With finals over at one school and midterms over at another, I finally found a few hours to get out into the garden the last couple of days. Between December and now, I’ve been swamped with work and barely even looked at the backyard; crabgrass, bindweed, dandelions, and other nameless weeds had a field day, so I had (and still have) lots of cleanup to get to. My fall-winter composting project went fairly well. Back in September-October, I made 3 huge piles of coffee grounds and brown matter (leaves and branches). They started out about 3 feet high, and by this weekend, they had shrunk to about 1/4 that size. I removed any larger branches and spread out the remaining composted material – nice black soil with some bits of leaves and branches. Over the winter, other areas were covered completely in straw. I watered a grand total of zero times over the winter, but the soil beneath the straw was nicely moist, not dry as one would expect with Northern California’s pathetic amount of winter rainfall. I am trying not to till too much, but I did take my small rake and move the straw/leaves around a bit to smooth out the planting areas. Some plants are flowering nicely:
Akebono (Flowering Japanese Cherry Tree)
Calendula (Pot Marigold)
About a week ago, I received the following from my sister and knew I had to get them into the ground.
- 3 tomatoes – Moonglow, John Baer, German Pink
- 5 peppers – 3 Bulgarian Carrots, 1 Hungarian Yellow, 1 Early Jalapeno
- 6 basils
She started them from seed, raising them under her grow-lights. So yesterday, I put 2 tomatoes, 4 peppers and 4 basils in one of my raised beds. One tomato, one pepper, and two basils went into one of the larger areas of the garden.
Notice the flowers growing around the edges of the bed. Except for the calendula in the upper-left corner of the picture, all the flowers on the edges of the bed came up from seed over the winter. The one with orange flowers is the California native poppy. The other one I like to call the “Dr. Seuss” flower due to its strange “Dr. Seuss-ey” like appearance, as Maya (5) says. It was part of a mixture of wildflower seeds for my sister’s baby shower a couple years ago. I planted wildflowers in pots in a couple beds, let them go to seed, and this is the result. In a few weeks, they should develop some purple and blue flowers that will hopefully help with bee activity.
This coming week, I hope to get some more vegetables into the ground, and I will try to keep this blog up-to-date. Happy spring!