As always happens here in central California, spring sneaks up on us in February. Every year I see the blossoms on the trees and think that it’s way too early for spring. It’s especially jarring when I see photos of ice storms and piles of snow all over instagram in the evening then wake up to a beautiful sunny day and admire all the tulip trees in bloom while walking the dog. It’s weird, but it’s happening. Spring is most definitely here.
But instead of focusing on spring, I’ve decided to give you a little tour of what’s remaining in our winter garden. We’re still fully stocked with kale, collards, and citrus around here!
My dad helped me plant our winter vegetables in the raised bed he and Phil built last year. From this side you can see tuscan kale on the right and some flat-leaf parsley and chives on the left.
As you can see, we really need to start eating more kale! I might try freezing some of it but I’m not sure of the best way to do that. Blanch first? Just chop it up raw and stick it in a freezer bag? If anyone has tried freezing kale from the garden, please leave a comment and let me know what works best.
We’ve really enjoyed having kale throughout the winter, but at this point we’re just a little burnt out on it. I’m sure once it’s gone I’ll miss it, but I’m ready to grow something else!
I thought I had lost all my chives over the winter, but they just started growing again! The parsley has been growing strong since last spring.
From the back of the bed you can see our collard greens to the left, remains of a broccoli plant in the center, and curly kale on the right. Yes, more kale!
These collard greens were one of our favorite things from the garden this winter. I had never grown or cooked them before and after trying this recipe once, we were hooked!
We’ll be eating the rest of these collards soon and I’ll definitely be planting more of those and less kale next time.
Here’s my garden raccoon watching over the weeds.
The curly kale is delicious chopped up small and thrown into soups and it’s just a pretty plant in general. We’ve had some aphid problems with the curly kale so I have to check the leaves carefully when harvesting. For some reason the caterpillars preferred the tuscan kale and the aphids preferred the curly kale.
We had several broccoli plants, all of which did very well and provided us with the most delicious broccoli I’ve ever tasted. It’s just about gone now and we definitely want to plant some more soon. We also had some delicious cauliflower, but those plants are long gone. Time to plant more cauliflower, too!
Here’s our view of the garden bed if we look out of our living room window. Even at the end of winter, it’s still nice to look at! The trees growing against the brick fence in the background are pineapple guavas. We end up with a LOT of pineapple guavas in the fall.
This camellia is always the first thing to bloom at the end of winter and I just love it. It grows along the perimeter of the courtyard where the raised bed is located, so we also see this from the living room.
On the opposite side of the courtyard is the bed where I have been planting tomatoes and peppers for the last couple of summers. We planted some fava beans here as a winter cover crop.
At the other end of the tomato/fava bed is our Meyer lemon tree. The lemons are extremely ripe and will start dropping soon if I don’t pick them. I need to make some more marmalade soon and freeze some juice for summer. The lemon tree is also visible from our living room, which I love.
Walking around to the back yard, we have a tangerine tree that still has quite a bit of fruit on it. We’ve been eating them and giving them away, but it’s a big tree and we never get through all the fruit.
Next to the tangerine tree is our compost pile. All of our kitchen scraps and yard trimmings end up here. We aren’t super diligent about turning it and adding the correct ratios of greens to browns and all that, but it eventually decomposes and gives us rich compost for the garden. It’s great!
Looking back toward the house from the tangerine tree you can see where we dug another garden bed out of the lawn a couple years ago. I think we’ll be expanding this part of the garden soon. I’d like to eventually have raised beds out here, but not sure if that will happen this year.
We have some fava beans planted in this bed, too. Between the last couple of summers we have grown lots of tomatoes and peppers out here as well as cucumbers, squash, eggplants, and corn. I’m not sure yet what we’ll be planting this year.
So that’s what our garden looks like in February. In a few months, we’ll have all kinds of different things planted and by the end of summer it will be tomatoes that I’m growing tired of and I’ll be looking forward to some winter kale!