Archive | November, 2010

Bolting Brussels Sprouts mystery

27 Nov

I am not sure what this is anymore. I thought it was a Brussels sprouts plant for sure as it looked like my other plants but look at the photo…. There are shoots coming out of the top. Kinda looks like broccoli. I have never grown broccoli before. I currently have romanesco broccoli growing but they are starting to head and definitely do not look like these guys. I read that romanesco is actually more like cauliflower and produces one head.

Or maybe this a brussels sprouts plant that is bolting? Please let me know if you know what this is!
I planted it in summer so it shouldn’t bolt in the fall as it’s a winter crop.

 

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Two headed freaky Brussels Sprouts

23 Nov

Nov 2010. These look awesome dont they? Flowery double headed brussels sprouts head!

They say Brussels Sprouts have a long growing season…And they’re not joking!

Although this double headed freak has survived some traumas. I believe he has been moved around many times – usually because I don’t realise how big he was going to get, and planted too many too close together. The other thing that happens is that I like reorganise my veggies a few times a year and most of them are pretty forgiving. I dig my hand shovel and cut a circle of dirt around the plants, pry them up, and transplant the whole block to the new location.

I’m pretty sure I started this guy from seed almost a year ago the same time as these…..

Feb 2010. Bigger Brussels Sprouts eclipsing the smaller ones that end up becoming the double headed beast

March 2010. Getting bigger....

May 13th 2010

These were harvested back in June 2010. They already had been growing for about 6 months. Plenty of time and hogging up my valuable land space! I read that you can pinch the top of the heads to make the sprouts mature sooner. So thats what I did to all my plants and it really worked which was pretty awesome.

May 26th. Brussels Sprouts maturing. You can see the head of the plant pinched off.

So after pulling out the two biggest stalks of sprouts, I left one to mature a little more.

June 2010. After about 5-6 months of growing...tada! Home grown brussels sprouts

July 2010. And then there was one...(Brussels Sprouts on the right of the picture). Small and not so healthy looking. 2010 was a strange year weather wise in San Diego. July is summer but we had cooler weather with a lot of gloomy days and fog. Romanesco on the right of the pic 🙂

Heading Romanesco Fractal Broccoli…FINALLY!

23 Nov

Check this out! My Romanesco Broccoli have finally started heading. I had almost given up hope because it was taking up so much space. Pretty excited about these. They look so awesome.
I planted them a loooooong time ago. They transplant pretty well.

 

Snappy Celery stalks.

18 Nov

I have been really enjoying my celery harvest. When I first planted these transplants I bought from the store 4-5 months ago, I thought I might cut a stalk here and there as it grew.
But that never happened. Mainly because the one time I thought about doing so, the stalks needed serious washing and were a bit messy with crazy leaves everywhere. Also, I discovered there was a spider living in one of the plants… Icky!
So come harvest time, I just pulled the whole thing out of the ground. Celery plants have very shallow roots surprisingly and not very many either. The whole thing came out really easily.
The stalks snapped and broke surprisingly easily too. It wasn’t veiny and was crunchier than any store bought celery. Only the flavour was very strong. Almost salty. I kind of expected it as from what I have read, you need to ‘blanch’ celery so it turns/stays more white than green. Some people wrap paper around the stalks while it is growing. I wrapped some garden wire around mine to keep the stalks from falling outwards only. My stalks were thick, almost as thick as store bought, probably similar to organic celery, and crispy and unblemished. Quite beautiful with all the healthy leafy foliage.
Back to the spider…. I knew he was living in there and my hubby convinced me it was a good thing as spidey was eating all the bugs. So he had been living in there for at least a month that I am aware. Unfortunately I did not get a picture of the sucker but it was definitely a black widow. Giant shiny black butt with a very vibrant red mark on it. Yikes.
Part of me was questioning my efforts to grow my own food and having to deal with the yuckie spiders, slugs and bugs by myself instead of just buying lovely trimmed, blanched and bug free celery from the store. Was this really worth it? My second thought was the realisation that this IS real food. All food starts off covered in bugs and the reality is that bugs and grubs loves your food as much as you do. We are a part of nature and so are they. We have ‘discovered’ the most pleasing plants to our palate and it is no surprise the rest of nature appreciate the same goodness from the same plants. This is the part of food production we never usually see and are not used to. In the end, I do have the awesome feeling of wholeness growing my own meal but also the slightly grossed out feeling of having to battle a black widow for a couple of stalks of celery.

