February 26, 2006

Winter Harvests

At this time of year, I normally do not have peppers in my garden. The earth is fallow, allowing all the winter rains and sun to aid it in its rest. Due to the atypical warm temperatures this year, I still have peppers ripening in my plot. I harvested two red bells that I will use in our meals this coming week. The plant itself is not looking that great so I am considering on pulling it later this week when I do my general weeding and maintenance of the bed.

I am wondering if I'll have the time to put in that second layer of bricks in my raised bed this spring as I had planned. I was hoping to give my peppers a bit more root space and to allow for more sturdy plant supports. Now that our rains have arrived, I have less time to spend in my gardens. Demands of work are keeping me inside my art studio as well.

I also harvested a lemon from my citrus tree in the backyard. Our little eureka lemon is putting out many flowers and new green lemons and several of the larger fruits have started to ripen. This one will go on top of our salmon fillet tonight.

February 24, 2006

Treasures from the Nursery

The sun was shining and the birds were singing. I felt the call of the garden and ended up gardening for most of the day. Due to the heavy rains last week, all the soil was loose and I was able to dig easily. So I moved two of my semi-dormant roses into better positions in my backyard. I had two lavender roses side by side, now one of them is next to a red rose. I also moved one rose over by a foot and this created a planting space for the rose I moved across the yard. I have spaces for three new roses this year and I managed to find three bareroot roses at the nurserys this afternoon...not an easy feat for this time of year. They are all in cardboard pots waiting to be placed in the earth.

I picked up another pink jasmine vine at the nursery today and planted it beside the trellis that I had placed next to the a/c unit last summer. As the vine grows and fills in on the iron trellis, it will create a natural living wall and block my view of the a/c unit. I want to put in another of those trellis on the other side and put in another pink jasmine. The jasmine blooms when my roses are dormant, which gives my garden a little brightness and scent during these winter days.

While at the nursery, I also picked up a few new herbs for my patio herb garden. Lemon Thyme, French Thyme, Chervil, Marjarom and Garlic Chives. They should fill one of my patio pots and it will go next to my kitchen door as usual. I have missed having fresh herbs for my kitchen, so I'm greatly looking forward to having my little patio herb garden back.

I still have peppers growing in my raised beds, amazingly enough. Two red beauty bells are ripe and ready for harvest and I still have more habaneros, piquins and tepins ripening. I believe that I will keep a few of them in pots for next year, but if I have the time next week, I will clear out my plot and start getting it ready for spring planting. There will be no pepper plants available for at least another month, but when the time comes, I want things to be ready.

February 08, 2006


A wildfire broke out near my home and is still burning around 5 to 10 miles away. The air has been filled with smoke and your eyes burn if you go outside for any length of time. The light has a strange red cast to it, as if the entire day is that moment at sunset when the sky changes color. I've been worried for my home, but it seems that the wind has shifted and the wildfire is now headed away from where I live. The 1500 people that were evacuated from their homes have now returned. We are safe this time. Wildfires are a norm here in California, but usually they don't break out near my house!

All my roses have been pruned back to give them a dormant period. Most of my chiles are removed from their beds, except for a few that I have chosen to overwinter. There is a little color from the chinese flowering maples that I have planted, but for the most part, things are very brown and colorless.