More rain causalities

It’s just been absolutely storming. Wind, rain, we had a hail advisory but the actual hail never materialized- thankfully.

Unfortunately there have been some casualties.

As you can see, the tomato plant is not liking how wet it’s gotten. The mystery pepper plant is also dripping and unhappy, but I still think that plant is salvageable.

I just need a couple more days for the last tomatoes to ripen- but the plant is definitely on its last legs.

I mean look at the vines just moldering away. All the umbrellas in the world couldn’t stop this.

Something is eating my Pac Choi a little bit- so I put down some sluggo. Honestly any kind of leafy cabbage is going to be nibbled a bit so it really doesn’t bother me.

What does bother me is that two of my pea seeds seem to have commutes suicide in the heavy rain.

The force of the rain has driven the seeds out of the soil. Now these are only two of about 7 seeds I planted so hopefully the others will come up- but yeah, it’s a little upsetting. I was having problems with the green onions growing funny, and enough did come up that I’m not worried, but I’m going to wait til the rain is gone before I sow more green onion seeds.

Luckily all my leafy greens don’t give a shit about the rain, and I have more arugula then I know what to do with.

(That is a lie. I know exactly what to do with arugula- shove it into my mouth with great gusto. I fucking love arugula)

Overall the herbs are liking the rain, with the exception of the potted tarragon plant which was on its way out before the downpour anyways so there’s very little I could do about that.

The purple sage looks real rough though.

I don’t think it’s going to die- it’s just waterlogged. Sage is pretty resilient as far as herbs go, the berggarten sage is just soaking up the wet. But the berggarten sage was well established, and the purple sage was new- that’s the real difference.

Luckily for me, and the continued health of my plants, after Sunday the rains should stop for a month. Gives me time to plan for spring and undo some of the damage the rains have done.

So it’s going to be a while before I can do anything out back.

It’s nice to read inside and listen to the rain though. We’ve had such a history of bad drought in California these last few years that even though this amount of rain is not great for me personally, I’m really glad we’re having this amount of rain. It’s good for the health of the state.

Even if it’s not the greatest for the health of the garden.

Captain’s log: December 21st 2018

I hope everyone is having a good solstice. This year certainly was… interesting. I have a few surprise additions for the garden coming up- but the timing isn’t right yet so it might be a week before I put them out.

But all the lovely seedlings are sprouting.

Those little green stalks are baby green onions. They took their time to sprout but I knew they’d come through. Funnily enough, either because of the torrents of rain or just the unbridled enthusiasm of onions- several of these little guys totally escaped the soil, as if they overshot in their vigor. Oh well. I sowed a ton of them, and in a month when it’s more clear who survived I can always sow more.

Now the pea seeds may in fact have been too old, as the have not sprouted which is a surprise because legumes are usually the first arrival- but the turnips have sprouted. It goes without saying I’ll have to thin them- but it’s nice to have a plant you can rely on, and you can always rely on a turnip.

Speaking of cabbages and reliability, every Pac Choi I’ve put in is thriving. Some are definitely bigger than others, but that just means I can stagger eating them. It’s always nice to have a cabbage in the back ready to pick- though if I had to guess it’ll probably be 3 weeks to a month before the largest of these is ready to harvest. Maybe a little longer.

The Swiss chard has gotten a second wind along with the spinach:

It’s amazing what a good drenching and cool weather will do for your leafy greens. Now I definitely have some work to do trimming and weeding (to say nothing of the pepper conundrum) but I think I’ll harvest some spinach this weekend and go from there.

I was worried that my various succulent pots would drown in the rain, but all seems to be well. This particular aeonium is loving it- it’s growing over the jade plant in its pot. Both are cuttings from larger plants that live in a tiny strip of dirt in front of my house- those mother plants are also loving the rain.

Reminds me I have to weed the front patch too.

Yet another of the tomatoes is becoming ripe which makes me very happy indeed.

What really makes me happy though…

Life has officially given me lemons. This tree in the back is ancient and wise and it just… is. We don’t do much with it- it needs a prune but I’m terrified I’d somehow hurt it so I just leave it alone. In return every winter and spring it gives us its bounty- oceans of lemons.

