This is John Kohler with!
I have another exciting garden episode for you and here we are in suburbia! And this
suburb, you can see all my neighbors, they have a nice lawn in their front yard, but
I decided to do something different, and grow some food and grow something productive with
my front yard instead of a lawn. A lawn can waste a lot of resources including pesticides,
herbicides, and chemicals, and fertilizers that just basically get run off into the gutters
which then goes into creeks, which then pollutes our environment. So instead of a having a
lawn that’s mostly ornamental, and most people don’t even use their lawns, I mean,
I rarely see any of my neighbor’s kids playing on their lawns, they’re usually playing
in the street, hitting balls and hitting my cars. But in my front yard, I decided to grow
a lot of food and today what I’m going to show you is how much food you can actually
grow in your front yard. Now we are here in February, this is my mid February garden update,
to show that you can even grow throughout the winter, here in northern California. So
we’re just going to take you by one bed at a time and kind of explain what I’m growing
and just some cools facts and their information along the way. So come along with me and we’ll
check it out. So this first one here, we have lots of things growing. On the outside you
can see we have all these flowers. Now some flowers aren’t only ornamental, such as
these, they are also edible. So this is a viola. And I love to eat the viola flowers,
you can put these on salads, on top of pies or cakes, but don’t cook them, you’re
going to mess them up. Whatever you’re going to make, make it, and then put the flowers
on last, it’s going to look really nice. In addition, this is basically, we have a
kale, collards, broccoli, red Russian kale growing in here at the top story or above
everything else, and then closer to the ground we have a lot of spinach that’s self seeded
and this is the best spinach ever. The food that you grow at your house, you control everything
that goes into your soil, hopefully you’re growing in rich compost and rock dust and
other nutrients, they’re going to add the nutrition and the trace minerals back in the
plants, and when the plants have the trace minerals they need, they’re not only going
to flourish, be healthier, but when you eat them, you’re going to be healthier, and
the side benefit is they’re going to taste really good. Mm, never tasted any spinach
better than that one. In addition, in this bed, what we didn’t plan, was this guy right
here. This is actually called the chick weed. And here’s another one that’s flowering.
These ones are just kind of coming up, literally, as weeds. For many farmers these are actually
growing as weeds, although I did see it selling at the farmer’s market today, for six dollars
a pound! So you can buy it at the farmer’s market, six dollars a pound or you can just
let them grow in your garden, and these things come up as weeds and we like to just take
them and juice them. They’re also good for eating. Another thing we have coming up in
this front bed that’s kind of overtaking the spinach here, fast grower, is the minor’s
lettuce. This is coming up so quick, and usually minor’s lettuce, it looks like a Louis pad,
but what’s really good, even beyond that, is the minor’s lettuce sprouts, which is
what I consider these guys, and once again these were also for sale at the farmer’s
market for 6 bucks a pound. So, six bucks a pound, or literally all you have to do for
this stuff, is sprinkle out the seeds and let nature do the work. These guys grow as
weeds, actually, and wild up in the hills. Really delicious flavor, especially when they’re
young. I think I’m just going to clear cut a lot of this stuff because it’s blocking
out my spinach. I’m going to show you guys how to harvest the minor’s lettuce. You
know, if you have a lot of it growing, you don’t have to be careful about each individual
plant. Of course, you know, if I was going to harvest these collard greens here, I wouldn’t
just pull the plant up and eat it, but with the minor’s lettuce since it does grow in
abundance, I’m not even that careful. So we have a whole area o fit here, just going
to go in and grab a whole bunch, uproot it, and we’ll pick off all the dirt there and
I got a whole bunch here. Pretty much the roots there that we could compost and then
mall in. Mmmmm caveman style! Oh, in another front be right over here, these beds are about
4 feet wide and 50 feet long. These guys that I’m standing in front of. We have a lot
more greens growing, so we got things like arugula, mustard greens. More lettuce. Some
chard. More chickweed. And here’s just literally, a big huge bush of arugula. This is, I don’t
even know, a couple of plants here. And if you let arugula grow, normally people harvest
it when nits really young, if you let it grow it’ll grow into this nice beautiful plant.
