Garden Report: November 3

Welcome to winter, California. On Thursday the sky lowered and it began raining, and it basically rained or threatened rain until Sunday morning. We got about five inches of water in the garden between Noel emptying the dog pool Thursday night and the rain basically stopping on Sunday. That's a substantial rain, especially after an exceptionally dry year.

The garden is loving it to death.

The last of the year's fruits, the passionfruit, are finally starting to turn colours. These are dark purple when ripe, so we'll see if they make it before the temperature turns.

Passionfruit ripening

Although I guess you could count our annual saffron harvest, as well. Saffron crocus grow well in this Mediterranean climate, and we get about six fronds every year, which is, well, about equal to our annual use of saffron. Not a huge money savings, but an interesting plant to grow.

Saffron crocus

Not everything cared for the rain. This is my big patch of Walhenbergia, due to be severely thinned this winter when I plant an apricot tree in this location (actually, it will be transplanted to other parts of the garden). It was flattened by the rain and was pretty unhappy all day. Usually it is teeming with bees of all sorts (I've counted 16 different bees on it at peak, and I'm no bee identifying expert). Today it was sulking and hardly opened a bloom for the bees that came by for a snack.

Wahlenbergia smushed over

The major benefit of going away on vacation is that the dogs went off to Dog Camp, so the tomatoes had a week and a half of unmolested time to grow. They are covered in new green tomatoes and blooms, so we may get another harvest in. Unlike last year, we've had really limited tomato success this year because of dog-related losses, so I'm psyched for another round of tomatoes.

Tomatoes going mad

We are also getting some zucchetta, finally. We lost some of those to the dogs as well (yes, we've already had the discussion of how to better secure the crops next year) (there've also been some intemperate things said to dogs about tin snips and paws, but that's best left unsaid here). I can't tell you how bad it made me feel that we had failed to be able to grow a zucchini relative, but it looks like we're in the clear.

Zucchetta

All the rain has made for a nice moist, snail-filled garden, so the other day I let Joan and Carole help me clean the Fern Walk while Liza was busy laying her egg. They did yeoman work, but there's a lot of edibles in there for two chickens to manage. And a lot of weeds for me to pull as soon as the ground dries out a bit more.

Chickens cleaning up in the Fern Walk

I bought tons and tons of tulips in the Netherlands, plus some amaryllis (which we can plant outside in this climate), so I'm going to have a lot of planting to do when they finish chilling (we have to chill tulips for 8-12 weeks in the refrigerator because it doesn't get cold enough for them to bloom naturally here). But it should be a colourful spring.

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posted by ayse on 11/03/08

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