Sunday Garden Chat: Southern California Dreaming

Second half of last week’s update, from MaryG and Higg’s Bosun’s Mate:

Higgs then moved on to making me some raised bed planters I can work in from my wheelchair or scooter. He had been a professional machinist for many years, but never worked in wood. He started out small, with a plant stand for my little lemon tree, made out of two cedar fence planks:
higgs 8
Then he moved on to the raised bed boxes. They are at exactly the right height for me to reach, and there are two six-foot boxes and two four-foot boxes:
higgs 9
The structural parts are made of redwood two-by-fours and the side slats and top aprons are made of one-by-four spruce-pine furring strips stained red. They are lined with 6 ml. plastic to hold the dirt in and keep any of the stain or other substances in the wood away from the soil. They are gorgeous!
higgs 10
I have planted the two bigger ones with seeds directly – a heirloom blue corn that is supposed to be good for containers, some zinnias, some sunflowers, some green beans, butterfly-friendly Queen Anne’s lace and monarda, because we are on the Monarch migration route. I have started some seeds which will be transplanted into the smaller ones, along with tomatoes, when it gets a little warmer at night.

We also made a strawberry patch in bags in the driveway, with Evie everbearing, Seascape, Tristan, and Quinalt among the varieties already started from bare roots bought online and a six pack and a couple of 4-inch pots bought at Lowes:
higgs 11
Higgs built the little table the big bag is on so everything is right at my level. I’ve started some seeds for heirloom alpine strawberries and a couple of other exotic varieties, but they haven’t come up yet.

The latest project HBM just completed is this potting bench for me:
higgs 12
I’ve been really worried about water, as we are in a town that didn’t join the California Aqueduct when it started, because of right-wingers. Until this weekend the rainfall total for the entire winter was two-tenths of an inch. Total. Very scary. The city manager says there should be no problem or rationing because they get water from somewhere and have enough if we all conserve. They keep raising the price of water, though. My bills used to be maybe $35 a month and last summer it was up to $150 for the same quantities. Pulling the grass out of the back yard got it down to $100 and I have now pulled the plug on the front grass. Once it dries out, we’ll get it dug out and put water-saving landscaping in there, with paths of the same decomposed granite that we used in the backyard. The wheelchair and mobility scooter go over it pretty well. HBM’s next woodworking projects are an arbor for growing vines between the two big planters, a water feature, and a cover for the pool equipment.

Here north of Boston, we have a semi-sunny (north facing) kitchen window again, because the backdoor ‘porch’ roof collapsed under the weight of this winter’s snow and had to be professionally removed. The Boston Flower Show starts later this week… I may, at least, try to acquire a couple pots of ready-to-bloom daffodils and see if they can survive our cats’ attentions.

What’s going on in your gardens (gardening plans/dreams) this week?

61 replies
  1. 1
    NobodySpecial says:

    Semi OT, but I can’t imagine living in a place where water is that scarce, warm or no.

  2. 2
    NotMax says:

    Dang grass is knee-high again, and the cane grass is coming back from being drenched with Round-up.

    Paving paradise is sounding better and better.

  3. 3
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    MaryG asked me to be sure and mention Waterwise Botanicals. Waterwise is located near Fallbrook, California and they have a superb selection of succulents and other good green and growing stuff.. Waterwise is twenty acres of plants and for you Southern California gardeners it’s definitely worth a visit. They encourage browsing and dogs, on a leash, are welcome. The staff is great and they’re both knowledgeable and helpful.

    This coming Saturday (March 15th) they will be putting on their annual “Spring Fever” gardening event, a day of free workshops and seminars to welcome the Spring gardening season. Mary G, dog Leland, and I will be there.

  4. 4
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:


    Southern California has 60% of the state’s population (Roughly 22,000,000 people) most of whom are living in cities and towns built in semi-arid regions. The state allocates much of its water to agriculture at giveaway prices to agriculture and because ag uses that water to grow half of the US’ fruit and vegetables we in effect export a substantial portion of it. Paving rivers and creeks in earlier years in the interest of flood control and not incorporating adequate settling grounds means that much of our rainfall just flows directly into the Pacific. We also have a plethora of golf courses that are kept nice and green no matter what. Per capita water use here in SoCal is among the lowest in the state, encouraged by our water utilities application of increasing block rates (The price per gallon increases as your usage increases). So, yes,water costs a lot here. That encourages conservation much more effectively than appealing to the angels of our population’s better nature.

