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Even though our yard is in flux since we’re redoing the landscape between now and Spring, I suddenly decided I must have a few winter veggies, exactly one flowering Annie’s sweet pea (there’s a drain pipe crying out its name) and a flat of big, fat, richly-hued ‘Dynamite Wine Flash’ pansies to go atop my tulip bulbs.

Oh, and I needed one more seed packet of California poppies! They re-seeded nicely from last year, but I want to up the amp even more. I also grabbed some parsley, sage and chive starts because I know I’ll be cooking with them next week and don’t like buying cut herbs at the grocery store when I should be harvesting them from my yard.

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We were pretty productive today. Kim made some headway in our bursting garage… and is having a mini spontaneous garage sale in the morning. Eek! I’m so not the spontaneous garage sale type. My contribution will be to stay inside and cook bacon and eggs for him. Yay, teamwork. He also helped me by moving several big bags of soil and compost. Together, we tackled the overwhelming layer of leaves blanketing our property. It’s amazing how many different leaf shapes end up in our yard considering we only have one sycamore.

I feel good because I consolidated all my scattered and neglected succulents into one 3/4 wine barrel and planted my new veggies and herbs in the remaining two barrels. The barrels are now in a sunny temporary location out back. Today was all about salvaging, consolidating and purging… all good preparation for backyard fabulousness to come.

I didn’t think I’d buy this house, and did. I didn’t think I’d see lemons on the baby Meyer lemon tree I planted here, and they’re turning yellow now. All two of them. Note to self: feed lemon tree. I wasn’t sure if the red orchid cactus I rescued from my old home/life would ever bloom again. It has its first buds in nearly five years. Sometimes all you can do is rescue, hope and wait. MaxSea fertilizer helps too.

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My Succulent Menagerie

I topped off old potting soil in the barrel pictured above with two bags of E.B. Stone cactus mix. It would have been too expensive to use all cactus mix, and quite heavy as well.  When we have a frost, now I can easily cover the barrel with frost cloth. I so fell in love with succulents on our trip to the Central Coast. They are more of a challenge here in the Valley, but well worth the effort.

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Herbs & Spinach

I know I’m going to need a little sage and parsley for the Thanksgiving stuffing and I can’t bear the thought of buying cut herbs. Not sure if I’ll need chives, but you never know and I may need them for other recipes. As for the spinach, it’s just for salads and pasta dishes.

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Lettuces & Chard

The chard I planted is the very colorful and tasty ‘Rainbow Chard’. Lettuce varieties include Romaine, ‘Red Sails’ and ‘Butter Crunch’.

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Banana Bread!

In a stroke of uncharacteristic productivity, I also made banana bread today, using a recipe from one of my favorite bloggers, Katie S. (AKA NorCal Katie). It was a good day.

pansies, vegetables, winter garden

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