Saturday, January 25, 2014

This Date in Garden History

Iceberg Rose Shrub
On January 25, 1999, it snowed in Bakersfield, California.  Today, it did not.  Not even close.  It was74° with not a cloud in the sky following a couple of days of blowing dust.  Yuck.  This looks like it will be the forecast for a long, long time.  No rain or snow in the forecast. Because of the very warm conditions, plants that are normally dormant now have buds bursting.  The roses never really went dormant.  In fact, when I pruned some today there were new leaves busting out along with plenty of flowers.

Ebb Tide Tree Rose
I went ahead and pruned as if today was a snow day.  However, tomorrow I will fertilize.  Some experts warn against fertilizing now because there may be some colder weather ahead.  Some experts say to go ahead.  I chose to fertilize with a systemic insecticide because I have a bad feeling that this year will be a big year for pests in the garden.  I've spotted grasshoppers all through this winter.  It simply hasn't been cold enough to kill those boogers.

This year will really be a bigger challenge with the disastrous drought here in California. We all need to do our part and conserve water more than usual. It will still be more economical to grow my own vegetables and fruit rather than buy expensive produce from the grocer.  However, I plan to solarize the raised beds to burn out nematodes this summer.  If the temperatures remain this warm, I may be able to start that project much, much sooner than the recommended schedule of May - August.  Tomatoes and peppers may be grown in bags of compost this summer to support my salsa habit.

I would like to know if anyone else is noticing the difference in their garden now and if mandatory rationing is expected where you live in California.  Herds are being sold off.  Acres will be fallowed.  This truly will be the year of dust.  Hopefully there will not be a spike in Valley Fever cases.

Good luck fellow Californians, I believe the rest of the world is about to feel just how important California's San Joaquin Valley is for their food supply.


David said...

Maybelline, I fear that your thoughts of our Californian dependence for cheap food might in jeopardy are true. Our desire for out of season food any time we want it has taken a toll on the resources not only of your state but the world in general. I heard it said that it now takes more oil energy to transport the food grown to its destination than actual energy in the food. Nebraska is a state that provides food as well but in a different way. California provides fresh food. Nebraska provides corn to use in processed food. Some goes to ethanol which is another government subsidized unsustainable program. Milk here in Nebraska has jumped a dollar a gallon because of the herd reductions due to cost of feed. I suspect we may be in for some major cut backs in how we eat. It doesn't paint a very good picture of our future, does it.

Have a great solar sanitizing day.

dorothy said...

In my part of the Valley, north of you, in the Central San Joaquin, it looks as though water rationing may be required of home owners. Well, we will do what we have to do. But for farmers. it is even more dire. On the Central Coast, in Cambria, they are looking at no residential watering at all, unless with gray water. I have never seen a time like this!

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Zoomie said...

As you no doubt know, the governor has already asked for voluntary water savings of 20%, so in my household we are already saving the shower water for flushing, "if it's yellow, let it mellow," turning off the tap while tooth brushing, etc. I fully expect mandatory restrictions unless March and April deliver a deluge.

Lisa Paul said...

As you know, we are panicking in Northern California, especially in wine country. But we seem to be a lot luckier than you down south. We got the brunt of that big storm in early February and look to get another one this week. Aside from that, the SF Bay seems to influence our microclimate. We've had heavy enough dew and slight misting most mornings for the last two weeks. It never shows up on weather forecasts as rain, but it's kept the ground moist. We've heavily mulched all our plants with the brush we shredded, we've turned off all the irrigation and we're going to hope everything native survives. First and only priority for irrigation will be the grapes.