Spring in southern California and a good Harvest Monday on Wed, Feb 24 2015

I just came in from Yard Patrol–my morning rounds of my  tiny yard and garden. With a cup of coffee in hand, I walk around the garden to keep an informal eye on what is blooming, what is ripe, and what needs doing. It is magnificent out there today.

Some of the cilantro, red-oakleaf lettuce, arugula, and red mustard that I harvested this week. It all went into a salad.

Some of the cilantro, red-oakleaf lettuce, arugula, and red mustard that I harvested last week. It all went into a salad.

We had a lovely rain a couple of days ago, and things are still wet. The sky is crystalline blue, flowers and fruit trees are in exuberant bloom, and birds are singing from every tree top.

Our Katy Apricot tree has about 70 blooms on it. We got a few more hours of winter chill this week, so maybe we will get some fruit set from those blossoms.

Our Katy Apricot tree has about 70 blooms on it. We got a few more hours of winter chill this week, so maybe we will get some fruit set from those blossoms.

Our semi-dwarf May Pride Peach tree has 19 blooms on it this year. Will any of these flowers set fruit in our very low winter chill year? Too soon to tell.

Our semi-dwarf May Pride Peach tree has 19 blooms on it this year. Will any of these flowers set fruit in this very low winter chill year? Too soon to tell.

Our Valencia orange tree produced three oranges this year. One went into a Moroccan orange cake along with four eggs from our hens--delicious!

Our Valencia orange tree produced three oranges this year. One went into a Moroccan orange cake along with four eggs from our hens–delicious!

As you are probably aware, California is in a major drought. We normally get a mere 14 inches of rain a year. So far this 2014-2015 rain season–with not a lot of time left for additional rain–we have received a piddling puddle of about six inches. I save rain water in rain barrels and Rubbermaid trash barrels stationed under the eaves. You can see one rain barrel in the photo above behind the orange tree. I had already emptied three of our 11 rain barrels prior to this week’s rain. One of those barrels–the one under the downspout–is full again. The ones under the eaves with no gutters collected about eight inches of rain from a small storm that delivered less than an inch of rain. Yesterday I used all of the water in one barrel to keep my newly planted veggie bed from drying out.

I have 8 red mustard plants sprouted, all volunteers from a mesclun mix that went to seed last year.

I have 8 red mustard plants sprouted, all volunteers from a mesclun mix that went to seed last year.

I am fired up about my garden this year. I was sick a lot last year, and it only rained four inches during the entire rainy season from November to April. The birds and night critters were out of control and they got a lot of my crops–all of the apples, peas, and tomatoes. It was an abysmal year for my garden. I have higher hope for this year. Kale, arugula, collard greens, and limes are ripe and ready in abundance. All of the citrus trees and our avocado tree are bursting into bloom. Thanks to the application of bird netting to my veggie beds, two rows of peas are thriving and undamaged. And the chickens are laying again. Oh, joy.

I planted 27 garlic cloves. so far only 18 have sprouted, but  if I get even 10 bulbs of garlic out of the crop I'll be happy. I planted the bulbs way late--they should have gone into the ground in November. It remains to be seen if I will get ANY garlic bulbs. Fingers crossed.

I planted 27 garlic cloves. So far only 18 have sprouted, but if I get even 10 bulbs of garlic out of the crop I’ll be happy. I planted the bulbs way late–they should have gone into the ground in November. It remains to be seen if I will get ANY garlic bulbs. Fingers crossed.

Right now growing in the vegetable garden I have mixed beets, Scarlet Nantes Carrots, Purple-top Turnips, Komatsuna (an Asian mustard green), Red Mustard, Rainbow Chard, Red Oakleaf Lettuce, red cabbage, cauliflower, Easter Egg Radishes, 120 onions (Texas Red and Texas Sweet White), garlic, Oregon Sugar Pod Peas, Super Sugar Snap Peas, bell pepper plants that overwintered, three kinds of over-wintered kale, collard greens, and a lot of herbs (cilantro, basil, dill, rosemary, thyme, sage, mint, and one struggling parsley plant). The Mibuna (an Asian mustard green) crop was  failure. Old seeds. I think I have some Mizuna (yet another Asian mustard green) sprouted from the mesclun mix that went to seed last year. Hope so.

Onions are growing from tiny sprouts. They should be ready to harvest about July or August.

Onions are growing from tiny sprouts. They should be ready to harvest about July or August, God willing and the creek don’t rise. Ha, not much chance of my garden getting drowned out this year.

I neglected to make a post on Harvest Monday, but I did indeed have a harvest. Here it is.

Some of the kale we are harvesting: left to right, Dwarf Blue Curled, a mystery red kale from the mesclun mix, and Lacinato (Dinosaur kale).

Some of the kale we are harvesting: left to right, Dwarf Blue Curled, a mystery red kale from the mesclun mix, and Lacinato (Dinosaur kale).

HARVEST MONDAY week ending February 22, 2015

FRUIT

8 oz Lemon, Eureka

3 lbs 14 oz Limes

1 lb 7 oz Oranges, Valencia (three oranges, our entire crop!)

5 lbs 13 oz Subtotal Fruit

VEGETABLES

5.5 oz Arugula

4 oz Bell Pepper (in February!)

2 oz Green Onion

2 oz Herbs

13 oz Kale

3 oz Lettuce

1 lb 13.5 oz Subtotal Vegetables

7 lbs 13.5 oz TOTAL PRODUCE plus 12 EGGS

If you had a harvest, or want to see what others are harvesting this time of year, visit Daphne’s Dandelions. The link is on the sidebar to the right.

 

About Lou Murray, Ph.D.

I'm a professional writer/photographer, avid gardener, and active environmentalist living in southern California. I am retired from writing a weekly newspaper column on environmental topics in the Huntington Beach Independent, but I am still teaching at the Orange County Conservation Corps. This blog chronicles my efforts to live a green life growing as much food as possible for my husband and myself on a 4,500 sq ft yard that is covered mainly by house, garage, driveway, and sidewalks.
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5 Responses to Spring in southern California and a good Harvest Monday on Wed, Feb 24 2015

  1. daphnegould says:

    I hope those trees set fruit for you.

  2. Norma Chang says:

    Glad you got a bit of rain, hope more is on the way soon. Did not know you could plant Valencia orange tree in container and get fruits. You sure have a lot growing in your garden and so many varieties, good luck with all.

  3. Margaret says:

    Sounds like this year is off to a fabulous start for you. Your description of your stroll through the garden…just heaven.

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