Monday, January 7, 2013

Quesada Gardens network produces food

Tai Trang is part of the Quesada Garden project that Carla Eagleton leads on the median strip near 3rd Street.  He and his partner Mark live on the block.  Tai is experienced with gardening and landscaping, as well as animal husbandry and bee-keeping.  Congratulations, Tai, and thank you for all your work.  RIP to the three hens!
by Tai Trang
Tai prunes a Quesada palm.
I’m maintaining just two beehives and four chickens.  The rest is ornamental trees and shrubs.  We collected three 5-gallon buckets, or about 120 pounds of honey, and 20 dozen eggs.  Our three laying hens were attacked by a raccoon, so we started with new chicks in May.  One of them started to lay eggs about 4 weeks ago.
Chickens are messy, and will eat everything in your garden. So beware. Bees take less time and have a much much higher return for the effort.  We planted a lemon tree and kumquat tree, and are looking forward to their fruit.
I planted some egg plants and tomatoes in the center strip area in the late July.  But it was a bit late in the season, and so didn’’t produce much. I think the soil needs to be amended, and may put down some fava bean as a winter cover crop, and harvest the greens and pods in the spring.

Norita “Mama Rita” Collins has been a project leader coordinator for Quesada Gardens Initiative, and is a leader at QGI’s Latona Community Garden Project, helping bring that project back to bloom after the first project leaders moved out of town.  Rita also tends a garden she installed at the Bayview YMCA.  She and her husband, Juster, are both gardening and landscaping professionals. Congratulations, Rita, on a great year, that darn Oxalis notwithstanding!
by Norita Collins
Norita "Mama Rita" Collins with Jacob at Latona
My garden is only producing collard green and kale, which are pretty bare right now because I picked them for the holiday meal.  My YMCA garden is producing broccoli, cabbage and greens.  We must have produced about 16 pounds of food in the Latona Garden, including green beans, corn, tomatoes, cucumbers and basil.
At present, the Latona garden needs some work for dealing with the Oxalis weed.
Mike Aisenfeld and his partner Char have a Baybloom Backyard Garden, part of the Quesada Gardens Initiatives network of projects.  Mike responded to the call for updates about what worked well, what didn’t, and about how much bounty was harvested.  Congratulations, Mike and Char, on what sounds like a good year of food production, the Shiso notwithstanding!

by Mike Aisenfeld

Mike chats it up at Your Cabana
In February, we planted about 6-8 lettuce and wild arugula plants which produced through the summer.  In total we produced about 3 pounds of lettuce and made many a salad!

We also planted Baby Bok Choy in the winter which produced 6 healthy heads. The Swiss chard produced from winter to spring too and produced another 2 pounds of leafy goodness.

In the early spring we planted broccoli, yellow squash and zuchini, 2 tomato plants, 2 pepper plants and a Shiso plant. Our Heirloom Purple Broccoli produces "crowns" that are rather small, but it is still producing almost 1 year later!  We used the leaves extensively in stir fries all year, and probably got 3-4 lbs worth of crowns and usable leaves.

The zucchini and yellow squash produced about 12 pounds in total.  We had a lot of problems with blossom rot and compensated by adding calcium to the soil.

Our Stupice tomato plant did REALLY well.  It produced about 10 pounds over the season of these small heirloom tomatoes that do good in cooler climates.  The yellow cherry tomatoes we planted grew like mad, but didn't taste as sweet as the Stupice.  I'd say we used about 5 pounds from that plant.
We grew a small red hot pepper and a medium sized purple pepper (Black Hungarian).  Both of these did really well up on the deck where they got lots of sun.  Hot peppers don't weigh much, but I'd say we got about a pound or two over the season.

The shiso died.

The Heirloom Purple Broccoli and Stupice tomatoes were our favorites this last year.

Char made preserved lemons from the tree this year too, which turned out great.

The McClure's are project leaders of the award-winning Bridgeview Community Teaching and Learning Garden, an established community garden located just above the Quesada Garden at the intersection of Bridgeview and Newhall. Congratulations, Joel and Mary, on yet another great year!
Mary and Joel enjoy another great year at Bridgeview.

by Mary and Joel McClure

Most of our production happened from March through November. The year-round plants this past here included lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, strawberries, limes, lemons, mint and herbs. We did plant more of the lettuce, spinach & broccoli this fall. Our most successful crops this year were apples, strawberries, tomatoes and swiss chard.

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