Monday, November 27, 2017

The monthly gardening series is something you can use your plan the planting in your garden, month by month. In today's episode we look at the California Garden in the month for November.

California Gardens
The November Garden

We cover the following topics in today's episode:

  1. Garden tour of our organic fruits, vegetables and herbs.
  2. We look at harvests of avocado, the GEM avocado, bitter gourd and ivy gourd. We also look at how amendments like Azomite (Rock Dust) can be beneficial for your garden.
  3. Things to do for your November Garden. We learn the best time to plant a garden, especially a Winter garden. The Best California Gardens start with a nice foundation of soil so we show you how to prepare your raised bed garden soil. We then look at the best vegetables that can be planted in the southern California garden. California just came out of a drought so make sure you follow the guidelines for watering in a drought garden as well.
  4. We round up the episode by looking at some excellent fruit plants you can buy from your local garden stores like Home Depot.

GEM Avocado

Bitter Gourd seeds



This monthly garden calendar will help you organize and plant all your vegetables in California as well as around the world.

We'll see you again soon, Happy Gardening!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

October End Garden Tour - Harvests & Things To Do In Your Garden This Month

Its been a warmer than usual October this year. In today's California Garden tour we go over the following topics:

  • A tour of the garden
  • What's growing in the California garden
  • Harvests we made this month
  • Things to do
  • Gardening products

Here is a video with all the details on the California Garden in October.

Happy Gardening!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

How To Make Your Own Potting Soil For Cheap

The growing medium is one of the most important aspects of growing any kind of plant. Commercially available potting soils are expensive and they are usually not as good as the ones you can make yourself. And its so easy that you will be wondering what was holding you back!

In today’s blog post we will learn how to make your own potting mix. Potting Mis is different from Potting Soil. Potting Mix is a soil-less mix and is very light. It enables strong root growth as plants do not have to struggle growing in this medium. It also provides excellent drainage while retaining water the plants need, for a few days.

What you need:

      1.      Peat Moss OR Coco Coir

     2.      Perlite OR Vermiculite

     3.      Compost

     4.      Manure OR Worm Castings

     5.      Measuring containers – one 2 gallon and one coffee can sized

That’s all!


     1.      Using the 2 gallon tote, add 3 parts of peat moss. You can use coco coir if you desire. Coco coir is usually better than peat moss as it has a neutral PH (Peat Moss is acidic) and is a renewable resource.

     2.      Add 1 (2 gallon portion) of compost

     3.      Now use the coffee can measurement to add 1 coffee can full of perlite

     4.      Add 1 coffee can measurement of manure or worm castings

      5.      Mix all ingredients thoroughly

You now have your own potting mix that is far superior to anything you can commercially get.

Additional amendments:

1.      If you are planting vegetables, add a handful of garden lime per container. It improves soil pH and also adds valuable nutrients in the soil. This is especially helpful for plants like tomatoes and peppers.
      2.      Azomite is a great addition, it replenishes lost nutrients in the soil

To watch the video of making your own potting mix, see this:

Saturday, September 30, 2017

The California Garden in September 2017

It's Fall here in Southern California. there a Fall season here? Well, yes and no! Yes, because the temperatures do cool down and its time to prepare the garden for your winter plants. No, because we don't usually see Fall colors here in SoCal and the temps do not really go down that much! If you want to skip the details, watch the video below:

Today's episode has an abundance of information starting with the garden tour. We tour our raised bed garden and container gardens as well.

Raised Bed Garden Tour
Raised Bed Garden Tour

In the next section we show you the plants growing in the California garden this month. This includes the vegetables, like Hyacinth Beans and Ivy gourds, our fruit trees and also our herb garden.

Hyacinth Beans Harvest
Hyacinth Beans Harvest

We then move on to the harvests we made this month, including Amaranth, Bitter Gourd, Cantaloupe, Chillies, Cucumber, Grapes, Hyacinth Beans, Moringa, Okra, Sweet Potato, Taro Root and Tomato.

