East Side Produce

Why I keep going back to the East Side...because it's fun

Another trip to the East Side of California, a.k.a. Mammoth Lakes.

McGee Creek Garden, Crowley Lake, CA

McGee Creek Garden, Crowley Lake, CA

The last time I was in Mammoth, the garden that McGee Creek Lodge caretaker (and guitarist for the Sweetwater String Band and Bodie 601) Jeff Meadway planted was just starting to show signs of growth. When I returned last weekend, the raised bed garden had exploded to life with lettuce, onions, tomato, squash, mint and even some corn.

McGee Creek Garden Lettuce

McGee Creek Garden Lettuce

With the addition of Sierra Bounty Produce CSA, I had plenty of produce to use for our East Side Dinners (and a special staff lunch salad).

Shishito Peppers from Sierra Bounty Produce

Shishito Peppers from Sierra Bounty Produce

Dinners took the theme of Mexican food, with lots of tacos and chile verde (although side projects of kid friendly Mac N'Cheese and adult friendly seared shishito peppers are encouraged). The Mexican-American El Super Burrito made it's way on to the East Side Bake Shop menu as well, packed with meat, meat, meat...starch, starch, starch...and cheese, cheese, cheese.

Lettuce from the Garden at McGee Creek Lodge

Lettuce from the Garden at McGee Creek Lodge

Bodie 601 played on Friday night, while Fiddlin' Pete played on Saturday night for a group of dinner guests dining on the patio.

Jeff plans on expanding the garden for the 2015 growing season, basically more of everything he planted this season, with the addition of an herb garden.

McGree Creek Lodge Garden 2014

McGree Creek Lodge Garden 2014

As always, I look forward to another trip to the East Side just after the 2014 wine grape harvest.

Tomato Garden 2013: June 6 Report

First yields have come, in order, from:

Sweet 100

Lemon Boy and Druzba

The Unknown Plant. Unknown seems to be an heirloom variety because of its color and shape, red and conical.

Full View of Garden

Sun reaches my Sweet 100’s by 730am, with the patch of grass in from of it, out to the 4th row of N/S furrows also by 730am, as of June 6. If I have an opportunity to extend the garden in 2014, I would extend it to the early morning patch.

At this point, I have not added any supplement fertilizer to the tomatoes, except to the Sweet 100. As the Sweet 100 receive the most sun and first in the morning to see the sun, they are stressed because of their location, with only one furrow supplying water. I built a second, small furrow for hand watering since mid-May.  It’s bone-dry in this area of the garden, but the plant is producing.


My Peppers have also received a supplemental fertilizer treatment, same as the Sweet 100 tomatoes. They seemed undernourished to me and lacking vigor in Mid-May. They have produced two crops so far and looking healthy. The only observation here is, they could use more sun. The plant that receives sun last is the tallest and last to produce, thus, I believe, reaching to the sun for nourishment.

The Isis Candy has grown to an enormous size, both tall and wide. It impedes on every plant around it. Obviously vigorous, it is behind the other plants in terms of producing a large crop. As I recall, it produces very late in the season. Next year, Isis Candy will need to have its own stake/trellis systems and have any plant removed from its base by a minimum of 5 feet from the center in all directions. It’s growing into and on top of every other plant it’s around.

Isis Candy - taking over the area

San Diego, even though planted late, is a vigorous and healthy plant. Fruit is already present, leaves are healthy, no yellowing.

I have noticed yellowing near the base on the Italian Heirloom, Sweet 100, and Momotaro. I have resisted using any fertilizer to this point, as the plants are producing.

The Italian Heirloom has never looked vigorous, despite its size, or real green in color. Perhaps it’s the variety, it is doing its job, just doesn’t seem happy doing it. Probably misses Italy, like I do. I will honor Italian Heirloom with an exclusive all-Italian product feast as proper respect must be observed.

Italian Heirloom - Waiting to be picked

I haven’t strung up or added any stakes in the last 2 weeks. I did plenty of tying plants and stringing loose ends from overgrowth and crowding. I planted a bit wider this year, however the Druzba, Isis Candy, and Yellow Pear are all very crowded together.

Watering has been consistent at once every 7 or 8 days for 1 hour and 15 minutes per session. The hose doesn’t trickle, but doesn’t gush, let’s call it Low and Slow Watering. None of the fruit has split at the bottom, although some have large dark spots visible.

Two garden pets, birds, looking for Sweet 100 and a little worm that also happens to like my sage bush. I feed the worm to the ants. The birds, well, like Clemenza said, “you don’t have to worry about him no more”.

Garden Update

Bad news first, unfortunately, there have been a couple casualties. The Champion had the purple leaf disease and was becoming brittle and dying. The second Pineapple heirloom also died, which makes both Pineapple plants casualties for the season. Garden Peach was the last to go, it was also stricken with the purple leaf/wasting disease.

Now good news, the 6 pack of Sweet 100 on the left row and progressing better than expected. They get all early morning sunshine and a sprinkle of water from the sprinkler system 3 times a week. The sprinkle lasts 8 minutes. The sprinkler regime will change to 6 times a week for 4 minutes.

Flood irrigation once every 7-8 days for 1.25 hours has been the watering schedule for the main garden. I have not used any fertilizer on the garden since my initial manure.

Druzba has once again taken off early, already yielding as of 4/25. Yield is also present on Sweet 100, Ace and my Unknown.

The two new plants Momotaro and San Diego are progressing without issue.

I moved the Early Girl from underneath the orange tree to where the dead Champion was planted. The original location for the Early Girl is bone dry and lacking sun. Bone dry to the point that I would have to spot water the plant because it was weak.

I've used a combination of cages and stakes just as last year. The skinny cages from most garden stores are not my favorite. I've staked all my Sweet 100s and have already begun to tie lines for support. I have three wide cages in use and prefer them over the skinny tapered cylinder cages.

Have changed the drip irrigation on the buckets for the pepper plants as well. The last bucket was saturated with water and the pepper plant was waterlogged. I transported the plant into the position where the Garden Peach was. It seems to be doing fine. The pepper plants in the ground are healthy and growing nicely. The Pepper plant in the smaller clay pot is yielding the first pepper of the season. That is the only pot that has received water from the drip from day 1. It seems to drain better than the oak barrels and is at the end of the line in terms of the drip.