I’ve never planted vegetables in the winter before. Most of my gardening has been limited to the summer vegetables which splash out and are “easy” to grow; tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, etc. In addition, I’m not a fan of traditional winter vegetables like broccoli and cabbage. This year, however, I thought I would allocate one of my garden beds to a tiny winter garden and see what would happen if I threw some seeds in the dirt.
Way back in November, I took the protective cages off all my beds, shoveled some of the composted fill (a mix of compost, straw, and alfalfa from the no dig method) from one box to another to fill one of the small beds and went off to the nursery to buy some seeds. I ended up with packets of carrots, mesclun lettuce mix, beets, multi-colored chard, and broccoli rapini (yes, I know I said I don’t like broccoli, but I like the lighter rapini ). I planted my seeds, covered them with the caging, and waited for them to sprout.
Then an unusually long spell of torrential rain and frigidly cold weather hit. Some mornings there was frost on my lawn and car, in Los Angeles. Guess what happened to my seeds? Nothing. I continued to wait and grew disappointed, thinking my seeds had been killed by the frost.
Finally, a few weeks ago the weather eased up, the sun came out and so did a few of my sprouts. The neat rows of seeds I’d planted did not appear but there were a few green frilly things coming up here and there. As far as I can tell I have a few carrots, beets, and some chard coming in. I don’t know if any will reach maturity but I’m really excited at the possibility. In addition to the seeds I planted, there are some potato “volunteer” plants that have popped up where I’d planted potatoes (and where the raccoons had eaten all of the) last year. I don’t have high hopes for the potatoes as I’m pretty certain they will suffer the same fate as their predecessors.
In addition to the veggies, yesterday we planted a tree (see the photo at the top of the post). A group called the Tree People were giving away fruit trees at my husband’s school and we picked up a bare root Blenheim Apricot (grafted on to plum tree stock). My husband dug the hole for it on our bottom level opposite our ancient Meyer Lemon and I planted it. It’s not much more than a stick with roots about 4 feet tall, but in five years or so, we might actually have fruit. All I want are enough apricots to make a decent-sized batch of apricot jam and a few fruit tarts.