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Modesto, Central Valley, CA...

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Re: Modesto, Central Valley, CA...

Post  RoOsTeR on 1/30/2012, 8:17 pm

Grandma, sorry to hear of your loss of a great friend and gardener.

It looks like you have some great lil helpers there Very Happy
Keep us up to date with the progress and thanks for sharing the pictures.

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Re: Modesto, Central Valley, CA...

Post  Furbalsmom on 1/30/2012, 9:54 pm

PNG_Grandma, really sorry to hear of your loss of a great friend and mentor for your Apollo Garden.

Very glad you are planning a memorial that will enhance the garden.

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Re: Modesto, Central Valley, CA...

Post  Chopper on 2/1/2012, 4:10 am

Sorry to hear that. It is a shame. How nice for you to memorialize him here.

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Re: Modesto, Central Valley, CA...

Post  Ha-v-v on 2/1/2012, 11:10 am

So sorry for your loss. Sad The days spent in the garden now will be a tribute to him Im sure. Hugs to you all from over here, hoping for sun shiny days.
Ha-v-v

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Re: Modesto, Central Valley, CA...

Post  PNG_Grandma on 3/2/2012, 1:32 pm

Just a bit of an update on our garden boxes...they are changing!
Al has redone (what a surprise!) several of the boxes and outfitted them with removable panels...frames with bird netting. These keep the darned cats out of the newly planted boxes, AND keep the birds from snacking on the newly sprouted seeds! I'll post some pics soon.
happy hi

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hey there PNG-Grandma!!!

Post  mrsfish94 on 3/4/2012, 11:03 pm

HI there!!!

I just wanted to give a shout out to the other side of town...LOL!!!!

I was just so sad to hear that Scenic Nursery was closing. Yesterday I went looking for some organic seedlings (transplants), of course, there was none to be found. I have started my tom seeds twice now...with no luck. I went out to till the garden space and guess what I found???? I found some tom seeds that seeded themselves. So, I transplanted them to the tomato area (for this year) and I am going to cross my fingers for the seeds I planted yesterday.

I have to say I was rather surprised to see zucchini, eggplant and cucumbers at Westurf for sale already.
I will admit...I purchased those. I usually only need one of each of those plants because I have a rather small family and don't really need more than that. I am hoping for a bumper crop of tomatoes this year. I want to can them so, I don't have to buy "tin" canned tomatoes.

So there you have it...what has been going on in my garden so far this year. I'd love to come for a visit ...maybe on Saturday...if your not busy and the weather is nice.

Blessings to you!!!

Susan

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Re: Modesto, Central Valley, CA...

Post  PNG_Grandma on 3/9/2012, 1:25 pm

@mrsfish94 wrote:I'd love to come for a visit ...maybe on Saturday...if your not busy and the weather is nice.
Yay! We'd love to have you visit again. Looks like the weather is gonna be great, for a couple of days, then, can you believe it? We're supposed to get rain during the week! Al has been building some "structures" in our Apollo Garden...they look nice, and they'll really support just about anything...well, you'll see when you get here.
happy hi

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Re: Modesto, Central Valley, CA...

Post  mrsfish94 on 3/25/2012, 7:10 pm

Sorry not to have stopped by a few weeks ago. Had a bit of a family issue to tend to.

I hope all is well at the Apollo garden! I am thinking about putting a raised flower bed in my side yard.

How tall are the sides of your garden beds? Do I use 8" or 10" boards? I noticed Home Depot had a kit for $20.00 but, it is made of cedar. Is that ok to use?

Any advice would be great!

Thanks,

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Re: Modesto, Central Valley, CA...

Post  PNG_Grandma on 4/21/2012, 7:26 pm

On April 1st I asked Al to take some new pics of our Apollo Garden...and he did. It's taken me until today to finally get them posted! During the past 21 days so much has changed out there...guess I gotta get some new pics to update these new pics!!
This season we were able to use the Greenhouse!! Yay...here are the little guys hanging out in the warm sun, out of the wind:

...and more little guys. The extra slats from window blinds make great label sticks!

A day later and those big poofy clouds got together with all their friends and dropped a lot of rain on us...our plants were safe inside! You can see our famous "bug zapper" on the far left. Needs new bulbs, but it really does zap those bad guys!

These are the snow peas and sugar snap peas planted in our backyard. They grew to 8' tall!

Al had to really tie them up to support the weight of the humongous crop we had!

...and more peas!! They were soooo good right off the vine, or in a stir fry, or...we had them so many ways!!

