11.29.2010

My Sulky Vegetables

It is cold. The trees, they drip, they overhang, they shade. The vegetable garden, it sulks. Escarole, kale, cauliflower & leeks comprise this seasons humble veg garden, and they are small green dots on a cold black landscape. I sowed a flat of mixed veg about a month ago. After they sprouted, while weeding & transplanting, I would conscientiously move them around the garden to hit as much sun as could be had in our little bit of redwood-ringed earth. And little good it did. Three weeks after germination and there are no true leaves, only the sad little green seed leaves atop the long white etiolated stems. The water cress looks particularly sad.
I suppose the lesson from all this is to sow seed for the winter garden in August or September. But  here in the central coast of California our most severe heat wave of the year came in September, with temps regularly over 100 for two weeks. Take that, lettuce and other cool season crops! I need to talk to more veggie gardeners in this part of the world to see how they handle the transition from summer to winter. Most gardening books are written for the east coast gardeners, with their classically defined seasons.
I am not actually complaining about living here in this fabulously temperate climate, mind. Only trying to feel my way through a new venture in gardening.

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Read Your Way Through the Garden: Choice Tomes From Garden Literature

  • A Book of Salvias by Betsy Clebsch
  • Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon
  • Making Bentwood Trellises by Jim Long
  • RHS Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers
  • Rose Primer: An Organic Approach to Rose Selection & Care by Orin Martin
  • Start With the Soil by Grace Gershuny
  • Sunset Western Garden Book
  • Sunset Western Landscaping Book
  • The Book of Garden Secrets by Patent & Bilderback
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Botany
  • the Gardener's Table: A Guide to Natural Vegetable Growing and Cooking by Richard Merrill & Joe Ortiz
  • The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek
  • The Hutchinson Dictionary of Plant Names: Common & Botanical
  • We Made A Garden by Margaret Fish

lotsa latin: rosa's botanical & etymological ruminations

  • vespertinus: flowers in the evening
  • vernalis:spring
  • veni vidi nates calcalvi: we came, we saw, we kicked butt. This was printed on a T shirt I bought at Abbot's Thrift many years ago. It encircled the NEA symbol. I wish I knew why.
  • superciliaris: shaped like an eyebrow ex: sturnella superciliaris, the White-browed Blackbird
  • rosa-sinensis: species of Hibiscus: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Lit. Rosa of China, so named by British plant hunters.
  • placentiformis: shaped like a cake ex: discocactus placentiformis
  • nudiflorus: flowers before leaves show ex: flowering quince, magnolia
  • nivalis: growing in or near snow ex: galanthus nivalis (common snowdrop)
  • muralis: growing on walls
  • mirabilis: marvellous, wonderful
  • formosa: beautiful ex: dicentra formosa, a.k.a.western bleeding heart/dutchman's breeches/lady in a bath
  • carpe vitam: get a life
  • Carolus Linnaeus: Latinized name of Carl von Linne (1707-1778), Swedish naturalist considered the father of plant taxonomy. Whatta guy.