Fire Mountain Garden Exchange


December Rant by Editor
December 12, 2010, 7:29 pm
Filed under: Flowers, Fruits, Natives, Vegetables

I like to re read my posts from previous years. While the recommended veggies and flowers don’t change, the weather report does. We have had a weird fall for sure this year what with rain followed by moisture sapping Santa Ana’s and then cold just this side of freezing; its tough to be a gardener, let alone a plant.

I am still enjoying lettuce from my July crop, just ate the last cucumber and still have a killer diller crop of white and red onions. The summer cilantro has risen from the dead in a corner of the garden and the oregano and rosemary are great. These last two are mandatory for the winter soups and tomato sauces around here (made with pesto from our basil and frozen tomato sauce made in September and October). We are garnishing our salads with the tomatoes that we dried in the cheapo Ronco fruit dryer as well.

Last month I started lettuce and beets per the method described in last December’s missive. I have starters of both coming out of my ears and they love the cold. For some reason my peas are wimpy, maybe the seeds are too old – which I will try to remedy tomorrow.  I do have one note on the brussel sprouts-I get mine at Trader Joe’s, I know, a thousand Hail Marys, but they are good.

I have an interesting suggestion for a very special treat, passion fruit or purplegranadilla(http://www.tropicalpermaculture.com/growing-passionfruit.html and http://www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/passionfruit.html). These are beautiful vines with dramatic flowers and the most wonderful fruits. We know these grow on Fire Mountain as we have living proof in the yard of friends just off Avocado. Be sure to read both articles and pay attention to the location and the potential size

It’s early to plant but not too early to think about.

Ciao and if you haven’t tried sweet peas, do it, they are beautiful and the aroma is so nice. For me they remind me of the barber shop I went to when I was a kid and the smell of the skin bracer the barbers applied to the “big boys and adults’.

Merry Christmas and please support animal rescue groups this holiday season.

Jay



December Planting Suggestions by Editor
December 12, 2010, 7:18 pm
Filed under: Flowers, Fruits, Vegetables

As usual we like to remember our favorite gardener, Charles Ledgerwood and his “Reliable Seeds 1994” as our inspiration and our garden guide. It’s hard to believe he passed 12 years ago; I have such a clear image of him in my mind.

BEETS, BROCCOLI, BRUSSEL SPROUTS, CABBAGE, CARROTS, celery, CAULIFLOWER, COLLARDS, MUSTARD, ENDIVE, KALE, KOHL RABI, LEEK, LETTUCE, ONIONS, PARSELY, PEAS, PARSNIP, RADISH, RUTABAGA, SPINACH, SWISS CHARD, TURNIPS, FAVAS. This is pretty much the same list as November, but watch your celery.

I am going to plagiarize myself (again) with the flower on the advice of Mr. Ledgerwood.

As for the flowers, Mr. Ledgerwood was nice enough to suggest that we use the same list for November and December as we use for October.

To wit:

Acroclininum, Alyssum, Aquilegia, Basil, Calendula, Candytuft, Carnation, Centaurea, Clarkia, Delphinium, Dimorphotheca, Escholtzia, Foxglove, Larkspur, Linaria, Linum,

Lupin, Nemesia, Nemophila, Pansy, Phlox, Petunia, Poppies, Primula, Scabiosa, Schizanthus, Stock, Sweet peas, Verbena, Viola, Snap Dragon, Wall flower, wild flowers.

I will repeat the following from the October 2009 post excluding the basil recommendation.  I suggest poppies of all varieties, and Sweet Peas. These are all proven winners up on our hill. When Mr. Ledgerwood was alive, he told us that he was able to buy color segregated flower seeds, so in the 80’s we were able to buy all purple or all white sweet peas. Seed companies (even the good ones) stopped offering single color seeds for many varieties in the early 90s. Mr. Ledgerwood used to segregate his own seeds for his customers. If you grow poppies or sweet peas, you can put markers on same color or bloom type plants or for other traits you want to select.

Don’t forget to refer to Sunset’s Western Garden as a good starting point to selecting flowers and understanding water demands.