Thanksgiving week in the garden

A few times out of the year, we’re able to spend a full week or two in Sonoma. No rush to plant, prune, trim all in a day. Although we did spend the first two days cleaning up hundreds of ¬†downed branches from our Giant Sequoia trees in our front yard. There was a severe wind storm that blew over 50 mph winds through Sonoma last week. But having a full week allowed me to watch the vegetables almost double in size, mostly my pea shoots. Now I wish I would have planted a full square foot or two of them to harvest for salads. Maybe I’ll plant all of those leftover seeds next weekend though not sure where, all the beds are almost full.

Staking the pea shoots for climbing up the teepees.
Staking the pea shoots for climbing up the teepees.

I managed to stake half of the pea shoots this week. I found that the red cedar twigs that fall in our back yard make perfect training sticks for the peas.

Fall shade from the Western Red Cedar trees.
Fall shade from the Western Red Cedar trees.

The twigs are at least one upside from these trees besides how beautiful they are. They cast a huge amount of shade on our beds in the winter. A main reason for the back yard remodel was to move the beds fifteen feet to the north to work around the shade. Luckily, it’s only for a few hours a day.

My morning cup of tea in the garden.
My afternoon cup of tea in the garden.

The beds above will enjoy full sun all year and it already shows in the plants. The Komatsuna is huge after planting it three weeks ago.

Komatsuna
Komatsuna

This week we were able to enjoy our first salad from the fall planting. It’s really hard to grow lettuces in Sonoma in summer without them tasting bitter. So fall and winter are really salad season here.

Lettuces
Lettuces

It wasn’t all relaxation though. I was able to plant the anchor foundation plants in a 28′ long border, mostly grasses and kangaroo paw. I also slipped in some strawberry plants in the ellipsed bed, all Sequoia this year. We’ll see how they do. I had to gopher proof the area, of course. That was a pain. I still haven’t decided what to plant in the rest of the ellipse bed. Perhaps asparagus or stay with flowers. I’ll wait until spring to decide.

Gopher proofing the strawberries.
Gopher proofing the strawberries.

And I’m still processing the summer harvest. I grew over twenty Calendula plants this year and was diligent about cutting the flowers every weekend. I was able to make three pints of Calendula oil for making salves this winter.

Making Calendula oil, lots of it.
Making Calendula oil, lots of it.

Tomorrow we head back to San Francisco to jump back into the daily grind. But I’ve got my to-do list already going for next weekend in the garden.

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