Haven’t been doing much with plants this winter, but I have been painting them – at left is the painting I gave my mother for Hanukkah/Christmas.
I am really looking forward to spring! It is a ways off yet, but I have big plans for January and February and then will be starting some veggie seedlings as early as March.
What’s in store? We are building a retaining wall to add in a large raised bed against the back fence – it is going to be enough space for several espaliered fruit trees and lots of vegetables.
This weekend was an online-ordering frenzy after I saw some of the trees that I wanted becoming sold out on several sites. For the front yard I have purchased these additional trees:
- Minnie Royal Dwarf Sweet CherryÂ (low chill)
- Royal Lee Dwarf Sweet CherryÂ (low chill)
- Aromatnaya Fruiting Quince
- Potomac Pawpaw and Wabash Pawpaw
Woohooo! I would have purchased these front yard fruit trees last year, but with all the trees I was already ordering it was way too much money. This year it was also a lot of money (ouch, my wallet!), but I decided it was time to finish off the front yard investment and get these trees in this year. The sooner they are in then the sooner they will be producing fruit! Once these trees are in then I’ll be able to make some headway on planning and installing some kind of drip irrigation system for the entire front yard.
I am also dreaming of planting tons of new vegetables this year. I’ll be re-using many seeds from last year (same spinach, onions, leeks, chard, eggplant, beets, peas, bok choy, and salad greens). I am also getting a ton of new seeds to expand the variety that I am growing, and to try out some tasty new varieties.
Last year my carrots were pretty, but lack-luster in flavor (I got aÂ kaleidoscopeÂ carrot mix) – this year I am focusing on flavor and getting one called Sugarsnax Carrot.
I didn’t try growing any corn last year, but my parents raved about an amazing new triplesweet hybrid corn Honey SelectÂ that they tried, so this year I am going to give it a try as well by growing it in a single row along my back fence.
My tomatoes last year were delicious, but reading through the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed catalog left me with no choice but to buy some additional varieties, since they all sound so darn amazing. The two I selected were Black Cherry Tomato and Delicious. Really it was the glowing customer reviews that sold me on these two particular varieties. I hope they are tasty!
Some other items I am particularly excited to try are several items in the cucurbit family. I have never grown any melon varieties before (growing up in Washington, the season there is much too short to even attempt), but now that I live in California I am going to try Vedrantais Melon – doesn’t the description sound great?
For cucumbers I was thrilled to find a powdery mildew resistant variety called Picklebush. In the bay area you are basically guaranteed that your squash plants will be in a constant and eventually-fatal battle with powdery mildew, and I had read in the Golden Gate Gardening book that there were some great resistant winter squash varieties available. I had a really hard time finding any for sale! I read through this powdery mildew resistant winter squash trial research projectÂ before deciding what to buy, but then I kept looking up each resistant kind at my regular seed sites and none were available.
Finally I found a random vendor (who I have never heard of – I hope they are legit!) and bought the Bugle Butternut Winter Squash. I have high hopes that the resistant varieties will fare much better in my garden.
Now that all of the seed and tree buying excitement is out of the way, it is time for me to buckle down and finish building out this retaining wall and then make a drip irrigation map to plan out how I am going to do drip irrigation in the front and back yard. I’ll hopefully post about that soon with some diagrams. So complicated!
To the left is a photo of a quick set-up of the stones to test and see how they would look in place (then we took them down and did the actual careful leveling and are in-process on installation…)