Archive | October, 2010

Peanuts growing by the beach?! Yes sir! Apparently Jimmy Carter would be proud.

25 Oct

I bought these plants beginning of summer from a funky little nursery on Home Ave, San Diego. Cannot remember the name of the store. The peanut plants were small and came in six pack.

Planted my new peanuts in the flower bed

I have no experience at all in growing peanuts and read they need space but that is one thing I definitely did not have. I wanted to try them as an experiment to see how the pods develop.
Three of the plants didn’t make it – they flowered a little over summer with these small yellow flowers.

Peanut flower

The plants flower and then the flowers develop into ‘pegs’ that burrow under the soil where the peanut pod grows.

When I was growing these, of course there wasn’t much to see…just little plants above ground with yellow flowers. One thing I did notice that was interesting was that the coupled leaves on the plant opened and closed according to sun and weather. I think they liked a bit of sun but when it was too hot, they folded together and closed up and then later in the day when it cooled a bit they would open again.

Peanut plant growing with everything else I could fit! The peanuts are in the foreground on the right 🙂

Peanut plant. They didn't really get too much bigger than this and remained close to the ground

Close up of peanut leaves that would close up like butterfly wings

So I had no idea what was really happening underground. I left then growing there for a few months – they didn’t do much, I wasn’t expecting much as the plants remained small and half of them didn’t make it.

Fast forward a few months from when it first started flowering, I decided to pull up the smallest plant. I was very pleasantly surprised to a couple of full sized peanuts underground! So today I harvested a handful of pods but now I’m not entirely sure what the do with them. Dry them? Wash the dirt off? I had already pulled them off the plants which were still green – after having done this already, I read on one site I should have left them on the plants to dry…oops. So now I have these wonderful little pods I can’t wait to eat! I will probably plant some of them too. My hubby said I should boil them in salt water. I also read each plant can produce as much as 40 pods. I’m pretty happy with my handful! Maybe next year I will focus more on soil requirements and watering needs and maybe harvest enough for both hubby and I to eat and maybe even enough to make to the processing time worth it!

Check out these pics

Biggest plant before I pulled it out. Maybe the size of a dinner plate

Look at those nuts!

Interesting looking peanut plant

My first ever homegrown handful of peanuts

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Pumpkin picking Suzie’s Farm

24 Oct

Pumpkin field. Suzies Farm

Today we went down to Imperial Beach by the San Diego – Mexico border to pick a pumpkin!
It was so much fun! They had so many pumpkins left and also all sorts of different shapes and sizes.

I fell in love with these funny looking pumpkins with warts! So ugly they’re cute!

Not sure what I am going to do with them yet. Carve or eat?! Chavez has obviously decided they’re good enough to eat 🙂

 

Yum yum. Chavez likes to eat pumpkin vine!

Warty Pumpkins

"How about this one?"

Greetings from my little corner of the world!

21 Oct

Beets growing in container. Toys I found around the beach

Welcome to my little garden space! I rent a small apartment by the beach in San Diego and have been slowly encroaching on the flowerbeds around the complex with my vegetables. The birds of paradise and palm trees do not seem to mind sharing a bit of space with celery, tomato, Brussels sprouts and other edibles.

There isn’t any real plan for my garden or what I grow; I just buy and plant whatever I like and wherever I can fit it in! So its all a big experiment.

There are some ‘staple’ crops – such as tomatoes and corn but i like to try different varietals every season. This year has been a little too experimental perhaps – I haven’t harvested many tomatoes at all – now I understand why heirloom tomatoes are so expensive to buy!

I tried many new vegetables in 2010 which I have never planted before. My fave incl. Brussels sprouts and popcorn. These were easy to grow from seed and the harvest was reasonably substantial – enough for a meal! That’s always a bonus! You really have no idea of the vast amount of labour and resources it takes to grow food until you attempt to grow some yourself.  And when you are able to harvest your own food, you truly appreciate the work it has gone into it – from watering to nurturing and even the plants own efforts to producing a juicy fruit, or a crispy fresh green leaf or even a tasty starchy tuber (mmmm french fries!). Its amazing to watch your food grow and see where it comes from. I highly recommend it!

First time growing these! Picked off head to help sprouts mature sooner