Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Yesterday we had the freeze warning. This morning when I went outside, much of everything was covered in frost. The sun was out but the air was cold. Everyone who parked their cars outside had to scrape or hose down their windshields before they could drive. A friend of mine in the neighborhood told me that she scraped off enough snow from her car to make a few snow balls.

I examined the passion fruit vines as I removed the plastic sheets. They were okay but definitely didn't enjoy the cold. Tonight I put all the plastic sheets back on them as the temperature dropped drastically again after the sun went down.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Freeze Warning Tonight

You know that I have been worried about the survival of my passion fruit during the winter. Although it's always sunny during the day, it's been really cold at night. However, I haven't seen frost so far in the morning. I covered the passion fruit a few times with plastic sheets and bags during the night but haven't done that lately. Now we got freeze warning for tonight, so I put on my headlamp and went outside to cover up every single inch of the passion fruit vines.

Last passion fruit from last year

Before I started covering up the vines, I picked the last passion fruit from last summer. We really didn't have much of a summer last year, and the passion fruits took about 6 months to ripen. I savored the last passion fruit slowly since I might not get more next summer. The leaves that are on the outside of the arbor are looking significantly worse than the ones inside of the arbor. They are green-yellow and some of them have crumbled up and died (see photo above).

The greener side with much new growth

The greener side that's inside of the arbor has a lot of new growth even though it's growing very slowly. If we had a normal hot summer, the arbor would have been covered up by passion fruit vines.

All covered up

I have never bothered to cover up any plants in the past. I figured if anything died, I could just grow it again. Since I spent almost 2 years nurturing the passion fruit cuttings inside of the green house, I will try my best not to let it die from the cold. I had 5 passion fruits last summer. I hope that I will have an arbor covered with passion fruits next summer so that I can share them with everyone I know.

All covered up

Monday, January 9, 2012

Potatoes and Garlic

Potatoes are sprouting

Potatoes and garlic are cheap to buy. I have wondered whether it was worth my efforts to grow them. Now, three years into growing my own food, I decided it is always nice to have potatoes and garlic right in the backyard. Both are super easy to grow, and they will regenerate themselves year after year. I don't have to drive down the grocery store for potatoes or garlic, which saves time and gas and better for the planet.

After I cleared out the patches, I decided to pick out the potatoes so I can add compost to the soil. If I left the potatoes in there, I would puncture them as I turn and loosen up the soil. I have both red and purple potatoes. They are great as country fries for breakfast and/or brunch.

cluster of sprouting garlic cloves

Garlic cloves are all sprouting, so I need to separate them for each one to grow into a big bulb. Now I realized that I'll never run out of garlic as long as I keep propagating them. Garlic is perfect with potatoes.  How about some garlic fries or garlicky mashed potatoes or roasted garlic and potatoes? Are you hungry yet?

I love being able to step out of my backdoor to pick my meals.

Garlic cloves are separated for replanting

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Getting Ready to Grow Again

All the nasty dried up onions have to go

After spending the first week of 2012 at Harbin Hot Springs, I am ready to work on the soil again and grow something new. By the way, I really enjoyed my stay at Harbin; however, it is not for everyone. It's rustic and clothing optional. If you don't want to see naked people in the pools, it is not for you. I wore my bathing suit the entire time because that's what I am comfortable with. It doesn't bother me to stand out a little, and there were a few others who kept their bathing suits on. Anyway, the water was awesome. I attended yoga classes (included in the entrance fee) everyday while I was there. As I spent my time in the mountain, I missed my garden. I couldn't wait to work on it again.

Dried up garlic chive flowers with seeds

Most of the first generation green onions I planted are now looking moldy, dried up, and infested with black aphids. All the garlic chives have flowered and seeded. Before I started ripping everything out of the soil, I cut off a bunch of dried up garlic chive flowers to collect seeds. I will replant some garlic chives as they are very good with scrambled eggs and Chinese dumplings.

After the seeds are collected, I started pulling everything out of the soil. The green onions have rooted deeply, and widely. I shook off us much soil from the roots as I could. In addition to green onions and garlic chives, this bed also has red potatoes. The potatoes are sprouting now. I accidentally pulled out a couple potatoes while pulling the green onions. I just planted them back into the soil.

Next step is to mix in some compost from my worm compost bins and add more soil.

Only potatoes are left in this bed now

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

My New Year's Day visitor

One of my readers asked me how come I haven't posted anything new since picking wild mushrooms. I realized that December has passed, and I didn't write anything for the entire month. Between being sick, rain, and pulling out dead plants, the month just flew by. Today is the first of January, 2012! It's going to take a few weeks to get used to writing 2012.

When I stepped out this morning, I saw a hummingbird resting on the clothesline. I use the clothesline  for drying bedding or towels when the sun's out. I don't see the point of turning on the dryer if  there's time to hang it out to dry naturally. Additionally, I often see hummingbirds taking an advantage of the clothesline to rest. I like to be around wildlife and living things. I was able to take a few shots today before the bird flew away.

My pet rabbit, Dusty, is still going strong. I call him bunny all the time, but he's about 7 years old now. Rabbit's lifespan is about 5-10 years. Dusty used to be gray, and now he's more brown although he happens to look more grayish in the picture above.

To celebrate New Year's Day, I decided to go down to Point Isabel for a walk. Point Isabel is a dog heaven. It is one of the largest public off-leash dog parks in the nation with over 500,000 dog visits per year according to its website. I love going there because it's less than 2 miles away from Sand Village, and I enjoy the company of all the dogs. It always makes me happy to see the dogs running, swimming, and playing together. I am also fascinated when I see some rare breeds in the park, such as Leonberger and Caucasian Shepherd.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Dogs playing in Pt. Isabel