Well hello there! Hello from southern California, where “winter” is more of an abstract concept than an actual reality.
Oh I kid, I kid. Even here in SoCal we get to experience four distinct seasons. But our variation is much less variable, I guess you could say, and there’s never a time when the garden completely shuts down. So, I thought it might be fun to do a little guided tour of what’s going on, right now, during the “dead of winter” . . . and keeping in mind that it was 65 degrees yesterday. Brrrrr icy.
Right now California is in the middle of a horrible, multi-year drought. Last winter was abysmally dry, but this year has been a bit better. Better as in wetter. And this past weekend, we even had a little rain storm pass through (thank goodness!)
So on Sunday, during a break in the downpour, I scurried outside to capture a few photos from around my yard and garden. Here’s what it looks like, right now: a happy mix of fruit, flowers, fresh veggies, and in-progress preparation for the coming spring.Wine box brassicas! In summer these boxes held my tomatoes and peppers – now they’re home to broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts. ♥
Wee little orange cauliflower.
A budding broccoli.
And of course, curly kale!
My main flower bed is getting the over-winter treatment: buckwheat cover crop (sparse and gone to flower, by now) and a thick layer of hay. Not the prettiest, but it’ll make for some super duper soil, come spring.
My orange tree *finally* got pruned this fall, and it’s soooo much happier now!
They make the best juice.
I spotted this errant tray on my potting table, with this eager little seed already sprouting – left over from last season, I guess. Go seed go!
Harley would like to know what we’re doing outside, and why is it wet, and can haz cuddles now?
Aloe vera plants flower in winter, and they grow like weeds around here.
They’re so cool looking!
But the yellow ones – quite rare and just now beginning to bloom – are my favorite.
The other (new for this coming spring!) flower bed, over-wintering under organic vegan fertilizer and lots of hay. (okay, and some weeds)
My artichoke is loving the cooler weather and all the rain.
I’m also growing a number of potted herbs, like this rosemary which is currently flowering. Petite periwinkle rosemary flowers are the cutest!
And this silly basil, which was stunted all summer, and I basically totally forgot about it. Until recently, when out of curiosity I went to go check on it, and whattaya know? It’s taking off! Not enough for a batch of pesto like I’d hoped, but great for sauces, salad rolls, and herby dressings!
I’m growing lots of parsley, in various pots and wine boxes around the yard. I don’t like to eat parsley, but I LOVE to juice it.
And look what else I found! I’d been leaving my pepper garden alone, allowing it to die back naturally (okay, that’s a fancy way of saying school started back up and LA LA LA LA I was ignoring it), but I was poking around this weekend and found a teeny tiny Tabasco pepper.
Actually, upon further investigation, I found a number of straggler peppers: the Tabasco pepper, a Hungarian Purple Pepper, and a Poblano chili. None of these are very plump, and I probably won’t eat them. But I’ll dry them out and save the seeds to plant next season!
And that’s about it for me and my winter garden. So what about you? What’s growing right now, where you live? Anything at all? Under cloche or in greenhouse? Indoors only?
I’d love to hear from everyone out there – it’s so fun to compare the experiences of people across the country, as well as around the world. Icy cold in the northern hemisphere, sunny bright in the southern. Let’s share our gardens!
I’ll leave you with some of the absolutely beautiful bougainvillea, which basically blankets all of Santa Barbara (seriously, it’s everywhere). I remember growing up here and taking it all for granted, thinking that bougainvillea was so boring, so common. Like a magenta weed.
Of course, I was crazy! It’s an incredible plant, sprawling and vining with parchment paper buds perched in clusters like origami on the branches. And I love this stuff, now.
I’ll never take it for granted again.
♥ ♥ ♥