And the amazing thing about this plant are the flowers. And you could almost see in the
flowers are the little veins where the plant juices flow. And my favorite thing to do is
come here and just pick some of these arugula flowers and eat them. Mmm, they have a nice
barbecue like flavor. Not quite as spicy as the arugula leaves. You can harvest the arugula
leaves at any stage, when they’re young, which is probably better eaten, or even when
they’re getting older and mature, which is probably when they’re getting more hot
and spicy. I love when my plants got a flower that allows me to eat the flower, so I’m
getting the pollen, and also the unique colorings, which this is like a white with a red, which
is more antioxidants. Next, let’s walk into the garden to see what else is growing on.
So underneath the fig tree here, which is probably starting to push some buds out. It’s
been getting a little bit warmer. It’s got a little bit more whiles to go. We’ve got
a whole understory of the minor’s lettuce. And the minor’s lettuce is basically reseeds
by itself, and I’ll come in here, and actually in this area, I literally clip back, and I’ll
just harvest a whole section at a time, and it just grows back. It’s definitely a nice
winter, leafy green to eat that won’t grow in the summer time, and it does really well
underneath the tree. Basically, this is unmanaged. It grows pretty much wild now. In addition,
I got some chickweed which is invading the minor’s lettuce bed. That’s all right,
because when I see it, I’ll eat it. I don’t show it. Over here, once again, this is the
connected bed with that front bed that had that spinach as the understory. We got more
chard and flowers, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, all planted in this bed. And here’s a couple
of things we have planted in this bed, if you look very closely, we inter-planted with
onions! So I have three varieties of onions. The tags are getting worn out here. This is
the heritage white onion, these are top set onions. So I have three different varieties
of top set onions that are growing in these, are known as walking onions, or Egyptian onions,
that’ll basically, they grow top sets, they fall over, and then the top sets fall over
and they basically resprout and grow again. So they keep falling over and keep going.
So these are like a perennial onion. The funny thing is what happened with these is that
I had ordered these and I got a shipment in, and then I lost the shipment because I have
so many things coming in from my business. It was like, just put out of the way. I found
them like literally six months after they had been shipped. They are kind of looking
dried out and stuff and not so good, and I’m like, oh man this really sucks, these are
some really good quality onions that I want to plant, and actually rare. So I said, okay,
let’s plant them out, and we plant a bunch from them, and I’m happy to say I have at
least one of the three varieties. So that was one variety .over here, we have another
one that’s sprouting out too. This is actually the Egyptian walking onion, there and then
over here have our wissa onions. So these are more tops set onions coming up right there.
I always encourage you to grow things that are self perpetual, whenever possible, like
the minors lettuce over there, and hopefully the top set onions will be soon, and actually
all the spinach in the front bad, I didn’t’ even plant that stuff, it just came back.
So, something’s I’ll let go to see, drop seed, and just, let it keep coming back, and
if I had a lot of land to do this, I would just have areas that would be dedicated to
growing the same thing tear after year. And letting the plants do all the work and reproduce
crop seeds and just come up whenever they want to. My second raised bed, we put up some
trellises and we’re growing some sugar snap peas up the trellis. And what we did is on
because these trellises are not for sugar snap peas and have a wide spacing, we basically
put bamboo stake or upright on every sugar snap pea so it could climb up the pole and
grow tall. And pretty soon we’ll actually be harvesting them. In addition, in this bed,
because it is so late, it’s February, and in just a few months, we’re going to planting
out for the summer. We put some fast turn crops in. what are fast turn crops? Well,
turn crops to me are crops that you can plant and they’ll be done within 30 or 60 days.
