Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving in the Garden


Happy Thanksgiving from my garden to yours.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

It’s Our Turn – Finally


The rain has come to the San Joaquin Valley and the snow has fallen on the Sierras and Tehachapis.  The much needed rain has washed away the cruddy air the Valley is famous for.  Pollution from the north get caught in the Valley with no escape until a nice rain clears things out.  There is a cool breeze, warm sun, and beautiful skies.  For about five months, gardeners in the Valley can enjoy bearable weather.  Dressing in layers, we can stay warm or cool; but most importantly, we will not experience swamp pants until April or May.  We have endured.  We will survive.

DSC_2148_5369 Most all of the deciduous plants are beginning to change colors in preparation for their pending dormancy.  The colder weather helps these plants produce during the growing season and any freezes can help destroy some pests.

DSC_2153_5372  The winter crops are thriving along with some of the flowers.  Today’s bounty included lavender, lettuces, radishes, beets, carrots, and onions.  The peas are blooming.  It would sure be nice to have fresh peas at the Christmas table.  The garden staff is happy.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cabbage Patch


The raised bed at the east side of the garden has been planted with all types of brassicaceae.  Just like last fall, I believe every seed that hit the dirt has germinated.  The thinned plants are transplanted into the hole of the cinder block that form the beds.  So far, most all germinated plants have survived leaving me with hopes of a winter bounty of hearty vegetables.


The cabbage patch consists of

  • Early Jersey Cabbage
  • Yellow of Parma Onions
  • Mammoth Red Rock Cabbage
  • Early Wonder Beets
  • Purple of Sicily Cauliflower
  • Flat of Italy Onions
  • Early Wonder Beets (I like beets.)
  • Waltham 29 Broccoli


Waltham 29?!  What kind of a name is that?  I can only determine that the broccoli was bred at University of Massachusetts, Waltham Field Station, Waltham, MA around 1950. Were the names 1 through 28 already taken?  I don’t know why this name was chosen and would appreciate some background.  In the meantime, I’ll continue the research.  If anyone knows OR has a creative made up story, I would be interested in reading your ideas.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Salad Bed


The salad bed is thriving.  Lettuces, onions, radishes are enjoying the cooler weather – so am I.  Everything was fertilized this past weekend.  Irrigation occurs about every other day.  It’s so nice not to have to get up at dark:30 and irrigate.  I was getting out there and misting everything around 5:30.  Now an occasional watering using the drip line does the trick.

I’m harvesting the lettuce by pulling the lowest leaves as needed and allowing the rest of the plant to remain and grow.  So far so good.  As the onions are thinned they are chopped and used like chives.  Since it freezes around here in December, this bed will be covered by a covered wagon type device with the hope that the lettuce and company will continue to provide salad throughout the winter.

A head of lettuce in the grocery store is ~$2.  A packet of seeds cost slightly more at ~$2.50.  Each packet contains ~250 seeds.  At $0.01 a head for home grown nutritious lettuce it’s well worth growing your own.  Sure there’s the costs of water, fertilizer, and the set up of your garden but the exercise, convenience, and freshness of the produce just might be…priceless.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Not a Believer


There are some unbelievable blooms blooming in the garden in mid November.  A little chrysanthemum that my mother brought to Thanksgiving dinner last year is making a comeback in 2010 with not much attention from me.  I need to reconsider this plant since it’s nice and tough – just the way I like a plant – nice and tough.

DSC_2140_5361 The peach tree is behaving as if it’s Spring.  It did this last year.  Perhaps it’s trying to convince me that global warming is real OR perhaps it’s simply a tree attempting to reproduce before it gets cold.  And it will get cold.


DSC_2141_5362 The plum tree also has a few buds.  Maybe six months from now I will be enjoying the prospect of harvesting plums for the 1st time from this tree.

