Too much rain!

I hesitate to even say that. It’s too close to a jinx. After years and years of dry or barely wet winters, drought after drought, it seems… unseemly to complain about rain.

But oh god I am sick of it. It’s clear today, but it’ll start up again tomorrow, and my poor plants are getting hammered.

I’ve never grown a lemon grass plant before so I don’t know for sure- but I’m pretty sure this is not the best sign. The plant is too tall to stash in the mini-greenhouse so out it sits- getting overwatered.

The Mitsuba is yellowing a bit- which will become a recurring theme. As a woodland plant, it doesn’t mind the rain- but like a lot of the plants in the back- it needs some fertilizer. All the rain is washing away the nitrogen from the soil. So yellow plants.

Even the hardy parsley looks a little wilted. Luckily fixing a parsley plant on the fritz is pretty easy- light fertilize, cut away the yellow leaves, harvest the good leaves so new growth can form. Not sure how to do that with the lemon grass.

Honestly though? The lemon grass was planted for one reason and one reason only: it repels mosquitoes. So since I’m not really using it culinarily, if this one is just dead from rain I’ll just plant another one to ward off the wee bloodsuckers.

And maybe I’ll look up how to harvest and use fresh lemon grass because I do like the flavor.

Lemon balm is also supposed to ward off mosquitoes, and it also makes very nice tea. It seems to have developed spots on its top leaves, though the bottom growth is coming on fine. It’s a mint so my strategy is to leave it alone. Mint will figure itself out!

Mint always wins.

Ah cilantro. Also getting spotty- but the spots seems to be a cosmetic blemish as the leaves taste as good as they always do. It also needs a light fertilize like the parsley, but the center growth is pretty good so I’m not going to fiddle with it much.

The poor pepper plant looks positively pathetic. What it needs is some sun and time to dry out- what it’s getting is a deluge. The wind keeps knocking it out of its ties, so I keep having to go out and re-tie it. I was really hoping my pepper would last til summer and start growing again, but I’ll be surprised if it survives the month.

Oh well.

In better news, the bees are starting to appear! This is a bumble bee who got caught out in the rain a few days ago, poor girl, and wisely decided to take a load off under the sheltering leaf of my sorrel plant. Smart bee! Wet bee!

It’s not the first bee of 2019 but it’s the first bee I’ve been able to photograph. Gonna have to start fixing the bee house for little miss bumble’s mason cousins.

Squarely in the “loving it” category are both my new potted mints. I was worried about transplant shock but they clearly weren’t. New growth already and they smell fantastic. If only all my plants were as water loving as mint.

Finally- the last Bok Choy’s are in line to get eaten this coming week and they look amazing. A little slug eaten ok, but with this much rain it was inevitable. I have a small fabric bed coming in which I think I shall plant solely with Joi Choi- it’s a really good producer that doesn’t bolt in the heat like the purple type did. I finally figured that out- we had like two hot days in January that messed up the plants. Considering how variable San Francisco weather is, I’m not going to plant any variety that’s that sensitive to changes in temperature. But how can you learn these things except by experimenting? Lesson learned.

Here’s to March!

Captain’s log: February 1st 2019

Man it’s just been a week of nothing. Between the rain and just waiting for things to sprout I’ve been left twiddling my thumbs.

But despite that it’s been an exciting Friday.

First things first- the weird purple Rosy Bok Choy is… being a weirdo.

It’s growing a stalk and flowers. All edible of course- that’s the glory of the Brassica family of vegetables, after all Broccoli and Cauliflower are just edible flowers. It’s still really weird though! You can see in front of the Bok Choy my baby romaine lettuces are growing nice.

The leeks in a pot and green onions (the ones that came up anyways) are growing well. Even more excitingly…

Baby potatoes have begun to sprout! Only one bag so far- but we’re getting so much rain the other one will sprout soon, potatoes are a long project, I probably won’t get a single spud til at least August.

The turnips are doing great, though I noticed some yellow old leaves. I think the constant rain is washing some nutrients into the ground water, so what I did do today was give everything a very light fertilize.

The turnips are super pretty though. A few days ago I put a few more turnip seeds in the gaps, for maximum turnip. The peas never sprouted behind them. Which is ok at this point, since as soon as we have a warm spell I’m putting in the first of my pole beans.

