Southern California is in a record-breaking heat wave and is experiencing horrible drought with precipitation at 20% of normal. This is our rainy season, but it isn’t raining. I don’t think it has rained since early December. Temperatures in the garden are hitting mid 80s every day. This is NOT NORMAL for January, and is wreaking havoc with my orchard and vegetable garden.
By the time I got home from work today, the sun had almost gone down. I wanted to make a blog post, so I took some photos before I lost the light completely, just to show you what my January garden looks like. With record-setting heat, things have gone into bloom prematurely. And with no rain, what is blooming is wilting. I can’t seem to keep up with the watering. I am 2/3 of the way through spring planting. Here is my urban mini-farm and orchard, all on a 4500 sq ft lot with the house, 3-car garage, driveway, and sidewalks occupying most of the space.
My mini-farm boasts a “mighty flock” of five laying hens.
The garlic has sprouted. I have about 17 Sonoran garlics, about 18 Early Italian, and about 14 California Early garlics sprouted. My favorites, the Ajo Rojo, haven’t sprouted yet. Will they? Don’t know.
This little raised bed has green onions, one lone chard plant, and all of my Sonoran garlics.
I am growing four onion varieties this year: Texas Red, Texas Yellow, Texas White, and “Sweet”. We shall see if any of them make bulbs. Some years they do, and some years they don’t.
I am growing some green bunching onions in bowls. I don’t have much garden space, so I grow food wherever I can.
This is the second year that these strawberries have been in this planter box. I wonder if I should dig them up and replant them. Does anyone know?
Our Florida Prince peach tree is blooming extra early this year. The flowers opened yesterday, and are already wilting. I don’t know if I will get fruit set in this heat. It’s still early for the bees to be out.
I am growing arugula in planter boxes. We harvested the first today for a salad.
I harvested some leaves of speckled lettuce today to go into the salad as well.
I planted radish seeds in a nice regular pattern for square foot gardening, but they came up in a jumble. I’m going to try transplanting some of them to give the others more room.
I have a LOT of cilantro that seeded itself in my raised bed. Why can’t it be ready to pick when tomatoes are ripe? But no, it is all gone by summer.
But thanks to Global Weirding, I have a tomato that is ripe. In mid-January! This is a first for my garden, a winter so mild that tomatoes set fruit and ripened.
I have a few more tomatoes coming along. I just can’t believe it. This is SO early.
I have a half dozen chard plants coming along nicely, but they are not ready to harvest yet. I take only the outer leaves to keep the plants producing over a long period.
I have six collard greens plants, two of which are almost ready to provide leaves for cooking.
These Oregon Sugar Pod snow peas are the normal size for January, but the birds ate all of my Sugar Snap peas. Time to replant those.
Our navel orange crop is ready to pick, and we have been enjoying fresh oranges since the first of the year.
- It looks like the navel oranges will be huge this year. The Valencia oranges are tiny and not even close to being ripe yet.
I have a couple of Eureka lemons ready to pick and a few more ripening. I have a bumper crops of Meyer lemons and need to do something with them SOON.
Our little dwarf Valencia orange produced 7 oranges this year. The stone border around the flower bed is new. I emptied the water barrel, shown at the right, and put it up on concrete blocks to allow us to get the last of the water out more easily. This is the first time that I have used all of the water in this barrel during the rainy season. Normally it empties partially with use and fills with each new rain, empties and fills until the rainy season is over.
We have a few limes that are ripe, and many more forming. Not all of the flowers in a cluster get fertilized.
We are still harvesting ripe bell peppers. This heirloom Giant Marconi sweet pepper is about to turn red.
I am still getting Black Beauty eggplants ripening, which is pretty strange for January.
Our border of jade plants is in full bloom. Since the neighbors to the south cut down the tall cypress trees, the jades are getting more summer sun. This is their best bloom ever.
These Snowdrops are blooming a couple of weeks early.
These double paperwhite narcissus are also blooming a couple of weeks early. The single paperwhites started blooming in November, and have already finished blooming. Crazy.
These Mother-of_Thousands succulents have pretty blooms this time of year.
These tiny orchids bloom nearly year round.
Most of my Cymbidium orchids bloom in February-April, but these bloom in January. They all stay outdoors on the patio.
These artichoke plants are doing nicely and should make some artichokes in a couple of months.
Here is my next garden project–finding space to plant this grafted Asian pear, a dwarf Kieffer pear, and a dwarf Fuji apple.
I hope you enjoyed my tour of our January garden. I hope it rains soon, and I hope this heat goes away. Temps in the mid eighties are not normal for here for January.