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Severe Bass » Gardening

Wormwood in My Backyard
June 19th, 2011

I have not blogged about my backyard in quite some time. Most of this is because I actually haven’t been doing anything with it recently. Honestly, I put a lot of time, effort, and money into last years attempt and didn’t feel it was quite worth it. However, I did learn quite a lot about how to garden more effectively, and this year I think I’m going to focus on less plants but hopefully get more useable food. One of my big problems last year is that I started everything at the same time – so I would go weeks without anything to harvest and then suddenly WHAMMO! I have 3 huge kale plants, 6 heads of lettuce, 2 giant zucchinis, and more string beans then I could eat in a week.

A lot of the last rounds of plants didn’t get picked until very recently, so I’m going to post some pictures of what happens when you don’t pick kale, lettuce, beets, etc. for an extended period of time in day or so.

However, I did want to show you what happened to one of my wormwood plants. These started as incredibly tiny seeds, and I kind of bought them on a whim – however one of the plants did very well. Keep in mind I probably haven’t watered this thing in 9 or 10 months:

It's next to a water pitcher for size reference

Yes, that entire plant is wormwood. Holy shit, right? Well, it seems like I HAVE to make absinthe now – although it only calls for an oz and a half of wormwood. So, if anyone out there reading this wants me to mail them some wormwood leaves, please drop me a line and I’d be happy to send you some.

More Giant Zucchini
August 14th, 2010

I’m pretty sure that my butternut squash cross-pollinated w. the zucchini and that is why I’m getting absolutely ginormous zucchini from it. Here’s the one I just picked.

15 inches wide, 4.5 across

I don’t have a funny picture of me running away from it b/c I can’t get it and myself in the frame w.o someone else taking the picture. This week will be a myriad of zucchini pastas and casseroles, and I might try to fire up my grill.

Been Too Long Since a Gardening Update
August 11th, 2010

Things are growing – surprise surprise!

Check out my oregano! (last time)

I know I probably shouldn't let it flower, but I just don't have that many uses for it!

I have a whole row of tomatoes now, although only a couple of them are bearing fruit, and it’s currently only the Mexican Midgets. I sure hope I get some heirlooms soon – my roommates have a measly little tomato plant with larger tomatoes then I have! (from May)

They take forever to water....

Here’s an especially large plant that I needed to buy reinforcements for:
Gimme a damn tomato already!

And that area that I planted some seeds in a little while ago:

The big plants are California Poppies

My garden spot is full of life (not just giant zucchinis):

Some of this is weeds, but most is intentional

Beans too!

It had been ages since I took a roof shot – look at the difference since November:

Some of the rungs to my roof were a bit loose, so this might be the last time I go up there

And while I was up there, here’s a shot of Sutro Tower:

My old room had a great view of this as well

P.S. — I have a drummer and there will be shows soon….(get excited!)

My Zucchini Is Huge
July 27th, 2010

I grew a big-assed zucchini because I thought it was actually a butternut squash plant. For shame.

Eat it before it eats you!

I'm sorry, I look kinda awkward.

Lettuce Harvest!
June 29th, 2010

I probably should have done it at least a week ago (likely more), but I pulled the lettuce out of the ground that I, like the kale I picked last week, also started in the kitchen window a few months back. They obviously got bigger then necessary, and there’s more then I know what to do with. If I want to make this lettuce growing thing work, I’ll need to find a method of working it so I have just one or two heads of lettuce in the ground at a time, and at different intervals, otherwise I have nothing and then WAY TOO MUCH, as you can see:

I remember when they were just baby seeds!

I learned some things though – the crisp mint was the most hardy and grew the most. However, it was REALLY affected by pests, there were a bunch of insects living in/near the crisp mint plants but not the other ones. I think it had to do w. the structure of the lettuce head – it grew fast and upright, allowing for more places to hide. I’m not that grossed out by insects living in my plant or eating it, but some people might be I guess. However, I’m not going to use pesticides in my garden so that’s how it goes. The crisp mint is also the greatest producer, another reason not to have too much of it – I should have definitely pulled it sooner. I really like both the mascara and yugoslavian red varieties, they look very cool and taste quite tasty. I’ve been eating them in a salad w. some the rest of the kale, some soybeans (that I completely overcooked, but it kind of worked out b/c they taste different now), a few green beans, and these grape tomatoes I got at the Crocker-Galleria Farmers Market last week that are ridiculously sweet and tasty.

