About the Garden

I live in Los Angeles on 6,400 sq feet of potential garden space. Take away the size of my house, garage, driveway and other unusable areas, and I probably have about 200 sq feet of in-ground space, 100 sq feet of container gardening space on the deck and about 200 sq feet of flower garden beds in the front yard.

Container Garden on the Deck

Container Garden on the Deck

One day, my garden space may grow and take over the remaining grass that’s left, but for the moment I am growing most of my vegetables in portable containers made up of anything that can hold soil.

Container Garden on the Deck

Container Garden on the Deck

New Herb Garden

New Herb Garden

My preferred irrigation method is currently a watering can, with the occasional use of the garden hose.

My garden sometimes gets nibbled and raided by the following: aphids, caterpillers, leaf miners, tiny flying things, squirrels, one neighborhood cat, possums and parrots. (Seriously, our neighborhood has a weird flock of wild parrots that squawk louder than any bird should.)

My mother is a gardener and I’m hoping that it’s genetic, as my first stab at gardening began in September 2013. Prior to that I’ve killed every houseplant that has ever been given to me. Now, with a backyard, positive thinking and google, I actually made it through 1 full year of gardening!

So far, I have had about a 50% success rate of eating what I planted. (It really isn’t cost-effective but brings me joy to eat what I’ve grown.)

Here are some things that have done well in our SoCal garden and others that need more encouragement.

THE GOOD
Alpine strawberry (seedlings): tasty and cute
Asian salad mix (seed): one good crop
Basil, Genovese (seed): so much pesto
Carrots, all sorts (seed): wonky shaped but oh so tasty
Celery (seed): doing swell
Chili, Thai (seedling): spicy and prolific
Chili, Kung Pao (seedling): tasty
Chili, Super (seedling): tasty but small
Chili, Black Cobra (seedling): tasty. Hot.
Chili, Habanero (seed): tasty
Chinese Celery (seed): one good harvest
Cilantro (seed): tasty
Dill (seed): tasty with pretty flowers
Finger Lime (trees): so cool
French breakfast radish (seeds): oui oui
Jalapeno (seedling): tasty
Leeks (seed and seedlings): mmm. seedlings were dug up by critters though
Lemon (4 ft tree): a dozen lemons so far
Lemongrass (seedling): taking over front yard
Lilikoi (seed): going strong
Mesclun (seeds): tasty when they survive
Napa cabbages (seed and seedlings): so much napa
Oregano (seeds and seedling): good
Parsley (seeds): pretty good
Pea sprouts (seed): fast and tasty
Peas (seed): so tasty
Potato (tuber): fun to harvest
Radicchio (seed): tasty and hardy
Rosemary (seedlings): Still going strong.
Sage (various seedlings): Still going strong.
Shishito pepper (seed): prolific
Spinach (seed): tasty
Tatsoi (seedlings): one good harvest
Thyme (seeds and seedling): Still going strong.
Tomato cherry (seed): Had several good harvests.
Tomato heirloom (seedling): Had a handful of tomatoes
Tomatillos purple (seed): had several good harvests
Watermelon baby (seeds): had 3-4 melons
Watermelon, yellow (seedling): had 3-4 melons
Zucchini (seed): So many zucchini…

THE BAD
Anaheim chili (seed): never sprouted
Artichoke (seed): burnt or nibbled
Basil, purple (seedling): bolted
Beet/chard mix (seed): grew to 4″ then squirrel attack
Black cumin (seedling): burnt to a crisp
Bell pepper (seedlings): burnt
Cauliflower (seed and seedlings): got eaten or bolted
Chili, ghost (seedling): burnt. Now they are ghosts.
Cucumber lemon and pickling (seed): burnt. The Japanese cucumber gave us 3 fruit.
Daikon radish (seed): flooded or bolted
Edamame (seed and seedling): tempermental
Salvia (seedling): Burnt to a crisp.
Thyme, Lemon (seedling): dried up