So all the crops in here are Asian greens. Let’s see, we got some Bok Choy, some mizuna,
and actually some red Bok Choy. And different things like that, and these guys grow really
fast. They’ll grow fast and because the weather’s been nice, it’ll probably start
to flower fast, so you want to let them grow, harvest them, and pull them out and then we’ll
have this bed available for planting as soon as 2 months from now. But meanwhile, we’re
producing a lot of food in this one raised bed. This raised bed has a lot of things we’re
growing from last summer. I think we’ve got some cauliflower in here, or other kinds
of brassicas, including collard greens. And on the understory down below, we planted some
lettuce in the shade. And along the outside edge we have parsley that has been growing
since last year. On the other side of the big trellis here which we were supposed to
plant some sugar snap peas that didn’t quite happen yet. We got the celery, the root celery
that has been growing beautifully. I’ll have it upcoming episode, harvesting some
of the root celery that’s now ready to be harvested. We come out here and we do pick
the celery stalks for juicing. This is actually some really good celery although this celery
is not meant for eating, it’s meant for the roots, the greens, and the celery stalks
are actually really flavorful and delicious. On the outside once again we have more parsley
growing. So while some people consider parsley an herb, I consider it a leafy green, and
I’ll just come out here, pick a bowl of parsley, put some dressing on it, and eat
it as a salad. It’s so delicious. Then right behind me here, this is the bed that has a
full bed of strawberries, last year. And you know, that just really didn’t work for me
too much. I found that the strawberries got a lot of problems with bugs. It didn’t really
yield a lot for the space that it was in. and I’d rather grow something else. So if
I had a ton of acreage I’d probably grow more strawberries, but in a small, raised
bed situation, I’m not really going to waste the room on strawberries, I’d rather, you
know, grow something like lettuce, or something else next year. So we’ve been slowly but
surely condensing the strawberries as they don’t make it, and we’ve got them down
to like a quarter of the bed. And the rest of the bed here is going to be more productive
and we literally have this thing full of all kinds of lettuce. So pretty soon we’ll be
harvesting tons of lettuce. We did plant this out in different stages. We planted these
guys first and as you can say, they’re getting larger first. This next bed here is pretty
good, this guy, this is the Bok Choy I planted probably late summer. And it’s been growing
through the winter time and these guys are actually bolting now. You could see the Bok
Choy bolts. You might be saying, hey John, that looks just like broccoli. Well broccoli
and Bok Choy are in the same family of plants, the brassica family, and this is what’ll
happen to the Bok Choy. They make flowers. And that’s what broccoli is. Broccoli is
basically the underdeveloped or unopened flower of the broccoli plant. In this case, you know,
this is the Bok Choy plants. Well don’t’ just think that my Bok Choy is flowering,
got to pull it out. No! Here’s what you wanna do, you wanna go around here, and as
I see them, I go around here, I break off all the flowering tops. And we could cut these
up and use them in salads or juice them. Mm, or just eat them straight. They amazingly
taste like raffia for some reason. Also in this bed we put some tea post and some galvanized
fencing wire and you could see here, we have the sugar snap peas vining up the middle.
And that’s grown really well. On this backside we have lots of things growing. Once again
we’ve put another row of the Bok Choy, so this is a baby Bok Choy growing. Not quite
as mature as the old stuff. Now, if your Bok Choy, and your greens are much more tender
and smaller, I’d prefer To eat them for salads. So all of these, you’d want to pick
the smaller greens for salads. If you do get Bok Choys that are getting larger, you could
still eat them for salads, all though I prefer to eat the small stuff. But as the leaves
get larger, they also get a lot more fibrous, more tough, and usually more flavorful. So
in the case of Bok Choy and other brassicas, the taste can’t get a lot stronger. So in
that case, what I like to do with a lot of larger leaves, blend them, juice them, or
if you are into cooking, you could definitely cook them up as well. On this side, we have
a mixture, a lot of fast turn mustard greens, and actually even some beets. I see a beet
here. And these guys, once again, are some kind of an Asian green and the guys are flowering
as well. And once again just as that Bok Choy I just showed you, you could see here this
looks like a broccoli but not quite as tight of a head, and it also has got the flowers.