  5. 5
    PurpleGirl says:

    MaryG and HBM: Both of these posts have been very interesting and informative. HBM, I think your woodworking projects have come out looking really good. MaryG, I like your plans for the lawns and plants.

    I hope that you will show us pictures when the plants start growing.

  6. 6
    raven says:

    Great stuff ya’ll! I shoveled two truck loads of “premium” mulch around the flowers while the princess was off on a road trip. We have this plant in the front yard and I told her she needed to put a label on it because folks walking by want to know what it is and I can’t remember!

  7. 7
  8. 8
    PurpleGirl says:

    @raven: Thank you. Your pictures are much appreciated.

  9. 9
    JPL says:

    The redwood planter boxes are wonderful. The sporadic temperatures damaged the herb garden and I’m thinking of relocating them to a raised planter box. I’m just not as talented as you, so the result might look different.
    Please continue to update us, so we can ooh and aah!

  10. 10
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: No rest for the weary (or is it “wicked”?) eh? Looking good, very good.

  11. 11
    MazeDancer says:

    Wood might not have been HBM’s first media, but, wow, certainly looks like a great one to keep using. Such lovely work. Big props to MaryG and Higgs Bosun’s Mate.

  12. 12
    Poopyman says:

    HBM, you seem to have avoided the trap I’ve seen a few machinists fall to as they’ve tried working wood. I.e. how precise you think you have to be. Wood, of course, being much more lively than metal doesn’t require – nor accept – nearly the amount of precision a machinist is accustomed to.

    Years ago I helped the boatshop I volunteer at clear out a shop where a machinist had started to build a boat, a 30′ cruiser. He’d gotten as far as framing most of it in mahogany and his work was gorgeous, but it was killing him trying to maintain a level of precision he was comfortable with. He ended up taking up golf.

  13. 13
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @raven: Usually our daffodils are peeking up by now and the crocuses I have scattered about the lawn are turning to the sun… Not this year. Other than the top muddy inch the ground remains frozen solid. But not for much longer…

    Today: 58, tomorrow: 70, Tuesday: 71, Wednesday… Wednesday… Wednesday… fvck. Rain, snow… 45. But then back to the 50’s, 60’s, and sunshine :-)

    We have our granddaughter this wkend and she is going to help me finish cleaning out the garden today, or at least until she gets bored with it. Started all my seed a few weeks ago and all are doing fine, except for my peppers. Of 24 of varying types I have exactly one growing. Don’t know what is up with that. Later on this week I will drive up to STL and get 4 yards of compost for the main garden. Not sure how much I need this year, I’ll evaluate after that.

  14. 14
    Poopyman says:

    For today I’m going to go back to clearing some beds I started to work on yesterday, but I need some Advil to combat the consequences of fuckit. I’ve been pulling vinca minor from the beds out front that I let get established last year because fuckit, and now I’m feeling it.

  15. 15
    mai naem says:

    I’ve read about using grey water systems and they’re legal in some California cities. Maybe that’s what southern californians are going to have to start doing.

  16. 16
    OzarkHillbilly says:


    but it was killing him trying to maintain a level of precision he was comfortable with.

    Heh. I think that’s why I became a carpenter. There wasn’t nothing that couldn’t be fixed with a few swings of a 24 oz framing hammer.

  17. 17
    Ferdzy says:

    HBM, what beautiful work.

    Nothing much happening here. We’ve had a couple of mild days (back to -10°C today) and instead of 2 feet of snow we have a foot and a half of semi-ice. Ho hum.

    Sweet potatoes in jars on the windowsill are starting to sprout. We are also trying to grow some potatoes from seed, and some of the seeds have sprouted! It’ll be two years before we can really eat any of them, though.

  18. 18
    chrome agnomen says:

    my kind of work. if it won’t fit, get a bigger hammer.

    edit. or a chainsaw

  19. 19
    Josie says:

    Now I have two people to be jealous of – Mary G. and Raven’s wife. My oldest son, who always does these carpentry and gardening projects with me has moved two hundred miles to the north. I am happy for him, since he got a job doing what he loves, but, boy, do I miss him. They want me to move up there in the next year and, although I dread moving again, I am very tempted. It’s hard to do home and gardening upkeep when you are alone. I am vegie gardening in pots right now due to my inability to dig up a real garden. My eggplants are producing and tomatoes and peppers have blooms. New basil is starting to pop up, along with squash and zucchini. Spring is actually here – the huisache (a type of acacia) is in full bloom and huisache never lies.

