garden update: march 31

by Stacy

This week’s weather forecast has higher temperatures in the Midwest than in SoCal. Oh, irony.

However, my little garden patch carries on. Mostly.

On the sprout front:

tomato sprouts

The tomatoes are still doing well. Now that the real leaves are developing I’m going to need to thin and transplant them soon. We were gone for five days so I was worried that they would wilt or not have enough light, but they seem fine.

The arugula sprouts…. not so much. I’m going to blame a lack of water and a lack of cat discipline. Just my guess. I will likely plant more.

Time to head outside!

italian flat leaf parsley

This is the Italian flat leaf parsley I grew from seed in the fall. It has survived the winter and is now starting to flourish. I look forward to using it in the kitchen.


The Lacinato kale is still alive but still has some aphid problems. The ladybugs didn’t do as well with the kale and its small curly center leaves make it hard to access the pests. I’m still working on it, though, and have high hopes. Kale is a cool weather green so I’m hoping it won’t wilt too soon.

hibiscus bud

I’m pretty excited about this little bud. When I brought home a gorgeous hibiscus for the patio, I had no idea it would become the bane of my garden. The flowers are beautiful, but it was the carrier of the aphids that have plagued my little garden all winter. In an act of desperation I lopped off all the hibiscus flowers that were just covered with bugs. It’s been a naked little shrub all season and is finally budding again!

lime flower buds

The lime tree has so many flowers right now! You can see a few aphids in this photo, too. The ladybugs actually did a really nice job clearing them out, but it only takes a few survivors to make trouble again. I’m trying to combat them without buying more ladybugs, but we shall see.

baby limes

In spite of the aphid problems, I do anticipate a good amount of limes coming from our tiny tree. One early developer is almost the size of a ping pong ball!

To add some color to the winter we put together two pots of snapdragons, purple pansies, and white alyssium. The snapdragons are white, pink, and this beauty:


(Sorry, the photo is a little too close, but it was windy when I was taking pictures.)

My favorite flower currently in bloom, however, is amusing to me. We have a bird feeder hanging from the balcony. The first time we filled it we used normal birdseed mix. The little finches that flocked to the feeder (much to the interest of the cats) are picky, however, and just ate the sunflower seeds, spilling the rest of the seeds all over the patio. Messy and wasteful, we decided against the mix and just got sunflower seeds after that.

Well, they’re still a bit messy, and one seed managed to find its way into the pot with the lime tree. Since it’s not exactly a weed we didn’t pull it up, and now we have:


It’s cheery and I like it.

My next garden project is going to be preparing pots for my tomatoes, and I think I want to grow more peppers, too. My jalapeno from the fall has some regrowth after being chopped back due to aphids, but it may be better just to sprout (or buy) new ones. Hmm.

Tomorrow is April 1st! Have you started any garden projects?

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Meryl March 31, 2010 at 8:19 pm

Oh, those beautiful limes! I would love to have your climate for growing citrus! My little meyer lemon tree is currently living in our bathtub–too cold for it outside for another month still!


stacy April 1, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Mmm, Meyer lemons. The lime tree was totally an impulse buy. We’ve only lived here a little over 6 months so the year-round growing season is still amusing. I can’t wait to harvest them!


tater1112 April 1, 2010 at 7:57 am

Have you ever tried planting grass for your cats? I got a bag of seeds at the pet store – I think it’s a mix of wheat and oats and a few other things. Jess likes to eat plants, but somehow knows that the grass is for her – as soon as it’s long enough to eat, she chows down and leaves the other plants alone, without us even showing her where it is.

Also, your pics are gorgeous and I’m jealous.


stacy April 1, 2010 at 2:24 pm

We haven’t grown cat grass but my sister-in-law has (and we’ve sent her the seeds, too). After this latest arugula attack I’m seriously considering it, though!

Thank you! =) If you guys get tired of camping, you’re always welcome at our place! Lots of canyons and trails nearby! Also, ocean. Just saying.


Kathie April 1, 2010 at 8:30 am

Those are beautiful! Oh, I need to get a dwarf citrus tree of some type to grow inside, I’m so jealous.


stacy April 1, 2010 at 2:30 pm

As much as I love the greenery (and edibles) I’m happy that we have some bright flowers, too. The sunflower is so cheery.

The tree was surprisingly affordable — I thought they would cost more! When we asked at the garden center they just warned us that citrus trees DO NOT like being colder than mid-40s and needs lots and lots of sun.


Bridget April 1, 2010 at 9:10 am

The aphid thing sounds SO frustrating.

I’m excited about my garden progress so far too! We’ve got our raised bed built and installed, but I need to buy a little more soil before I can plant in it. When I get that soil, carrot seeds are going in immediately!

My tomato sprouts are rocking, and my basil and pepper sprouts are moving along too, so I’m hoping to get those (at least the tomatoes) hardened off next week to plant next weekend! Exciting!


stacy April 1, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Oooooh. Are you guys in a house now? I’m so excited to have a yard someday. The looks I used to get lugging 20-pound bags of soil on the elevator in our old high-rise….

What kind of peppers are you growing? We get bell peppers from the CSA but I think I want to add some spicy ones since we’ll get some nice hot weather for them.


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