Skip to main content

Winter planting in the garden

Sego's winter planting offerings
My first gardening experiences were in northeastern Oklahoma. There, the gardening season ended when the tomatoes quit producing.

By then, there was a nip in the air. The zinnias were stained brown and crispy. The nastursiums were shriveled and starting to be hidden by falling leaves. Crisp, juicy apples were filling the bins at the local grocery and it wasn't pleasant to hang around outdoors unless you were moving -- fast.
My parents not being natural gardeners, we never did much seasonal clean up either. My parents were great believers in letting the winter snows and spring rains do the work of beating down the dead stalks. Then in the spring, you could start digging and turning the old under to make room for the new.

So now, living in California where winter is a rather abstract concept, I'm totally ignorant about winter planting. I've heard of winter wheat, but have no inclination to plant Fink Farm with wheat.

Cleared for winter planting
Brussells sprouts
We got the garden cleared down to the ground and then went to Sego Nursery -- our favorite because of its huge and ancient cats and its cheerful Japanese family of owners -- I was amazed at the choices for planting.

We had selected several types of leafy greens (argula, Swiss chard and spinach). We also got some Brussels sprouts.  We selected some thyme because the last thyme we had died out in the heat and drought.  We've planted it along the garage wall where it gets more shade and is easier to water. The oregano growing nearby is thriving.

Lastly, we got a California native, some purple salvia, which attracts butterflies and will help pollenate the plants as well as giving some color without taking a lot of maintenance and water.

Popular posts from this blog

Hand-Knit Trellis Now Ready for Climbing Foot-Long Beans

Just as the "June" gloom is starting to burn off, I finished my knitted trellis for the garden.

It completely surrounds one of our bamboo tripods, with space at the bottom for tending the romaine lettuces growing within the tripod.

It's knit out of nylon twine on US 35 needles. While the nylon has no stretch (the way a wool yarn does), the huge gauge has loads of give. The piece was knit flat with ties attached along one edge.  It is tied to the tripod along one leg.

One some early samples for a knitted plant trellis, I experimented with lace patterns.  They look lovely, but I realized two things. One, once the plants grow up the trellis any knitting pattern is lost. Secondly, the plants and leaves need space to grow in and out of.

I used a pattern for a shawl: k1, yo, k2tog and then repeat. I got lost a number of times: the yarn-overs drifted over other stitches on occasion. As this was a speed project that won't be visible ones the beans grow over it, I didn't w…

My new favorite cauliflower recipe

We've had a couple of glorious weeks of sunshine that caused the cauliflowers to race right into the bolting stage. They've all been harvested and eaten.  We're just waiting for some spare time to take out the leaves and stems to make room for something new in the garden.

Karen and I have slightly different perspectives on what to plant: she likes novelty -- rainbow or watermelon radishes or purple or gold cauliflower; I'm more of a traditionalist; the novelty varieties never seem to turn out as well as the originals.

Tomato cages for determined vines

Last summer’s tumbling tower of tomatoes has made me rethink the standard tomato cage.  They are great for determinate tomatoes that grow like shrubs. They are useless for indeterminant tomatoes that spread out like a thoroughbred on the home stretch.

A search for alternatives led me to discover these ideas: