Saturday, February 28, 2009

I Looked Out The Window & What Did I See?

Popcorn popping on the apricot tree! Spring is busting out all over the garden. The espalier trees are all performing better than expected. Buds are bursting out on all of the 6 trees (plum, peach, apple, pear, nectarine, and apricot).

We went to a store in town that specializes in lawns and lawn care. The construction in the backyard has left a pretty big bare spot that needs to be seeded. We picked perennial rye for this shady area under the Chinese Elm. Our soil is mostly clay. In fact, I believe I could mix it with grass clippings and form adobe bricks. We need to rake the area and mix in a bit of compost. Then we broadcast the seed blended especially for the San Joaquin Valley. The sales gal sold us some fertilizer to use at that point. The whole thing then gets covered with more compost. I think that some liquid gypsum should be used; but the sales gal said that wouldn't be necessary. I'll probably be back for liquid gyp this summer. The patch needs to keep moist to encourage the sprouts to grow with the oncoming warm weather. I have a bit extra seed and fertilizer to mix into the existing lawn.

I was tempted to just purchase a couple bags of the pasture blend and get a couple of pygmy goats to manicure the greens. I hope to report here on the progress of the lawn.

Friday, February 27, 2009


I have hummingbirds year round. There are feeders outside my kitchen window (makes scrubbing pots a bit more interesting), on my patio, and outside my office window. I have a butterfly bush, lilacs, and wisteria for them to get drunk on. Those are just coming into bloom. When there aren't any blooms, the feeders help keep these guys chubby. By the way, hummingbirds eat bugs too.

If you have a feeder, make sure to keep it clean. Take it down once a week to flush, clean and sterilize. I use bleach and hot, soapy water. Here's the nectar recipe:

1 part sugar
4 parts water

Bring the water to a boil. Remove from heat. Add sugar. Stir to dissolve. There's no need to add red food coloring. Clean and clear is best. Cool to room temperature. Fill feeder. Enjoy.

Monday, February 23, 2009


The radishes are breaking through. I think the peas will follow. Today started out with a gentle, soft rain. I enjoy this as much as possible because dry, hot oven-like weather is on its way. The plants thrive in this wonderful weather. Even the weeds look lovely; but they gotta go. Tumbleweeds are already propagating in abundance. I think at the time of Armageddon that not only will cockroaches survive but tumbleweeds will flourish. Until then, I'll enjoy watching my radishes grow and probably eat way too many at harvest time and get a belly ache. Keep on raining.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Spring is Busting Out!

The cyclamen are in full bloom. Today is great. It's cool and rainy. The plants love it. Blossoms are popping. I dread the summer. By the time August rolls around the plants are burned out from the heat along with this farmer.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


I'm searching for garlic to plant. Garlic and onions are essential to my kitchen. Lately, I've found the produce section carrying garlic from China! For Pete's sake. Has anyone heard of Gilroy, California?! I planted red potatoes and Yukon Gold potatoes today. I've never grown potatoes; so we'll see.
Along with that, I am rolling the dice to see if daffodils and freesias will grow even though it may be way too late to plant. I have daffodils sprouting in my kitchen window that I planted about a month ago; so we'll see.

Friday, February 20, 2009

1st Blossom

The plum tree is the first of the six espalier fruits trees to bloom. I suspect that the first to bloom will be the first to bare fruit.
If that's the case, the apricot looks like it will be next. It's bursting and should be in bloom by this weekend. The buds are plump and pink. Progress will continue to be followed here.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Citrus Inn

Two of the four citrus trees are in the ground! The Navel Orange and the Grapefruit trees were planted this weekend before the wind, rain, and hail hit. The lemon and mandarin will be planted in pots and placed on the extended patio (Whenever the extended patio is constructed!).

We're waiting for all threats of a freeze to pass before continuing on with concrete construction. I can wait. Right now, I'm enjoying the cool, wet weather.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Hi Ho the Dairy O

Let the planting begin. Today was a bright sunny day. Perfect for working in the garden. Two of the four raised beds are now planted with a wide variety of vegetables. The potatoes remain to be planted. The other two beds are reserved for summer tomatoes and peppers. These will be my salsa beds. Viva! So far, the beds are planted from seed or sets. I'll probably transplant the tomatoes.

One year I started heirloom tomatoes from seed. With tender, loving care they were nurtured into strong and lovely seedlings. The time came to transplant them into the garden. The following day the pill bugs had mowed most of them down to stubs. Devastating. If I can ever find the photo of the carnage, I'll share it here.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Great Indoors

The weather finally changed to cold and rainy. With that, I dance between the raindrops or just come inside. Today, my Red Lion Amaryllis is in full bloom in my kitchen window. Each year my brother gives one to my son for his birthday. This is blub number 22. My paperwhites were the 1st to bloom. It looks like a strong competition between another amaryllis and a hyacinth to bloom next. The daffodills will bring up the rear.

One of my favorite garden ornaments is this toad that balances on the edge of round pots.
If anyone can tell me how to format my blog so I can insert images into the text where I would like them, I would surely appreciate your advice. Thanks in advance.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Holy Cow! Can we please have winter a little bit longer? Yesterday, that rodent saw his shadow in Punksatony. I thought that meant that there would be an additional six weeks of winter. Today, it may hit 80 degrees. Anyone covered in snow and ice would gladly trade me and my whining; but we get enough hot, dry weather that I enjoy the break from sweating. Another thing to whine about is the fact that my newly planted fruit trees will be responding to the heat by producing plump buds. It will, no doubt, get cold again and I'm not sure how that will affect fruit production. Nonetheless, the almond orchards usually explode in February. I hope to get out there and take some photos. In the meantime, my linen wardrobe is on standby.
1:45pm The temperature is 81 degrees. Clear, blue skies with no rain/snow in the near forecast. We desperately need the precipitation. Check out the weather gadget on the right side of the screen to see the weather where I am.