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While the East Coast, and well, most points east of us toiled through a harsh winter, the skies here remained mostly blue and the temperatures mostly balmy. There was a brief cold snap which prompted most local denizens to don coats and comment on the cold, but it warmed right back up. Then, the weather turned hot. Run the air conditioning in the stifling car hot. Temperatures actually managed to get into the high eighties. Which may sound great to those back east, but here in SoCal, it foretells of drought, water shortages, fights over water rights, and bad wildfires.

It is also pretty hard on the winter crops. My peas have struggled to get going. They don’t like heat. The broccoli bolts almost as soon as it grows. Spinach merely laughed at me this winter. One straggly little plant came up and then, croaked in March before I could taste a leaf. Instead of resting, my plum and peach trees bloomed in December and then, again February. And forget about any apples or pears. Even the low chill varieties didn’t get their required chill hours this winter. And those blooming onions! Onions supposedly bloom bi-annually. So, if one wants to collect onion seed, one must leave onions in the ground to sprout and grow again the following year. Some of my poor confused onions have started blooming this month. From seed I planted in early November. Apparently, temperatures were cold enough twice since their planting, and they think it is Spring of 2015.

Lest one think I’m complaining, there are upsides, to the warm temperatures. We did not lose any tilapia to cold this year. There was no wrapping of trees over the winter due to frost warnings and no heated bricks in the greenhouse to keep the temperature warm enough for our seedlings. Now, a few plants have fried in the greenhouse when we did not open it soon enough on a particularly hot day, but, ah well. All of the pepper plants I planted last spring managed to over-winter and are blooming. Some of the roof pepper plants are fruiting. Well, they never stopped, actually. And there is one small eggplant, a ghost eggplant, I think, that has managed to over-winter. Eggplant. Heat loving eggplant. Go figure. Now, I just have to find the water for them.

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