DSC_2138_5359 There’s a volunteer tomato thriving in the cabbage patch.  It’s doing so well that it now has about a half dozen buds on it.  Wouldn’t that be crazy to have tomatoes in the winter?


Since global warming believers label me a “non believer”, I thought I would chart out the hottest days ever in Bakersfield since record keeping began (which ain’t very long); so how can you argue global warming or cooling?  I know.  I know.  Lake varves, tree rings, glacial markers.  I get that. The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration provided the data I plotted out.  Here’s what I found.


It seems that the hottest days on record were in the 1st half of the last century; so I threw in a trend line to show me that the trend is that the highest temperatures are cooling through time.  This is in no way a scientific study.  I was simply curious to learn if the temperatures in my area are warming.  I’ll play around with some other data to see if I get a different picture.  Either way, I still believe that humans that think they cause climate change or have the power to change climate change are souls with the best of intentions for the most part.  I could be wrong.  It’s happened before.  No kidding.  It has.

I do believe in the Monkees and so should you.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Road Trip – Kernville Natives

These images were captured above Kernville in Tulare County along the Kern River.

What are these plants?

DSC_2101_5322 A


DSC_2103_5324 B


DSC_2105_5326 C




DSC_2109_5330 E


DSC_2111_5332 F




DSC_2113_5334 H




I don’t have the answers - just the pictures.  If you know what these plants are please let me know.  If you don’t, enjoy the images of native Kern River plants.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Road Trip Kernville


Yesterday was a nice day for a road trip.  Easing out of Bakersfield on Edison Highway, we pointed east travelling through the orange groves and vineyards.  I live deep in Grapes of Wrath country and the scene may have looked similar to that Judd’s except I was travelling east rather than west in an air conditioned auto with a stereo, good tires, and plenty of gas.  Okay.  The scenery may have looked similar.  The golden hills rising up from the San Joaquin Valley up into the Sierra Nevadas were topped with a blue, blue sky.  The earlier prediction of rain didn’t look like it would pan out.


We took the Caliente Road in order to meander through cattle country on our way to Kernville for lunch.  The Cowboy Memorial is a road trip I would like to take some other time.  We needed to head through Walker Basin, up to Lake Isabella (In my opinion, it’s the ugliest lake ever.), and finally Kernville.  Yes, the Cowboy Memorial road trip will have to include a stop at the Pony Expresso Restaurant.



In Walker Basin, there were some fun remnants of Halloween (The most wonderful time of year.).  This couple may have better bones than me and Farmer MacGregor; but our car at least runs.


We made it up to Kernville for a late lunch at the Kern River Brewing Co.  (The food was alright and the service was spotty.)  The area is a spot for sportsmen – kayaking, rafting, mountain biking, hiking, fishing, hunting, etc. As we were having lunch, the storm clouds began to gather.  We took a ride up into Tulare County where I got out and hiked down to the Kern River.


I snapped a few pictures of native plants I would like help identifying.  Next post, I’ll put up the images and see if anyone can help.

There was a few claps of thunder and a few washes of rain on our way back home through the Kern River Canyon.  Once we reached the Valley floor, we headed to Dewar’s to finish off the day.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Road Trip!


Tomorrow a road trip is scheduled.  I’m hanging up the garden tools and heading up to the Sierras.  Even though California is a mess financially and politically, it’s still a beautiful place and I plan on enjoying a little bit of it.

Monday, November 1, 2010


There is red in the garden.

DSC_2340_5260Hummingbird / Bee Feeder


DSC_2365_5285Merlot Lettuce


DSC_2361_5281 Strawberries


DSC_2367_5287Cimmaron Romaine Lettuce


DSC_2369_5289 Borlotto Solista Beans


DSC_2368_5288Brune d’Hiver Lettuce


DSC_2373_5293Early Wonder Beets


DSC_2374_5294Broken bit of summer scare tape among the fall leaves.




Perhaps there will also be a lot more red throughout American gardens tomorrow.

Please vote.