Flame Seedless Grapes Harvest
Flame Seedless Grapes Harvest

Okra Harvest
Okra Harvest

German Queen Tomato Harvest
German Queen Tomato Harvest

Sweet Potato Harvest
Sweet Potato Harvest 

Bitter Gourd Harvest
Bitter Gourd Harvest

In the next part of the video, we then look at the things to do in your garden during fall. This includes starting seeds in seed starting kits. We also review Burpee's excellent 36 XL cell seed starter kit.
Burpee 36 cell XL Self Watering Seed Starting Kit
Burpee 36 cell XL Self Watering Seed Starting Kit

We'll see you again soon, Happy Gardening!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Growing Shallots in Containers

Shallots are a member of the onion family, they taste like onions but have a milder flavor. They are nutrient dense and contain more flavonoids and phenols that other members of the onion family. They are not only delicious but are easy to grow in your garden. In today's post we look at how easy it is to grow shallots in containers.

Growing Shallots In Containers
Growing Shallots In Containers
We planted our shallot sets, the dutch yellow variety in February for a late summer harvest. Alternatively you also can plant your shallots early fall in the month of August/September for an early spring harvest, if winters in your area tend to be mild.
Before planting your shallots, you should prepare your container or raised bed by using soil which is well draining. We used a potting mix with some peat moss, perlite, worm castings and manure to provide shallots a rich medium to grow. Plant the shallot sets in full sun in soil with a neutral pH. Shallot sets are readily available in your local garden store from late winter to early spring.

Planting Shallots
Planting Shallots
We used a rope bucket wide enough to plant 8 bulbs, place them all around the container allowing sufficient space between each bulb. Push the bulb in a little bit, not too deep so the tops are barely visible. If you plant your shallot sets too deep you might end up with more greens and smaller to no bulbs. Also make sure you are not planting and growing shallots in an area where onions or shallots were grown in the previous season.
In about 15 days, you will notice that your shallot sets have sent out tiny green shoots. If you didn't add any fertilizer at the time of planting now is a good time to do so. Any vegetable fertilizer, organic all purpose fertilizer, fish emulsion or seaweed fertilizer would provide the necessary nutrients that your plant needs to grow. You can also use a saltbased synthetic fertilizer if you are a vegan and want to avoid any animal based product.
Around mid March, 27 days since planting the green shoots look longer and vibrant and you will notice that out of the 8 bulbs that we planted only 5 of them germinated and grew well. At this stage you can transplant your plants if you wish to.
In April, 55 days into the growing season, the shallot plant looks strong and the greens continue to grow dense. The leaves of shallots are edible and can be harvested, chopped fine and added to flavor your soups and dishes.

Shallots growing well
Shallots growing well
Around the end of June, 131 days since planting the greens have grown to the full potential, the plant will now devote all its energy into developing good bulbs. If you wish to you can side dress with a fertilizer at this stage so they produce nice bulbs. Also you need to water your plants very well. During hot summer make sure your plants get enough water as shallots are shallow rooted and in order for them to thrive they need sufficient water. So establish a good watering schedule.
In July, 150 days since planting you will notice that the tops are becoming yellow and slightly shriveled. One week before this stage stop watering the plants or at least reduce watering the plants till the time the bulbs are ready for harvest. In a week your bulbs would be ready for harvest, shallots are bunching onions that typically produce 5-7 small bulbs per plant.

Harvesting Shallots From a 5 Gallon Pot
Harvesting Shallots From a 5 Gallon Pot
Shallots are very expensive in the grocery stores and since they are so easy to grow, you should try growing them in your garden.
Curing and Storing
Curing is a very important process for onions and shallots. If you plan on harvesting and using them immediately then you are fine but if you plan on storing them then you need to cure the shallots. Leave them in the sun for a week for the tops and bulbs to dry and then let them cure in an open, ventilated space for up to a month. Keep them dry and out of sun during this time. The curing will mellow the flavor and increase their storage life. Once cured, store them in mesh bags in a cool place with good air circulation.
Curing Shallots
Curing Shallots

Shallots are used in fresh cooking and can be made into pickles. Finely sliced, deep fried shallots are a delicacy in certain cuisines. We absolutely love to grow and eat shallots.

