gallon pot filled with potting/seeding mix mixed with composted steer manure.


Gardening slippers

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