Thursday, January 24, 2013


My Rick built for me 3 raised planters last March. I didn't have that good of luck with last summer's crop of tomatoes and pumpkins. But I did have tons of basil and my chives are still going strong.

In October I planted lettuce seeds, 5 different varieties. They are doing great and we've had several salads from them already! I also planted onions and garlic but that's another post. In SoCal we grow salad greens, cole crops and root veggies from Oct-March when it's cool. I'm not ready for the aphid fight with broccoli and hate cauliflower so I didn't grow them. All my lettuce is "Leaf Lettuce" instead of "head lettuce" because you can just pull off leaves and eat them. With head varieties, you have to wait and harvest the whole head.

And yes I have weeds. Too many rose pruning jobs this month for me to get out there and weed. I haven't even started pruning my own roses!

Did you plant lettuce? If not, there's still time! In March it all gets ripped out for a different summer crop.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

75% Off!

I couldn't resist this evening at Orchard Supply Hardware. Their bulbs were 75% off! A bag of 10 Freesias that was $3.39 is now 84 cents! One should really plant Spring blooming bulbs here in SoCal in Autumn. But these bulbs are still firm and good and such a bargain! And Freesias are forgiving. Other bulbs I might not buy at this late date especially if they are squishy or shriveled. My other Freesias are up about 4". These will grow as we'll, just a bit later!

Freesias are native to South Africa as are many of the best bulbs! They grow up about 12" and are fragrant and want full sun or part shade. The only bad thing about them is that they like to flop. So it's best to plant them between other plants for some support. Go see if your local OSH still has some. I bought 10 packages but I did leave a couple in their bins.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Frost Damage

We do get some freezing weather in the LA area about every 3 winters or so. In 2007 we had a 17-year frost that killed lots of plants. In 1990(hence the "17 year" mention) huge mature Ficus nitida trees were lost in Monrovia. I was amazed that year. This last week has been very cold(for us) with lows in the 30's. I grow some tropical plants and have had one potted Hoya plant taking a little vacation indoors for awhile. Yesterday while perusing my garden in 50 degree afternoon weather I noticed both my Angel's Trumpets(Brugmansia) in the ground that grew so well for their first year now with frost damage. It just burned the top growth but I don't think it will kill them. The worst part is having to wait 2 months(or so) to cut them back. One doesn't cut back tropicals until threat of frost has passed as to not encourage new growth. If you do cut it back and we have another frost, it could kill the whole plant. There is another frost warning tonight. I just got out my thrift store bed sheets and put them over the plants to protect them.

Funny that in this cold weather my three Euphorbia cotinifolia that are as tall as the roof haven't lost their leaves yet. Go figure!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Rain Barrels!

I have been wanting to have some rain barrels since I saw that our new house has roof gutters. I don't really love the gutters because they have to be cleaned and we can't hear the rain indoors! But they're here and we can utilize them to save us money! I saw what looked like an easy-to-make rain barrel on Pinterest.
So yesterday we took my truck to Home Depot, figured out how to make it and what we needed and bought all the parts enough for 2 barrels. The 40 gal trash can price astounded me at $37.50! Shouldn't trash cans be about $10.00? Granted these are 8 gallons larger than the common 32 gal. But almost $40 per can? Ugh!
My Rick figured out how to cut the lid so that the flexible gutter extension would fit and he cut the downspout for it. I attached the hose spigot and he attached the overflow pipe. We had a bunch of scalloped cement edging that I leveled on the ground and we set the can on top.
This one is on the side yard and the other is on the front yard which I will plant around to disguise.
Over night it rained and the one in front is about 1/4 filled! Now I need it to really pour rain! And if I could utilize the other 5 downspouts, I would!