Monday, January 30, 2017

The California Garden in Jan 2017 - Winter Harvests, Delicious Recipes and Some Insane Weather!

Welcome to the California Garden in the month of January 2017. Its been a great month for gardening and we bring you a video guide of our garden tour, the harvests we made this month, the hail and rain we got in Southern California and also some delicious recipes.

So let's start with the garden tour. This month we have a lot of vegetables growing, brassicas like cabbage, cauliflower occupying the major portion of our garden.

Next lets look at the harvests we made this month:
  • Avocado
  • Purple Cauliflower
  • Cilantro
  • Eggplants
  • Hyacinth Beans
  • Oranges
  • Hot Peppers
  • Radish greens & Roots
  • Spinach
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Tangerines
  • Tomatoes

We also got some interesting weather in Irvine, Zone 10 this month. Hailstorms and rain!

All in all this was a great month for gardening. Do see our video on the monthly gardening series for January for all this and some delicious recipes.

Happy Gardening!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

How to Grow Asparagus or Yard Long Beans in Containers

My family loves these beans stir fried in little oil with onions, tomatoes and garlic. I highly recommend trying to grow these beans in your garden as they are very productive and resistant to pests. Asparagus beans are plants which produce slender, very long pods that have a delicious nutty flavor. It is also known as Yard Long Beans, Chinese long beans, Snake beans, Bora and Bodi in some parts of the world.

Asparagus Beans or Chinese Long Beans
Asparagus Beans or Chinese Long Beans

These plants grow very long and need trellis for support and to climb on. We used three rebars staked firmly into the ground with garden thread entwined to provide support for the bean plants. 

The rebars are 6 feet in height and can be bought at your local garden or hardware store. To prevent rusting, you can paint the rebars.  Another option would be to use bamboo sticks instead of rebars for staking and providing support to your bean plants.

Bean trellis
Use a nice trellis
We sowed our seeds directly outdoors in the month of February. We used a 16 inch container large enough to hold 10 gallons of soil and enough for six to seven plants evenly spaced out. Soak the seeds overnight so they absorb lot of water, the germination rate is good if the bean seeds are soaked prior to sowing. We used standard potting mix with a slow release organic fertilizer added in for providing nourishment to our plants.

In the month of March, you will see the seeds have germinated, germination days for yardlong beans is anywhere between 7 to 10 days.  Around May, the bean plant will start producing flowers which will eventually turn into bean pods.   If you notice, the leaves are slightly shriveled as we had a much cooler March in our area. So you may want to wait until April or May to start your seeds. Once the temperatures get warmer the bean plants grow vigorously and sprawl over the entire trellis area.

Asparagus Beans growing
Asparagus Beans growing
By July, our first bean pods were ready for harvest. Pods should be picked before they reach full maturity, if you wait for a longer time, the pods would grow thicker and will taste rubbery.  If you have a few pods that have matured and look thick, you can harvest the bean seeds from the pods and use them in your dish or prepare a delicious bean dip with it. Asparagus beans tastes nutty and flavorful and are loaded with vitamin A, C, thiamin, riboflavin, iron, phosphorus, folate and magnesium. 
Asparagus Beans Harvest
Asparagus Beans Harvest
You can keep harvesting as long as the plants are growing. They are heavy producers and produce pods until frost. It is a good idea to fertilize your plant to provide enough nourishment throughout the growing season, we used lot of liquid fertilizer in the form of compost tea, every 3 weeks, to supplement growth.

Try growing this delicious vegetable in your garden and you will be amazed. Here’s the link to the seeds we used to grow these plants.

You can make vegetarian stew with beans, tofu, eggplant  or you can sauté chopped beans with some turmeric, pepper, ginger garlic, onion and serve with tortillas or rice or even make delicious bean dips.

Follow along on our journey to grow this wonderful vegetable in containers:

Happy Gardening!