We've had a lot of trouble with the feral cats this year so Al had a new idea...build a better frame and cover it with bird netting. This 4x4 box will eventually have two tomato plants on strings going up to the overhead crossbar, and zucchini plants down below. For now it has kale and spinach.

The side frames are removable with a cool hook and eye method. When Al needs to get into the box to pull a tiny weed, or for any other reason, he can just lift off the side frame, do his work, then replace the frame to keep the cats out. Works really well! Here's a closeup of his hooks and eyes.

Another box protected from the cats...Swish Chard, Spinach, and Kale with a worm tube in the middle!

This box is taller for the hanging strawberries. The peas, kale, Swish chard, and spinach are doing well...so are the strawberries! The netting will be overhead to keep the birds off the strawberries, and more netting on the side frames for the darned cats! But it works!!

Al's fennel crop this year was amazing!!

...with huge bulbs!! We put it raw into salads, cooked with the other greens, or in all types of casserole dishes. The frilly fronds are great added to just about anything!

And we have our first volunteer sunflower for the year...grew just behind the peas. The bees love it!

Soon, I promise!! Soon I'll post some updates...the garden is really changing!!
happy hi

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Re: Modesto, Central Valley, CA...

Post  mrsfish94 on 4/21/2012, 8:10 pm

Wow! The garden looks great!!! I am so happy to see it looking and producing so well. All that hard work really does payoff.

Susan

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Re: Modesto, Central Valley, CA...

Post  camprn on 4/21/2012, 8:22 pm

Super Duper IMPRESSIVE! I Love the look of the fennel (can't stand it to eat it tho, it's the licorice thing.) Thanks for sharing.

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Re: Modesto, Central Valley, CA...

Post  Chopper on 4/21/2012, 8:35 pm

Wow, you are really improving every year. How is overall participation? Are all the boxes taken? Looks so cool. Al is a smart man. Smile

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Re: Modesto, Central Valley, CA...

Post  RoOsTeR on 4/21/2012, 8:38 pm

WoW! Looks fantastic Grandma thanks for the wonderful update!

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Re: Modesto, Central Valley, CA...

Post  PNG_Grandma on 4/21/2012, 8:54 pm

@camprn wrote:I Love the look of the fennel (can't stand it to eat it tho, it's the licorice thing.)
Yeah, me too...when I said "we eat it raw in salads I meant HE eats it...I can't stand licorice!! No

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Re: Modesto, Central Valley, CA...

Post  PNG_Grandma on 4/21/2012, 8:58 pm

@Chopper wrote:Wow, you are really improving every year. How is overall participation? Are all the boxes taken? Looks so cool. Al is a smart man. Smile
Thanks Chopper! Your "signature" on my garden box is fading, but we were talking about you today when I pointed to the sig...thanks so much for stopping by that day...it was great fun!
As for overall participation...it's great! Yes, all the boxes are taken some gardeners have multiple boxes and we may lose one, but I have others waiting. Spring does that, ya know!
Shhhhhh, don't say things like that about Al too loudly... his head will explode!! Very Happy

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Re: Modesto, Central Valley, CA...

Post  PNG_Grandma on 4/29/2012, 12:27 pm

Just a short update on the Apollo Garden...we've had lots of activity in the garden during the past week and its more beautiful than ever! New crops are popping up. The Swish chard, lettuce, spinach, kale, and beets are being harvested almost daily...great meals, super healthy meals with all these goodies!

Here's the view of our garden boxes...

The herb garden box on the far right...Al keeps cutting and dehydrating and the plants just keep on growing bigger! We let the sage flower and the bees are loving it! We have more bees this year, much earlier than last year...a VERY GOOD thing!
Al's box is on the right at the back of the garden with his new wood structure around it. The cats are staying out! All his little plants are on the shelves further back...getting ready to be planted in the gardens.
My garden box is in the back on the far left...the very tall one with my hanging strawberries...tons of berries as of last night. Well, maybe not tons, but enough for some early strawberry shortcake! hungry
I'm planting my butternut and spaghetti squash this week. They will grow up the net trellis that you can almost see...worked so well the past two years so I'm doing it again. When the squash get big and heavy the stems seem to grow bigger to hold them up. I didn't have to use any type of sling for some big, beautiful and oh so tasty squash! Growing up instead of out is pretty cool!

The box in front of mine shows how big the fennel is, with new basil plants in the middle section and the spinach on the right of the box. You can't see the little crookneck squash in that box, but it will take over as soon as we get more hot weather and by then the spinach will be done.

Those orange trees over the top of the back fence are blooming right now and they smell soooooo good!
Yay for May!!! happy hi

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Re: Modesto, Central Valley, CA...

