Captain’s Log: Early November Rains Return

The rain is back! Bringing water, weeds and fungi to a parched garden. None of this is bad, it just means that tomato time is over.

I have some work cut out for me pulling plants soon.

Regardless, I’m not upset. I had a damn good year for tomatoes, and learned a few things about how they grow in my area. I’ve had years where the rain didn’t come till January or, to my deep regret, at all. Sometimes in those years I had tomatoes till December, but frankly, speaking as a Californian, I’d rather the rain. I’ve just been harvesting what’s left, ripe or not, and counting my blessings.

Some of my tomatoes have some extra fruiting bodies however.

The back to back storms in late October along with the good dump we got at the top of the month has meant that the long slumbering hyphae in some of my richer beds have finally fruited into the majesty that is mushrooms!

Really beautiful ones too- delicate and robust at the same time, with gorgeous gills and wide caps and firm stems…

I picked them all… and then put them in my green city compost can.

Folks I cannot stress this enough- if you haven’t planted the mushrooms yourselves, don’t eat them. If you have planted the mushrooms yourself, like seeding a log with shiitake spores, and they don’t look like what you planted? Don’t eat them. If the bountiful rains brings you a delectable harvest of mystery shrooms? Don’t eat them. Basically unless you are a master mycologist, are David Arora himself or have years of practical experience harvesting and identifying edible mushrooms, and maybe even then- DON’T EAT MUSHROOMS THAT POP UP AFTER A RAIN.

This has been a PSA from someone who gets intrusive thoughts and has to constantly fight the toddler urge to “eat it” when I see something food shaped. Don’t do that. Do not listen to that voice no matter how tasty looking that random red berry cluster looks in the park. It’s probably Holly or Mistletoe and you’ll end up full of regret. And amino acids that end in -toxin.

Moving on.

The other thing that I did not plant myself that’s growing like a weed, is unfortunately the weeds. Looks like weed whacking season is upon us, RIP my forearms.

Rain returning also mean I’ve gotten some good growth on my salvias. My autumn sage had to be cut back some and it’s summer growth had been a tad anemic after it flowered.

That is clearly not the problem now. It’s even throwing up some late fall flower spikes which is wonderful. If you’re lucky in San Francisco salvias can flower basically year round, just less in the colder months. I like the added color so I’ve been embracing them, and the Salvia patens in particular has not disappointed, throwing up gorgeous blue blooms despite the fact that I first planted it in October.

My newest salvia is a smaller species, a Salvia microphylla “Mesa Azure” that I potted up in the rain to ensure it would benefit from the rainfall.

I think this beauty was worth the soggy clothes.

The last big beneficiary of the wet weather has to be my wax peppers. Bought in a six pack, bought too early but planted too late, small shrubby plants that I basically refused to pull out of sheer spite…

Turns out spite gardening is the best gardening. I’ve been pulling loads of wax peppers for cooking for the last two months and the plants seem healthy enough to overwinter. I’ll probably make the winterizing process it’s own post.

They’re still a little small and shrubby, but clearly I’m doing something right!

Hey maybe next year I’ll have enough for a peck to pickle.

I’ve been working on a few things and I’m sure anyone reading this has been pulled in multiple directions like I have. It’s a little early for new years resolutions, but mine is to buckle down and blog more, if only to keep me more involved and organized in the garden. I have plans for next year, and for this year in the winter garden- and I hope to share them with you. Stay safe everyone.

Computer, end log.

5 thoughts on “Captain’s Log: Early November Rains Return

  1. The rain was RAD! Some of the neighbors were evacuated because of concern about debris flows within and downstream from the CZU Fire zone, which was not so rad. I am not aware of any problems with debris flows, even though the rain was significant.

    1. I’m lucky that even though Mission st flooded a tad I live on an incline so it all washed down the street and not into my garage. The garden though is loving it- weirdly even my cucumbers in that funky earth box which are still producing and relatively unbothered by mildew.

      1. Gee, I did not even think about that. It really is that time of year for mildew, or it has been for a while. The powdery mildew supposedly proliferates more during dry weather, but the foliage becomes more susceptible about now, so it does not really matter. I mean, the mildew proliferates either way. We are already talking about digging dahlias (which we do not ‘really’ need to do annually). They are still quite green.

          1. That is one disease that I can never make sense of. I know how it ‘should’ behave, but have occasionally made observations that are similar to yours. I think that part of it is relevant to the susceptibility of the host plants. Some plants are more susceptible to it at particular times of the year, or after particular weather patterns.

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