Winter in Southern California

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It is not uncommon to hear, especially from folks who have moved here from other parts of the country, that Southern California has no winter. People laugh at us when we pull out our knitted caps when the thermometer dips to 60 degrees. And we definitely don’t know how to drive in the rain (I will give them that). But, as someone who was born and raised in Southern California, and maybe more so as a gardener, I would say, “Yes, indeed, California has a winter!” It is subtle and beautiful.

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What Happens In January

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I used to start my tomatoes in late January or early February. Then I met someone who told me they started their tomatoes the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Ever since, I have been starting my tomatoes the first week of January for nice, good sized plants to transplant come March. IMG_5768

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My New Favorite Squash

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Last spring I picked up two Cinderella Pumpkin seedlings at one of RIPE’s monthly garden swaps we hold in our local park. I didn’t know anything about the squash except that the pumpkins resembled the pumpkin used to make Cinderella’s magical carriage. I thought they were of the decorative sort.

I planted them in a corner of my community garden plot, made sure they had water, and largely ignored them for a few months. Continue reading

There is Something About Beans

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Late one afternoon I finally got to picking the dried black beans. As soon as I reached up to remove the first pods my daughter squealed and asked, “Are these different ones!? Don’t tell me what they look like!” She ran off holding a single dried pod like it was a present all wrapped up in pretty paper. Continue reading

When Tomatoes Take Over the Counter

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Those of you who grow several tomato plants every summer will be no stranger to the image below. It is that time of year in the northern hemisphere when the tomatoes keep coming, and coming, and coming. It is what we planned when we sowed all those seeds and said yes to the seedlings our friends didn’t have room for. This year I ended up with 18 plants. I am not sorry.

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How Las Vegas Changed Me (just a little)

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I recently had to spend five days in Las Vegas. Five days and four nights too many. Despite living just a four hour drive away for most of my life, it was my first time there. I was attending a teacher’s math conference, which was great, but I could barely tolerate my surroundings. To me Vegas (the strip in particular) shows off some of the most despicable traits of our capitalist, sexist society. Its excess invokes strong feelings in me. I won’t go into all the reasons I despise Las Vegas, but I will say for one, it all sits in the middle of a desert, which just adds insult to injury. It is like giving the finger to Earth. Continue reading

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