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Hi guys…sorry for the delay.  I know you’re all hanging on every word and picture but sometimes actual work precludes me from getting out there and snapping some photos.

Well, as you can see in the picture below we had our first official harvest yesterday.  Tons and tons of green beans with an equal load of lemon cucumbers and several regular cucumbers.  We’ve added a couple tomatoes and a zucchini to that haul today.  Most plants haven’t yet started producing large quantities of produce yet, but that will come soon as the tomatoes are covered in unripe fruit and others like the carrots, melons, pumpkins, and squash just need time.  Until then the cucumbers and green beans are going to keeping us busy.

Obviously things are growing by leaps and bounds.  The corn is now easily taller than my 6 foot 2 inch height and we’re starting to see the tassles appear.  The sunflowers too are pushing 6 feet in places.  The pumpkins and watermelons are growing like weeds now too.  We have small (dime size) melons and several pumpkins (the largest of which is probably 1 or 2 pounds now).

One interesting plant that we’re trying this year is tomatillos.  We’ve grown one from a 4 inch pot and one from seed.  The seed is now starting to catch up but they are both covered in blooms.  In the case of the larger plant it has actual tomatillos forming as well.  They form just like tomatoes except that they form inside this papery cocoon after the flower dies.  Fairly interesting.  I have no idea what to do with tomatillos other than a salsa recipe so if any of you have any suggestions please drop me a line and we may try them.

Hopefully we can finally get the rest of the bark paths taken care of this week.  The World Cup has put a damper on some of the work that we had going on out there.  Additionally we will be weeding the back bed this week as it has been taken over by weeds.  Our one in-ground planter is quite a lowly sight (thus why you’re not seeing any photos of it).  Plenty growing in it other than weeds though so we need to get it done and be better going forward about upkeep.

Hopefully I’ll be better from here on out keeping the updates coming.

Things have really begun to take off over the last couple of weeks (as I’m sure you can see from the progression of pictures in last week’s post).  Well, more of the same this week.  We’ve begun taking produce home.  Not much for now, just some radishes and a zucchini, but it’s progress.  As you can see in the pictures we’re about to start having cucumbers and tomatoes as well…lots and lots of both.  What you can’t see is that we’re also seeing tons of green beans and lemon cucumbers and have also seen our first watermelons and pumpkins beginning to form.  The corn is booming (now up to over 5 feet tall) and there are flowers on everything (signifying that it is preparing to fruit).  We now have 4 large potato plants and are slowly filling in the trench seen earlier as they grow.  It won’t be long until the trench is filled in completely.  Other things including celery, carrots, eggplant, and all the peppers are making progress, but don’t really warrant any focus yet.

Notice the heads sticking up from behind the corn.  Yeah…..that’s how tall it is.

Left: Cucumbers…these are the same cucumbers I highlighted last week.  Center: Melons and Sunflowers.  The spreaders are watermelons and honeydew while the taller plants will all be giant sunflowers.  Right: Pumpkins…lots and lots of pumpkins.

I don’t believe I’ve mentioned this before but everything in our garden is also organic.  No chemicals, pesticides, or artificial fertilizers.  This presents some challenges when it comes to pests though.  We’re already doing things like planting marigolds and garlic around plants (natural pest repellents), getting ladybugs, and spraying occasionally with organic pesticides (means spraying things with what amounts to sesame oil).  Certainly not as full proof and deadly to them as I’m sure chemicals are, but we’re trying to take the moral high ground here.

Congratulations to my fellow BMLAers for the opening of El Cerrito Sports Park in Corona.  If you’re ever driving on the 15 Freeway South of the 91 Freeway keep your eyes open for this little project that was just completed and opened to the public.  Although this project was before my time here at BMLA a ton of work went into it and I got to see a lot of it.

1 Senior League ballfield, 2 Little League ballfields, 1 softball field, 1 T-ball / Multi-use field, 2 Full size soccer fields, 2 basketball courts, 2 tennis courts, 2 large group picnic areas, concession plaza, large children’s play area, and LOT’s of detail.  One of the best sports parks I’ve seen with regards to shade.  They placed dozens of large shade sails to ensure that spectators and picnickers wouldn’t be baking in the sun.

FROM THIS….

TO THIS….

Below is a time lapse montage of the BMLA Victory Garden from early May until June 4th.  Now you can see first hand the growth it has gone through in only a month.  Hopefully I’ll keep up with this and do a monthly time lapse montage so that we can all track the garden’s growth.  Click any image for a larger view.

Please see separate post below for this week’s garden update.

The garden is growing by leaps and bounds.  One benefit of growing vegetables is that they are certainly an ego booster if you consider yourself to have a black thumb.  Since most are annuals they need to grow very fast in order to get large and reproduce as quickly as possible.  Makes growing them that much more rewarding (besides the obvious culinary benefits).  Anyways, even the beds that still look a little barren will soon enough be filled.  The pumpkins and melons are all getting ready to explode.  They all have runners starting and will soon enough be going all over the place.  The tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, and corn exhibit the most obvious growth week by week but everything is several times larger.  See my other post with a time lapse photo montage for proof.

I included some photos below highlighting some new additions.  Below left is the less tasty of the artichoke plants that we allowed to bloom (the part you eat is actually the flower bud so in order for them to bloom you obviously can’t harvest the part you eat).  Now you can see why artichoke plants are popular as flowering shrubs in addition to delicious vegetables.  Below right are our newly forming cucumbers (see red arrows).

Below left is the first sign of our potatoes in the ditch I explained in an earlier post.  As you can see two potato plants have appeared, when they get a certain height we will fill in more of the ditch.  Below right is our first zucchini.

Below left is the herb planter portion of our garden containing onions, cilantro, oregano, basil, rosemary, and lavender.  Below right is a less than sexy picture of our composting area.  Not an especially glamorous part of gardening, but very helpful in recycling natural food products (that you otherwise wouldn’t recycle) and to get a free organic mulch that will make plants happy.  The pile on the left is over a year old and is close to producing some mulch while the pile on the right is where all our current additions go.  Eventually they will be combined and another pile will be started.