My Winter Garden

My Winter Garden

This is the first year I’ve planted a true winter garden – I mean, planting in November and December is not something I usually do. But the bug bit, and the beds had been dug in with soil from the mulch pit. The weather was beautiful and showery, so I planted.

Some early lettuces got eaten. Broccoli is holding up well. The cherry tomatoes that hubby has nurtured and trimmed back are still providing us with yummy fruit, though the skin is thicker than in the summer.

Cherry Tomatoes in December!

We worked in the garden on the 29th, and worked hard. Planted onion sets and cabbage and lettuce. Pulled out the insidious morning glory. Weeded. Ooohed and aaahed over the bell peppers, which are still flourishing.

Maui onions. They barely had roots to them – had to plant them in bunches. Will thin later.

Bell Peppers planted in April or May, 2012

Rescued lime trees from opportunistic plants. Spent hours (or so it seemed) in the chilly sunshine as a family, working to make the yard even more gardentastic.

When we woke up the next morning, it looked like it had snowed over night. Whaaa??? Not something that I’m used to in So Cal. We’d been hit with a HARD frost. Not just frosted car windows and rooftops and bare patches on the front yard; oh no. This hit us right in the Maui onions. The Sequoia strawberries. The – gasp! – year-round basil! Even the pansies were flattened by frost. My heart almost stopped.

My onion bed – frosted!

Frosted strawberries!

The parsley has a smattering of frost, too…

After the sun came out fully and warmed everything up, the garden looked – to this San Diego girl – happy. The rose bushes gleamed, their foliage dark and shiny. Even the pansies seemed to relish the cold, waving their bright little heads and standing up straight and tall. Only the basil had black spots that needed cutting away. The onions survived, as did the strawberries and the lettuce (which totally shocked me) and the cabbage and the broccoli.

Today we bought more onions (red onions, this time). Two types of lettuce. More broccoli, and cauliflower. The hubs even bought a tomato plant, though I told him it was far too early to plant tomatoes.

Red leaf lettuce, butter lettuce, two types of onions, and an Early Girl tomato in a Red Flyer wagon.

Two new beds. Hubby says they’re for tomatoes. We shall see!

There have been ups and downs, but so far? I’m loving the drama of my winter garden.

I love hearing from you! Do you garden (when you can)? What is your favorite vegetable or fruit to grow? I’m always looking for something new to plant!

~ Until the next time, cheers – and remember to drink responsibly! ~

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In Dad’s Garden

In Dad’s Garden

Yesterday, Tom and I went to visit my dad down in San Diego. One of the highlights, always, is the Garden Tour. Every time I’ve visited since I moved out thirty years ago, the first words (after initial greetings) from dad have been  – “How about a garden tour?”

The man has magic in his hands. About twenty years or so ago, he decided to dig up his lawn and plant. Tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins – you name it, he planted it. This section of used-to-be-lawn now regularly gets tilled (the old fashioned way – with a shovel) and prepared every February for planting.

These are his tomato plants. They make mine look puny. PUNY, I tell you! (Note the sunflowers facing away at the top of the photo!)

Dad's tomato plants

And take a look at his pumpkins. Mine got started about a month after his did, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that eventually they’ll really take off. Neither of mine are the gigantic pumpkins like his are, but still…aren’t those leaves pretty?

Dad's big punkin

This one is about 12 – 15 inches across.

Dad's punkin patch

The leaves are about knee high.

Then there are the sunflowers. Freaking gorgeous! When I told him about my spindly ones with lots of flowers, he said he’s always wanted to grow those. So…this fall, we shall have a sunflower seed exchange, lol. Hopefully next year I’ll be able to grow dinner plate beauties!


These stand about 17′ high.

Plus his apple trees, berry bushes, and the Meyer Lemon tree that started my fixation with all things lemon, a long time ago. I always make sure to pick as many lemons as I can, and stash them in the fridge to keep them as long as I can. I may actually have to learn how to preserve lemons!

(So far, my own little Meyer Lemon trees still have their lemons – and they’re getting to be a good size, too. So keep your fingers crossed for those trees!)

Here’s Dad’s Meyer Lemon tree…

Dad's Meyer Lemon tree

The tree that started it all…

And now, of course, a photo of my dad, resting in the garden.


Chet Cunningham

Though you can’t see it, behind the lemon tree to the left is the berry bush – beyond that is a pear tree.  You can see just a bit of the Grapefruit Tree that Ate the House on the right.

This is the yard I grew up in, missing only the swing and the above-ground pool (which used to stand where the tomatoes are now).

Now you know why I garden. Thanks, Daddy. Love you!


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