Cultivated native California grapes. Seedy & thick skinned but good to eat. Since the birds aren’t.

Orange Grove Update

This year, our Mandarin orange will provide plenty to eat in January. We’re lucky it’s not alternate bearing (this year, anyway).


Meanwhile, this is the first year our Meyer lemon has produced more than a couple fruit. Super exciting! It did lose a lot of leaves earlier this summer, though. I attribute that to overwatering. Oops.

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Finally, our Valencia is also producing more than a couple fruit:


The lemon grass coming in strong. It came back from last year’s planting and a cutting we took.

Anaheim pepper with a surprise mantis for scale. Then a jalapeño. Just popped out of nowhere while I inspected the peppers this morning. It’s protecting our garden!

Garden Update

Experimental pepper garden update: Cayenne, jalapeño, Anaheim, Hungarian wax. We will ripen all peppers to red for making hot sauce and tastier eating. Direct seeded March 29.

Our cultivated native California grapes are ripening! The birds will hopefully soon find them. Or we’ll enjoy them despite their massive seeds.

Our peppers are doing okay despite the very late seeding. Just a bit of brown rot initially but some Jobes organic fertilizer seems to have stopped that.

The last two days of 110°F heat has also resulted in our cultivated native California grapes turning to raisins on the vine.

cultivated native California grapes turning to raisins

110°F yesterday and today. The avocados we planted 2-3 years ago transpire water more than they can replenish from the ground and so their leaves desiccate and die. Especially the young leaves on the Bacon (1) variety and random adult leaves on the Mexicola (2) variety. ☹️

Bacon avocadoMexicola avocado

Scrub Jay patiently waiting for the grapes to ripen.

So many Brown Turkey Figs!

Leafhopper Assassin with a meal.

Volunteer tomato is flowering. Who knows what kind of fruit this might grow (if pollinated). So too blooms our late April direct seeded peppers blooming.

Cultivated native California grapes are coming along quite well.

Pineapple guava (Feijoa sellowiana) flowers.

Turns out native California grape flowers ate definitely not showy but are well loved by small pollinators.

I think these are as showy as native California grape flowers get. Will report back.

Warmer than usual weather means Peppers are rapidly sprouting. We direct seeded this year as an experiment.

This western toad is why I carefully cut back the parsley. I knew it was in there somewhere. I stopped at the toad and gently covered with trimmings to maintain shade and moisture.

Planted more asparagus today. They came with white asparagus sprouts. Looks like freaky white worms in this photo.IMG 1586

Backyard Relaxation

Relaxing can mean accomplishing things. The backyard always offers things to accomplish! Accomplishing things makes me feel good.

Today I:

  • braved a ladder and pruned the apricot
  • cut up pieces of bug ridden wood for disposal (remnant of last occupant of the property that used untreated non-cedar wood for planters)
  • weeded to avoid herbicide
  • found a Chorus frog!
  • turned the entire compost pile

Here’s the Chorus frog (Pseudacris) I discovered:


We’re trying to propagate lemon grass after dividing canes from our outdoor plant (hope it overwinters). The centers of the canes have popped up — thinking this means positive water pressure and that may mean the canes are taking in water so this may work.

Birds gorging on sweet basil seeds.

The birds are gorging on seeds in our front and backyard gardens. So happy to provide them sustenance rather than a lawn desert!

Barely photographed a bee on our holy basil. They were extremely shy and did not loiter. 🐝