March 08, 2008

Spring Cleanup

I've been neglecting my gardening blog for the last few months...and frankly, neglecting my little garden. Last October, we were very close to the wildfires that burned down a great deal of Southern California and dealing with the aftermath of this natural disaster has been considerable. While we did suffer from extreme smoke for a week or two, otherwise our home is safe and for that I'm very grateful. Over 2000 homes burned to the ground all around us and the economy in our area suffered.

I left my garden on autopilot for the winter. I turned off the watering system and simply left all the plants to deal with the winter as best they could. We did get more cold temperatures this winter than usual and a considerable amount of rain. This is not as harsh as it sounds. It is what I normally do over the winter, although I try and at least clean up the beds and do what I can to help my chiles overwinter the cooler temperatures, which I simply didn't have the time to do this year.

I went out to check on my garden last week and found it covered in wandering jew vines that had snuck in through the fence from my neighbor's yard. Around half of my chile plants had died and all of the tomato plants were dried out husks. I worked on clearing the gravel paths first. Removing all the vines and the few weeds that had come up through the weed barrier and I removed a few of the dead chile plants along with the wire cages. The soil in the beds look dark and rich. I don't feel that I will need to add anything to it this year beyond a little fish emulsion. Once I get things completely cleaned up, I should be able to plant new salsa ingredients without any problem.

Meanwhile, my yards are waking up to the warmth of spring weather. The pink jasmine vines are loaded with white blooms and their scent fills my patio. The spanish lavender is starting to form heads and I suspect that I will be seeing their purple blooms within a week or two. The roses, which were pruned back to 18" of the ground in January, are now starting to spring up with new cane growth. I do not have any rose blooms as yet, but I don't expect to see any until late March or early April. I will give them a feeding soon to help them wake up from their winter dormancy.

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