  20. 20
    debit says:

    Beautiful work, HBM!!

    Here in MN snow is still all over everything, but the ice pack is finally starting to melt on the side streets and bike trails. My car died the other week, so I’ve been biking it; 40’s today and most of this week, thank FSM.

    I picked up a couple cheapie seed starter kits (little tiny plastic trays with clear covers) and am wondering how soon I should start my seeds. I usually just buy largish plants from the garden center when it’s warm enough to plant, but this year I’m trying to be thrifty.

  21. 21
    lurker dean says:

    great work, hbm and mary g!

  22. 22
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    How does one do a story called “Top 20 movies made in and about Los Angeles – in pictures” including such all time works of cinematic art like, “Pretty Woman”, “Beverly Hills Cop”, “Heat”, “Shampoo”, “The Fast and the Furious”, and “Crocodile Dundee”…

    And leave out “Training Day”? A movie in which Denzel Washington was never better or more terrifying?

  23. 23
    Wag says:

    Spring is here in Colorado. Which means highly variable weather. Yesterday morning we had snow, then it warmed up to 45 in the afternoon. Todaysnd tomorrow, the forecast is for 65 degrees. Snow is predicted for Tuesday might.

    As much as I’m itching to begin gardening, I won’t realistically put anything into the ground until May

  24. 24
    Svensker says:

    @raven: .

    We have this plant in the front yard and I told her she needed to put a label on it because folks walking by want to know what it is and I can’t remember!

    Witch hazel.

    Like @Ferdzy: says,

    Nothing much happening here. We’ve had a couple of mild days (back to -10°C today) and instead of 2 feet of snow we have a foot and a half of semi-ice. Ho hum.

    Still, I’ve heard the woodpecker working out, so spring can’t be too far away.

  25. 25
    cmorenc says:

    BAH! I’ve got some sort of endemic soil disease that’s infected my herb-plot behind my kitchen. It’s even starting to blight my small hedge of rosemary, that was thriving the past two years. I cannot begin laying down a spring herb garden until I figure out and get on top of what’s going on here in the soil with this small, but should-be-perfect plot where just two summers ago, I had a bumper crop of more of several different types of herbs (oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, cilantro) than I could have possibly figured out how to use, even if I ate Italian 3x per day/365.

    BTW: this is in the NE Piedmont region of N.C., where this winter has been a real roller-coaster of warm and frigid weather, with ten days this winter with a continuous or nearly continuous snow cover (piddly in most places,but decent for around here).

  26. 26
    MomSense says:

    HBM and Mary–gorgeous work! I can’t wait to see how those boxes look when filled with established plants.

    On a not gorgeous note, Peggy Noonan was impressed by the “intellectual diversity” at CPAC.

  27. 27
    rikyrah says:

    La. Police Claim Man Shot And Killed Himself While Handcuffed
    Mar 8, 2014
    By NewsOne Staff

    Louisiana state police are investigating the death Victor White, III, 22, who allegedly shot and killed himself while handcuffed in the back of a patrol car, reports The Advocate.

    White was allegedly involved in an altercation and when deputies responded to the call they claim to have found illegal drugs on him which lead to his arrest.

    White was in handcuffs with his hands behind his back when he was killed, allegedly by his own gun — which conveniently wasn’t found during the search that led to his arrest.

    Read more below from The Advocate:

  28. 28
    Randy P says:

    I told myself this was the year I would do some early spring prep, before things started budding. But there’s still unmelted snow on the ground. Most of the remainder melted this week, so now we’re in mud season.

    So next week I guess I going to be raking out the beds and cutting down stalks from last year’s perennials. I have a couple of well-established raspberries that eventually I’d like to see be a whole patch, I think I’m supposed to be doing something with them too. Cutting off the branches that fruited, I think.

    I had reasonable success last year with a couple of wisterias I put in late in the season, in June I think. Two out of three climbed their trellises to the top by the end of fall before dying back. I think I’m supposed to be pruning them.

    As you can see, I’m not FSM’s gift to gardening.

