welcome to the organic green doctor blog

i am a family physician who was diagnosed with
early mild cognitive impairment(mci) amnestic type on december 21, 2010
this is a precursor to alzheimers disease
because of this diagnosis i have opted to stop practicing medicine
this blog will be about my journey with this disease
please feel free to follow me along this path
i will continue blogging on organic gardening, green living,
solar power, rainwater collection, and healthy living
i will blog on these plus other things noted to be interesting

Thursday, May 5, 2022

garden news-harvesting time


this is a pile of pine straw that was dumped across the street from our garden
i used pine straw a lot when i gardened in texas to mulch the garden beds to either keep them warmer in the winter or keep them cooler in the hot texas sun
in central texas there arent many pine trees so i would buy bundles like hay bale size of pine straw from the garden centers
sometimes i ordered it online and it would come in small round bales

here in santa barbara there are certain streets that have pine trees or other similar trees that loose their needles of pine straw especially with the heavy winds we get sometimes
i go and scoop up bags of it off the streets the next day
it happens only seasonally though when the tree is loosing its needles

lucky for me this year this pile appeared across the street

in my garden i use the pine straw
to mulch the raised garden beds this time of year to hold in moisture in the soil especially now that we are in a drought
to mulch the ground under my tomatoes to keep any splatter of the soil when i water my tomatoes onto my plants which can lead to viral and fungal infections
to put a barrier between the soil and my strawberries which helps keep the pill bugs and their buddies from chopping on the strawberries
the looseness of the pine straw allows water through but shades the soil
the pine straw adds some acidity to the soil as it breaks down
tomatoes and peppers love the acidity since our soils are alkaline
to mulch my walkaways between my raised garden beds 

these are our 300+ onions i planted after thanksgiving
i ordered these from dixondale farms
we have been harvesting them for about 3 weeks for our weekly donations
you can harvest them anytime you want to if they will be used as green onions

these now are reaching the stages where some are trying to go to seed
some are falling over
when this happens we pull them and lay them on their side in the garden to cure for a couple of weeks
so far all have gotten donated before cured since they will be used in a few days 
also the water was turned off once the onions starting falling over 
this helps to prevent the onion from rotting

usually if they will be stored you pull them when ready and leave them to cure in the sun for two weeks or so
then you cut the stalks off when they are all dried 
i use to put my onions in pantyhose and tie a knot between each one 
then i would hang them in our garage or barn until we needed them
they would last for months

now what i do with mine is i harvest them when they all fall over 
chop them up in a blender
store them in freezer bags to be used in soups stews cooking etc 
they will usually last until after christmas when we run out of onions

these are about 200+ leeks that we are now harvesting each week
we got these plants from dixondale farms
we planted them after the new years
we leave them in the ground until they are donated 
they start to go to seed
we pull them and donate them

in my garden i harvest them all at once
trim off most of the green stalks
cut them up and store them in freezer bags for use in cooking
i am just now finishing up last years crop thats in our freezer

these are our garlic that we recently harvested
we planted about 100 in november
we obtained the garlic from a local nursery island seeds
these italian red garlic have done well here the last 3 years

the water was turned off as the garlic stared to brown to keep the bulbs from rotting
the plants were pulled this week and will be left lying outside in the sun for a couple of weeks to dry
the bulbs will be trimmed off
they will be donated to the organic soup kitchen and to other places we donate our crops

today we will reprep this bed with our homemade compost and some organic fertilizer
we will plant along the fencing in the row
green malibar spinach 
red malabar spinach
supposedly the green version is better tasting but i cant tell the difference
these will be donated starting in a few weeks and until the late fall
i brought the original red malibar spinach from texas
i bought the mother plant about 15 years ago at the natural gardener in austin
its the plant that keeps on giving

a few years ago when the spinach was all quarantined because of contamination we had so much malibar spinach growing that we donated a lot to friends who couldnt find spinach anywhere

we use the small leaves in our salads
we use the big leaves in soups and stews and stir fries
we also freeze the large leaves in freezer bags to be used in soups and stews and other dishes

this is our row of zucchini squash and yellow squash
we have over 30 plants in the row
last week we donated about 25 lbs to our lucky recipients
we will harvest that much today to donate again

we also planted some tatume squash and trumpeta squash to donate
the tatume squash is from central america and mexico
its small fruit looks like a pear shaped zucchini
its larger fruit turns orangish green and can be used like a winter squash

the trumpeta squash looks like a large trumpet 
it has a flavor like a zucchini squash

these two squashes need a trellis or a lot of room to grow on the ground

so this is the first crops this spring we have harvested since i took over planning the garden
all these plants we grow except the onions and garlic and leeks we planted ourselves from seed in our greenhouse

so far
our garden looks luscious and has reached the most production ive seen since i have been gardening here

i love harvest time
its worth all the work
its worth all the smile on folks faces when they get these fresh organic veggies

try gardening yourself and giving some of the produce away

the organicgreen doctor


  1. Diane Hubnik NewMay 6, 2022 at 8:49 PM

    Love reading your gardening blog. We have a small garden here in Texas. Thinking about getting a greenhouse this year. This would be my first greenhouse. I started tomatoe plants under a grow light this year. I gave them all away except two.

    1. thanks for reading my blog
      i only started planting my tomatoes from seed five years ago
      it seems the tomatoes grow better if you start them yourself
      good luck with the greenhouse