You might think that this is the time of year that the garden is napping. Not producing. That's sort of what I thought might happen. Not so, my friends. Things are really getting fun out in those garden beds! I spent some time winterizing my little patch of earth and I wanted to share the progress with you.
Since we had 70+ degree weather here this weekend (in December!!!), my plants have been getting a little confused. My strawberry plants started flowering, which means they are preparing to bear fruit, but I don't want that to happen yet! It's sure to freeze here before winter is said and done, and I don't want my poor little strawberries to give up all their energy into a lost cause. I called Pike's and they told me to prune back the delicate little ballet-pink flowers. But I thought I would snap a shot for you before I had to end things :)
Aww that strawberry flower is seriously the sweetest.
Unfortunately, both varieties of lettuce (Galactic - the purple above, and Romaine - the green above) bolted from all this hot-cold weather. What is bolting? Well, it's pretty obvious when you look at them. They shoot up tall reeeeeeally fast, and then the unfortunate flower comes up from the top. In most plants, you want to see the flower, but with lettuce, that means, as my master gardener friend Dana puts it, "It's time to throw a wake, because that plant's life is over." Basically, the lettuce turns bitter and stops producing new leaves. See this little flower?
It means it's OVER. Pull it up. Till the ground. Start fresh. Sad day.
But also happy! Because I planted some peas and beets and loooooooook!
And beet babies:
Just some tender little chutes. So cute. I might have planted the peas a little too close together because they will eventually get vine-y, but see, I have this problem with spatial reasoning. I just want to maximize my earth as much as possible and smash all my plants together so they just hug and love each other. But. I don't think I'm supposed to. I'm hoping that the fact that both of these varieties are supposed to thrive through the winter will sort of cancel out the fact that everything is planted in pretty tight quarters. I'm smiling right about now. Because I just re-read that sentence.
Another thing that's supposed to rock in the winter is kale, and I am growing two types:
Red Russian Kale: (hahah it's mis-marked in my garden. I had to google it to figure out why my blue kale was coming up red - because it's not blue kale!!)
and my Blue Dwarf Kale:
I feel pretty proud of these plants, because I grew all of them from seeds. Some of the others in my garden I bought as little plants, but I grew the kale from scratch all by myself. Heart swell.
I tried to pull up my carrots for Thanksgiving, but they just aren't ready yet! Look at these cutie tops. I can just see Bugs Bunny snapping a long bite with his toothy chompers :)
The Most Improved Player award goes to the cauliflower. Yes, the cauliflower. Remember when the #*%$ caterpillars decimated my cauliflower plants and left nothing to salvage? Well, slowly but surely, ONE of those plants has been resurrected to life. It's trying so hard to live, you guys. This plant is a fighter. Check it out:
See that little white cauliflower head tucked inside? I'm super curious to see how this is going to go.
I might have made a rash mistake with my radishes. I'm growing two types. See, a while ago, when I planted the radish seeds, only a few actually grew. And out of those few seedlings nothing actually produced the vegetable. Such a disappointment. So I threw a TON more seed out and tried again. This time, a flabbergasting amount of seedlings emerged, and instead of thinning them out (which is what you're supposed to do), I just wanted to see all of them grow. To make up for the ones that never grew. Welllllll. Now there is an enormous mess of radish tops and I have no idea how to distinguish one radish from the next. Oops. Overcompensation problems over here. Rookie mistake.
It's also very possible that no vegetable will be produced out of this either, because the probably don't have enough room under the earth to grow. I feel like I am learning so much about life from this little garden experiment of mine. Plants need room to grow! People need room to grow! And time! And love and care and nurturing! See. I bet you're pretty dumbfounded by those insights right about now.
Okay, it's fine if you're not. I'm alone in my dumbfoundedness. Typical.
Let's ooh and ahh.
Oh, my Japanese Maple. This shot was taken before Thanksgiving and it has since forfeited all it's lovely leaves. I love you, Maple. I luh you.
I'll leave you with one last plant that was a total surprise. A camellia! These bushes are awesome because they are evergreen throughout the entire year, and they actually produce gorgeous lush flowers in the winter. We all need some flowers in the winter, right?? This bush was a head scratcher for me, because since we moved in I wasn't sure what it actually was. I'm sure glad I didn't rip is up with some of the others! I definitely had some boughts of crazy where I went outside and tore up a ton of bushes to make way for this little garden of mine. Stevie was NOT happy. But this one, this escaped my manic episode.
To winterize the entire garden, I trimmed some unruly weeds, plucked out all the ragged leaves that had fallen into the beds and laid down some fresh black mulch. Mmm I love some black mulch. It's so striking. When it gets to be later in the winter season, it will be time to seriously prune a lot of the plants and bushes for the spring. And probably feed them something organic. I don't really know. My google searches are so dorky, "How to make hydrangeas pretty" and "I didn't thin my radishes and now they are crazy??" It's just one big experiment, friends.
If you have garden advice, can you tell that I need some? Talk to me!