Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
January, 2010
Regional Report

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Here today, gone tomorrow. The battle of the peas rages on.

Birds, 1 - Kim, Zero

Well, the peas came up, and then disappeared again. I think I have been feeding the earwigs. There is no evidence of slugs and the tooth prints are too small for rabbits. The mini greenhouses did the trick to germinate the seeds, thank you all for your excellent suggestions. However, the plants were nothing but green lace the day after I took off the Hot Hats. I can't remember a time when I had such a battle to grow a garden.

Henry throws me all sorts of obstacles in his garden including; concrete soil, a steep hillside, rabbits, slugs, deer, and hungry birds, not to mention the insects. I don't know why he has a problem with bugs because he certainly has enough birds to consume an insect army.

All this month I have been steadily pruning the multitude of roses on the property. The containers on the deck are all pruned, as are most of the roses in the garden. I still have the climbers to tackle, but I'll do that when I bring in a couple of day laborers in to spread the redwood chips around the planting beds. I need to stake the sleeping perennials before the gentlemen get started with rakes and shovels. I have laid down a layer of composted steer manure over all of the planted beds, finding it much less expensive and easier to handle than bagged compost. My grandpa swore by steer manure and his garden was a miracle of vitality and color. The only problem I have with the steer manure is that the dog likes to eat it. Go figure...

Shirley poppies, I love them and will plant seeds in the cutting garden as soon as the soil begins to warm up again. If I put the seeds in the ground now, I'm only feeding those ungrateful birds. The breadbox poppies had only just begun to germinate when they were consumed entirely. I love to open the seed heads of breadbox poppies. There are literally thousands of seeds in each pod. When you shake the dried pod, it sounds like a Mexican maraca.

What with the weeds popping up everywhere, the dormant season pruning, and the frost damage, I've been busy. I'm so glad that I covered the little kumquat tree before the really cold weather hit. It looked like a lonely ghost standing in the garden under its protective cover.

Mrs. Henry wants me to move a couple of roses to a location more easily reached for harvesting the flowers. They are currently planted toward the back of a raised bed and it's really a stretch to get to them. The only problem is that I have the beds planted with bulbs and don't want to disturb them, although winter is the ideal time to move established plants. Henry reminded me that we have a lovely pair of Fiskars long-handled shears that would be ideal for cutting hard-to-reach flowers. If I can find them, I will not have to move the roses.

Think about all those poor gardeners in the North East. Their gardens are frozen under a thick layer of snow. All they can do is look at garden magazines while we are outside planting, pruning, sweating and cursing whoever is eating the peas. Viva la California!

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