So yesterday I was coming here and just picking all the tops off, and all these tops went
in to dress up my salad, and also gave me some nice yellow color, and also all the pollen
in there, and pollen is high in protein. So this next bed, which we have our trellis system
on where I usually grow cucumbers every summer, which I’m probably not going to grow them
here this summer. We direct seeded some things in different areas. So in this area, we direct
seeded some radishes and actually look at this. Here’s a cute little radish here,
these are almost getting ready, I think these are some kind of breakfast radish, they’re
red, or pink on the bottom and white on the top, and you know there’s no better radish
than a radish that you’ve fresh dug. Wow, and you can’t get them this young in the
store. We did plant these a little bit close together, so now I have the joy of coming
out here and juts thinning them out and eating all of them. While most people do eat the
radishes, don’t forget that you can also consume the top. So the radish greens, they
are also edible. They can be a bit strong. They got some hairs on them, they kind of
taste like the radishes, but stronger. So I like to blend these up, or juice them up,
or also you can cook them up, if you choose. In the front here we have some watermelon
radishes and then we have different kinds of radishes. This is the French breakfast
radish that I just pulled, and some other ones that I can’t quite read the tag on,
haha. And we’ll go back to the back here, where there looks to be another pretty good
radish. Let’s go ahead pull that one up. Yeah, these guys are still a bit young to
be harvested, but this looks like a little whit e radish, and we’re going to see how
that one tastes. That’s a good flavor, actually. Radishes can be hot and spicy. I usually like
to pick out my radishes, or just eat them fresh. I think I do that in a video where
I spiralize from radishes to make a radish salad out of them. And once again, don’t
forget the greens. Now if you are new in a garden, the one thing I would encourage you
to grow, are radishes. Why? Radishes are one of the easiest things to grow. They’ll be
up and done in no time, and you’re going to be a success with growing radishes and
once you’ve got one success under your belt, keep adding successes under your belt so that
you can soon enough grow as much as I am. Next area was an area that didn’t quite
work out so well. This area was planted out along at the same time with all the other
areas and we planted many different varieties of carrots which are slow to germinate, but
also we have some problems with some slugs right now. So this area is pretty empty at
this point. You know what, in gardening, and in life, it’s all ea learning experience.
You know, you’re going to do things in life, and sometimes you’re going to do good, sometimes
you’re not, and in gardening too, you’re going to learn. So hey, maybe next time I
won’t plant carrots because they won’t really work and I’ll plant more radishes.
Over in this area, we’ve got one of the things that I love so much, called mosh, or
corn salad. Lot of corn salad over in this area, self seeded and re seeded itself, came
back on its own. This stuff is basically has the tenderness of a baby lettuce and it kind
of has an oily texture, mm, only grows in the winter time here. Won’t grow in the
summer time. And we even reseeded it right here, you could see here, I think I had an
episode where I actually bought the seeds for these guys and we did reseed. The seeds
were purchased from the seed bank, or But on the mache, I love it so much, it’s
so delicious, but it is a pain in the butt to harvest a significant amount of it. But
it’s definitely worth it. Next over in this area, we’ve got another root crop and these
are turnips. I think we’ve planted mostly hakurei turnips, nowhere near being ready
to eat yet. But these guys are actually grown, but these guys, the hakurei turnips are grown
for the white turnip, but for also the greens, are probably a delicacy somewhere in the world,
so I like to eat those and also juice them up as well. In this area is another seed that
I planted from the seed bank and I bought these in bulk, and this is actually some pepper
crest. And this thing just comes up like peppers crust sprouts, I ‘ll come out here with
a knife or scissors, and just cut off sections of it so you can see I harvested this area
in here just the other day. This is just like a breakfast one day, a breakfast smoothie,
and it grows really nice. And once again, pepper crest is another thing that you can
grow that grows really easily that’s going to yields a lot and you’re going to be really
successful at it, but you want to harvest it when it’s young, when it’s a little
bit more tender. So if I was to come into to harvest, I would just hold onto the bottom
of the plant there so I don’t uproot it, and then I just come to the top and tear it
out. Of course, it’s better to do this with scissors or a knife, but you can easily see
that we’ve got a handful of sprouts. Nothing better than fresh picked greens out of your
garden. So in my last raised bed here, we have a whole bunch of tree collard trees and
these things grow really large, and this is the same bed I that I’ve put some worm castings
in, and it looks like actually I have very few aphids or white fly problems like I had
previously, so maybe those castings worked. Down below here, you can see we have a whole
bunch of plant starts. We’ve been propagating the collards and also some walking stick kale
over yonder. This bed used to be my herb bed, and it got all overgrown so we pulled that
all out and started over. So we planted a lot of greens in here for the wintertime.
