Species poinsettia is long and gangly, but with long red bracts.
Brilliant berries of heavenly bamboo, Nandina domestica.
Red Hot Poker, Kniphofia uvaria.
Peas are up -- edible type at front and both sides, and flowering "sweet peas" at rear. All will be guided up the trellis so they have it to grab onto along with their fellow vines. The bucket is for watering -- Fill the bucket, and water exits through the holes in the bottom. For seeds or seedlings planted around the rim, water from the top as well so the entire soil profile remains moist for excellent root growth.
After lettuce harvest, small center leaves remain to continue growing for next harvest in about a week. Note how plants are "triangulated" to best utilize soil space.
Cilantro on left and parsley on right germinate at different rates. Harvest can begin when plants are about 4 inches tall, cut in handfuls with a knife about an inch above their growing points so they'll keep growing for later repeated harvests.
Driving through my neighborhood enjoying the holiday decorations, I noticed some exquisitely colored trees each time the sun broke through the clouds. Not just mild hues other than green, but truly vibrant yellows and oranges and reds, sometimes in combination on the same tree. Wonderful reminders of our trips back east to Pennsylvania in early October where entire hillsides were ablaze. Just because it’s mid-December here makes no difference – the brilliance of our very own Southern California trees is striking. Absolutely puts to shame the complaint that we have no seasons! On the other hand, our early rain and chill weather seems to have shifted back into gloomy skies, upper-50s-degrees nighttime temperatures and almost-70s-degrees daytime temperatures. Hardly helpful for our fruit trees needing to accumulate sufficient below-41-degree chill hours necessary for timely blooming and fruit set. But perfect for more transplanting and seeding of winter edibles and bloomers! So, if you hadn’t managed to get veggies and flowers into the garden yet, now’s a great time to give yourself a calming dig-in-the-soil break from all the holiday hubbub!
Peas Are Up! My edible peas and sweet peas are coming up, and I’m thrilled to almost taste and smell them in anticipation! I sowed them around each trellis cage – edibles around the front and sides, and flowers at the back. Although seed pods of the flowers are poisonous, I don’t worry about their intergrowing since the pods look so completely different – edible ones are bright green, big and very smooth, while the flower ones are grayish, longer and thinner and very hairy.
Replanting Cauliflower I’ve had to replant cauliflower seedlings since the first ones kept being dug up by skunks and – despite my repositioning and watering them in several times – finally just couldn’t reestablish themselves following the multiple traumas. Luckily I still had some of the Romanesco, Violeta, Cheddar and Tasty seedlings in my Speedling® trays that I’d started at the same time that I’d planted the seedlings that I’d purchased and planted immediately. This is why it’s wise to always both plant seedlings and sow seeds at the same time, for consecutive crops and also replacement availability! You can always find another nook and cranny to plant extras if there aren’t any failures!
Today's Yummies Today’s harvest included the last persimmons and first celery, chard, Lacinata kale, Red Russion kale, and spinach along with lots of lettuce. The cilantro and parsley are still too tiny to harvest, but they’re developing nicely. My husband prefers his chard and kale raw in salads, whereas I love them sautéed with garlic, leeks, and mushrooms. Remember to harvest leaf crops such as lettuce and spinach by removing only the outer leaves. Toss the outer ones that have been munched or are too old, and leave the two or three tiny center leaves to develop further. Thus, the plant continues growing -- and you continue harvesting -- throughout the season until spring warmth causes the plant to go to seed. By then, you'll soon be harvesting spring-sown or transplanted greens to supply your salads.
Live Holiday Trees If you plan to decorate a live holiday tree indoors and then move or plant it outdoors afterwards, choose a smaller size of tree, as it'll adapt to its new home better than a more mature one. After you bring the tree home, water it well and store it in an unheated garage or outbuilding for two or three days as a "half-way spot" till you move it indoors. Keep the rootball moist and the boughs misted. Once the tree is in place indoors away from heating vents or fireplaces, either water it directly or scatter ice cubes around the soil surface to slowly seep down into the entire root ball. Limit its time indoors to a maximum of seven days; fewer if the house is very warm. Then move the tree outside again to that half-way spot, garage, shed, or protected spot for at least two weeks before moving or planting it in the open. The longer you enjoy the tree in the warm house, the longer it will need to readapt to outdoor conditions.