January in the Garden: rhubarb forced, seeds organized, Oxalis battled…

January 2016 was the wettest month SF has had in years. Then the weather turned unusually warm and sunny this weekend. You could practically hear the plants humming back to life. Ahhh, it’s such a lovely time to be a gardener. The promise of spring.

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November in the Garden: The good, the bad, the confusion

Each week, I record the good, the bad, and anything else noteworthy in my Sunset neighborhood, backyard garden. 

The Good

  • Harvesting radishes, leeks, and rhubarb
  • The weather has turned cold and there are fewer bugs to battle.
  • I finally got a screen over the chard.  I probably put it up too late in the season to prevent that many leafminers, but it can’t hurt.
  • I planted the last of my carrot seeds.

The Bad

  • I still haven’t got many of the starts I planted in mid-September into the ground.
  • Something continues to munch on the tops of my carrot sprouts.
  • Oxalis, commonly known as sourgrass, is sprouting everywhere.  This perennial weed is basically impossible to eradicate and returns every year with the fall rains.

The Confusion

One of my favorite things to make in the winter is preserved lemons.  Usually I get the lemons from my grandma’s lemon tree, but earlier in the year, she passed away and her house was sold.  This will be the first time I need to rely entirely on my own lemon production. 

I have noticed many people around town are developing lemons on their lemon trees. I have two lemon trees and both have not developed blooms this year.  Ack!! What has happened!! One is a dwarf Meyer lemon tree and the other is an unknown full sized lemon variety.  The trees look beautiful and healthy.  They are on a drip system and have received adequate fertilizer…

Okay, you got me.  Their robust health was not always so. They were not getting adequate water until I moved them on the drip system this summer.  Could their bloom developments be delayed because they were stressed? Will they bloom at all this year? The dwarf Meyer produced lemons last year.  I'm not sure about the other tree since I adopted it this spring from a moving friend. Alternatively, perhaps the trees are reflecting my sadness and don’t have the heart to produce.  I can’t begrudge such a fitting response.

Are you growing lemons? Do you know about the Just One Tree Project? Have you registered your lemon tree?

The Good - Harvesting radishes, leeks, and rhubarb this week.

The Bad - Starts from September I haven't got in the ground.

The Confusion - My lemon trees didn't bloom this year.

Isabel Wade, founder of Friends of the Urban Forest, joins Supervisor David Chiu and some lemony friends to urge planting trees in San Francisco.