Post  Chopper on 4/29/2012, 1:52 pm

OK That does it. I have to go and peek at these now. Lots of new structures it looks like and I will bet that the real gardeners have risen to the top. How cool. Have any of the other parks taken this on? Have you put together a how to on this?

Anyway, looks great. I remember when I first moved to CA in 1973 and when the orange blossoms bloomed I could not figure out what the intoxicating smell was. I thought it was honeysuckle but I never saw any. Obviously figured it out. I know someone who is allergic to the orange blossoms. That would suck.

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Re: Modesto, Central Valley, CA...

Post  PNG_Grandma on 4/29/2012, 1:55 pm

Hey Chopper! Come on by, anytime!
Yeah, that would suck to be allergic to that fragrance! We have honeysuckle and jasmine blooming too, along with phlox and purple petunias...you can almost sweeten the tea just walking outside!!
Very Happy

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Re: Modesto, Central Valley, CA...

Post  PNG_Grandma on 6/1/2012, 5:31 pm

Wow, it's been a whole month since I've posted, sorry 'bout that! Embarassed

During the first week of May the wind started blowing all the pollen around...I think it was happening just about everywhere in CA, but I know for sure it was blowing hard here in the Central Valley. My allergies went crazy, my sinus issues became major and my gardening time was down to just about nothing...a few minutes to quickly look at the latest things to pop their little heads up, and things Al wanted me to see. He's been doing a GREAT JOB keeping the garden boxes in the Apollo Garden doing so well, and the gardens in our back yard. I've been popping allergy meds and trying to stay out of the wind...good thing we have lots of big windows around our house...at least I can look outside at the beautiful things growing!

Last weekend Al and I spent most of the 3 days outside cleaning up weeds in the flowers, organizing the driveway, and doing extra things in the garden. Yes, I was on drugs and eating cough drops like candy. Yuck.

We learned from a neighbor that we have lost another of our original Apollo Garden people...Jim would have been 80 in another week or so but left us on the 24th of last month. He is so missed. Sally will continue growing their garden box and we've already enjoyed seeing her several times in the garden. Such a beautiful and peaceful place to just sit and be alone, yet not alone...with the blue birds, jays, doves, and mocking birds, the buzzing from the huge black bees and the smaller honey bees, the humming birds, even the sound of the grasshoppers are a bit soothing to the soul.
Another reason I love our Apollo Garden.

I'll post pictures over the weekend...we've been eating all the greens for several months: Swiss chard, spinach, lettuce, and two types of kale...and now we're already harvesting zucchini and crookneck squash and there are two beautiful little eggplant guys almost ready for the pan!!
Yes, I do love our Apollo Garden!!
happy hi

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Re: Modesto, Central Valley, CA...

Post  RoOsTeR on 6/1/2012, 7:00 pm

Can't wait to see the pictures you have for us this weekend Grandma and thanks for the update. Allergies can make you absolutely miserable and no fun at all to be out when they are acting up.
Sorry to hear of your loss.

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Re: Modesto, Central Valley, CA...

Post  PNG_Grandma on 6/2/2012, 9:11 pm

Here are the pics I promised...Al took them earlier today while I stay indoors, out of this darned wind! I'm out of allergy pills so I'm inside again today! Ugh. Soooo, here are the pics!

This is the entire garden. I really hate to show you this but hey, it is what it is. Many of our gardeners have been doing other things lately and overlooked the weeds. This is supposed to be "community" stuff...but some need a gentle nudge. Now that Al has a job (yay!) he just doesn't have the time to oversee the entire garden. Ah, well. Anyway, here's what it looks like today:

We do have some very active gardeners...the area around their garden boxes are neat and tidy, no weeds!

We have a variety of gardeners and quite a few different ideas on how to protect the boxes from bugs and birds, not to mention the cats!

Al has a couple of eggplants growing in the box with his basil and crookneck squash. They seem to get along well! My garden box is behind his. My butternut and spaghetti squash are growing so fast. The bush beans and eggplant are not as fast because they get a lot of shade from a huge avocado tree behind that white fence in the background.

Al has some beefsteak tomatoes doing so well. He's growing them up the twine in a 4x4 box along with some zucchini. So far, so good!

Last year his beefsteak toms grew to just over 1 pound each...well, two of them did! Hoping for some big guys again this year! This is a good start...

...and of course the zucchini! I love this stuff and can hardly wait 'til we're eating them every day! So far we've had several. The crooknecks are trying to catch up, but zucchini is my favorite! hungry

That's it for now, and if you're in the area please stop by and say hi! I'm sure we'll find something to send home with you!
happy hi

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Re: Modesto, Central Valley, CA...

