Monday, January 29, 2007

Working between the showers

Protea 'Pink Ice'

Thank goodness it's raining a bit and the weather is warmer. It was great to be out in the garden this weekend, even if all I was doing was clearing brush and getting ready to remove the old propane tank. I've finally had a moment to take the pictures off the cameras and upload them. Life's been busy with little time left to mill about in the garden (or the web).

Saturday Precipitation: 1/2-inch
Sunday Precipitation: 1/4-inch

Monday, January 22, 2007

What a lovely weekend.

After the freezing temperatures we've been having, I was glad to see it had warmed up over the weekend. In fact Sunday was warmer outside than it was inside the house.

I actually had to water the garden, which is strange for January. We've only had 1/4 inch of rain this month and since I think we'll be having a warming trend this week, I thought I better water the beds. Fortunately, the swiss chard, red mustard, cabbages, carrots and beets sailed through the cold temperatures just fine. A couple of things froze out, like some volunteer cosmos, a nasturtium, and some of the calendula that had just sprouted. But nothing of note. My fuschia arborescens took a hard hit. But it should be back just fine. It's had quite a struggle of late, first there was the rain which caused a growth spurt. Then the wind storms came through which snapped off all the new growth. (I took the opportunity to daub them in root tone and attempt some propagation.) Now the poor thing is 3/4 frost damaged. I was planning on pruning it to be a bit bushier but I'm a bit stumped at the moment as how I should prune it now. I think it will be best to wait for a bit longer. I'll see if there's some buds next weekend.

I was able to prune the apricot and the pear. Neither were pruned very hard as the pear is nearly perfect in shape and size. I guess I should remove some of the spurs so that it will renew them. One major branch was taken out of the apricot. It's shading the center and although that branch had lots of growth from last year, I decided it is better for the overall tree to open it up. This summer I need to do a little height adjustment. I prefer to pick fruit while standing on the ground instead of on a ladder.

I also pruned out old canes from the blueberries, and cleaned up any rose bushes that I could see. I know there are 3 or 4 more to clean up. I can't wait to settle them into the perennial bed.

I'm moving the temporary beds that the tomatoes were in last year to the back of the yard. I noticed that Bambi has made a visit and nibbled some of the penstemon and sheared back one Alstromeria. I think this might be the year I add the water scare crow. I'm also trying to decide what to plant in those beds. I'm considering strawberries if I can get some quail protection. I only got one or two strawberries last year because the quail snatched them as soon as they were ripe enough. At least they ate those and left the blueberries alone. Although I think the flash tape was the only reason I was able to have a crop.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

My garden is only growing ice.

Rain water frozen in my weeding bucket.

Brr. Big Brrrrr. It's an understatement. Will someone turn the heat back on in California? I spent the weekend at Mom's (which wasn't any warmer!). Although it was a 3 day weekend, I had no real motivation to get out into the garden, it's just been too darn cold. Just to prove it, here's a picture of some of the growing ice that was in my weed bucket. That was Saturday. I was stunned to see ice had formed in so many places in the yard. We haven't ever seen this sort of weather, even last March when we had that weird ice storm that dumped snow in Santa Cruz through Rio del Mar.

You know it's cold when the Oxalis has frost damage. Too bad it doesn't kill the blasted stuff. But I'm pleased that last summer's work of mulching around the greenhouse and beds 1 and 2 has kept the weeds down. Except for the occasional rogue Oxalis, there's been nothing poking through the four pages of newspaper & 3 inches of bark on top. I'm noticing a need to add more bark here and there, but yippee, no weeds to pull so far. I hope the trend continues when the soil warms up.

Saturday I barely went out to look and see what was frost damaged. I forgot about a dendrobium in the green house and it looks terrible. What a shame. But I see no reason why it shouldn't recover. Stupid of me to forget it in there. I plucked some ripened parsley seed heads. I really want more of those plants here and there as the beneficial insects love them. Even now (when it's a tad warmer, however) they buzz all over the blossoms. The rhubarb that was looking full and perky last week is drooped over the sides of the pot now. I was wondering when it was planning on becoming dormant.

Once I got to Mom's on Sunday, there was similar damage here and there, but most things are looking okay for her. I do worry about the kaffir lily which was looking a bit sad. But I wasn't even sure it would survive in Lincoln. Time will tell. I found time to prune the cherry tree, the espalier pear and espalier apple. I still have the peach, apricots and second apple tree to prune. And I really need to treat the peach with horticultural oil. Well, I'll be back in a couple of weeks. I'll try to finish then.