Welcome to Caliann's blog

I love the outdoors, the beach, gardening, family get-to-gethers! This is a spot hopefully for anyone who is interested in giving me pointers on being a better gardener as I'm a beginner. Mostly learning from reading other garden blogs I'm finally going to give my vegetable garden a try.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Winter is here!

Well I've still got Carrots. And I thought I'd better pick all the Lemons off the Lemon tree today because of the freezing temps that are expected overnight. There was definitly a chill in the air. I also pickup some more Swiss Chard and Lettuce. I think I'm going to make a soup for dinner tonight with some home made bread maybe it'll warm us up.
There's just not anything to write about as far as gardening, and with the Christmas season upon us I've got to get the rest of my shopping done. It seems that's the only thing on my mind right now. I've got nine Grandchildren I buy presents for and I've got to get movin' if I'm going to get it done before Christmas eve.
Oh, I am still adding to the compost bin a lot. Mostly kitchen stuff. And everytime I go to "Starbucks" I get a nice big bag of their coffee grounds to add to it. I dug through it the other day and it's "cookin" good. Maybe come spring I'll have compost to brag about. God Bless Ya'll

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I went out and thinned out some of the carrots. I couldn't resist keeping the teeny tiny ones. They taste good too. The fatter one is the "thumbelina" variety. The other ones are the usual ones that grow to about 7" long. We'll see how they grow now that they have been thinned out.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Just Garden Rant

Just a little fall color in the flower bed. There's nothing to do these days but rake up the "sticker ball's" as we call them (chestnuts). I wish I could of planted some more fall veggies but my husband has big ideas for the garden area. He has a big amount of dirt which he is going to spread all along where my summer garden was. This way it will bring our back yard more level with the rest. That's o-k cause I've got big plans for a completely different garden I want to build for spring. I really want to put in raised beds using the "square foot" garden method. I have several books on it and really want to try it. I think it will be less work for me in the long run. The gardening is very theraputic for me as I have osteoarthritis and it keeps me moving. But the rototilling and hoeing just makes matters worse for my hands, so that's why I decided for the alternative method of Sq. Ft. gardening. I know when the frames get built and the soil put in all I'll ever have to do is just plant the seeds. I think it will be less up-keep and more organized. Wish me luck!


I dug around the carrots just to see if any were ready yet. This row is a "Thumblina" which are about 2" round and short. I think I'll pull a few up tomorrow for my salad at lunch time.

Fall Lettuce

My little Gnome watching over the lettuce. Probably making sure no rabbits come along...

The lettuce has been growing great. I'm surprised there aren't any worms or bugs trying to feast on it. I tried to grow lettuce before but always failed, probably because I always planted it when it was still too hot. I just wish I still had some summer tomatoes to go with it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fall veggies

Carrots 52 days old. At 65 days I'm supposed to be able to start picking, we'll see. Swiss Chard and Leaf Lettuce at 50 days old. I've already been picking the Leaf lettuce and eating nice salads for lunch. I've gotta get a move on pickin the Swiss chard. First I have to figure out what I'm going to cook, using it.

The Peppers and Bush Beans are still hangin in there. I'm really going to miss the green beans when they die. They are probably my favorite veggie.
The days are getting chillier, fall is definetly in the air. The afternoons are still nice and warm though!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Fall leaf lettuce

I went out to the garden this morning and picked my very first leaf lettuce. I had a very good salad for dinner this evening. I wasn't sure if I would have any luck growing it, thinking maybe it's too hot here in the valley (zone 9). But I had very good luck! And no bugs ate it before I could eat some of it. The spinach I planted the same time didn't even come up. I think it was just too hot still for the spinach to survive.
Those green beans I planted months back are still producing. I just love them. Next year I plan on planting several long rows of them and trying some canning so I can have some during the winter months. Yum...

