Winter is coming…er is here now…

Before we get down to musings….

The updates are legion on the site. The resources section has new information on starting seeds, what to plant when, and a new guide to pickling developed by our friends at fix.com. Check it out! 

The events page has been updated to highlight school visits and my family’s most recent appearance on local favorite morning show “Good Day Sacramento” on 1/29. We were featured in two segments–both are available.

And finally, if you’d like a copy of “Our Garden,” the list of retailers carrying it has grown by leaps and bounds. Let me know if you know of somewhere else that might be interested in carrying it.

And now back to our semi-regularly scheduled blog posting…

Hi all,

Long time no post.

Winter is the time in a gardener’s life to sit back, relax, and obsess about why your garden didn’t do as well as it could have. To think about what personal failings led you to experience a growing year mocked by friends and neighbors, a garden so pitiful that your own family considers banishment and…

Alright, ok–it isn’t like that. As I’ve written earlier it wasn’t my best year growing stuff–but it probably wasn’t the worst either. And the family and I had fun in it, so all good. But now that we’re starting anew in 2016, it is time to figure out what we might do better next time. And the time to tend to the winter crops we managed to get into the ground. See below for a picture of my little guy doing just that. (Ain’t he cute!)

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In terms of what we might do better next time, I realized that my two side garden beds weren’t really deep enough, or wide enough. Everything I planted in them turned out meh. So, thanks to my new neighbors building a new fence–I used some of the old fence and rebuilt my two outer beds much deeper and wider. I keep forgetting to take pictures when it is light, so you’ll have to wait. I plan to grow a much larger crop of Okinawan sweet potatoes in one of them. Man, those were good!

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Aren’t they purty?

I’ve ordered some seeds online from one of my favorite suppliers, bought a few more from the two nurseries selling “Our Garden” and am going to use the seeds from some of the cooler tomatoes and peppers that I’ve saved in the past. If you do it right (which I don’t always, admittedly) when you buy seeds once, you really shouldn’t have to buy too many year after year. Of course, there is always the danger of cross pollination and you may end up with a different ‘mater or pepper or cucumber next year, but I find these experiments fascinating.

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The white/yellow tomatoes are descendants of a Snow White Cherry tomato planted by my Pops. Since he’s been in the hospital and unable to garden, these are the closest his gardening “kids” can get to growing plants he started for us.

In other news, the winter garden is a bit small for us. We have radishes, three kinds of peas (Danish blue–yes that’s a real plant, English shelling peas, and snap), some chard, and carrots. Didn’t do fava beans this year, and I regret it. Mmmm fava beans. But time has a way of getting away…and whatever. But it isn’t in awful shape (thanks to Mary and Anna and Linda and Paul and kids for the help!) so I’m happy with it.

Speaking of winter gardens–weren’t you speaking of winter gardens?—I was recently interviewed by the amazing Walt Shaw (Uncle Waltie!) for CBS radio and I probably offended the Chard and Kale producers of America by saying that there wasn’t much exciting available in winter. Then I mentioned chard in an afterthought. Chard and Kale are good for you. And one of my favorite Giants loves the stuff, and he is both richer and more athletic than me, but honestly, it isn’t my favorite. Does that make me a bad person? Probably.

Much work still to be done. Weeding, endless weeding. Pruning rose bushes. Pruning fruit trees and grape vines. Pruning raspberries. And it will probably be raining. And cold. And the kids will get covered in mud. But it will be worth it.

Gardening with my family always is.

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