It’s officially green season in San Francisco!

Tomato renaissance

So I was resigned. Resigned to the fact that my many green sun gold tomatoes would never ripen. It’s ok! I thought to myself- I’ll just pick them all and fry them up! Fried green cherry tomatoes will be tasty right?

Well, I’m sure fried green cherry tomatoes *are* tasty. But not necessarily what I’ll be eating.

That is a cherry tomato turning ripe in fucking December. There’s another small one closer to the stems that I can’t really get a good photo of.

Holy shit.

And when you consider how many green tomatoes I have on the plant…

I’m gonna have January cherry tomatoes!

Which is insane!

God I love growing stuff in San Francisco sometimes- it’s a weird growing season(s) but it’s a good weird.

Post downpour update

Well I say “post” downpour but there’s gonna be more rain on Tuesday- so post downpour for now?

The herbs are all pretty happy, but the mitsuba is putting up these lacy little flowers that are really lovely. Again- it’s a woodland herb so it’s well adapted to heavy rain in the shade.

In good but confusing news- the downpour seems to have knocked out the mold issues in the lovage pots. I’m still gonna scoop out the top level of soil and replace it- just in case.

All of the greens are doing well

There were no more criminal footprints in the 4×4 bed but with all the rain coming and going it’s now slug season so I laid down a little sluggo. Tis the season for Gastropoda eating all your greens.

The sorrel has almost reached the plastic owl guardian. Oh dear.

You can’t eat too much sorrel, oxalic acid in the plant means too much sorrel can hurt your kidneys. So I’m about to have way too much sorrel.

Speaking of oxalic acid…

These are oxalis, an invasive weed. They also have a lot of oxalic acid- hence the name. The leaves look like clovers and they have a pretty yellow flower. They also have a crazy taproot which means pulling them without breaking the plant is really difficult. These guys were in the side of the carrot bed. It looks like my newspaper layer had a hole and these fuckers were growing almost a foot up from the ground. Lucky for me the ground was wet enough that the root slid right up.

The wet season is weed season!

I may have had to ditch the umbrella but the tomato is doing well.

SOON.

Mid-downpour update

Well it’s well and truly pouring now, at this late hour- but it was dry enough for me to take stock of the garden before it got dark today.

There has been a criminal in the 4×4 bed! Probably a cat. Always the problem with a low newly sowed raised bed- the local cat population just thinks “yay, new litter box!” Luckily there wasn’t any poop to be seen just the footsteps (and probably urine) of a local ruffian.

(Probably the cute grey ruffian that belongs to my neighbor- oh man if I wasn’t allergic she is the fluffiest… ahem.)

Luckily the soil seems loose enough that it is draining well which is great news and means I probably won’t have to re-sow the seeds I planted- and since they’re going to be nice and watered, they’ll probably come up early too.

Fingers crossed.

In other news a few days ago I picked the last of the atomic red carrots in the low green pot

They were of course delicious. This leaves me with an empty pot.

It’s about 18 inches in diameter which for a low pot gives me a fair amount of options as far as vegetables go. It was basically *just* deep enough for carrots, but barely, and since I have the dedicated carrot bed now…

Maybe a few leeks? The lowness of the pot does mean unless I put it on a platform (kinda a no go it’s a pretty heavy pot) It’s gonna have a few bug issues. The carrots had a scale insect/aphid issue exacerbated by ants- which was no biggie since carrot stems are not yummy- carrot roots are, and the bugs were ignoring the roots. I’m leaning toward leeks because like all members of the alliums, their inherent stank makes them highly bug resistant.

Also yummy. Also I’ve never grown leeks and I’d like to try!

I also have some scrap wood I could make a pot shelf out of… but that’s crazy talk, and will have to wait til I’m less busy.

The umbrella has held!

The baby tomatoes are still viable if unripe!

The beacons are lit- Gondor calls for aid!

Now onto the semi bad news

That’s mold growing on my lovage’s soil. It’s on the other one too-

I cut back the non-viable leaves to reveal the new growth and discovered more than new growth.