  29. 29
    Randy P says:

    @Poopyman: @OzarkHillbilly:

    I think you’ll both appreciate the level of precision in this guy’s work:

    Apparently this is a regular feature in something called the “Red Green Show”.

    I found out about these in some engineering training at work. The trainer showed us a bunch of these on some thin excuse or other, just because he liked them.

  30. 30
    Ferdzy says:


    Debit, what veggies do you want to grow?

    I am in a similar climate, and I have started onions, leeks, celery and celeriac already, although it’s not too late to start them now. Peppers and eggplants will get started April 1st (8 weeks before last frost) and tomatoes will get started April 15th (6 weeks before last frost). Squash, cukes, and melons get started in peat pots on April 23rd. I would have to look up the dates for brassicas, but it’s 6 weeks before you want to plant them out.

  31. 31
    PurpleGirl says:

    @rikyrah: I really don’t need/want to read more of the story. The cops’ claims are preposterous on the face. Sitting in the back seat of car, hands cuffed behind his back… he finds the gun he hid in the cop car… yeah right. Oh Lawd, when will the hate stop.

  32. 32
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Randy P: I always loved the Red Green show, sadly tho You tube is not working at all for me right now.

  33. 33
    Poopyman says:


    Still, I’ve heard the woodpecker working out, so spring can’t be too far away.

    Still waiting to hear the spring peepers here in Tidewater MD. Last year they were out in late February, but of course this year’s weather has been much much colder.

  34. 34
    scav says:

    @raven: SQUILL!! my morning is unexpectedly much better! Many thanks.

  35. 35
    ruemara says:

    HBM, you are so talented. I’m jealous of MG, getting to garden in these beautiful boxes. If I still had a garden, I’d ask to you guys down with begging for a garden box in mind. Everything is lovely.

    @rikyrah: The scent of bullshit in that story is overpowering.

  36. 36
    ira-NY says:

    Wonderful post.

  37. 37
    Margarita says:

    the side slats and top aprons are made of one-by-four spruce-pine furring strips

    The boxes look great. The redwood frames will last and last, but you’ll probably be replacing the sides w/i two or three years. Enough time to accumulate some more cedar fence boards for the purpose.

  38. 38
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Thank you all for your kind words. Mary G is the inspiration for all of the pieces. She knew the look that she wanted, Mission, so she and I pored over the hundreds of pictures of that style of furniture that are available on the Intertrons before we started cutting lumber.

    We are a low-budget operation. I design each piece in a freeware program called Blender. Once I get it looking the way Mary G likes I fabricate the parts using a tape measure, circular saw, plastic miter box, Black and Decker hand drill and sandpaper.

    My great affection for a short story, “The Bound Man,” by Ilse Aichinger, provided me with the mental framework to make Mary G’s visions into real live objects with the means available to me.

    I suspected that working in wood might be a whole new ballgame and it is and that’s delightful. By starting off with the simple stand in the first pic I understood immediately that .00005″ precision (Yes, that’s 50 millionths of an inch) was dead out. Fortunately, the machinists’ rule to “Measure twice and cut once,” carried over nicely and prevented me from making quite so many blunders as I might have.

  39. 39
    Kristine says:

    Here in far NE Illinois, highs are supposed to range from the 20s-30s over the next week, with an occasional bounce into the 40s. Warm enough for the slow thaw to continue.

    My raised bed is currently buried beneath a few inches of snow. Instead of starting tomatoes from seeds, I plan to order plants. Just a couple. Enough to keep the salad bowl filled. I’ll fill the rest of the bed with mesclun, along with chard and kale.

  40. 40
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    What, no arugula? And you call yourself a liberal. :)

  41. 41
    Violet says:

    So impressed with HBM’s skills as a woodworker! Love all the new planters and stands and the bench. Beautiful! Love that you guys work so well together. Can’t wait to see everything once it comes up.

  42. 42
    muddy says:

    I want a Balloon Juice gardening friend too! So envious. Beautiful work.

  43. 43
    kc says:

    Those boxes are gorgeous.

    It’s so cool that Mary and Higgs found one another.

  44. 44
    currants says:

    Late to the thread, but can any of you green thumbs make a planter recommendation for some alpine strawberries? I’m good at making/putting things together but am short on time this spring. I’m planning to put netting over them (to protect from chipmunk and other predation). terra cotta? grow bag? plastic?