San Francisco Trip

There's not much happening in the garden, so I thought I would post some pictures of our trip to San Francisco over the week-end. These sail boats are docked next to "Pier 39" a.k.a. a really touristy place to go!! Lot's of eateries and shops. This coming Friday I'm going sailing with Family and Friends in the bay- I'm really looking forward to it and also seeing some really exciting "Air Shows" with planes doing acrobats. This week-end is "Fleet Week" in San Francisco so there will be big Ships in the bay and Airplanes up above putting on some really great shows. I will post pictures after I go...
I thought this would make a pretty photo of some of the flowers along the walk way of Pier 39.
I had to stop at this little fruit stand. I wonder if the fruit was grown in San Francisco or further south where the weather is not as windy. Anytime I've ever been to San Francisco it is always windy no matter what! They do have their occassional mild days though, and sometimes a freak day where it is actually HOT.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Washington Apples

This is a photo of a Washington Apple compared to the apples I get down at the local grocery store. My husband just got back from a business trip there and brought back a box of these beauties. It's circumference is 14" round! I could probably make a pie with 2 of them. Sorry to say I don't know the name of the apples...

Friday, September 19, 2008

The pumpkins are turning orange. The weather has been cooler too. It's feeling a little like Fall. The leaves are starting to come off the trees little by little. It's a great relief from the hot temps we had just a couple weeks ago.
My little Swiss Chard seedlings are getting along o-k. I'm already collecting recipes for them when they get mature enough to pick. I love fall/winter veggies. They are so packed full of the antioxidents we need to ward off flu bugs and such. Most of all I love the soups and stews we get to make when the weather gets cold. Yum..
Carrot seedlings. I had to build a sun shade for the top of my carrot bed so the hot sun wouldn't burn them. I think it's working pretty good, there's no sign of heat stress. I planted spinach on sept. 2 and I didn't have hardly any come up. There was 2 or 3 and they aren't doing too good. Anyway, I planted some more seeds just yesturday. We'll see if I have any luck. I had such pretty spinach this last spring, I may only be able to grow it in the springtime...I'm going to experiment some more.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Drying Gourds

I finally cut all the gourds! I didn't realize how many I had. I grew some last year and only got about 4. I planted them too late and I think that's why. I made sure this year I planted them on time. I'll have to find a dry place in the winter months to store them so they can dry out real good. That will take about 6 months or so. I had this spare lattice leaning up against the garage so I thought I would just tie them all up there.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Zucchinni Bread

Oh! What to do with all the Zucchinni squash. I'm starting to shred it and then put in the freezer. I'll be able to bake zucchinni bread this winter. My plants are still producing although they are starting to slow down a bit. The Patty Pan squash is still growing well. It's growing in with the gourds.

I have Pumpkins! It was hiding under the Gourd leaves. I didn't think I was going to have any. I planted two mounds and I've seen blossoms but didn't see any little pumpkins. Now they are finally emerging like "surprise"! It doesn't look like I'm getting too many though. The weather has been hot, hot! I've had to go out and make some sun covers for my tiny carrot seedlings that are just now peeking up. With the dirt at such a warm temperature it only took about 6 days for germination. I've got seedlings coming up everywhere cause of the heat. I hope I have timed it right for the fall planting. Remember, I'm just a beginner. Our local Ag. County Extension information sheet says now is the time for fall planting, I just hope the seedlings don't get burned up before they get a start. We'll see what happens.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Fall Planting

I just got my packet of Fall seeds from "Parks Seeds". I'm planting carrots in a raised bed with three different rows. They are: "Royal Chantenay" which grows about 6-1/2" long. "Scarlet Nantes" which grows to 7" long, and "Thumbelina" which grows just 2" round.

The other Fall seeds I'm going to plant are: Spinach "Melody Hybrid", Lettuce "Salad Bowl Mix", Kale "Italian Lacinato", and Swiss Chard "Ruby". I'm planting these all in a 36' raised row along the edge of the garden alond the levy of the almond orchard.

Garden Blight

I think my bell peppers are getting burned by the hot summer heat. Maybe I have to plant them in a different spot next year. Some of our temperatures reach triple digits and stay that way for days sometimes weeks at a time.I'm seeing a few aphids on my zucchinni squash and some of the gourd leaves. I spray them off the fruit and some of the leaves I tear off if theres too many aphids on them. It seems to work pretty good, but I have to really stay on top of it everyday to make sure they don't take over.