Well what I discovered was new growth- just not the kind of new growth I want.

See this is the problem I’m having with the lettuce- too much moisture leading to moldy stems, though in the lovage’s case the stems seem to be fine, it’s the soil. I checked all the other potted plants and they’re all fine- except for the flat leaf parsley.

Which adds a bit to the puzzle since lovage and parsley are in the same family, so that they are both getting moldy when other plants aren’t- makes me think this family of plants may just be a tad susceptible.

Nothing I can do about it now- but as soon as the rains stop I’ll take the top layer of soil and dump it- replace it- then spray it with the neem oil, which is not only a bug killer, but an anti-fungal.

Luckily the lovage plants themselves look fine, have a ton of new growth, and the scale insect issue has abated.

Which leads to the last bit of semi-bad news.

Rain means the return of grass weeds and grass like weeds. The return of oxalis and the return of clover. The return of really stubborn burrs and stinging nettles.

The return of the push mower.

*sigh*

It’s a good workout anyways.

Mixed greens bed is sowed

Did some good work today in advance of the rains- still some risk of a wash-out but I’ll take the chance.

Did the newspaper trick after clearing the old moldy fava bean dirt and the few weeds that had taken root.

Then it was just a matter of dumping a few bags of soil in, which was quite the workout!

I’m not making the same mistake I made with the moldy lettuce- I put a few good shakes of sure start fertilizer after bag of soil 2. See the weird roots of my lettuce might have been a result of not only the freak heat wave right after I planted them- but the lack of good soil microbes. Sure start fertilizer is a good way to inoculate the soil. I like to think of it as soil probiotics.

These are the Pac Choi I’m putting in, the green one is the “Joy” cultivar and the purple one is the “Rosy” cultivar.

I’ve had great luck with Pac Choi. It’s just a Asian cultivar of cabbage, but much more robust and pest resistant. Also easier to grow and the whole thing is edible. Yummy firm stems and green leaves (or purple!) make for a great side dish or stir fry. (Or salad or braised dish or…)

But I like a mixed bed- no mono cultures here!

So since I’ve been having bad luck with the Romaine plants- time to plant romaine from seed!

Two rows that will of course need to be thinned pretty heavily, but hopefully they won’t be washed out by the rains.

But that’s not all…

My dad’s favorite vegetable!

He eats so many of these I’m surprised I haven’t been growing them already!

I think I’d been laboring under the delusion that they’re hard to grow- maybe in other places, but not in our climate!

Three rows and the best thing is that you don’t need to thin them at all. Just a seed every half inch to inch and you won’t need to pull any till they’re full grown and ready to eat!

This is also one of the great advantages of growing in San Francisco as in different climates you’d never be able to grow green onions in winter but here- full speed ahead.

Anyways- it’s a pretty bed.

Romaine at the back which is the shadiest, Pac Choi in the middle, and green onions in the front to capture all the winter sun.

Of course the seeds might get borked by the upcoming torrents of rain- but I have plenty of seeds to re-sow next week in case of disaster.

That being said I am considering mulching over the seeds before the rains and then removing it after- but I haven’t made up my mind on that.

What I am is tired- this was a lot of soil to lug around on a Sunday.

Here’s a picture of some beautiful little cabbages:

God I love Pac Choi.

A vain attempt to save the tomato from the downpour (UPDATE)

I have tied an umbrella to the tomato cage.

I’m not sure this will work to save the tomato plant from drowning but I had to do something.

It is also one of the silliest thing I’ve ever done.

Bonus:

The mole pepper started falling over in the rain so I staked it up so it wasn’t listing so badly.

I’m worried that the pots are just going to get saturated- and they’re isn’t much I can do about that.

Peppers are famously resilient and famously weedy so I’m less worried about them then the tomato.

Still a little worried though.

San Francisco! Torrential downpour or drought! No in-between!

(UPDATE):

Umbrella fell over so I re-tied it to the cage and then I got ambitious and tried to tie up the fallen bits to a stake in the ground

Nothing like macgyvering in a downpour!