Spring may be a ways off, but there's still plenty you can do to get ready. Here are 8 things you can do in mid-winter to make sure you're off to a fast start in spring.
Jonesy the rooster standing in an orange tree pretending he's a wild jungle chicken.
Making real ketchup is super simple and the results are delicious. Make your own once, and you may never go back to the store-bought stuff (TL/DR: Click here to skip straight to the recipe) It’s mid-winter and as usual we’re still sitting on something like 1,329 jars of preserved tomatoes from the summer. Not surprisingly, we’re always looking for new ways to use all these tomatoes before the new crop starts to come in late spring, so when we ran [keep reading...]
A while back I bought a Cherimoya (Annona cherimola) sapling from a local exotic fruit nursery. At the time, the plant guy said it probably wouldn't produce fruit because it needed some sort of month to pollinate it. Fast forward to today and the tree is doing quite well and it has lots of fruit on it (moths must be nearby). A few days ago it started dropping fruit. They're the size of softballs and quite hard. I swear I [keep reading...]
A bit of rain followed by warmer weather from what I call our "fake spring" (it always gets really warm here at the end of January, then snaps back to cold) has the vegetables in the keyhole garden growing like crazy. All the garlic is now well along and the romaine lettuce, cilantro and dill are getting close to harvest. Maybe another week or so.
Despite my best efforts to trap the little sucker, the aloe devouring gopher continues his reign of terror. I just came out into the yard to see that he's taken out the last large aloe vera in the bed. This means war.
Water can get expensive here in San Diego so I've been talking about getting a couple of rain barrels. Then my wife gave me a couple for Christmas. Nice, big 55 gallon barrel kits with all the hardware needed. All I had to do was hook them up to the rain gutter and, boom, free water. So I cleared out an area under the eaves by the back of the house and got the first barrel set up on some [keep reading...]
My Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia diversifolia) had grown tall and leggy in the shade of the trees in the upper yard over the past few months. It was basically like looking at a forest of sticks with flowers 15 feet in the air, so I whacked the plants down to a couple feet tall. Now it's like looking at a hedge row of sticks, but it'll be green and leafy again by spring. In the meantime, my wife has some nice [keep reading...]
The hot sauce has been quietly fermenting in a cool, dark area of the garage for several weeks now. It was before Christmas when I added the toasted oak staves and the last of the fresh peppers from the garden, so the bright red color is giving way to a duller brick red/orange. The peppers, which I added whole, are beginning to dissolve and fall apart, leaving a layer of pepper seeds at the bottom of the jar. A little [keep reading...]
Cool weather (frost overnight and daytime temps in the upper 50s / low 60s) has slowed, but not stopped, plant growth. Lettuces (particularly the romaine) and cilantro are doing quite well, and the garlic I planted several weeks ago has now all sprouted.