I was pruning roses at a job in drizzle today when I noticed their sad tomato vegetable beds with nothing in them! If you're in SoCal, know that this is a great time to grow winter vegetables! What you say, you can grow veggies in winter? Yes you can! I grow a ton of lettuce and spinach this time of year. I grew Kale last year too but seem to have forgotten about it this year. You can also grow peas, onions, garlic, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts and probably more that I've forgotten! I have trouble with the brassica family though as they tend to get aphids. But I am a big salad girl. So I love to grow lettuce! I started my seeds back in November. But you can still start some now or set out transplants from 6-packs or 4" pots from the nursery.
I adore red leaf lettuce but it seems to not grow as well as the others for me. You can see what few there are in the top of this bed. I don't grow peas because I love Sweet pea flowers so much that they have the trellis spot taken. You can see them in the upper right. There are also green onions(also called bunching onions) that are perennial(unless you pull them) in the upper bed with spinach. I have some older big ones and some tiny new ones. I've also grown yellow and white onions and garlic in these beds. But they take SO long and are hard to dry. One year I dug them all out and set them on flats to dry. And they still rotted. If you've ever smelled rotting onions, you won't soon forget. And that smell gets on your hands and doesn't wash off.
I love not having to buy lettuce for about 3-4 months! I've been harvesting for about a month. I prefer to grow "Leaf" lettuce rather than "Head" lettuce because you can keep picking leaves for salads the whole time. If you grow head lettuce you have to wait until the head is done to harvest. It's a one shot deal. Leaf lettuce keeps on giving. I'll be able to keep these going until it gets hot again, maybe by May depending on the weather. And they're loving all this rain we're having!
I have had trouble getting spinach to germinate from seed. This time I bought 4 9-packs of plants and set them out so I would have a lot. You can see a little bug damage. They're not perfect.
I saw some purple Kale in the grocery store yesterday. It was really beautiful. I think I might plant some of that too.
Happy winter gardening!