Vegetable Garden 2010 begins!

Well, I sure did abandon this blog, didn’t I? It’s just that… I’ve been trying to focus on losing weight since before the holidays, and food blogging just isn’t that much fun when one is watching their calorie intake.

The good news is, this is also a gardening blog… and gardening season is finally here!

Well technically, this is California and gardening season is year-round. There are many vegetable plants that you can grow during the colder months.

This Sunday Jason and I got started on our 2010 veggie crop. Even though it was January 31, we were a little bit behind schedule for some of these veggies… but I think they’ll do reasonably well. I looked at my calendar from last year and found that we put peas and broccoli plants in the ground on February 1. And both of those did very well!

Here’s what we’ve planted so far:

Shelling peas. These nursery plants were a little bit leggy and scraggly looking… but since we were late to the game, this was the best we could do. I am crossing my fingers that they will recover and grow up to be big and healthy.

Here is the second pot of peas (you can see how scraggly around the base of each plant in this photo). The small pot to the right was a pleasant surprise. I had cilantro growing in there last spring/summer, and it went to seed and the seeds have sprouted! Yay for volunteer cilantro plants! I always get a kick out of finding volunteer flowers and other plants around my garden. Sometimes I pull them up, sometimes I try to transplant them, and some I just leave where they are, such as this cilantro (Cilantro doesn’t transplant well anyway, by the way. It has a long taproot.).

Next up we have some brussels sprouts. I am NOT a fan. Jason picked these out. But you know, I’ve never liked vegetables much in general… until I started gardening. Slowly I’ve acquired a taste for many veggies through gardening, like green beans, summer squash and broccoli. So who knows. Maybe this year I will decide I like brussels sprouts too.

I’m not sure what these are… either more brussels sprouts, or broccoli. I guess they are related so the plants look really similar when they’re small.

And here is Jason’s onion patch. Last year we planted Walla Walla onions in this pot and had great success. This year we have learned that you need to separate each little onion stalk to give the bulbs room to form (we were onion newbies last year). So we have spanish yellow onions here, along with about 3 or 4 volunteer Walla Walla onions that sprouted up from last year’s seeds! They were actually sprinkled between a few different pots, but Jason carefully transplanted them into the barrel.

The pot on the left is broccoli (I know for sure because the label is showing!). See, we bought a 6-pack of broccoli, so the plants are spaced out in a few different pots. I think also in this photo may be some cauliflower.

This one in the front is definitely cauliflower. And who knows what’s in that pot in the upper right. But you get the idea.

And last but not least we have shallots! This is another one that Jason picked out. We’ve never planted these before so it’s an experiment. They are bulbs… they look just like the shallots you’d buy at the grocery store. They are planted with just the tips peeking out (as per the instructions). Supposedly multiple shallot bulbs will form surrounding each of the starter bulbs.

So that’s it for now. We did buy some red, yellow, and russet seed potatoes… but those we will put in the ground a week or two from now. We also ordered some seeds for tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, melons, etc… and will be starting those indoors in the garage with artificial lights.

Oh I should also mention that we used our own homemade compost for the first time! Last spring we started a compost bin in a large black trash can with lots of holes poked in the sides. We added plant trimmings, food scraps and shredded newspaper… watered the mix occasionally, and stirred it with a pitch fork. We just kept adding stuff through the summer until the bin was full… and magically it turned into rich black compost. Normally we would buy this stuff in bags at the nursery… so it was pretty great to be able to turn our own garbage into compost! We mixed some into each of the pots to add nutrients back to the old potting soil.

Stay tuned this spring for further garden progress photos!