What’s in your El Niño garden?

babygreensOh, this is the season for leafy greens and root vegetables — and an El Niño year is no exception!

They grow plenty of veggies in English gardens and (although we in So Cal may be unaccustomed to it) that’s the kind of climate we have here this winter.

Just to prove my point, yesterday evening my smartphone weather app had the same forecast for London as for L.A. … rainy, high 40s …

The thing to know about wet winters and gardens (in addition to El Niño flood preparations) is:

Seeding the new forest garden

forestgarden dec2015A forest garden is a garden of perennial plants that produce food.  It is often designed to look “forest-like,” with trees forming a canopy above, and smaller plants creating a “forest floor” effect underneath.

As part of the Westchester Community Oven project, we had always intended to try adding a food forest garden to the Community Garden at Holy Nativity.

Since the spot chosen was under an asphalt parking lot for at least 30 years, the first step was some soil remediation.

Tis the season to be planning!

IMG_1673In Martha Stewart’s book Gardening, she described her gardening January as a time to curl up in a favorite chair with all her catalogs and dream about spring. Not so in Southern California!

Here in So Cal, January should be bare-root tree planting season, the beginning-of-the-peak of our cool season harvests, and time for second planting of cool season crops, if you didn’t plant them between Halloween and Thanksgiving. Instead, our “resting” season in the garden is right now: in the heat of late summer.

Now is the time to be curling up with a tall lemonade and your favorite garden catalogs. Time to dream about what you will plant this cool season, and what you will plant next spring. Tis the season to be planning!