Spring garden 2014 ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

30 April 2014

Spring garden 2014

Spring garden 2014: view from garden beds toward house

You guys, it was over 90F out today: the hottest day so far this year. For now, it's a novelty, but let's get real. Summer is almost on us. We have about a month or so until the temperatures stop bobbing up and down and settle into a steady 80-85.

You've probably heard about (or experienced) the near-total lack of rain in California this spring. Shit is serious. The entire state is in drought for the first time in 15 years. Just look at this map from the US Drought Monitor. YIKES. Water rationing hasn't started yet; evidently rationing is more complicated than it appears.

Outside, you can see the effects of the drought really easily. The grass is crisp two months before it should be. The ground is hard. The lemon balm and mint, both of which are usually super rampant, only take up about 2/3 as much space as they did last year. You can sit on the ground with no threat of damp pants. So although the plants themselves look pretty good so far, I am feeling concerned about the garden.

Let's have a tour.

lemon tree with fruit and flowers

When you go out the side door of our house, this lemon tree nearly clocks you in the face. It's full of both mature lemons and new blossoms. The branches bow really dramatically under the weight of the fruit. When you pick a ripe lemon, they spring back and bounce up and down.

lemon balm and water mint

In the side bed, there is indeed a bunch of lemon balm and mint. The darker, smoother leaves are the mint. These guys normally make themselves seen in late January, with the first rains. This year they came up in March.

I know what to do with mint: dry it and make all kinds of iced mint tea. The lemon balm is a little harder. I did make a batch of fresh tea with some the other day, but I'm not sure whether I like it yet. It was surprisingly vegetal, almost like a spinach-lemon tea. I think I need to try it iced.

chives in bloom

The chives are doing really well, although those blossoms are pretty early. They are usually a pretty early herb in general, though. I like to make chive vinegar out of the blossoms and throw the chives themselves in practically everything I make.

If you go around the back of the house, you run smack into a bank of pineapple guava blossoms.

pineapple guava blossoms and foliage

There are a million of them. I may be exaggerating just little, but not much. The tree overhangs our entire backyard, and it is entirely full of flowers. The bees LOVE it. We have a bee-loud glade in our backyard right now, is what I'm saying. It's really nice not to have to worry about not attracting enough pollinators. There is no shortage.

You can eat pineapple guava blossoms, but we usually don't. They're soft and faintly tropical-fruity.

volunteer caspian pink tomato seedling

In the actual garden bed, the key players are the two tomato plants. They're both volunteer seedlings from the Caspian Pink tomato I planted last year. They may have gotten cross-pollinated with the other tomatoes, but I don't care. As long as there are a bunch of home-grown tomatoes, everything will be fine.

Of course, with tomatoes you have to worry about water. These guys are in partial shade--Caspian Pink is a partial shade tomato, which I got especially for that purpose--so the water will have a fighting chance not to evaporate instantly. I feel fairly hopeful there.

red bell pepper seedling

Otherwise, the bed is filled with a mishmash of delightful things. This guy is a red bell pepper. There's a jalapeno pepper plant which is looking partially eaten and may need a replacement, and a volunteer potato, also a bit eaten. I have a bunch of scattered scallions and garlic looking like random blades of grass. The peppers at least should be happy on water restriction. Otherwise, I can mulch.

Spring garden 2014: view from back door with pineapple guava tree

Yeah. I like my garden. I would like to keep it alive. We'll see how it goes.

How are your gardens going this spring?


Joanne said...

The drought is really scary. I hope you guys get some serious rain soon!

foodfeud said...

What a pretty garden! Oh to have a lemon tree and edible blossoms at hand!
I hope the drought gets better. We've been bombarded with rain lately, but the whole weather thing is all wonky.

la domestique said...

I'm always amazed by the glorious sight of lemons on trees. It just never gets old for me. Your garden looks lovely, but the whole drought thing is no good at all. (We don't have that problem here in Ireland.) My husband and I are moving house from the country to the big city of Dublin this weekend. I look forward to planting a small container garden on our generous porch. Happy spring!

Catherine said...

I haven't even planted yet! It has been COLD and WET here. :( I guess we're stealing all your rain?

janet @ the taste space said...

When I first saw your photos, I thought: wow, the plants are growing well despite the lack of water. Until I read that they are several months late. Oops. No good.

Tuesday-Wednesday was 90F for us, too, but thankfully cooled down afterwards. I was kind of worried of the even hotter weather to come... and my massive ice cream consumption to compensate. ;)

Mandy@ladyandpups said...

OH I love your garden! we used to have a large south-facing terrace when we were still living in NY and I jammed it with fresh herbs and vegetables. But nothing like that gorgeous giant tree you have there. LOVE A GOOD GIANT TREE!