It’s time to start some more lettuce – it’s so hard to predict though. Honestly, I have thus far had the best results with this batch of seeds I started in egg cartons w.o plastic or heat in the germinating process. They did take a long time to grow actual leaves and I did move them a few times, but those plants are all pretty happy, whereas the ones I’ve started in the cell packs with a little more attention to detail have gotten to tall too fast and don’t survive the transition outdoors. Attempts to container garden with things like spinach and lettuce have had issues too, as there has either been too much or too little rain. I have picked up some actual seed starting mix (as opposed to high quality soil w. fertilizers/etc already in it), so we’ll see if that helps or not. The shallowness of the egg cartons made things take a while, but at least it did it right!

I planted some flowers in the backyard from seed as well, after working the soil a little bit w. the last bag of planting soil in my backyard. On a side note, it’s a little hilarious how much effort needs to be spent on obtaining dirt and poop. Personally, I have to rent a zip car for an hour or so, drive up and down a hill, park, cart around, buy, get into my backyard (which is a pain b/c I don’t have a key to the side gate b/c technically its just for us to use to take the trash out), and then return the car. All for some dirt and worm poop. At least the parking spot is convenient. Anyway, I planted Echinacea, Sunflowers, and Little Buttons in this area that has always been weeds. The ground was really dry and tough b/c of the on/off sun and lack of rain. It’s also on the top-most part of the garden and on a slope, so water travels downhill. Who knows if they’ll grow, but I think if I keep them watered correctly it could turn into something:

Here goes nothing!

In addition to harvesting and planting, I also cut down the milk thistle – it had gotten out of control. I cut a few seed pods, but the fact is I already have a bag of milk thistle seeds I spent a bunch of money on that I haven’t used (that bag of seeds is where the plant came from – I believe it was just two seedlings when I transplanted it) so I apparently haven’t determined a use for milk thistle other then it grows fast and bites you when you don’t expect it, at least one that I’m willing to put the effort into. I”m hoping it’s prickly nature wont prevent it from being compostable.

I'm not sure what to do w. it - sure is prickly stuff.

Garden Update!
June 25th, 2010

Wow, it’s had to have been a while since an update, eh? Since May. Well, check it out!

My tomatoes are flourishing, altho tha pepper has seen better days. It’s pretty impressive what the oregano looks like – and it smells great!


A kale plant I picked (and made curry with – will blog about that soon as I took pics) that started in an egg carton in my window (sorry so blurry):
Mmm, kale!

Lettuce of three different varieties, also started in my window:
There's Crisp Mint (bright green), Yugoslavian Red (semi-head typed lettuce in front), and Mascara (leafier red lettuce behind the Yugoslavian Red).(

The front patch of plants on the left is butternut squash, which sprouted 4x faster then the black beauty zucchini in the back (barely visible from this angle – way less sun on that part of the garden). To the right are the string bean plants:

Seriously, look at this tomato plant!
Big Tomato Plant

I’m a bit concerned about the fence that threatens to fall over and squash this plant, which I guess you can’t see very well from this picture. The fence broke off and is getting worse, so I’ve written the neighbors a note – it’s been REALLY windy recently too, so that doesn’t help.

Backyard Work Continues!
May 13th, 2010

I never tell you about anything else anymore!

I’ve put tomatoes in the ground:

Planted most of em on May 1st. Here’s one of them not quite two weeks later

The lettuce is going well:

Some beans and squash seeds are sprouting:

Milk thistle is FREAKIN HUGE:

and look how green my oregano is:

Yeah, I dig gardening. I need to come up w. some structures for the tomatoes to grow over. Putting my thinking cap on…

More Gardening!
April 29th, 2010

In the world of growing food, things move relatively slowly, with spurts of advancement. Sometimes those spurts are unnoticeable, however sometimes they are obvious.

Like when I spend 3 hours back there, as I did today. I moved and I shook, I hustled and bustled, and there is some activity going on!

The majority of the work involved utilizing my container beds a bit more. I’ve moved all of my seedlings outdoors by now (save a few slow-growing basil, wormwood, and kale plants). For one reason or another (mostly that I didn’t have enough space in the two beds), I also transplanted a few plants into their own cell-pack:

Seeds are growing...

That's spinach and cilantro in the far bed, mascara lettuce in the closer one, and each cell pack has either basil, kale, or cherry tomatoes.

Behind that is the patch of oregano I transplanted a few weeks ago.

(Note: Before transplanting anything into the ground, I first worked some planting soil from the local nursery into the earth, and then followed up by putting a substantial amount of worm castings both in the holes where I planted, as well as across the top of the soil afterwards.)

