Last year was my first year growing in our coastal Oxnard backyard after moving back to SoCal from Seattle. Since Oxnard is filled with farms and known for its agriculture and a climate that lets you grow just about anything, I figured having my little backyard vegetable garden (mostly a juicing garden) would be a total breeze.
Ugh, I was so wrong!
Last year was my worst gardening year ever. First I had fungus on every squash plant in my garden, then I had aphids like you wouldn't believe, then Samson kept eating all of the strawberries and knocking the peppers off the plants to play with them, then I had some night-time visitors demolishing everything, and then I had blossom rot. But that wasn't all.
My plants suddenly started dying and not doing as well. It took me a while to figure out the problem, but when I went to test the soil, I found a grub. So then I did a little digging and found disturbed root systems and so many grubs that I couldn't even count them if I tried.
...Until winter...when the grubs go deeper into the soil and wouldn't be so interested in my roots. Come winter, I planted lettuces, kale and chard. They took forever to germinate, but when they did, they did just fine. As you can see, they are still producing.
I've planted lots more since then and everything is going well, but it is almost time for the grubs to return to the surface and get ready to become beetles. So that means they are probably going to be feasting on my roots again. I'm crossing my fingers that they let my garden live!
Here are some more garden pictures and updates on how things are going so far this year:
In the back row behind the radishes, those are cherry tomatoes and kale.
If you are planting in cinder blocks for the first time, I recommend planting kale or chard in every other hole (instead of every hole) to give them more room to grow and to make sure no one is blocking anyone's sun.
The kumquat tree gave quite a bit this spring (even with a significant caterpillar population munching on the leaves), and I'm hoping for another harvest in summer. The wind blew away all of the plum blossoms, so I don't know how that might affect pollination (I need to look that up). The lime tree gets lots of blossoms but very few fruits so far.
We also have an avocado tree out front, which is technically a sucker off of an old avocado tree that was chopped down before we came along. It gets blossoms but no fruits. We aren't expecting it to ever fruit, but we are keeping our fingers crossed, since it is the size of a tree, so I hate to kill it to make room to plant another one. My Dad -- who has about 150 avocado trees on their ranch -- thinks it is quite humorous that we won't give up on our sucker, but we aren't losing hope yet!
I really want some more fruit trees, but I don't think we have any more room.
So the parsley I planted is still not doing anything, but this little gal is coming up just fine. I also found another one in the gravel by the fire pit. Letting stuff go to seed can lead to fun garden surprises!
Other stuff I have planted so far that I will have to post pics of soon include chayotes, jalapenos and cucumber. I planted a few pumpkin seeds, but I'm losing hope that they will germinate.
How is your garden going this year? I would love to see pics -- post them on the Facebook page!
Oh -- and tips! Do you have vegan gardening tips, organic gardening tips or tips for making the most out of a juicing garden? Please share them with us!