We got things like lettuce and spinach, and we’ve got some cilantro over on that side,
and we even planted some wild arugula, and this wild arugula here is different from the
standard arugula, although the taste is very similar. This guy is purported to be a perennial
in our climate here, but I haven’t found that to be the case. I have experimented with
this a few years ago and it wasn’t quite a perennial. But I have a bunch of plants
here and we’re going to see if we can keep it perennial. Basically they say once it goes
to flower, you want to keep clipping it back, and it should just continue to grow and so,
we’ll see what happens. Next over in this bed, we have some herbs planted. We got the
row ram, the haw, or the Chinese chives, and the cilantro. We also have some dill here.
And of course, the upper story here, which isn’t quite happy with the cold weather,
is the lemon verbena. In a more mild climate, this would easily grow year round. Of course,
behind me, which is the garage wall, we have some grape vines that need to really get pruned
back. Over in this bed, we have the lychee tomato, which has not made it because of the
weather. Although we got all the dried berries on there that have the seed, so we still need
to harvest the seeds from those, and I’ll probably be offering the seeds of those really
soon. Down below, once again, we’ve been propagating some of the tree collards and
more of the walking stick kale or jersey kale, also known as jersey cabbage. Next, let’s
go ahead and look at the 4 foot by 40 foot long bed on the side of the property. So in
this long bed, we have some fruit trees. I think I planted them every six feet, we’ve
got two feijoa trees, a pomegranate, a fig, and even a sweet gomi tree, and also a tea
tree. But also along the bottom we’re growing different things. Once again, here’s the
infamous chickweed. So this is the chickweed that we’ve been harvesting to juice massive
quantities and it keeps growing back really fast. It actually makes a really nice juice,
nice and mild. Over in this area once again, more greens. I think we’ve got some cauliflower
and what not growing, and here’s a lychee tomato that did survive the cold weather.
Now, why would one survive here and the other one on the other side of the yard not make
it? It’s very simple. Over in this side of the yard, we have a nice tree and the tree
acts as a protection for the lychee tomatoes so it doesn’t get too cold. So, this one
did indeed foliate and you can even see, they’re still even some fruits on here that are ripening
up. And that’s why I like the lychee tomato, because it is a little bit more frost tolerant,
although you know, if it gets too cold it won’t make it, but in a protected area,
this thing will probably continue to ripen the fruits, and continue to grow, although
I haven’t seen any flowers on it lately. Back in this area, you could see here, this
is the sweet gomi tree. Maybe that’s how they got gummy bears from the sweet gomi,
makes these small little fruits that I’ve never had any yet off my trees, but I have
had them before. And they were actually quite good. What it does produce, if it does produce,
it’s going to produce in such mass. Like all these little small fruits. So I’m waiting
for it, and because the weather’s been so nice, you could see it’s actually starting
to flower here. They’re starting to bud and flower and there’s probably one of the
first flowers opening up on my sweet gomi. Right behind it here, we’ve got these guys
growing, this is the purple tree mallow. And these have beautiful, purple flowers that
I love to eat. And also the leaves are all edible on here. One of the problems with the
purple tree mallow that we’ve been having are the rust. And what that looks like is
this. And here’s one that’s stricken with rust. So the rust is a disease that affects
the mallow and you could see it, just makes these little boils on the bottom and then
all these little spots. So that’s the bad leaf, and when I do see rust, I usually just
go and I’ll just pick al the leaves that have afflicted with rust off the plant. Because,
this will spread to the unaffected leaves. Of course, here’s a nice leaf that doesn’t
have the rust on it. And you know, the ones that are near the growth tips, those are the
ones that I’m usually harvesting and eating, not the ones with the rust. So in addition,
in this bed, what we have is, in this area we had the bronze fennel. I have a really
good episode on the bronze fennel, its describing it and its growth habits and all that stuff.
