Sunday, February 23, 2014

Garden Pictures

I am still not all that happy with my gardening attempts. The place still has too much dead space. Still though some of the plants have done quite well.

The mustard green plants are now huge. Unfortunately this variety of mustard green does not taste very good. So once they go to seed I will replace them with Japanese Giant Red Mustard Greens which I know taste better.

The alpine strawberries have been the best thing I have planted. I may even tear out the regular strawberries and replace them with alpine ones. The regular strawberries get damaged by bugs too often and most days don't have strawberries to pick. The alpine strawberries seem to have berries ready every day.

The parsley on the left is have the age of the lovage on the right. The lovage plant is perennial so hopefully in another year or two it will be big enough to be useful.

The Cape Gooseberry is large enough to finally be producing a couple berries. Unfortunately they haven't been that good, slightly sweeter tomatillos. Maybe for cooking they would be good, but the plant doesn't produce nearly enough for that. I will probably keep it a few more months to see if next summer it has a big crop.

 The tarragon has never done well. When it finally died off a month or two back, I thought it was gone for good. Then it started sprouting from its base. Apparently it was just dormant for the winter.

The Chinese Chives also went dormant for the winter, they flowered made a ton of seeds then died off. Now they seem to be coming back quickly though. 

The Goji berry also lost all of its leaves. It looks like it is sprouting a ton of new branches now though so it might be enormous by the time it has berries next fall. 

A few miner's lettuce seeds sprouted. I am really hoping these will take over because they would be a great low water ground cover. Since some grow wild not far at all from here I imagine they should do alright.

The Nevin's Barberry appears to be starting to flower. For an endangered species it seems to be tough as nails. It has been growing slowly though, so maybe that is the problem. 

The California Native Wildflower mix sprouted well. Unfortunately it will be really hard to weed since I have no idea what sort of plants are there.

I planted three varieties of native clover, and some white clover. Some of those plants are getting quite large so hopefully they will naturalize. They don't seem to need all that much water so they might be able to cover up some of the dead space in the yard. 

New Seeds

I just got my shipment of new seeds from Baker Creek. I also planted a few seeds which I saved from last year. Since most of what I planted last year is perennial I still have a lot of that going so I am mostly trying to fill in some of the bare dirt in the yard.

Here is what I planted:
Chinese 5 Color Peppers
Sweetie Star Stevia
Pepino Melon
Green Grape Tomato
Japanese Giant Red Mustard Greens
Pepper Cress
Merlot Lettuce
Slow Bolt Cilantro
Anise Hyssop
Early Purple Vienna Kohlrabi
Bronze Smoky Fennel 
Five Color Silverbeet Swiss Chard

For the most part these plants do a reasonable job of fitting with the forest garden theme but I did get quite a few annual seeds for things I am likely to actually use. I imagine as time and motivation leave me I will reduce things to almost entirely perennial herbs and berries. The berries will be large enough in three or four years that little else will fit.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Bill Gates Reading List

Reading through the AMA by Bill Gates, I ran into his reading list. At least we are not letting idiots be the richest person in the world. Assuming he actually has read that entire list, he is putting the typical American to shame.

Actually, I suppose the raw number of books doesn't impress me. It isn't a particularly fast rate. Still, he managed to read a lot of books I had not heard of on subjects I am reasonably up to speed on. Perhaps this is because I mostly limit myself to audiobooks and most of the most interesting sounding books on the list are not available in that format.