Garden Update: January and February 2016

We are having an El Niño winter this year. For us that means warm weather in the low 80’s, lots of rain, a cold snap in the 50’s to 60’s lasting a few days then more warm weather. This has confused our plants greatly and made it difficult to commit to cool or warm weather crops.

Thankfully, some plants like my poblano ancho pepper and these carrots haven’t minded a bit. The pepper has given us over a dozen nice delicious long peppers so far. Diced up, they are one of our favorite salad toppings, and sautéed in a bit of bacon grease they are sweet and savory and exploding with flavor. And I still love the deep green foliage and shiny peppers. The peppers are a bit tricky to spot though. How many do you see?

My two Celebrity tomato plants are fruiting heavily and finally turning red. See what I see?

Unfortunately the texture leaves something to be desired. Because of the fluctuations in the weather, they have a bit of a mealy texture and are cracking badly across the top. If I pull them when they are just blushing and let them turn on the windowsill the cracks aren’t as bad. Thankfully, I’ve had 10 big half pound tomatoes that are perfectly fine if you just slice the top cracked part off. I’ve used two in salads and these were turned into a chunky purée that went in the freezer for soups or chili.

I am beginning to dedicate a large percentage of my gardening space to perennial fruit crops like these blueberries. They are the Sunshine Blue variety and are supposed to have good yields on compact, self fertile plants and require few chill hours. Two were bought in flower and one was a sick little clearance plant and hasn’t flowered yet. We’ll see how they do. I planted a row of Cosmos flowers seed behind them and a row of magenta lettuce seed in front to capitalize on the space. I am also rooting this little Black Krim tomato cutting in front, and it is flourishing. I planted a couple hybrid salad cucumber seeds on either side of the blueberries and if they take off, I plan on trellising them on either side of the bed somehow. And my daffodil bulbs that were my flowers last Mother’s Day are beginning to pop up. These are the first flower bulbs I’ve grown.

We haven’t had many chill hours yet this year. The last time I looked, not long ago, I’m pretty sure we were still below 100 hours. This caused me some concern for the possibility of getting fruit from my peach tree this year, thankfully, it also relies on day length to go dormant then set flower. And setting flowers it is! Spring is coming!

And the kids are loving the perfect weather the last couple days. Bear is learning to go down the slide by himself. And the older boys love the swing!




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