Garden Report: February 13

Yesterday we took a little trip to San Mateo to what was billed as the Bay Area's largest home show, at the San Mateo Expo Center. It was disappointing. Mostly full of vendors selling things only marginally related to the home (yes, people who live in homes enjoy jerky, but a large booth devoted to the stuff seems out of place). A real disappointment.

Today I worked outside all day. The first thing I did was move the spoils pile back from my nice trench. Some of it will wash into the trench when it rains this week, but that's not too much shoveling to fix and seems less prone to disaster (disaster, I should note, which will happen with me off geeking out this next week) than any other option.

I started my day of work by getting a little fire going in the fire pit. Just as I got the bed of coals good and hot and was working my way through a somewhat-green pile of pruned branches making an enormous cloud of steam, we had a bit of a catastrophic failure.

The fire pit seems to have rusted out

It was quite dramatic, with the fire falling through the pan and all. Good thing we practise safe burning and keep the fire pit in a defensible spot. Time to start designing a more permanent fire pit, I guess.

Old garden spot cleared out

My main push today was to get the old garden cleared out and the wall units taken down to be reused for this year's tomatoes. It was a bit of a slog at points, but by the time the sun started getting to the horizon we'd removed the stakes, walls, and irrigation, and Noel mowed over the top to chop down the weeds.

That's where our future pond will be.

Potatoes removed from the garden

Part of clearing the old garden out was removing the potatoes still lurking there. I am undecided on the idea of growing potatoes at home; it still feels really expensive and not very worthwhile considering the number and quality of potatoes we get from the farm box. I had heavy losses from something that ate the potatoes underground. And it took up a lot of room. I'm considering trying growing them in grow-sacks or some other container thing.

Camelia in bloom

It's late winter here, and the winter flowers are in full swing. My weeping camelia near the driveway is looking particularly lovely. It's so easy to forget how pretty and startlingly bright pink the flowers are all year long, until winter happens and it blooms again. Of course, the foliage is really stunning, too, and stays that way year round.

Lapeirousia oreogena thinks it's next year

This crazy weather seems to have stunned my little potted Lapeirousia oreogena into blooming again. It's supposed to bloom every other year, but this is two in a row for this plant. It's really pretty and I am NOT complaining.

Pluto budding out

Last year I planted some plums and a pluot by the front walk. Two of the plums died -- oddly during the fall. The pluot is going strong though, and is budding out already. It's the weather: whereas it's cold and snowy in other parts of the country, it has been unseasonably warm here (by which I mean in the high seventies Fahrenheit last week) alternating with regular winter weather, which is kind of messing with the plants.

Magnolia in bloom

Normally, the magnolia blooms in March. Not this year. (Large pile of dirt artfully cropped out of the image.)

Willow in bud

Actually, I'm not sure when the variegated willow usually buds out, but I recall it being later last year. Let's just hope the nectarines hold off on bud break until after the rain next week is over so I can spray them another time.

Lemon blossoms

Finally, we have a ton of blossoms on both lemon trees. Looks like a good year for lemons, assuming some of them turn into lemons. Not that we ever have a shortage of lemons, given that just about everybody we know has at least one lemon tree in their yard (this is California, after all).

posted by ayse on 02/13/11


It's interesting that growing your own potatoes is expensive. Let us know if you decide to do one of those containers and if it helps.

I'm so jealous that you have plants blooming. Anything left outside here (up north) would die in an instant.

The expense of growing potatoes for me was a) low yield, and b) cost of seed potatoes (you can't just use grocery store potatoes). I ended up with not very many potatoes that were edible because of the predation losses.

As for blooming plants now, I'm jealous of extra-sweet apples and a wide choice of lilacs in places where you get a real winter freeze. And I have to weed year round. We all have our crosses to bear.

I use organic potatoes to start instead of buying seed potatoes. The organic ones aren't treated to not sprout. Then I leave some in the ground from year to year for next year's crop.

Organic grocery store potatoes can still infect your garden with disease. I'd be willing to not be able to plant potatoes for 7-10 years, but no tomatoes in the garden for that long would be a real hardship.

I think the garden is looking great - quite a dig out in the front. Not garden related, but we DO have the kiln and parts. Let's coordinate! Garden related, agree, a good garden year - citrus has been really good as of late!

Thanks, Debra. We keep stopping by your house when you guys are out. It was getting kind of funny.

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