Mother Nature is off her meds

Posted: July 5, 2014 in Uncategorized

In early spring, our table grapes were covered with bunches of flowers.  My lips smacked in anticipation of all those tasty grapes.  Then, in SPRING, the Santa Anas kicked up gusting past the house at 60 miles an hour in hot dry blasts.  The Santa Anas are the hot winds which blow through southern California in the fall.  They are the bane of firefighters, as they kick up the various fires that start every fall, sometimes spreading the flames into huge fires which threaten Silverado Canyon, Malibu, and the hills of East Orange.  The arrival of Fall is often marked with the smell of burning coastal sage scrub.

Those winds stripped most of the flowers and leaves off the vines.  The remaining bunches grew into sad, shriveled, grapes which suffered from powdery mildew and cracked before I cut them off and tossed them.  The mango tree never fruited.  It was a sad, sad spring for mangoes and grapes.

The pear tree fruited, though.  The pear tree.  Five years old- that tree.  And there was no winter to speak of.  So, the number of chill hours was incredibly low and the pear tree fruited.  It defies logic.  There are peas growing on the roof.  Peas.  They do not like the excessive heat of the summers here, but we have three volunteer plants happily climbing the grate on the roof.  The hottest place on the whole farm.  And broccoli.  One plant is still going.  In July.  It is not producing a lot of broccoli, but I’ll wander around looking for harvestables and snag a couple of florets.  The parsnips are still going, too.  They’re not getting overly huge, but they are still perfectly happy in the ground.  There is even some lettuce growing in the greenhouse.  All things that should be happiest in winter, but this summer has been a bit cooler.

Definitely a bit cooler.  The tomatoes are coping, but we are nowhere near our numbers from last year.  The melons are coming in slowly.  Verrrry slooowwwly.  The squash is doing okay.  Fellow gardeners tell us their tomatoes are not doing so well and their squash is unhappy, too.  Usually, we’re inundated with squash, as I tend to plant too much.  This year, there is definitely a good amount, but it is because I planted so many plants.  Each plant isn’t really producing that much.  Our pumpkins are kind of sad.  If we had not let the unknown volunteer come up in the front yard that has turned out to be a pumpkin of some kind, we might not have our Halloween pumpkin.  But, our hottest months tend to be near the end of the summer in September and October.  When the Santa Anas start to blow, bringing their hot, dry gifts from the desert.  Maybe there is a chance for our tomatoes and squash.  If we get those winds in the Fall.  You know, the ones that blew this past spring.

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