Mid Season Adjustments to the Team

Like a baseball team, we make adjustments to our lineup and batting order in our garden. Luckily, this year seems like it will just take a little shuffling around with our players and not a fire sale like last year's growing season.

This weekend is one of those weekends where the chores are gloriously few. Yeah, I had to mow the lawn but this sun-scorched patch of drought plagued grass does not have much left to cut.

It only took five minutes.

Time freed up, I decided to try a couple of things I've been wanting to experiment with.

First, I got a little volunteer zucchini plant that must have sprouted from one of last year's seeds.  This gives me an opportunity to move it across the path to the sunny side to see if I get more production on that side rather than the shady spot it's in now.

There it is, put in the ground. It'll now sink or swim in between our tomatoes.

Second, I have an old piece of an onion that I've been holding in the fridge for an appropriate time like today.

It's starting to sprout, so I'm putting it in the whiskey barrel to see if I can turn it into a crop.

Both plants drenched in B1 and water, it's time to let them go and see what happens.

Copyright 2015 - Darryl Musick
All Right Reserve

A Painful Crown for a King

My wife has a collection of Euphorbia, specifically, the Crown of Thorns plant.  As you can see, it really lives up to it's name.

Legend has it that this is the plant that the crown of thorns placed on Jesus' head at his crucifixion was made of.

We do have to be very careful when handling it. When pulling this palm tree seedling out of the pot, I got a little poke.

I put on some gloves, though, and got the rest.

These sentries guard our front door.

They have bright, red, spectacular flowers.

In the back, this salmon color variety lives.

The colors we have are mostly in the red range of colors but I do believe she has a yellow one somewhere.

They're very drought tolerant plants and many people confuse them with cacti but these are just very prickly, normal plants.

Copyright 2015 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Water and Food...Well, Food, Anyway

My son asked how we were supposed to reduce our water usage 25% to meet our new rationing targets. I pointed to the lawn (pictured above) and told him that was our sacrificial lamb for the drought.

A robo call from the water company informed us that we are only allowed to water two times a week now. No word on how much we can water on those days, plus my timer doesn't go on 7 day cycles so the best I can do it set is do only go off every three days. That's what I'm doing, at 25 minutes per watering.  

That cycle also waters our roses and some potted plants that are on drippers.

Since we have a drip irrigation system on the rest of our garden, we're exempt on most water laws so we can concentrate on that while the lawn slowly goes to brown.

This week is the week for feeding.  I've been using this fertilizer but it's not as good as the Schultz fertilizer I used a few years ago but it's way better than the chicken droppings I used a couple of years ago.

The tomato seems to be happy with it but as soon as it runs out, it's back to Schultz.

Copyright - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Organic Gardening on a Cloven Hoof

Branching out a bit from my little patch of paradise to about a mile away. Here, under the high voltage transmission towers of our local utility, Southern California Edison, a tree nursery has some fallow land.

Being hot and dry summer conditions here in Southern California, the brush builds up only to dry out and cause a high fire danger.

The nursery hires a local goatherd for about $3,000. He brings his flock in and dozens of hungry lawnmowers get to work.

While dry grass and brush might not be a complete, nutritional meal for the goats, they have a feeding pen (at the top of their range in the above picture) that has supplemental feed and water

It also makes quite an attraction in our neighborhood.

Copyright 2015 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Keeping up Appearances

Checking into the status of the garden. First, in this era a megadroughts, how about a look at water usage? It's raining today, that's good, but we're still under rationing.

Last month's bill was $17 and change. this compared to the same time last year when we paid, well, more (the water company's website is down and I can't look up last year's bill right now). There is also a strange credit on the bill of a couple of bucks, called the "CA: LA Payment Assistance" credit, that I don't know what it's for but in water usage, we used 6,732 gallons this May and 7,480 gallons last May.

My next door neighbor, who has a large green lawn that she only waters once a week, has a bill over $180 for the same period. Yikes!

The tomatoes are busting out all over. Many fruit on our hybrid plant and cherry tomato plant. The heirloom plant is showing lots of flowers but no fruit yet.

Our chiles are doing better this year. I used this Anaheim chile in our eggs this weekend and there's some gorgeous pasilla chiles on another plant. I'll maked stuffed peppers out of them someday.

Got six ears of corn showing so far. 

The grapes are showing slight signs of smut so I hit them with some sulfur dust on Sunday.

My wife made me take the cage off of our zucchini, now it's showing signs of animal damage and I still haven't gotten any fruit. I put the cage back on, let's see how it does.

It's June. The vendor at the farmers market who sold us the dragon fruit plants told me to cut back by a third and we should see flowers by May. I did. Got lot's of new growth but no flowers or fruit yet.

Copyright 2015 - 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...