It's gardening season.
That's part of the reason I haven't been blogging. Mostly I'm just lazy, but gardening has been taking up a lot of my time and energy.
I usually plant a kitchen garden in the spring. The past two years that I planted, I lost almost everything to mildew during the ubiquitous May Grey/June Gloom that plagues my otherwise warm and sunny Zone 10 garden. I was so frustrated after the last debacle that I didn't plant a kitchen garden at all last year.
This year, I decided to try again. I reclaimed the chicken yard (alas, poor chickens, they went to the coyotes and the dog next door), cleaned it up, and planted it.
I put in a new gravel path to keep it neat, added some beds along the right side, and relocated my little apple tree from a pot by the gate to a new raised planter (made from the broken pieces of an old firepit) at the far end of the garden. I also put in a dedicated hose and added some solar pathway lights.
My new herbs seem pretty happy along the sunny wall, under the mandarin orange trees (which just provided us with a bumper crop and are absolutely covered in flowers and bees now).
The herbs used to be here, but moving them created space for these blueberry bushes, which are supposed to require minimal chill and be ideal for my climate. I'm hoping this proves to be true. The KH loves blueberries, which are currently $6.50 for 8 ounces.
This is one of two large salad beds. These beds are mostly shady, so my options are limited. I figure, we can eat as much salad as I can grow. There are also brussels sprouts and bunching onions growing here, and broccoli and garlic growing in the facing bed with more salad greens.
My apple tree seems particularly happy with its new home. Look! Apples:
But not everything is happy. My tomatoes are suffering from fungus.
Despite being planted in the best soil, with organic fertilizer, careful watering, and daily pampering, I had to remove about half the leaves from this pathetic thing today because they were covered with nasty black spots that my research tells me is "early blight."
I promised you irony, and here it is:
This tomato has been growing, blooming, and fruiting for two solid years, completely unattended in a corner of my cold, dry, north-facing dog yard. It gets no attention of any kind, and no water (unless the dogs are "watering" it). In fact, it wasn't even planted here. This is where I dumped the tomato cages after my last aborted attempt to keep the kitchen garden alive. I guess there must have been a seed or two still attached, because this tomato sprouted here, in the gravel, and has been happily growing up the unused cages every spring and summer since. In winter it goes semi-dormant, then comes back with fresh new growth in the spring and starts putting out tomatoes again. This will be its third year running, and as you can see, it is well into its spring growth cycle.
Irony. I haz it.