    ETA southern New England climate

  45. 45
    Violet says:

    @currants: Not familiar with the NE climate, but strawberries don’t have really deep roots so whatever planter or pot you use doesn’t need to be really deep. Strawberries are runners, so width rather than depth is more important. Or elevate the pot/planter so they can drape over the side. I have seen strawberries grown in hanging baskets.

  46. 46
    Bill D. says:

    Really nice work!

    There’s an important caveat on the idea of planting drought-tolerant plants, an idea which is widely pushed during every drought in California. Unless your drought-tolerant plants are succulent (cacti, agave, etc.), they will need to become well established before they can do with little or no water during the dry season. The way drought-tolerant plants survive in nature is that once the seed sprouts, it sends down a deep taproot before putting out much growth above ground. This heavy investment in root growth continues over the years, allowing the plant to extract a little bit of water out of a lot of volume of soil to supply a relatively small superstructure above ground during the dry time of the year.

    In contrast, when these same plants are grown in a nursery, they have it really, really easy. They grow large tops in relation to their root mass. When you plant such a plant in your garden, it will take at least a couple of years to grow enough roots to be able to survive without irrigation. Granted, in the meantime it will still need a lot less frequent watering than a lawn. I’ve had good success with biweekly to monthly watering the first dry season and monthly to bimonthly watering the second dry season (depending on the species), before letting these plants go entirely without watering.

    Also, keep in mind that a lot of the more desirable drought-tolerant shrub species, such as the manzanitas, need well-drained soil. Most of our urban areas in California are in valleys, usually with clayey soils that are inhospitable to or at least more difficult for some of these species. A lot of the species that *can* tolerate these soil conditions look awful without summer water (example: California sagebrush), even though they are actually doing just fine and will spring back to life with the winter rains. Solution: you need to be careful in species selection, amend the soil thoroughly, or use raised beds.

    Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that all California natives are drought tolerant while all non-native species are thirsty. Some California natives are from moist habitats and are as thirsty as any rosebush, while there are some very drought-tolerant species from various semi-arid parts of the world. If you do plant non-natives, just make sure they are not invasive species that will get out into nearby natural areas and cause problems.

    Also be aware that wild plant species mostly will not like the condition favored by domesticated plants, especially the highly-bred food and ornamental plants. Forget the fertilizer, don’t try for a “rich” soil, just a well-drained one, and plant these plants separately from their domesticated cousins so each can get the growing conditions they do best in.

    Bottom line: there are a lot of pitfalls in installing and maintaining drought-tolerant plantings in California. You need to do lots of reading up before planning out your drought-tolerant garden and actually buying and planting the plants. Buying some nice plants, plunking them into the ground, and thinking that you’re solved the problem may lead to severe disappointment through a variety of failure modes.

  47. 47
    WaterGirl says:

    @Violet: Do you think strawberries could grow on a trellis?

  48. 48
    debit says:

    @Ferdzy: Mostly tomatoes, but I was thinking about trying to expand again this year. I stick with tomatoes because they are the only thing the rabbits and the squirrels don’t eat.

    Although I’m considering some covered and enclosed containers for spinach. My friend Phillip showed me his set up last year: a bed about three feet high and with a canopy of gauzy sheeting to let the air and sunlight in, but discourages pests. He had the only successful crop of lettuce and spinach last year. Everyone else in his community garden lost their lettuce to bugs.

  49. 49
    Violet says:

    @WaterGirl: I don’t think so. They don’t climb and they’re not vines. Although they do have runners, those go across the ground or, like I mentioned, sometimes dangle off the edge of a pot or basket. I think trying to trellis them could be an exercise in frustration.

  50. 50
    ruemara says:

    @WaterGirl: You can use a tall strawberry jar or construct something similar. Do a terrace even.

    Potato towers are very similar, so you might be able to rig up something at the right height.

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: You use Blender? I should pick your brain for modeling help. I try to use Blender, but it drives me nutso.

  51. 51
    burnspbesq says:

    @mai naem:

    Two simple steps would take a decent bite out of California’s long-term water problem: no golf courses and no almonds. Almonds are appallingly water-intensive to grow, and California grows most of the world’s almond supply.

    Lebanon has the right climate to grow almonds. Maybe we should encourage Hezbollah to become almond growers.

