Thursday, February 11, 2016

Might as Well Plant

The neighborhood skunk tore up the Pond pretty badly.  The carrots and most of the lettuces survived, but the jury's still out on my seedling beets.  As long as I was going to the garden store for more beet seeds and skunk repellent, I decided to get my spring planting done.  After all, it was going to be over 80º for a week.  Yes, in February.

First up, I knew I wanted another artichoke.  This may be Artie's last year.  At the most, he has one or two more.  Since it takes an artichoke a full year to establish before it blooms, I planned ahead.  I hope I found a spot large enough for a plant nearly as tall as I am and four feet wide.  We'll find out next year.

I picked the last cherry tomatoes and pulled my miracle plant before it shriveled completely.  I was sad, but Cherry and the beefsteak out front lasted about 18 months each.  That's almost a year longer than they would have made it in most parts of the country.  It is not a good idea to plant another nightshade in the same spot for about a year.  It gives any diseases a chance to work their way out.  That cuts out tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, peppers, and probably something else I'm forgetting.  It's already too warm for peas, and I didn't feel like planting beans.  There's a ridiculous amount of lettuce growing, between the Pond and the front yard.  I noticed that I've been buying more kale than usual and decided to put in another Dwarf Kale.  I really liked the freedom to pick a few leaves at a time, and I seem to be decent at growing one.  For the pot out front, I did try to plant tomato seeds anyway.  It was too weird to think of not having any tomatoes.  It sprouted yesterday.  If it gets diseased early, I'll tear it out and put in more beets.  Let's see the skunk try to climb a two-foot pot!

Last year, I wanted to put in a blueberry bush.  They didn't have any the day I went and I ended up with a boysenberry.  That has turned out to be more of a vine than a bush, but it should produce a respectable amount of berries this year.  This time, not only did they have blueberries, I had a coupon.  It turns out that blueberries can't pollinate themselves and you should plant more than one.  I put them in the front of the house, in two places that only had low-lying succulents.  The succulents attract bees, which will help the blueberries until they become attractive in their own right.  I did plant two different varieties, Sunshine and Misty.  I gave them plenty of room to grow, since they can get well over four feet high and nearly that wide.  Sunshine will eventually cover the edge of my large kitchen window.  Misty will partially block the view of my ugly side gate that I should really fix and repaint.

I am quite aware of the extra water usage I have committed to by putting in new plants.  I'm still keeping a bucket in the shower with me to catch whatever I can.  El Niño has yet to hit Southern California.  Hopefully, it will kick in soon and do the watering for me during the crucial first month.  Once the roots establish, especially for the permanent plants, I won't need to water as often.

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