But we had a visitor in the night!

That’s some cat prints in my arugula pot. Since there was no cat poop in the arugula pot- I don’t care if a local kitty decided to patrol. Keeps the rodents down. But there were more exciting activities in this pot:

Itty bitty baby arugula sprouts! The sassy salad mix in the pot next door has also sprouted which is grand. Weirdly the two Swiss chard pots have not sprouted yet.

Eh whenever they sprout they sprout.

I’ve got a lot of weeding ahead of me. Both mowing and hand pulling. Nothing for it!

I also have some work up here.

I’ve ordered two new 8×2 beds, for up here and over here.

Both areas need to be mowed, and the bench has to be moved. I have other work too- but this is the most pressing. All in all I have work to do.

But hey- the dill is growing spectacularly! And that’s worth enduring a deluge.

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: January 6th 2019

Rainy days make for an idle gardener.

Best to keep an eye on things though, especially since the last big rains caused some of my baby green onions to commit plant suicide. Not really sure how to stop that though.

They seem to be doing ok all things considered, even if they are a bit wonky.

The baby romaine lettuces are a bit wobbly too, too much rain probably effecting the roots a bit. Once they get bigger it’ll be less of a problem.

The ever-ripening tomato plant is showing its age but I did get some more tomatoes today.

Some of these are really only half-ripe, but the force of the rain had drove them off the plant so…

Sometimes nature picks your produce for you.

The leafy greens are all drinking it up, with the Swiss chard winning awards for beauty.

Of course so are the Pac Choi:

Cabbages and chard like the wet, unlike other plants which can get waterlogged. One of the advantages of growing cabbages in this sort of climate honestly, you don’t have to worry so much about potential disasters. Even plants that do well in our mild summers and don’t need too much heat can fail in our winters from just way too much rain.

The spinach bed still needs a good weeding, but at least the rain seems to be rejuvenating everything. If there’s a lull in the rain tomorrow I’m probably going to pick some.

Finally, the herbs seem to be doing ok, but I just love how the sage looks.

It was giving me some pause, but after a day’s soak it seems to have been revived.

Now, whether the basil or oregano will do well is a question mark, as is the fate of the tarragon.

The cilantro is thriving at least. And so is the sage.

I think the biggest chore I have to do soon is just spend several hours weeding the beds. I was on top of it, but rain doesn’t just grow your plants!

We’ll also see if the tomato plant survives this latest downpour. It looks… rough- and with over a weeks worth of rain to come, it could be that the tomato may finally have met its match.

Or I could put up the umbrella again.

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!

Winter rains bring surprises

Some more surprising then others.

Anytime everything gets watered as opposed to the targeted watering that only waters what you want watered- weeds pop up obviously, but also plants you might not expect.

For instance, in the shade herb bed we had two allium surprises.

The chives popping back up wasn’t a huge surprise, I only just ripped them out and it was such a hard job that I missed a few roots, not surprising.

What was surprising was the garlic.

I haven’t had viable garlic in this bed for months and months, but the deluge brought up two forgotten scrapes.

Cool! I like garlic greens!

I say garlic greens because it’s highly unlikely these will develop good clove structure considering that this is regrowth from a pulled out clove.

Another not really too surprising surprise is the regrowth of all the weeds in between the beds and pots, including some pretty oxalis.

Pretty- but a pest my mom is allergic to, so it’s got to go.

After tomorrow’s new rain I’m gonna have to drag out the push mower to take care of the grass and oxalis.

Oh well, it’s a good workout.

*sigh*

Damn birds! Judging by the size of the crap that’s either from the local crows or the transient sea gulls.

I like pigeons. Sea Gulls are the rats with wings.

What.

That’s mint! That’s spearmint! That’s spearmint that was never even planted in this bed, it was in the bed before this bed- I ripped it out!

My god, it’s the return of the immortal spearmint from the before times!

God damn.

First rain casualty (maybe)

Looks like the dill plant got kind of drowned. It’s leaves were all messed up and crinkly. So I cut off the bad parts so that hopefully the new growth can emerge.

Not the prettiest plant, but you can see how the new undergrowth looks at least healthier. I might give it a dose of fish emulsion tomorrow- see if that helps.

So far none of the seeds have come up, but nothing got washed away either. It’s wait and see time in the garden.