Category Archives: gardens

The Big Wind

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This big pile of debris is part of the fence that used to be around the garden I tend.   It blew over in a huge Santa Ana wind storm a few nights ago. I’ve never seen this severity of wind in all my years here — gale force winds in the low lands and hurricane force winds at higher altitudes.

Arrangements were quickly made and a lovely new fence has already been installed.

But now we have to cut up and dispose of the debris:

Oh, and I have a lot of fence that I must paint……

Pelican1  (c) 2011

Some Thoughts About Autumn

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Yesterday I took the day off from work to pull out dying vines and plants from my garden.  My summer garden supplemented the diets of several people in three households, but now the tomato vines are spent and the squash and cucumber plants are mildewed and turning white.    (To see the progress of my garden over the past year, click HERE).  After pulling out the dead things and mixing the soil with some manure, I cleaned up, went home and continued this “weeding” by decluttering my house and getting rid of accumulated paperwork that had piled up over the last couple of months.

We all know and probably celebrate the various harvest festivals during this period, such as Thanksgiving, but autumn is more than reaping what we have sown and nurtured during the year.  Autumn is also a time of pausing and taking into account the maturity that we have achieve in all our endeavors.  It is a time to clean up and prepare for the rest and replenishment that comes from the dark time of the upcoming winter.   It is not surprising then that some cultures celebrate their New Year around this time.  This past week was Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and in a few weeks will come Halloween (Samhain), the traditional New Year observance in the Celtic tradition.   According to traditional Chinese cosmology, Spring and Summer are the “Yang” part of the year — the time of growth and fruition.  Autumn begins the part of the year which is “Yin”, a time of retreating energy and restoration.     It is a time of assessing what we have accomplished.   It is a time to breathe and acknowledge what is complete in our lives.

To commemorate this season, here is a poem I wrote a few years ago:

Spent from their fiery rampage,
Santa Anas
rest and brood,
flat-lining smoke
over the still indigo of the bay,
a remnant of their holocaust
through the hills.  Swollen

pus-yellow moon slowly sinks;
ocherous shafts of dawn light
prophesy yet another hot
October day,
while Santa Anas,
hot off the desert, wait
for the end of the day.

The devil winds herald
the arrival of the dead–
The Eve of All Hallows
The Day of All Saints
El Dia del los Muertos
From the Hebrides to New Spain
celebrations of death call

for a time of reflection,
a preparation for rebirth,
by the winds of change
that burn the chaff,
nourish the earth,
and make way
for sweet winter rain.   (LGloyd (c) 1997)

Pelican1 (c) 1997, 2011

Garden Update

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Just a garden update:  Here are a few things I picked this afternoon —  lemons, mutant radishes, green beans, sage, rosemary, thyme (no parsley yet), mint, oregano, and two kinds of basil.    My next batch of radishes is not doing well, and neither are my pepper plants…. some @#$$%%$#^# creature is eating the leaves.  On the other hand, my tomato bushes are coming up and starting to blossom,  a couple of zucchini vines are beginning to creep across the yard,  several cucumber plants  have managed not to die,  and I have a row of beets that even if the roots don’t amount to anything, the greens will be good eating.

Until next time……

Lori G. (c) 2010

Spring Planting

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Ladybug in the Parsley

It’s spring planting time, and I’m going to give this another shot.  After several months of manure and rain, plus the presence of my new best friends, the earthworms, I decided that I would plant again.

A few weeks ago I planted string beans.  As you can see below, they’ve gotten a good start.  Last week,  we sowed seeds for  radishes, beets, two kinds of squash, tomatoes, and cantaloupe.  I set out new plants of basil, lemon thyme, and Italian oregano.  The two Italian parsley plants that I put out last August are still thriving,  and this afternoon I noticed that they were nearly three feet high.   These parsleys have become the home of a number of ladybugs which, like the earthworms, tell me that life is returning to the backyard.

So in a couple of months, God willing and if the rains stay steady, I’ll be harvesting again.   If not, I’m going to toss out some grass seed and call it quits.

String beans and radish sprouts

More radish sprouts

Lori G (c) 2010

PS:  Don’t forget to go to my main blog, Into the Blue, and subscribe to that one if you haven’t already.  Thanks.

An Autumn Update

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It’s late afternoon on a Sunday and I just came home from visiting the garden.  I have a chicken roasting in the oven and I can smell the rosemary and thyme that I just picked an hour ago and stuffed along with the chicken in the roasting pan.    Later this evening, I’ll have a piece accompanied by some green beans that I plucked as well.

It all sounds very good, doesn’t it?  Well, I won’t sugar-coat things:  the great gardening experiment was not the brilliant horticultural triumph I thought it would be.

Yes, I have been successful with the herbs.  I have several packets of pesto sauce in my freezer made from sweet  basil and parsley which are growing in abundance.

My tomatoes look promising.  The bushes needed to be staked up and one of them in almost four feet high.  There are a number of green tomatoes and many blossoms.   The string beans also have many blossoms and as you can see they are starting to bear.   My hope is that the tomatoes will ripen and the beans produce before the possum gets them.  Yes, I discovered a big ol’ pile of possum poo in the garden this afternoon.  Lovely.   I better not catch the bugger in my beans or I’ll be serving him up in a stew along with the veggies!

The not-so-successful part of the endeavor:  my squash.  Sigh.  My eighteen zucchini plants– the ones I thought would take over the neighborhood– I’ve not gottten one blessed zuke from the lot of them.  The plants had some fruit forming but they turned yellow and shriveled up before they got more than a few inches long.  One friend says that the weather is too moist.  Another person said that I didn’t prepare the soil well enough.  My theory is that we don’t have bees in the neighborhood anymore that can pollinate the plants.    That’s a bit scary if that is so.

So, I have learned a lot and will learn more.  I won’t give up on this yet.  I will let everything bear as it wills and in the Spring I will condition the soil a little more and put in the plants earlier.  Hopefully, next summer will be better.

So, I’m signing off for now.  If a miracle happens and I get a sudden and amazing crop of super-zukes, I’ll let you all  know.

Until the Spring……

Lori G. (c) 2009

Garden Update

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I’ve heard a saying that one is supposed to plant rosemary by the garden gate and lavender for luck.  Well, my rosemary isn’t right next to a garden gate but it is along the driveway to a garage.  Does that count?  And I did plant the lavender purely for good luck.

After three weekends of pulling devil weeds (aptly named) and slinging steer manure (no comment, please), I’ve started planting.  I sowed a long row of Kentucky Wonder snap beans and bedded the beginnings of my Mediterranean herb garden:  Tuscan rosemary, sweet basil, Spanish lavender, and coriander.   I plan to add some thyme and parsley when I can find some plants at the nursery.

That was yesterday.  Today I mulched the herb row and then started to break the ground for my tomatoes, peppers, squash and melons.  I did not get very far with that.  The patch of ground, which is adobe clay,  has not been dug up for nearly twenty-five years and has had no water except for rain.  Consequently, it is, excuse the cliche, hard as rock.    First, I tried digging with a shovel, then with two different post-hole diggers.  I finally resorted to watering the soil until it was mud and then using a huge pick to bust up the ground.

I swear those little plantlings, all lined up and waiting to be planted,  were watching me and snickering.  Anyway, I only got the tomatoes planted before I petered out.    The rest will have to wait until next weekend.

Whose idea was this anyway?   Oh, yeah, mine.

All kidding aside, it has been a learning experience for me and I won’t regret the hard work (and the nasty blister I have on my thumb) when I bite in my first beefsteak tomato.

Until next time………..

Lori G. (c) 2009