Spring Gardening

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We’ve been busy bees. Not so much with cooking, but working on the yard and gardening.  We were fortunate to find our dream home with a nice chunk of land last year, and while most of our focus has been inside the house, this spring we  felt the urge to make use of our land and make it fruitful.  While the goal is not to be self sufficient, we hope to grow edibles that would bring us many meals and years of enjoyment to come. We’ve never had a garden before, but we’re diving head first into it. Our plan is to have a vegetable garden mainly for heirloom tomatoes and an Asian garden as well as a Vietnamese herb garden. Scattered around the gardens we planted some tropical fruit trees as well as California natives. Want to see what it looks like? Above are tía tô (Vietnamese perilla) seedlings started from seeds from Mom’s garden back in Michigan.

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Rau răm (Vietnamese coriander top left) was rooted from supermarket clippings.  Super market clippings are a great way to start your Vietnamese herb garden on the cheap.  Kinh giới (Vietnamese balm- top right) was also rooted from grocery clippings.  Most herbs will root, choose the larger stem ones that are more mature and stick them in a cup of water near a window sill and transplant them to peat pots filled with starting mix when several roots to support the seedling.

This is the first time we’re growing blueberries  and the nickle and dime sized fruits on the O’neals are almost ripe while the smaller but more abundant Misty and Sunshine varieties are still plumping up.

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If you live in Southern California, stop by the markets in Little Saigon and they’ll sell small seedlings of ngò ôm (rice paddy herb) wrapped in plastic grocery bags. No it’s not for your carrying convenience, but how it’s grown. As the name implies, this herb grows in the rice paddies of Vietnam and love the hot and humid condition. Unless you have a greenhouse at home, you can similate a rice paddy by growing it in a large clear water dispenser container with it’s top cut off. It keeps the humidity in and also allows air to circulate.

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This is also our first time ever planting tomatoes. We purchased heirloom Paul Robeson, Carmello, Black Plum, and Isis Candy seedlings from Laurel’s Heirloom Tomatoes in the Los Angeles South Bay area.  It’s been about a month since we transplanted them into our raised bed and they’re growing vigorously, seemingly a few inches each day!

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Finally, the fruit trees. One day we hope to have our very own orchard in the backyard, but for now we’re happy with our baby fuyu persimmon (top left), longan, cherimoya, and meyer lemon as well as lychee and black miss fig tree (not pictured) haven’t died yet.

Thanks for stopping by on our garden tour! All this is possible because of Dad, who’s been staying with us has been digging, planting, performing countless other garden tasks this month. Now that the seeds are sowed we’re praying we don’t kill off all the fruit trees and vegetables. We’ll keep you updated!

 

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16 Responses to “Spring Gardening”

  1. 1

    julie — May 4, 2012 @ 5:45 am

    The garden looks beautiful! I’m salivating over all the yummy fruit trees you’ve planted.

  2. 2

    Charlie — May 4, 2012 @ 8:47 am

    Hello Hong and Kim!

    I have always had a vegetable garden until now.

    My Mama lives with me for the winter and then we go to Ontario for 6 months so

    a garden is really not feasible, at least until she feels she is ready to let go.

    I’m very interested in the way that you constructed you tomato garden.

    I would love to know more.

    Thank you for sharing
    Have a Joyful Day
    Charlie

  3. 3

    kirbie — May 4, 2012 @ 11:21 am

    What a pretty post. I’m currently house hunting, and the first thing I look for (after kitchen size) is if there is enough yard space for me to plant fruit trees. I love the picture of the blueberry plant. I saw my first live blueberry plant last weekend during the Avocado Commission Tour and was excited to recognize it in your picture.

  4. 4

    tung — May 4, 2012 @ 8:35 pm

    such a lovely garden! looking forward to the summer/fall harvest.

  5. 5

    TV Tran — May 6, 2012 @ 2:34 pm

    i love your garden! my husband and I are really bad at gardening. My dad who lovess to garden lives in VA (we currently live in TX) doesn’t live near us..so we are stuck with a huge yard and no garden. But would love to grow something in the back. I’m starting a little herb bed with “rau ram”, basil, etc. I’m interested in the blueberries! when do you start growing them and can you actually eat them? I’m doing a road trip over to CA this summer..would love to pick up some stuff for the home. which shop do you recommend? I think we’re going to the OC then down to San Diego

    • The Ravenous Couple replied: — May 9th, 2012 @ 7:59 am

      you have to get the southern highbush varieties of blueberries if you’re in the warmer climate, because it needs certain chill hours to bear fruit. Ben Thanh market on Bolsa often has lots of herb starters as well as Hoa Binh Market.

  6. 6

    Michelle @ delishiono — May 6, 2012 @ 11:09 pm

    Looks like you have a fab start to your garden! It’s been my dream to have a Vietnamese herb garden in my backyard. Do you happen to know if la lot will root? (I’ve had basil and mint root with success.) I live in the Bay Area and I’ve only ever seen it in San Jose in baggies and never as a starter :(

    • The Ravenous Couple replied: — May 9th, 2012 @ 7:56 am

      never tried la lot, b/c it comes w/ just leaves but if you can find it let us know

  7. 7

    Let Me Eat Cake — May 7, 2012 @ 10:31 am

    i’m not having as good of luck wtih my garden, my basil is growing wonderfully but my tomatoes and peppers aren’t doin as hot! i’m going to need some green thumb lessons :)

  8. 8

    CJK — May 23, 2012 @ 11:42 am

    Wondering if you’re willing to share as to where you bought your longan and lychee tree.

    Thank you!

    • The Ravenous Couple replied: — May 23rd, 2012 @ 11:46 am

      if you’re in the los angeles/orange county areas there are several nurseries such as mimosa nursery that specialize in exotic fruit. we bought ours from a specialist who grafts these trees from his home, name is Quy and number is 714-369-7058

  9. 9

    Sinh To Mit Jackfruit Shake — July 19, 2012 @ 1:17 pm

    [...] to eat light and load up on fresh fruits and vegetables. We’ve enjoying the bounties from our tomato and herb garden daily and supplement that with fruits from the market. This time of year, the Asian markets in [...]

  10. 10

    HerbLover — May 5, 2013 @ 11:54 pm

    How long did it take for your tia to to grow from seed? I’ve planted mine for almost a month and still no peep from them. Any suggestions?

    • The Ravenous Couple replied: — May 6th, 2013 @ 9:47 am

      well, unfortunately ours from seed never grew hardy enough to transplant, try rooting it next time you get a bunch from the market

  11. 11

    Anh — May 8, 2013 @ 10:19 pm

    Love the blog and all the beautiful pictures. Can you guys expand on your gardening tips :) I’m having garden envy down here in San Diego. When I put the stems in water, they tend to just rot. One time a few basil stems actually had tiny roots but the minute that I put them in soil, they died :( Never had any success rooting with tia to or kinh gioi.

    • The Ravenous Couple replied: — May 9th, 2013 @ 4:42 pm

      it’s often mixed results with rooting in water. you can try from seed http://www.evergreenseeds.com/ or stop by the the asian markets which often have seedlings for sale, esp in Little saigon.

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