THE ON PROBATION
Adzuki bean (seed): Still sprouting
Alpine strawberry (seed): Still sprouting
Avocado (5 ft tree): starred branching but got toasted in sun. I might’ve killed it. 😦
Artichokes (seedlings): up to 18 inches tall
Arugula (seed): hit or miss
Asparagus (crowns): Probably won’t be edible for 2 years.
Bottle gourd (seed): one fruit so far
Blackberry (bare root): Had a few flowers but then got burnt by the heat wave. I think I killed it.
Broccoli rabe (seed): hit or miss
Brussel Sprouts (seedling): they were doing okay but seem to be attracting aphids
Bunching Onion (seed): Still sprouting. About 3″ tall now.
Bush Beans (seed): ok but not a lot of beans
Chinese Broccoli (seed): Tasty when they survive caterpillers
Collard green (seed): They are getting pretty big.
Cucamelon (seed): were just about to fruit when it got cold
Garbonzo, black (seed): still sprouting
Garlic (bulbs): in the ground
Kale (seeds and seedlings): Tasty when they survive caterpillers
Lemon, variegated (2 ft tree): Not doing as well as the Eureka lemon tree.
Lime (3 ft tree): Made 1 fruit so far
Luffa gourd (seed) : Still sprouting
Onion (set): Still sprouting
Pak Choi (seed): still sprouting
Parsnips (seed): Still sprouting
Pomegranate (5 ft tree): Made 3 fruits in first year; still sprouting.
Radish, black (seed): Still sprouting
Sorrel (seed): up to 4″ now.
Strawberry Attila (seed): Still sprouting
Strawberry Gauva (4 ft tree): growing lots of leaves
Thai Basil (plant): Flowering.
Watermelon Radish (seed): Ate 3 radishes before they bolted.
Yuzu tree (4 ft tree): no fruit yet but flower buds are forming

PENDING JUDGEMENT
Baby kiwi (seed)
Corn-popping (seed)
Cowpea (seed)
Eggplant (seed)
Peanut (seed)
Peppercorn (seed)
Sunflowers (seed)

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12 thoughts on “About the Garden

  1. Followed you here from your visit to our blog. I am so glad you visited so we could come and enjoy your great blog. I love all the information you have listed, very interesting. I hope you enjoy your journey with hands in the dirt and don’t get discouraged. If something doesn’t grow, it just leaves room to plant something new.

  2. I loved reading your list! I am journaling Old Skool on paper what I plant and when and the amount of rainfall. I like your idea of a summary assessment of what did and did not work. I too am having trouble coaxing the Anaheim chile seeds to sprout, and the poor beets were stripped almost bare of their leaves, most likely squirrels like yours. The beets are trying to make a comeback, though. I’ve decided part of my problem with trying to start with seeds is the type of container I used. I’m planning a change to flats next time.

    • Thank you so much! I started keeping my list on paper too but kept adding and subtracting plants so I found the electronic list to be easier for me. My shishito peppers are the only peppers I’ve successfully started from seed so far. All of my other peppers have been seedlings to spare me the anguish. If you ever uncover the secret to starting peppers, please share! Best of luck to your recovering beets. Hopefully they recover from the squirrel attack.

  3. You’ve certainly tried a lot of plants for your limited space! Peppers take longer to sprout than many other vegetables, but I’ve had a lot of success with them. How does the California drought affect your gardening?

    • Thanks! I like variety so I try to grow small amounts of different vegetables in succession so that helps with the space issue. As for the drought, we’ve let our grass die out and hand water the raised bed to reduce water. I replaced our front flower bed with perennial herbs like rosemary, lavender and lemongrass which seem to do well with very little water. I also try to reuse extra water from the kitchen from washing vegetables, etc in the garden. Hopefully the drought gets better soon but it may be awhile!

  4. Exotic garden. I am also an experimental gardener. I’m impressed with your variety. I live in the Midwest so the plants are somewhat different than yours. I have found that high numbers help my growing odds as well.

    • Thank you! It’s been fun planting random seeds and seedlings to see what works best in our backyard. While my success rate is pretty low due to bugs, critters and weather, the 30% of veggies that do survive are exciting to harvest and eat! Best of luck on your plants. 🙂

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