JULY 2010. Look how small they were when I bought them. It came in a six pack of baby transplants for $3. I planted them in three different plots wherever I had space. In the summer when I bought these, this area in front of our parking spot gets lots of sun.

Celery almost ready for harvest. This tiny plot gets no sun in the autumn and winter besides what comes through between the cracks of the fence. I used garden wire to keep the stalks together and upright otherwise they all spread out into the ground.

Nov 2010. Celery harvest - What a beauty!

Nov 2010. Here is another celery plant ready for havest. You can see my garden wire tied around it. This one is toppling over because my hubby drove his car into it!

 

Nov 2010. Homegrown Celery Harvest in my hand to get an idea of the size. I was not aware at this point my resident black widow was still lurking inside YIKES

Pinched Avocado plant – new growth?

18 Nov

Does this look like my avocado is growing little new shoots? Because it really doesn’t seem to be doing anything since I pinched it about a month ago. The upper most leaves have grown larger. But no new shoots yet besides these nubbies (between the leaf and main stem). I am hoping with turn into nice branches.
I am starting to think I over pinched the top but at least the plant is still alive! And it is ‘fall’ officially here in San Diego even though we still get pretty sunny days… Perhaps the growth has slowed down. I have noticed this plant grows in spurts and appears to do very little after a spurt of new growth which occurred when I pinched off the top. I figured instead of using up energy for the new leaves I intended to pinch of, I could pinch them off before they got any bigger.

Nov 2010. You can see where I've pinched off on the top of this avocado plant.

Nov 2010. Tiny potential growth coming out between main stem and leaf??? (Blurry pic due to iPhone cam!)

Now looking back through my old pics, I’m not sure there has been that much growth at all. Hopefully when I get back from vacation, they will be definitely noticeably bigger.

avocado pinched.

Oct 24th 2010. Those little nubs are already there...hmmm....

Container Asparagus Update – flowering?

12 Nov

Oct 2010. This is a bit thicker than those other ones I saw in Sept. And look what he turns into.........

Nov 2010. Healthy Asparagus growing in container. Those same stalks! Starting to flower?

As I have never grown asparagus before, this is fascinating. There seems to be little flower buds coming from this vertical stalk – it has produced little buds before but they never opened and I never saw any flowers.I also haven’t seen any other stalks that have been anywhere near as thick as those in the first pic…

So besides the flower buds – its also standing straight! That’s unusual for me too see too. Lets hope I get some more thicker ones growing soon so I can call my container asparagus a success.

Nov 2010 - These are the thickest aspragus stallks I have spotted in my pot - they're standing erect instead of falling over the the pot.

Nov 2010 - Conter Asparagus Fern. Standing upright, Looks strong 🙂

Virginia Peanuts harvest update…YUM!

11 Nov

2010 Peanut harvest. Happy to report all pods contained peanuts which means i didn't pull them up too soon

A couple of weeks ago I pulled up my peanuts – wasn’t entirely sure what to do with them so they ended up sitting outside my house for a couple of weeks. Yesterday I sorted them and decided to plant some of them again – I doubt its the right season to grow peanuts but hey, its San Diego where its sunny and around 60-70 degrees F in the winter so I’m sure it will be fine. I will post updates if anything happens.

I roasted the rest in the shell for about 15-20mins – don’t laugh, but there were not even 10 pods for roasting! But I can report, my first ever homegrown peanuts were big and very tasty! And a big tasty peanut or two inside every pod – no shriveled up nuts which apparently indicates premature harvesting.

I was going to boil them as the shells still had dirt on them so I figured I could wash then boil but the one website I read for instructions said they need to be boiled for 2 hours??! Luckily roasting in the shell did the trick – left the dirt on the shells, peanuts inside were just perfect. Hoping next year will reap a bigger harvest 🙂