Gardening in Southern California is different than other parts of the nation. The gardening
year actually starts in September. Fall is warm and although the days are getting shorter there is a lot that can be done in the Fall, beginning with preparing the soil and digging in compost, which I did not do.
Spring is the prime time to put in those warm weather vegetables but here Spring really means
March, not May or June. Usually, I wait too long to get the soil amended and before you know it the temperature is soaring into the 90s. Last year, I only managed to plant a couple of peppers, tomatoes, basil and a zucchini plant, that died.
Fall came and went and I never got around to digging in the compost or planting any winter
produce. I did get the gardening bug in March and set to work on my tiny side yard garden.
The soil along this side of the house was as hard as concrete. I had been working on a
compost pile in this area with the plan of tilling it all in and creating something that resembled a garden. I purchased numerous bags of Amend as well as my meager compost and set to work tilling, sifting out rocks and huge hunks of concrete. My goal
was to have the garden planted by April 1st. No Baking Papa bought me a tiller as a birthday present and honestly it was the best gift ever. My little tiller took a
real beating during March.
I plotted and planned. 6 tomato plants, one raised bed with carrots, beets and onions. Another
area with zucchini, Serrano, Jalapeno and Bell peppers. I planned a section for corn and dreamed I could grow green beans up the stalks.
Here it is the beginning of May and already I have run into trouble. While we were gone,
the dog buried a bone in half of the carrot patch. The beets that got off to a great start are struggling. The zucchini died. Only a few of the corn seeds I planted have sprouted. What has sprouted are hundreds of tomatoes and about an equal number mystery
squash plants! All volunteers from my compost.
Let me take you on a tour of my little haphazard garden.
The chives are doing well. These are going on year two.
See that mystery squash plant? I think it grew 2 feet in one day!
It isn't alone either, it has cousins sprouting up all over.
Tomatoes and squash I didn't plant and one lone corn plant you can barely see.
More tomatoes and a squash plant that have grown out from under the compost bin.
This is a San Marzano tomato that I actually planted.
It hasn't grown much but it is starting to get tomatoes.
But look at the frame below, more volunteers!
This is what is left of the carrots. How pathetic.
The volunteer squash.
See how it is planning on taking over and strangling my tomatoes?
This is my pride and joy. An artichoke plant with a baby artichoke.
This is year two for this plant.
The Serrano pepper from last year is already putting out peppers.
This plant never stopped producing and has kept me in peppers all year.
The 5 fruit citrus is in the front yard.
It is small but is surviving.
Finally, this is my neighbors Loquat tree.
It is neglected and loaded with fruit.
The birds will get most of these.