Post  PNG_Grandma on 7/6/2012, 11:55 am

Just a short update for this morning.
Over the winter we put all our kitchen scraps into a large container, any veggie stuff, egg shells, coffee grounds...that type of stuff. When the container was full Al would dump it in an area in back of our house. He turned it under and hoped for worms. Yeah, he got worms, they loved it! The soil was dark and had a great "feel" to it!

We also got a surprise...the seeds from the butternut, spaghetti, and zucchini squash that went into the bucket sprouted! We have some HUGE plants that have taken over the area and are producing some ginormous squash! Yes, I'll have pictures later, just wanted to share that this morning. We've eaten a couple of the zucchini from those plants...really tasty! We have at least one zucchini from our other plants in the Apollo Garden every day. We love eating from our garden!
More soon...more pics soon!
happy hi

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Re: Modesto, Central Valley, CA...

Post  PNG_Grandma on 10/6/2012, 1:41 am

Wow, I haven't posted here since July! Maybe I've been slacking but the garden, and the gardeners here in the Apollo Garden haven't! The summer produce was delicious, everyone ate well. We're still eating well! I just have to brag a bit about some of Al's toms.

Here are the last of our toms...and a few peppers. This last big guy, a Beefsteak might not look so pretty, but boy was it yummy!! All the toms still growing have odd shapes, a bit wrinkled, some with holes pecked from the birds...but they're still growing! The peppers and the eggplant is still producing too. Amazing things happening here in the California Central Valley!!

...and the scale reads 1 pound, 7.2 ounces. Yep, he was a big guy! Flaws and all!!
okay

Yesterday I fixed more eggplant, this time fried. Yeah, I know, not so healthy, but I just used cornstarch, no egg or milk batter, and cooked in a lightly oiled pan. They were so good. I'll do more this weekend and into next week. Not all will be fried. We eat eggplant several times a week... in egg dishes, in veggies surrounding pork chops, or mixed with hamburger, or smothering chicken breasts and thighs. Eggplant mixed with squash, peppers, and tomatoes and cooked until really tender, then served over the top of Spaghetti squash is so good, and so good for us!

We still have quite a few Butternut and Spaghetti squash all over the back yard, some hanging in the hedges! These plants came up on their own where Al had dumped all the kitchen scraps during the winter and kept turning the soil. Worms galore...and the sturdiest squash plants I've ever seen! We'll be eating these well into winter!
hungry

Most of the garden boxes are in transition again. Al just planted Swish chard, kale, spinach, and beets. We LOVE the cylindrical beets the best! The other gardeners are removing old tired plants, replenishing the soil and beginning again. Our weather changed last night... instead of being in the 80s we're now in the 70s and looks like some rain early next week. Perfect planting weather here!!
See ya in the garden...
happy hi

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GRR...seedling help!!!

Post  mrsfish94 on 2/21/2013, 1:44 pm

Hey there everyone!! I need some help. I started some Tom seeds on Jan 19th and they are stuck in the seedling mode. They haven't produced the true leaves yet. What can I do? Any suggestions?

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Re: Modesto, Central Valley, CA...

Post  PNG_Grandma on 3/1/2013, 7:33 pm

@mrsfish94 wrote:Hey there everyone!! I need some help. I started some Tom seeds on Jan 19th and they are stuck in the seedling mode. They haven't produced the true leaves yet. What can I do? Any suggestions?
Hey there! Did you get any help?? Al started seeds with the help of his new grow-light-thingy. He bought a frame, grow-light, heat mat, and short dome. Rolling Eyes
The first seeds he tried, some snow and sugar snap peas, and some cauliflower all sprouted in THREE days! we were amazed! He started BeefSteak and BrandyMaster tomato seeds recently with the same great results... sprouts in just four days!! I bought the 7" tall dome for him so the poor little plants wouldn't bump their heads on the roof of their home... and the darned things are growing up taller than 7 inches in just over a week! After he transplanted the first batch of toms into 4" pots he now puts them out in the greenhouse at the Apollo Garden next door every morning and brings them back here at night. The greenhouse doesn't stay warm enough at night and we have no power to heat... or cool it! We're hoping to rig up a solar powered small fan for the hotter months. Anyway, the toms are doing so much better than we expected!! I'm sure it's the heat mat that germinates the seeds so quickly, and keeps the roots nice and warm to get the little guys growing. Our local OSH store has the same grow kit that we bought on Amazon.com... I wasn't in favor of it when Al bought it but I'm totally sold on it now! okay

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Re: Modesto, Central Valley, CA...

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