Compost Bin

I decided to make another type of compost bin. I had one of the rubbermade type ones I bought from Wal-mart, and it fell apart. As I kept filling it up it started coming loose at the sides that snap together. What a waste of my money. I've been reading a lot of information on composting, and I should always be "stirring it up" which I never could with the Wal-mart brand. I had some old pallets out back, so I put them together at the corners with wire then I added some plastic type chicken wire on the sides to keep the small stuff from falling out. When you turn the compost your supposed to start from the sides and work towards the middle. If you do it everyday it's supposed to speed up the process. I'm already seeing some good stuff happening.

Next, I want to rig up a wire frame to put all the leaves that are going to be falling soon. You run over them with the lawn mower then empty them in the wire bin. This is a good "soup" to make for worms which you want a lot of in your garden.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tomatoe Sauce

What to do with all those tomatoes? I finally put a batch of them together and made home made maranera sauce. Into a large pot cook: 1 large onion, about 6 cloves of garlic, and enough olive oil so nothing sticks to bottom of pot. Throw the tomatoes in to a food processor and pulse till it's really juicy. Pour into pot with onions and garlic. Then add spices like some italian seasoning, throw some fresh basil and bay leaves while your at it. Salt, just a dab of sugar and cinnamon. Cook on low and stir occassionally. Go about your business then come back and stir some more. The sauce will render down with just a lot of pulp in the pot (about a couple hours). When it's done you have to strain the pulp from the juice. I get another smaller pot and lay a large screen strainer on top then ladel the pulp making sure to squeeze all the juice I can out of each ladel full.
It should be very thin with just a little of the paste left on the bottom of the strainer. Be sure to scrape this off in to the pan. That's the good stuff.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Still getting lots of veggies. Weather has been warm as usual, although today was a nice break from the heat being only in the 80's. Seems like I have to water everyday too.

After I pulled out some of the squash (it was taking over) I'm not so bombarded now with an over abundance. And the Okra is almost as tall as I am. It's not bushy, just tall and spikey. I go out everyday and still pick a few, I just have a small row. I planted some more Sugar Peas the other day and their sprouting pretty good. I miss having them since my other crop died down from the HOT weather. I hope it will be a good time planting now for a Fall crop, we'll see.

Friday, August 8, 2008

My dwarf lemon tree is looking very nice this year. I have much more lemons than last year. They won't be ready for awhile though. The other picture is of my dried corn and the empty spot where I pulled out the squash. The Gourd plants are huge and beautiful. I have lots of gourds too. I think I'll leave the corn to dry real good so we can use them for Fall decorations.

My squash was taking over!! I had to pull up a couple of them. That's o-k, I've still got three left. Every thing I'm cooking in the kitchen seems to have squash in it... I'll miss it when the season is over. I know one thing, it has made me get more creative with different ways of cooking it, cause with the vast supply of it you just can't eat it the same way every time!

Sunday, August 3, 2008


I've got great green beans, red bell peppers, and tons of squash. That's my beautiful Grandaughter poseing with the squash. We cooked up some Squash Gumbo.
Saute: onions, and minced garlic in some olive oil. Then add some chopped squash and red bell peppers. Just to al'dente then throw in the chopped tomatoes and there you have it. You can always throw anything else in that suits your tastebuds. Anything goes, when it comes to fresh veggies from the garden.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Squash, Okra, Gourds, and Corn. I just harvested the onions.
My bush beans are looking real good. No beans yet though.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Sunflower is going through changes now. Tons of seeds. Yummy Bush Beans
Birdhouse Gourds


I've got squash comeing out of my ears!
Lotsa' squash... I have 5 plants.
Here's a Bee pollinating a squash flower.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Here are some of my Veggies:
Zucchinni Squash, Tomatoes, Bell Peppers and Okra. I can't wait for the round Summer Squash to ripen up, it's my favorite. I cook it by slicing it thin and dip in an egg bath then flour it and fry it up. Yumm!

Here's my corn still on the stalk. Everyday I see a change. The Gourd's are growing too.