But in addition, because it was so large, dropped a lot of seeds, we had something else
that came up on its own, and that’s right down here if you look very carefully amongst
the violas, you could see maybe on the camera there’s all these little things sprouting
up, and these are all baby fennel plants. And so ca probably be a nuisance, but what
I like to do is I like to come down to the baby fennel plants and I’ll just pull them
up and guess what these are—these are what I call micro greens because they’re greens
and they’re micro, and you can eat them. And they have a mild, liquorish flavor, they’re
so delicate I would’ve never have tasted these if I didn’t grow bronze fennel, because
I just wouldn’t sprout them and eat them. But when you have so many things just growing
in mass abundance, you have the opportunity to try new things and like baby plants that
you wouldn’t normally eat. In addition, we definitely planted plenty of them up in
pots, so I have more bronze fennel plans that I know what to do with. Another plant that’s
been surviving throughout the winter in a pot. Once again, this is in a protected area,
are these younger lychee tomatoes. And you could see these guys are actually setting
the flower buds and probably going to be flowering soon, so these guys were unaffected by some
of the colder weather that took out the other larger plant. Probably my pride and joy, and
it’s also the slugs and snails pride and joy at night when they’re out eating it,
are my sugar snap peas, but some of the slugs and snails have devastated it, but I came
out here and got some revenge last night. The slugs come out at night, oh yeah. So the
slugs come out at night, and they all come out at night to literally hunt them and take
care of them where they’re at outside. And you now, once again, manual control is one
of the easy controls, I don’t’ like to lay down slug, you could make beer traps or
something. But picking them off is the surefire method that definitely works. But the reason
why this is my pride and joy is because the first sugar snap pea pod of the year is right
here, and I’m going to pick it for you guys. This is currently mid February, and mid February,
I’m eating fresh sugar snap peas. Mmm, man, that is so sweet and so delicious, pretty
soon I’ll have another crop coming in over where well be planting a whole bunch more
of these guys in the regular raised bed. In this area, which is the side of the house,
we’ve got a large trellis here, and I formally grew the chayote squash vines up here, and
it grew pretty well, but I want to grow something here that would basically grow year round
and keep its greenness, and fill in the wall because I don’t think the wall looks that
nice. So when we plant down here, are these guys, and these are some special passion fruit
vines. You can see they’ve been doing fairly well and we’ve basically been trellising
them up the trellis, and even though it has been a little bit cold this winter time, they’ve
got their greens and they’re still growing. So this is one of the most frost tolerant
varieties that actually fruits and makes an edible fruit. But, alas, I don’t know the
name, but I did get it from the California rare fruit grower’s sale. So once again,
this is just over my gas meter, and down below the gas meter we have these guys planted which
are the bloody dock or red vein sorrel, which once again are best to eat in their young
baby stage like they are right now. So we’re going to finish up right here in the herb
bed, and in this bed right here which is a literally about a foot by ten feet long, growing
lots of cilantro. Cilantro has filled in really nice, this is a shady spot, but because it’s
shady and next to the house, that also means its more protected from the cold. So it’s
not getting too cold here, but it’s not getting too much sun either. But the cilantro
seems to do really well in the winter time here. The last thing I want to share with
you guys is this guy right here, which his planted a little bit too deep, which is the
rock lettuce. So this is a special plant called rock lettuce, and it’s a perennial, edible
vegetable, and it grows basically in the crevices and cracks of cliffs by the ocean. And it’s
also edible, so I started growing it, and it’s fairly tolerant to drought, so far
and growing really well, and let me tell you man, when I eat this stuff, man this is probably
one of the best flavors in my whole garden right now, so later today Ill even pick up
more rock lettuce plants to plant. For those of you that are interested, this is the tag
for the rock lettuce, it’s called cretian rock lettuce, petromarula pinnata, and I always
like to leave the tags in the soil so I know what the plants are. So I would encourage
you to check out the rock lettuce and grow it in your area. It can be difficult to find
the starter plants and I don’t know if its prorogated by seeds or not, by the baby plant.
But nonetheless, the rock lettuce and everything else I’m growing in my garden is raised
without chemicals. And all this stuff tastes really good, and I’m so glad that I’m
able to grow all this, and also share this with you guys, and hopefully inspire you guys
to grow food in your front yard, backyard, and beyond. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this
episode, just with a little tour of my front yard garden. I’ll be sure to have upcoming
episodes teaching all kinds of aspects of gardening, no matter what I’m doing. Usually
I just—my gardening show is just filming my daily life and just an aspect of what I’m
doing in my life for gardening and growing more food and eating a healthy diet and spreading
the message to others. Once again, my name is John Kohler, with
We’ll see you next time, and keep on growing!