In the fall we had this crazy early cold snap and I ran out to make sure the kids had hats to keep their little heads warm. They have had no reason to put them on since then. As most have you have probably heard, it has been anything but cold here in California. Our warm winter, while nice in some ways, may prove to be disastrous come this summer. The garden, in this unrelenting warm, dry winter, is acting as though it were late spring.
In my backyard garden I put up small fences around many of the garden boxes to keep out the feral cats and the raccoons. Inadvertently, they are now (more or less) keeping out a third destroyer of vegetable garden delights – my almost three-year-old. His motivations are heartwarming. He is not digging for grubs, tearing out anything in his way. He is not looking for a good bathroom. He is actually looking for a tasty snack.
With the start of school a few months ago, my daughter in Kindergarten and my son to preschool, I got swept up in a new routine, new communities, new anxieties….The garden waited. I mustered up enough time just to get the essentials done. Pull out the tired summer crops. Start cole crops. Dig in goat manure. Call on the garlic order that had not arrived. Plant peas. Things settled down just in the nick of time for the big push. Turning soil. Planting the garlic. Transplanting the cole crops. Sowing a second round of peas, carrots, and lettuce. Just in time.
This morning was the first time in a long while that I have spent any extended time in the garden. Life has gotten a bit hectic since my oldest started Kindergarten and my youngest started preschool. Just when I thought I would have a few hours to myself a few mornings a week, my oldest was home sick for four days. We had big plans for today, possibly a trip to the beach or an adventure downtown. But, I woke up this morning with that tugging feeling that pulled me toward the garden. I really wanted to plant this weekend. I am hoping for sweet pea blossoms by December. So, instead, I worked in the garden and we will swim at grandma’s house later.
Well, I have finally succumbed to the urge to pull, pull, pull. Much of the winter garden is gone, and, on its heels, come the delights of summer. I have 12 tomato plants in the ground, plus a tomatillo and a ground cherry. I have lots of tomato starts left and might squeeze in a few more. I want to make sure I have enough tomatoes to roast and freeze, dry, and make into sauce. Enough to see us through to next summer. A tall order, I know. Continue reading