I ended up moving out the tomatoes that were in the bed a couple weeks ago into the ground. No pics on that yet, but the plants look like they’re taking root (which is good b/c I think I moved them about a week earlier then I should have). The rain this week has helped I’m sure. When they get some strength to them I’ll update ya!

Also put in the ground were my lettuce seedlings. These seeds were really prolific so I had more sprouted seedlings then I expected. However after a few days later, what was a very crowded garden bed no longer looks so overrun with potential plants. This here is mostly Crisp Mint, although I think a few Yugoslavian Reds survived….

Lettuce in the Garden!

Behind that bed is a lot of junky soil (read, there’s concrete and glass mixed in), that I planted some Morning glory seeds in. I hope to have them climb the fence behind it. First I’ll need to get the seeds to sprout and then guide them up there. Luckily I cut some branches off of a neighboring fig tree which I think I can use. On that, I had to move the plant that came back to life b/c it was in prime tomato space. The far back of this side of my backyard is quite plentiful w. some sort of yellow flower, milk thistle, and now said plant! The fig tree was encroaching on the area where the plant currently is (note to self: figure out what that damn plant is called!).

It’s hard to believe all that milk thistle came out of 3 or 4 seedlings I started from some seeds from the food coop. Better yet, it’s starting to bloom finally so I can harvest the seeds soon! Then I’ll trim the plant back pretty rigorously. In case you’ve never come across milk thistle, it’s sharp and pointy, and grows like crazy.

The next update will be awesome. You’ll want to read it. And maybe I’ll actually write about something other then gardening in the meantime!

Mapping out my Backyard (short post):
April 9th, 2010

Right now I am putting together my plan for the backyard. I’m pretty happy w. what I have so far – the space is not measured out exactly, but I think I spend enough time back there to be pretty close. Here’s where I’m at.

Seeds update, April 1, 2010
April 6th, 2010

(Actually, the majority of this happened last weekend on March 27th, but I am taking longer and longer to make updates to this blog)

Anyway, most of my first starts have germinated and sprouted cotyledons. Cotyledons are actually part of the seed and serve as food sources until true leaves are formed and the plant is capable of photosynthesis – in case you weren’t aware (I think I had been but I forgot). It’s very exciting! The bottom layer is doing better then the top layer, but I guess that’s the nature of the light/heat/etc. Interestingly enough, the wormwood sprouted first but has grown the least since doing so. Here’s a pic at 10 days:

I also started another bed, this time w. 18-cells. I decided to grow lettuce, tomato, and kale. I had three types of lettuce and tomato, so I gave them the majority of the spots, and then the final three for kale. Here’s the organization and freshly planted seeds:
Seeds to Plant! 3/27/10

I decided that the previous roaster tray had proven itself fairly successful, so I purchased another for the window.

BTW, this time around I did a bit more internet-researching and found that I was missing a lot of specific steps – such as using a soil-less mixture, putting the seeds under plastic, factoring in which seeds need more vs. less light to get started, etc. I ended up deciding to just do what I’d already been doing, which I’m sure comes as a surprise if you know me b.c I’m so totally un-stubborn, hah. Anyway, I did come across the About: Gardening page and think it has plenty of helpful hints for the Anthony of the future. But what I’ve really learned is that if you start right, and things seem healthy, you are usually doing just fine.

Some of the lettuce has started to barely sprout already – I always take it personally when one seed starts and another doesn’t, and I think I just need to let it go. The tomato and kale seeds were buried a little deeper – and for good reason. I think I commonly forget that light is really not one of the things that starts seeds – heat and good soil is. But once the cotyledons show up, then it’s time to bring on the sun!

Next up, I need to sit down and map out how I want my backyard to look. I moved a few herbs that I started from cell packs out of the garden spot to make room for actual veggies – and also to slowly turn my backyard into a real growing space. I’d like to be able to do it w. the supplies I already have for the most part – but I also know that I have TONS of concrete and a new plant is just a container and some soil away, so who knows how far I will take things….

Here’s some of those herbs I moved:




My friend Josh swung by as well and helped me prune my Thunderbird Plum Tree. Yardwork is always SO much more fun w. company!

Josh Trimming the Thunderbird

Here’s what it looked like when he was done:

Finally, check out the two largest (of 5) parsley plants (almost as big as the fennel they replaced):

So lemme know if you want fresh parsley!

I’m realizing that I seem to be posting a lot about gardening and website stuff for a place that is supposed to be a celebration of Severe Bass, so I’m working on that, I promise. Just let me get a handle on my interface (that’s what she said)! 🙂

Hey, do you follow me on twitter? I can’t think of a good reason to, other then I spell weird and am occasionally entertaining. Do you expect much more from twitter?

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