  52. 52
    Bill D. says:

    @NobodySpecial: Most of coastal southern California gets 10-15″ of rain a year on the average, generally from November through March. The hills and mountains get somewhat more. Even with a high degree of year-to-year variability, that’s fine for scattered settlements and some agriculture here and there in fertile valleys. Anything more and you need to import water from elsewhere.

    Even in the Bay Area where I live, with our much greater annual (rainfall 15-25″ in the lowlands) and somewhat less annual variability, we need to import water from the mountains to have a major metropolis or even all the agriculture we might want. Back when the Santa Clara Valley was all orchards. they were rapidly depleting their groundwater and local runoff was not enough to make up the difference.

  53. 53
    RSA says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: Beautiful planters. Very nice work!

    I design each piece in a freeware program called Blender.

    Nice. You could do animated virtual walkthroughs.

  54. 54
    Anne Laurie says:


    Late to the thread, but can any of you green thumbs make a planter recommendation for some alpine strawberries?

    We’ve had alpine strawberries thriving & producing in a pair of 16″ plastic water-reservoir pots for going on fifteen years now. They’re on either side of our front door, where we can pick and eat the ripe fruit out of hand. Very tough plants — I try to remember to keep the reservoirs from drying out, but they’re lucky if they get fed once a year, usually with the bottom-of-the-bag leavings from the fussier plants. Alpines don’t runner like ordinary strawberries, so you don’t have to worry about them outgrowing their space… on the other hand, they are soooo delicious that you may find yourself wanting more plants!

  55. 55
    Violet says:

    @Anne Laurie: Anne Laurie, any chance you could post the garden thread at a different time? I always miss the bulk of the discussion and many times miss it completely. I’m an avid gardener and would love the chance to participate more.

    Also, could you consider publishing the garden thread at a time that’s convenient for whoever’s garden you are profiling? Like this week, the gardeners are in California, so 4:42 a.m. on the east coast is the middle of the night for them.

    Maybe I’m the only one who feels this way, but week after week I miss out on the garden thread and thought I’d at least mention it.

  56. 56
    Mary G says:

    @Violet: I have to second this; I love garden chat, but am never awake anywhere near its posting time. I was going to set my alarm to post a comment about the awesome Waterwise Botanicals in Escondido CA, but HBM offered to do it for me.

    Political blogs can be so depressing on Sundays, when the idiot Beltway talking heads all come out from under their rocks to go on the TV, that having something more life-affirming would be awesome.

  57. 57
    Anne Laurie says:


    Also, could you consider publishing the garden thread at a time that’s convenient for whoever’s garden you are profiling? Like this week, the gardeners are in California, so 4:42 a.m. on the east coast is the middle of the night for them.

    Problem is, I put up the Garden Chat shortly before I go to bed — my ‘downtime’ is approximately 6am-3pm. I could schedule the post for later, but FYWP’s scheduling function isn’t reliable, so the post might or might not show up… too also, people on the east coast who have to face the Sunday Bobbleheads over their coffee deserve something nice to read, IMO.

    During the summer, I try to post a second Garden Chat on Wednesday evenings, if I have the material. I’ll try to keep in mind that you Left Coasters deserve some attention!

  58. 58
    Violet says:

    @Anne Laurie: Thanks, AL. I think Sunday is a good day for it generally, but it really does turn into a dead thread and the rest of us don’t get to participate.

    How about posting it as a late afternoon Sunday thread from time to time? That would bring in a different group of people who’d get to participate.

    In my neck of the woods, I garden year round, but summers are so hot and miserable it’s my least favorite time for gardening. I have little interest in a second gardening thread in July! I understand I’m not in the majority.

  59. 59
    Ferdzy says:


    I hear you on the pests. We put up deer fence all around the garden, which has slowed the rate of depradation at least.

    Spinach is surprisingly hard to grow, in my experience. It tends to bolt in the middle of June, no matter when you plant it, so we plant it in August to overwinter, which helps. I can see some sort of shade cloth helping too, I wonder it that would trick it into thinking it is getting less light, and it isn’t time to go to seed yet?

  60. 60
    Currants says:

    @Violet: thank you–I’ll read more before planting, but this sends me in a direction!

  61. 61
    Currants says:

    @Anne Laurie: so wait–they winter over in pots??

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