Archive for May, 2013

Photo Friday

Lanced Leaf Coreopsis

Lanceleaf Coreopsis

Coreopsis lanceolata, also known as Lanceleaf Coreopsis or Tickseed is one of the perennial wildflowers growing in our yard. It is native to most of North America. I didn’t plant it, it just volunteered. At first I was pulling it out, thinking it was a weed. But it kept coming back so I let it grow to see what it was.

It’s doing great and easily spreads by seed. The plant forms clumps and grows about 24 inches high and has 1 to 2 inch flowers in early summer. It likes full sun but will tolerate light shade with fewer blooms. Keep it deadheaded to encourage more blooms. Butterflies love it and the seeds are a favorite for goldfinches.


The Garden is Planted!

It’s a week late but we finally got everything planted in the vegetable garden. I used to plan it. I really like this software. It’s easy to use and covers everything I want in a planner and then some!

We have tomatoes! New Girl, San Marzano Giante, Jersey Devil, Cherokee Purple (my fav) and Jolly Elf. Peppers–Early Jalapeno, Joe E. Parker Anaheim and California Wonder Bell. Also, Rocambole Garlic, Patterson Yellow Onion, Black Beauty Eggplant, Zucchini, Butternut Squash, Double Yield Pickling Cucumbers, Jade Bush Green Beans Tyee Spinach, various mixes of Lettuces and Kale. Oregano, thyme, lemon thyme and rosemary are planted in containers and various locations throughout the landscape.

I’ll be adding carrots and cabbage when the garlic and onions come out. I’m still undecided what else to plant for the fall and winter garden. Maybe more cabbages and kales. I’m new at cabbage and a little confused. The seed catalogs don’t seem to say which season goes with a particular variety of cabbage. Some are very quick growers, others can take 5 or 6 months, but are they winter, spring or fall cabbages? If anyone has clues, please post a comment.

Growing Up Jersey Garden – May planting.

Here’s a link to the layout, plant list and planting schedule. I’ll post the garden layout changes as the season progresses.


I did my annual tomato plant give-away on Freecycle. I always plant extras because I have the greenhouse space and lots of these varieties aren’t available in the nurseries. I went a bit overboard and had 150 extra plants, but there were plenty of freecyclers willing to give them some garden space.

Hardening Off Vegetable Plants

I’ve gone from seeds sprouted under lights, move them to the greenhouse and gave them a little more root room by potting them up in larger containers. Now it’s time to harden them off before planting in the garden beds.

This is called cold hardening or hardening off and is done by gradually moving the flats from inside to outside and shade to sun over the course of 7 to 10 days.

To do this, move the plants to a shady area for 1 to 3 hours the first day. Move the plants back indoors at night. Increase the time outside in the shade 1 to 2 hours the next day.

On day three, move the plants to morning sun for 3 hours and then back to shade in the afternoon. Gradually increase the time in the sun by an hour a day. If you do this too quickly, the plants could sunburn. By day 7, the plants can handle full sun all day and stay out at night. If the temps dip below 40, move the plants to a sheltered area or indoors for the night.

By day 10, the plants are ready for transplanting into the garden. Watch the local weather and be prepared to protect them if a late frost is predicted. If possible, choose a cloudy day to transplant and water thoroughly after planting.

For a scientific explanation on why this is a necessary step, read here. and here. Damage to the plants can occur with temperatures below 50 if the they aren’t properly prepared.


Waiting for the sun.

Although my plants have been in the greenhouse for several weeks, they still need to transition to the cooler temps and brighter sunlight outside. Since the greenhouse is unheated, I’m pretty confident that they are through the first stages of temperature acclimation. I moved them 3 days ago to a shady location against our brick house that gets very late afternoon sun and they’ve been out left out at night. I’ll be moving them to a sunnier location gradually over the next few days and will be planted in the garden this weekend.

Hang On Little Tomatoes!

It’s been a cold spring and the tomatoes had a slow start. There was little growth and the undersides of the leaves were turning purple. Off to Google! I found there are a few things that can cause this: lack of fertilizer–cold temps prevent the plant from taking up the nutrients it needs, specifically phosphorus. Too much water combined with the cold temps, can also block the absorption of nutrients.  Another cause could be insect damage.


Before: Yellowing and purple undersides of tomato leaves.

Since it’s so early in the season, I didn’t think it was insects. I was keeping the plants a bit wet so they didn’t dry out in the greenhouse, so I backed off on the water. Since I only fed the plants with half strength liquid fertilizer when I potted them up, I gave them all another boost. Luckily, the temperature warmed up that week. Within a few days, the seedlings started to look a lot better. They should be fine once I get them planted in the garden

After: On the way to recovery

After: 7 days later, on the way to recovery.

My peppers are now experiencing yellowing leaves and purple veining. I suspect it’s the same problem as the tomatoes. Back to google to confirm that. I added a bit of fertilizer and hoping I don’t lose the leaves before the plants send out new healthier growth.

Hang on little peppers

Hang on little peppers! Planting time is almost here!

Next up, time to harden off the plants.

Ron Finley: A guerilla gardener in South Central LA

Growing your own food is like printing money.

GFERon Finley plants vegetable gardens in South Central LA — in abandoned lots, traffic medians, along the curbs. Why? For fun, for defiance, for beauty and to offer some alternative to fast food in a community where “the drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys.”

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