Christmas Color

A little seasonal color for you...these are the chiles that we picked up off of the ground yesterday that had fallen off of the plants. Hope you all have a good Christmas and New Year and may your garden be productive.


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Taking Our Garden to the Edge

Seventeen years ago, upon buying our fixer-upper house, one of my early projects was carving out a bulb garden in the front yard. I dug up a wedge of grass and installed that wooden berm you see above.  Over the years, the bulb garden evolved into a rose garden (much less work for much more beauty).  Looks pretty good, doesn't it?

Well, upon closer inspection, you can see that seventeen years has not been so kind to my little wooden berm. It's rotting away and falling apart.  I need to replace it.

I don't want to just put wood back in. I'm looking for something a little more durable, easy to work with, provides a better barrier against the grass, and...since I am who I

My son and I went to our local Lowe's and perused the garden section for solutions.  It seemed like this pound-in plastic barrier was our best shot.

If you're going to tackle this project, I also recommend these two tools. 

A rubber mallet...

...and a medium pry bar. I really like the Stanley Wonderbar and use on just about every project I have, gardening or home repair.

To start, you want to have damp ground that's soft. Water ahead of time...I'm doing this after three days of rain so I don't have to water in.

I used the pry bar to remove the wood.  Some of it was pretty deep, deeper than I remember putting it but the pry bar pulled it all right up.

Next, get my barrier together. It comes in three-foot sections and they connect via a tongue and groove at the end of each piece.

Put a piece in place, hammer it in with the mallet. Connect the next piece and hammer it in. Continue until done.

In about 45 minutes, I'm done and the new barrier is in place.  I think another project will be to get some small river rock and cover up the barrier.

Now, what to do with all that left over wood?

I think I have a use for it. Cheers!

Copyright 2012 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved.

Changing of the Guard in Southern California

The last two plants to bloom for 2012... an orange begonia and our Christmas cactus which, of course, blooms at this time each year.

While Mrs. Cheapskate inspects the chile peppers, let's see what the garden has for us this weekend.

These chiles are almost black but should soon turn red.

The lavender makes an end-of-the-year stand.

And, finally, our phaleanopsis is showing signs of cold shock so we'll move it inside for the winter.

After our super short Southern California winter, we'll put it back outside, probably sometime in February.  Not much to do in the garden right now...I have a repair to make on our wooden berm that protects the front yard rose garden, then in about a month, it'll be time to prune the roses.

Copyright 2012 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

The Dog Days of Winter

Winter? In Southern California? I know, what an oxymoron, but we did have 6 days straight of rain last weekend. It kept me out of the garden, for the most part.

Looking forward to better weather this weekend but gardening duties are light.  I do have to mow my semi-dormant lawn...the bane of my gardening existence. I'd get rid of it if my local city's codes would let me but they don't.

At least at this time of the year, it barely grows so I only have to mow it about every 5 weeks.  Gotta work on the dandelions and morning glory that keep popping up though.

In the meantime, enjoy the last flowering plant to bloom for the season.  It's always last but not least, that nice begonia you see at the top of this post.

Copyright 2012 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved.

Thinking of Gardening on a Rainy Day

It never rains in Southern California, a big 70's rock song says, so I don't know what this wet stuff is falling on my head.  I kid...but we've got a 6-day stretch of rain this weekend that's keeping me from the garden.

In between squalls, I was able to go out and take a picture of our fabulous fall rose bloom in the front yard garden against the Christmas decorations at the top. Below is another, more rose centric, picture of the same spot.

In other news, I was able to start harvesting our winter fruit from our tiny little citrus grove (three trees).

Across the top of the bowl, from left to right, a cara cara navel orange, a tangelo, and a Meyer lemon. Cut open in front is another cara cara, displaying the very tasty red flesh it's famous for.

Copyright 2012 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved.

DINNER TIME! Dutch Oven Beef Stew

It can still get a little chilly at night here in Northern California. A hearty stew is just the thing to take the chill off. This reci...